Rancho and the Egg Bowl

Rancho Cotate looked pretty tough against Maria Carrillo on Friday night at Carrillo.

Rancho quarterback Cody Allen had a superb game running the triple option and passing. And who delivered the biggest hit of the night, causing a fumble and turnover — yes, Cody Allen.

Carrillo didn’t play all that bad in the first half, although the Pumas trailed 20-0. Rancho hit them with big play after big play. In the first quarter alone Allen hooked up with Garrett Johnson on 54-yard pass play and then Matt Egelhoff on a 57-yard pass and run. In the second quarter Sergio Orduna broke a 67-yard run.

Rancho has a lot of offensive weapons in addition to a pretty good defense. Jonathon Torres, one of Rancho’s ends, had to have been in on at least a dozen tackles and he had a 12-yard sack where he beat a double-team and still tackled the QB by the ankles.

What everyone is looking forward to is the Rancho-Cardinal Newman game Halloween night at Rancho Cotate. That could be a high-scoring affair, although Rancho’s defensive line looks pretty good. The key may be the Rancho secondary. It’s hard to catch Newman QB Randy Wright and when he gets outside he can either run or find one of a handful of receivers.

As good as Rancho’s pass rush is, it only had two sacks against Carrillo.

Maria Carrillo and Santa Rosa might be the two teams leading in injuries this season. Carrillo has already lost starting QB Nick Hammaren and Friday night, one of their top running backs and defensive backs, Zack Sheets had to come out of the game in the second half with a leg injury. Starting lineman Daniel Farris suffered a shoulder injury and had to be carted off the field.

Carrillo kept plugging away and scored twice in the fourth quarter with reserve running back Tyler Schieder running for 78 yards and a score.

And now from my colleague Phil Barber………..


Wow, I guess I learned something about Petalumaat my first Egg Bowl. I knew this was one of the Empire’s bigger rivalries, but I didn’t really understand the intensity until spending 24 minutes of football on each sideline Friday night, and then seeing the emotion in the faces of the Petalumaplayers – and their classmates, siblings and parents — after they had earned a 21-14 road win.

I watched the Trojans play Redwood about a month earlier, and it looked like a different team, or at least a different offense. Petaluma’s triple-option attack lost four fumbles that night, three on bad exchanges. Coach Steve Ellison seemed a little perplexed as to how it had happened.

Well, against Casa Grande, the Trojans fumbled only once. Even more impressive, they didn’t incur their first penalty until the fourth quarter. The Gauchos, meanwhile, were hit with seven flags. It was a small factor in a game close enough to be decided by subtleties.

If you haven’t seen Sean Sullivan play yet, you need to watch Petalumahost Analy in two weeks. The diminutive halfback is as quick as lightning. Give him a couple blocks and spring him into the open field, and I’m not sure Champ Bailey could catch him.

I admired the Trojans’ poise Friday night after it looked like the game would slip away from them early, and I was very impressed by their defensive adjustments. For example, Casa Grande began the game with three hitch passes to Matt Nadolski in its first four plays. Nadolski is a big, strong receiver, and he got 13 yards, then 8 yards on the first two. But he caught three more passes the rest of the night – for a mere 3 yards.

Here’s another example: Casa halfback Kahlil Keys is a hard runner with breakaway speed, and he began the second half with four consecutive runs of 11 or more yards. It looked like the Gauchos might ride him to victory. But on his final eight runs of the evening, Keys picked up a total of 19 yards. Maybe he got tired. More likely, the Trojans figured out a way to contain him.

As for Casa Grande, I’m sure the team was bitterly disappointed with Friday’s result. The Gauchos have a strong one-two running combination in Keys and quarterback Matt O’Brien, who is very athletic. But they hurt themselves with penalties and turnovers, even while holding a slight advantage in yardage. They also flubbed two field goals; I’m not sure whether one of them was an intended fake or a quick reaction to a high snap.

One of Casa’s best plays of the game was a double-reverse to Nadolski that netted 79 yards. It was a great idea, because Nadolski should be getting the ball any way possible. The Trojans didn’t have anyone to stack up against him one-on-one, but he came away with only 24 yards on five receptions.

One thing that bodes well for Casa Grande as it tries to even its record in the SCL: the pass blocking. O’Brien threw 19 times, was sacked only once for a small loss, and rarely had a finger laid upon him. (Of course, he’s nimble when he senses pressure, too.) I don’t want to single out just the offensive line, either, because the Gauchos’ backs seem adept at blitz pickup.

Still, this team has yet to get on the kind of roll that has brought it five straight SCL titles.

— Phil Barber