Is the Empire's best QB in Forestville?

Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
El Molino junior quarterback Mike Pierson didn’t win the game Friday night, but he won Healdsburg coach Tom Kirkpatrick’s admiration.
In the face of constant pressure, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Pierson completed 27 of 44 passes for a career-high 358 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in the Lions’ 41-27 loss to the Greyhounds. It was a performance that made quite an impression on Kirkpatrick, a guy who knows something about quarterbacks. Kirkpatrick, in his 17th year as head coach at Healdsburg, was a signal-caller at Santa Rosa Junior College and Humboldt State.
“I’ve seen a lot of quarterbacks in my time coaching around here and that was as good a performance as I’ve ever seen,” Kirkpatrick said. “As a former quarterback, it was just fun to see. The throws he was making with guys in his face and under huge pressure … his accuracy was remarkable.”
Pierson, a part-time starter as a sophomore, has thrown for 644 yards and seven touchdowns the past two weeks for 2-7 El Molino. He has completed 131 of 249 passes for 1,650 yards with 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season.
But his stats don’t convey his poise, smooth throwing motion and arm strength, some of the qualities that wowed Kirkpatrick.
“Our defensive guys were frustrated,” Kirkpatrick said. “But when a guy plays like that you really stand back and admire it. I know I sound like I’m just raving and I am. I was totally impressed.”
Pierson wasn’t the only one in the game with a jaw-dropping performance.
Healdsburg running back Dillon Cattalini rushed for 235 yards on 36 carries and scored four touchdowns. Cattalini scored on runs of 3, 60 and 12 yards and had a 31-yard touchdown catch.
Said Kirkpatrick, “Those two guys put on quite a show.”