Northern California power Del Oro, of east suburban Sacramento, moved the football at will and put a shellacking on Spanish Springs, handing its guest from Nevada a 55-14 loss.
“We’ll judge whether this helped us get better or not in a couple weeks,” Hare said. “I didn’t want our kids to see what #95 in the country (Del Oro) was like sitting in the stands. I wanted our kids to feel it. Del Oro has some good football players and everything it does is sharp.”
Del Oro, which won its California Sac-Joaquin section last fall, looked every bit the part of a perennial power in manhandling the Cougars’ defense. The Golden Eagles scored on all six of their first-half possessions and cruised to a 48-14 halftime lead.
Del Oro got the ball first, and despite four penalties on its initial drive, still managed to find the end zone, eventually marching 78 yards. Tyler Meteer plunged across the goal line for a 1-yard scoring run.
It went from bad to worse for Spanish Springs. The Cougars went three and out on their first offensive possession and gave the ball right back. Del Oro took advantage. Three plays later it found pay dirt again on a 5-yard scoring scamper by Brandon Monroe and the scoreboard read 14-0 with 2:07 to go in the first quarter.
That’s when the Spanish Springs offense began to show signs of life. Two plays into their second drive, on a third-down play, SSHS sophomore Hunter Fralick got the Golden Eagles defense to bit on the run on a play-action pass. He then hit Vance Lively down the middle for a 54-yard gain to the Del Oro 1. On the next play, Conrad Tanyi got into the end zone on a 1-yard run as the SSHS gridders trimmed the margin to 14-7 at the 11:21 mark of the second quarter.
Unfortunately for Spanish Springs, it could never get a key defensive stop. Del Oro posted a pair of touchdowns, in less than three minutes, on its next two possessions, extending its edge to 27-7.
The visiting Cougars did not roll over and die. The narrowed the gap to 27-14 when Jesse Berry found some open field and bolted 48 yards to the end zone, leaving 6:30 showing on the second-quarter clock.
“I thought at times we responded and other times we did not,” Hare said. “At times we tried to respond, but they’re fast. We tried to be physical at times, but they didn’t stand around and get in a fist fight. They are fast.”
That’s as good as it got for Spanish Springs. Del Oro scored with relative ease, putting up three more touchdowns before the intermission, en route to taking the 34-point edge into the locker room at the break.
The Cougars tried to show some fight early in the second half. They got the first possession after the break and drove to the Golden Eagles 10-yard line, before a fumble halted the momentum. Del Oro quashed any hopes Spanish Springs had of trying to make the score look a little more respectable.
The California club continued to move the ball at will, putting together an 89-yard drive on its first possession of the third quarter, after the SSHs turnover. The long drive ended in a touchdown and made the score 55-14 with 3:46 left in the third quarter.
That proved to be the final margin as the two teams traded meaningless late possessions, manned largely by reserves.
Del Oro wound up racking up 490 yards of offense, 290 on the ground and 260 through the air. Eagles running back Nick O’Sullivan had a big night, torching the SSHS defense for 161 yards on 15 carries. Del Oro quarterback Bobby Heatherington was 6-of-12 through the air for 206 yards.
“We always like to run the ball,” Del Oro coach Casey Taylor said. “We did a great job with that and then we hit some big plays with the passing game. We wanted to set the tone. I was pleased with our effort. We had a lot of penalties that we still need to clean up.”
Turnovers and field position killed Spanish Springs. Del Oro had three scoring drives that combined for 60 yards. Spanish Springs also had five turnovers in defeat, three fumbles and two interceptions.
“We can’t turn the ball over five times no matter who we play,” Hare said. “At times we did some good things. There were positives and negatives too. Obviously, our defense and our special teams has some work to do.”
Spanish Springs will get back to action Friday when it hosts North Valleys.