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A Sacramento Bee article about Coach Hildebrand and the Timberwolves

Posted Friday, October 08, 2010 by The Sacramento Bee
October 7, 2010
Woodcreek has come a long way in a short time under Hildebrand

By Bill Paterson

If the Sierra Foothill League isn't the Sac-Joaquin Section's best in football, it's certainly the deepest.

As league play opens Friday, all six teams have legitimate title aspirations, including 4-1 Woodcreek. The No. 14 Timberwolves play at Roseville (3-2).

They've come a long way in John Hildebrand's four seasons as head coach.

Woodcreek went 0-10 in his first season, then surprisingly the Timberwolves eked their way into the playoffs the last two years by landing the league's last designated playoff spot with 3-2 league finishes.

They went 6-6 overall in 2008 but beat Rocklin and Del Oro to reach the postseason. Last year the Timberwolves were 4-7, but upset Del Oro 16-9 late in the season to land that critical third league win. They also handed Del Campo its only 2009 loss, 27-23.

"The last two years were too close for my liking as far as making the postseason," Hildebrand said. "There's a little less heat with this year's start, but we've got to continue to do what we've been doing.

"Every week from here on out is going to be brutal. I will be shocked if any team runs the table and goes 5-0. With the exception of Rocklin last year, everybody's beaten up on somebody at some point the last three years."

Woodcreek, which defeated No. 16 Casa Roble, Oakmont, Bear River and Whitney after opening with a 28-21 loss to No. 13 Lincoln, has overcome injuries to four senior starters, including linebacker Jason Stewart (partially torn ACL in the left knee). Hildebrand thought Stewart would have been a candidate for the league's defensive player of the year if healthy.

Still, Hildebrand has enough depth to platoon at most positions. The leaders include running back Blake Cervantes, tight end Brandon Whitebear, free safety Dylan Zuverick, kick returner J.J. Nourth and cornerback Geordan Nunley.

"We've built some pride in the program," Hildebrand said. "The two teams that came before us kind of set the tone by playing with all heart. These guys have bought in and through their hard work have a good chance to see more success."

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