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Trojans suffer first loss to Sheldon

By: Matt Long
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Eric Cavaliere knew long before the season started that life in the Delta River League would be considerably tougher than it was in the Sierra Valley Conference. Friday that reality hit his players right in the face after the Huskies (1-0, 3-3) upset the Trojans 32-30, handing the team their first loss of the season in their first game in the new league. If there was ever a wake-up call, this was it. “After the game I told the guys welcome to the Delta River League,” Cavaliere said. “I’ve said this before, but we can’t expect not to play our best and still win. We’ve been in a league where we’ve been able to do that, but not in this league. It’s a harsh lesson to learn and you hope you don’t have to experience it at all, but it happened.” Tackling was the biggest problem for the Trojans. Sheldon only completed two passes, but Davonte Lynch gained 260 yards on 21 carries and Kaikoa Oyao picked up 120 yards on only four carries and that did in the Trojans. Still, Oak Ridge had a chance at the end of the game. With 1:42 to play, the Trojans were turned away on a two-point conversion when a Will Tostenson pass was deflected and Dylan Collie could not hang on. Oak Ridge got the ball back one final time with 14 seconds left but was stopped near midfield as time expired. The story of the night was Lynch, the younger brother of Seattle Seahawks running back and former University of California star Marshawn Lynch. The senior seemingly always was breaking a tackle or somehow finding his way through three-or-four Trojans defenders. “You look at the kid and he looks like a cross-country kid or a lightweight wrestler,” Sheldon coach Josh Crabtree said. “But the kid is phenomenal.” The Huskies rushed for 449 yards on the night. “We knew their backs were talented,” Cavaliere said. “I’m not surprised how good they are. We had a lack of intensity and a lack of making the big play on defense.” Lynch had six runs for more than 20 yards and forced the Trojans to play catch-up in a contest where Oak Ridge never led. “We moved the ball, we completed passes, and the offense performed,” Cavaliere said. “But tonight we could not tackle and guys were not finishing.” The Trojans offense was prolific as usual, led by Jordan Matanane, who rushed for a tough and gritty 174 yards and three touchdowns. Tostenson threw for 246 yards and Willie Tucker had 114 yards receiving and spectacular diving touchdown catch in the third quarter, but it wasn’t enough. “This forces us to regroup and refocus,” Cavaliere said. “We have the attention of the team. We have to become a better practicing team.” The Trojans now must prepare for archrival Ponderosa, who comes to town on Friday. No matter who the opponent is, however, Cavaliere said his team needs to be ready. “We know Ponderosa is going to play their best game,” Cavaliere said. “No matter who we’re playing, though, this is a very important week for us to come out and get it down.” Oak Ridge JV 42, Sheldon JV 16 – Bryon Spain, Jericho Hallare, Blake Martin, Keaton Subjeck, Brad Buenzli all scored for the Trojans (5-1, 1-0) in an easy victory. The offensive line of Kareem Ballal, Chandler Christy, Cory Gregersen, Tyler Baker, Jacob Proul and Ross Dwelley led the way for Oak Ridge. “Football is simple, it’s about blocking and tackling,” Oak Ridge junior varsity coach Ron Short said. “And we dominated all those aspects tonight.” Matt Mills contributed to this story.