What you may have missed this weekend

Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
Santa Rosa coach Tony Keefer knows something about successful rebuilding projects.
And he’s thankful his latest undertaking won’t include an 0-10 record in his first year.
Keefer, who came to Santa Rosa this season after helping turn around Tamalpais’ long-suffering program, got his first win as the Panthers’ coach in a 23-20 victory over Maria Carrillo on Friday.
Against a team that beat them 26-14 last year, the Panthers (1-3) scored more points than they had managed in their first three games combined. Santa Rosa had been outscored 76-22 entering Friday’s game.
“Our guys really stepped up to the challenge,” Keefer said. “They played a full four quarters and really made a statement to me and themselves. They learned a lot from our first three games and put a full game together.”
There is plenty of work ahead. Since 1990, the Panthers have had two winning years, four 0-10 seasons and eight coaching changes. But the win over Carrillo, which fell to 0-4, offered some solid reasons for optimism.
Sophomore Kalen Rosselli, who was 14 when the season began, completed 11 of 23 passes for a career-high 232 yards and junior running back Travis Baker rushed for 107 yards on 26 carries with three touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Nick Keeton, who is also the Panthers’ punter and placekicker, provided the finishing touch. Keeton, who is deaf, drilled a 38-yard field with 90 seconds left to break a 20-20 tie.
Rosselli found several capable targets in Derek Kopp (4 catches, 90 yards), Jaden Rosselli (2-59) and Baker (2-57).
Keefer went 0-10 in his first season at Tamalpais in 2007. But he led the Hawks to a 5-6 record and their first playoff appearance in 14 years last season and was an honorable-mention San Francisco Chronicle Coach of the Year. Tam had three wins its past 30 games when Keefer arrived on campus.
Despite Santa Rosa’s 0-3 start, he said he’d never considered the possibility of another 0-10 season.
“Tam was a little different,” Keefer said. “This program is more established. But I just go week to week. I don’t let my mind wander to things like that.”
WILDCATS IN WIN COLUMN
The 1-3 Ukiah Wildcats can exhale. And after a 40-28 victory over Piner on Friday they can also walk around town proudly.
“We’ve got homecoming this week,” Ukiah coach Jeff Schueller said. “We really didn’t want to go into that with an 0-4 record. This is a small community and you can’t exactly hide out anywhere.”
The victory was the first for Schueller as a head coach after he served the previous 19 seasons as an assistant at several Empire schools. But Schueller was more excited about the development of his team, which utilized a powerful ground game that it had strayed from earlier this season.
The Wildcats rushed for 321 yards with juniors Ben Brooks (11 carries, 123 yards) and Vinni Hiler (11-103) leading the way. Senior quarterback Chad Pittman ran for two scores and completed 5 of 10 passes for 122 yards with a pair of touchdowns to junior Aaron Dhuyvetter (3 catches, 95 yards).
“It was a lot different feeling when we came back Saturday,” Schueller said. “It was a whole different atmosphere. All the sudden, we got that off our back and are thinking about winning more games.”
A TRIUMPH FOR THE TOSS
Some people load up on batteries and bottled water in case disaster strikes.
In the event of a football calamity, Windsor coach Jason Fayter has an emergency preparedness offense: The Toss.
With his quarterback and top two running backs unavailable Saturday night against Sonoma, Fayter scrapped the Jaguars’ spread offense and went with the Toss, a double-wing, one-back attack in which two tight ends are bunched in close facing the quarterback, who routinely serves as a lead blocker.
Score one for improvisation. The Jaguars, who attempted just two passes, improved to 4-1 with a 14-7 win over Sonoma and collected 270 rushing yards.
Fayter was intrigued by offense when he played against teams who ran it when he coached at Frazier Mountain in Southern California from 2000-03. He used it three years ago when some of Windsor’s top skill-position player were out.
“After going against it, I started looking at it and started examining the advantages of it,” Fayter said. “Sometimes when you get in a sitaution like we were in it can kind of look like a good strategy.”
Fayter needed it last week with quarterback D.J. King battling a groin injury, running back Cameron Erion out for the season with a compound leg fracture and Steven Hutchison, Erion’s backup, out with an illness. The hobbled King primarily played defense to lessen his workload.
In response, Fayter stuck wide receiver Miles Williams at quarterback and wide receiver C.J. Landwehr at running back. Landwehr responded with 141 yards on 21 carries and became the fourth Windsor player to rush for 100 yards in a game this season.
“We were down to our fourth, fifth and sixth running backs,” Fayter said. “And they weren’t even running backs. They were wide receivers.”
FRANCI UNPLUGGED
Montgomery’s 9-6 overtime win over Rancho Cotate on Friday in its North Bay League opener improved the Vikings to 2-2. But it also did little to suggest Montgomery’s offense is finally clicking.
The Vikings’ attack has managed three touchdowns in the past two weeks. Montgomery, which had 195 yards against the Cougars, opened the season with a 42-0 loss to Grant.
“Our defense has played well all year long,” Vikings coach Jason Franci said. “We just have to help them out a little bit. I’m in charge of the offense. Fire the coach, I guess.”
On a separate note, Franci said he thoroughly enjoyed the latter stages of Montgomery’s tense win over Rancho. And he also noted that he is on medication for an irregular heartbeat, a condition that is not considered serious, “Games like this keep me young,” he said. “If they don’t kill me.”