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Running game key for Cats vs. Sheldon

Head coach Robert Cendro and quarterback Jeff Hess will have much to discuss when the Sonora High School football team hosts Sheldon of Elk Grove on Friday at Dunlavy Field. (Colette Sauls, The Union Democrat/Copyright 2002).
Head coach Robert Cendro and quarterback Jeff Hess will have much to discuss when the Sonora High School football team hosts Sheldon of Elk Grove on Friday at Dunlavy Field. (Colette Sauls, The Union Democrat/Copyright 2002).

Sonora High School will try to polish its running game and contain Sheldon of Elk Grove when the teams meet Friday in Week 2 of the football season.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Sonora's home opener at Dunlavy Field. Sonora comes in 1-0 off a 22-14 victory over Johansen in Modesto, while Sheldon is 0-1 after losing its opener at home to Lodi, 40-27.

Improving the "belly" part of its option running game is Priority No.1 for Sonora, according to coach Robert Cendro.

"It's designed to go outside the guard and we were running it too much inside (against Johansen)," Cendro said. "It sounds like a minor thing, but it probably cost us 100 yards of offense by itself."

Sonora gained only 223 total yards against Johansen and put together only one drive of any distance — 55 yards on five plays for the go-ahead touchdown (scored by fullback Louis McColloch on an eight-yard run) in the third quarter.

The Wildcats' other touchdowns came on a 27-yard drive after a short Johansen punt (McColloch did the honors from the one) and on a 76-yard punt return by Bryann Turner.

The Wildcats almost certainly will have to take care of the ball against a Sheldon team that put up some good numbers last week and probably would have won but for some key mistakes.

Tailback Demario Foster rushed for 218 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Nick Van Dyke directed two other scoring drives, but the Huskies were undone by two interceptions that Lodi returned for touchdowns and by a 70-yard punt the Flames returned for another score.

"We have to contain (Foster)," Cendro said. "We can't let him get outside our ends and get downfield with his shoulders squared."


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