Local football players Johnny Millard and Tom Hemmingsen went out winners in their final collegiate games.
Millard, a linebacker and former Foothill High star, had 15 total tackles and an interception, his first of the season, in Cal Poly's 42-14 rout of host Northern Colorado. The Mustangs won three of their final four games to finish 6-6 overall and 5-3 in the Big Sky Conference.
Hemmingsen, a wideout and former Monte Vista star, had a team-high seven receptions for 52 yards, including a touchdown catch, helping UC Davis (5-7, 5-3 Big Sky) beat Sacramento State (5-7, 4-4) 34-7 in the Causeway Classic. Hemmingsen, who sat out the 2012 season with an injury, finished the season with a career-high 60 receptions and 640 yards.
Millard, the son of Tennessee Titans pass-rush coordinator Keith Millard, said members of his family, including siblings, aunts, uncles, etc., attended all of his games this season, even road games. It works both ways. Johnny, a former Raiders ball boy when his dad coached there, attended the Titans' 23-19 win over the Raiders on Sunday.
Johnny has six brothers and two sisters. Footballs seemingly hang from the family tree.
"It's a big family," he said. "We're only two away from being able to line up and play 11-vs.-11, so it's fun. Everyone loves football in my family. They always get excited for my games or for any of my brothers' games. It's pretty cool."
Millard notched 116 tackles as a Foothill senior in 2008, helping the Falcons to a runner-up finish in the East Bay Athletic League and a semifinal berth in the NCS Division I playoffs.
Millard amassed 108 tackles this season. He also had three pass breakups, an interception and three quarterback hurries. His 289 total tackles for his career is No. 9 all-time at Cal Poly.
Millard said it was good to go out with a big game by the Cal Poly defense.
"We knew it was going to be our last game, and we just really wanted to show our best performance," Millard said. "Some of our younger guys made a goal to send the seniors out with a good game. Everyone was playing with a really good speed."
But Millard is far from ready to put his feet up on the couch. He will soon start an intensive training program, with an eye on a professional career. He hopes to get invited to some all-star games and at least the NFL Regional Combine.
"I'm going to keep trying to pursue a career in football, that's always been the goal," Millard said. "We've had a pretty good amount of scouts come through this year, every week."
HORNETS' MR RELIABLE: Tyler Worthley, who played for three years at Dublin, made his 45th consecutive, and final start, at right guard for Sacramento State in the Hornets' loss to Davis. Worthley (6-3, 330), a former walk-on, was second-team all Big Sky Conference in 2012. He played both ways at Dublin and made first-team all-Diablo Foothill Athletic League as a senior, also competing on the Gaels' basketball team.
GUARDINO MAKES A PLAY: A great way to decide an offensive-minded football showdown is to make a big play on defense.
California junior running back/defensive back Zac Guardino did just that in the Grizzlies' 31-24 win over rival San Ramon Valley on Nov. 23 in the NCS Division I quarterfinals. After Guardino scored on a 1-yard run to give the Grizzlies a 31-17 lead, he made a dramatic interception in the end zone to deny the pinpoint Wolves' passing attack, in which he jarred the ball loose from a receiver and then ran for 25 yards on the return.
The play got even bigger when the Wolves scored on a 36-yard pass from Matt Winaker to J.J. Koski on a post pattern late in the fourth quarter.
The run-oriented Grizzlies featured quarterback Matt Lorenz against the Wolves. He's done well replacing the injured Cameron Owen. The Grizzlies will need another confident effort in Saturday's semifinals at Pittsburg.