Friday, August 19, 2011
LA North: Westlake's long road to Del Oro
By Tim Haddock
The Westlake football team plays its first game against Del Oro from Loomis in Northern California on Sept. 3. The game could be a CIF state bowl match-up.
Del Oro is the reigning CIF Sac-Joaquin Section champion. Westlake, the 2009 CIF Southern Section Northern Division champs, lost to Oaks Christian by one point in last year's Northern Division championship game.
Both teams are considered two of the top programs in the state and both teams were looking for a Week 1 opponent.
In Westlake's case, the team it had scheduled for the first week had second thoughts about playing Jim Benkert's Warriors.
"Our schedule opened up late," Benkert said. "I don't know much about Del Oro at all. They have a rich tradition, a CIF section championship. They were having problems finding a team to play. But honestly, I don't know anything about them."
One of the conditions Benkert wanted met was that Del Oro schedule its junior varsity and freshman teams to play Westlake. Del Oro agreed, so the entire football program is heading up north for the first game of the season.
Benkert has been on vacation in Europe and said he hasn't spent much time preparing for Del Oro. He has tape on the team from last year and has watched it only briefly.
"They are very aggressive," Benkert said. "They come from anywhere on any given play. They're well-coached and they look like they want to run the football if they can. They're a good test for us."