Defending Central Section Division I champion Bullard High twice held leads but ultimately couldn't keep pace with host Del Oro-Loomis, losing 41-19 on Saturday in the finale of the two-day, six-game Battle at the Capital high school football showcase featuring Sacramento-area teams against powers from across Northern California and Oregon.
After taking a 16-14 lead with 5:44 remaining in the second quarter on Chris Tate's 3-yard touchdown run -- a score set up by Demetrius Warren's 52-yard scamper -- the Golden Eagles stormed back.
Kenny Andri's 1-yard scoring run, and Max Magleby's 2-point conversion run, sent Del Oro (1-1) ahead 20-16 with 1:29 to go before halftime.
The Golden Eagles -- last season's Sac-Joaquin Section Division II runners-up who are currently ranked fourth in the Sacramento area by The Sacramento Bee -- opened the second half with Andri's 93-yard kickoff return for a 27-16 lead.
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Bullard, ranked seventh in the Central Section by The Fresno Bee, closed to 27-19 with 1:19 left in the third quarter on Shawn Kuehter's 30-yard field goal, his second of the game. But that's as close as the Knights (0-1) would get in a game played 3-plus hours from home.
Del Oro would close the game with 14 unanswered points on touchdown runs of 21 yards and 1 yard by Nick O'Sullivan.