Most Viewed Stories
Yuba City succumbs to power
Del Oro's Monroe bulldozes Honkers
The Yuba City High football team found out quickly on Friday night why Del Oro senior running back Brandon Monroe is heading to San Jose State next year on a full-ride scholarship.
The No. 2-seeded Honkers also realized that Friday night's Sac-Joaquin Section Division II first round tilt with the Golden Eagles was only a 2 vs. 15 matchup on paper.
Del Oro may have gone 5-5 in the regular season, but this is one of the premier football programs in the Sac-Joaquin Section. From talent, to coaching, to facilities, to funding, to fan support, the Loomis-based Golden Eagles are first class.
Yuba City coach John Ithurburn told his team that in the postgame huddle. He knew this game would be a gauge as to where his own program stands. The Honkers are close — but they still have a bit to go.
Del Oro, the two-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section champion, routed Yuba City 45-21 at Honker Stadium behind Monroe's 230 yards and four touchdowns.
The Golden Eagles (6-5) scored on each of their five possessions in the first half and four of those drives ended in Monroe touchdowns.
Del Oro was outstanding with its zone running game as Monroe made excellent reads and consistently gouged the Honker defense behind a stout Golden Eagles offensive line.
"Looking back at the two teams we lost to (Placer and Del Oro), their programs are just a little further ahead of ours and we're pushing to get there," Ithurburn said. "We've got a good football team and we got pushed around tonight. We've been able to do that to most teams this year and it got done to us tonight.
"I think we'll grow and get better from it as a program."
Monroe scored touchdowns from 4, 38 and 5 yards out on DO's first three possessions. Yuba City found the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter on a dump-off pass from Taylor Elkins to Nate Van Dusen, who outran the Del Oro defense for an electrifying 67-yard score.
The Golden Eagles countered on the ensuing possession with a 23-yard field goal from Skyler Rand, but Van Dusen struck again, scoring on 51-yard run in the second quarter.
Van Dusen trucked a Del Oro defender and broke a tackle before sprinting to the end zone. Monroe would score again right before halftime to give the Golden Eagles a 31-14 halftime advantage.
Del Oro has won eight Sac-Joaquin Section championships and earned a trip to a CIF State bowl game last season. Coach Casey Taylor said his team did a nice job overcoming adversity earlier this year after a 1-4 start.
Del Oro played a brutal nonleague schedule, including Oaks Christian, Westlake, Grant, Burbank and Logan (Union City). The Golden Eagles also are members of the Sierra Foothill League, arguably the toughest league in the section.
"We're very battle-tested, played some great teams," Taylor said. "We went through a lot of adversity and had to win our final two games just to get here ... we've got a lot of respect for Yuba City."
The two teams exchanged punts to begin the second half before Yuba City put together an impressive drive.
The Honkers marched 86 yards to the Del Oro 2-yard line and had first-and-goal. The Honkers shot themselves in the foot though with two penalties and couldn't convert on fourth down.
On Del Oro's ensuing possession, the Golden Eagles faced a third-and-18 on their own 20 yard line, but Zach Labar found Monroe for a 75-yard gain and Mark Leveron put the game out of reach with a 5-yard score.
Yuba City (9-2) added a late score on Omar Herrera's 56-yard run.
"We felt we got exposed early in the year, but we corrected some of those things through our personnel and we feel we're playing as good as anybody around right now," Taylor said. "We're excited and very humbled to be playing next week."
The Eagles will travel to Stockton next week to face No. 7 St. Mary's.
Yuba City looked at the positives from this season following the loss, including the program's first league title in 25 years and a 9-2 record for the first time since 1998.
With a solid junior corps returning and an incoming JV team that went 10-0, Ithurburn is confident that this season laid the groundwork for a bright future in Honker football.
"I think we're making steps, but this year was huge in that," Ithurburn said. "We were always knocking on the door and we popped through this year. I think now you'll see it continue to get better."