Big man in town

AUBURN, Calif. -- A large banner hangs above a narrow street amid tall pine trees and wooden light posts, it's green and yellow letters greeting commuters as they enter the old town district off Interstate 80. It adds a modern touch to the vintage feel this place has sustained over the years.

Not much football history had been written here until recently, but the banner's endorsement of Placer football hints at the current buzz generated by Eddie Vanderdoes, who might just be the biggest thing to hit this small town since the gold rush.

"We've never had a kid like Eddie here before," said one Placer assistant coach referred to simply as "SeƱor" by players because his service time spans more than four decades in these hills.