Postgame stuff from Petaluma-Cardinal Newman

Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
This and that from Petaluma’s 28-14 win over Cardinal Newman in the North Coast Section Division II quarterfinals:
* Cardinal Newman quarterback Jack James said Petaluma caught on to the Cardinals’ double-wing offense in the second half. Newman had 168 yards and 14 points in the first half, but managed minus-10 yards and punted on its first three second-half possessions. “They made great adjustments,” James said. “They starting sending more guys to a certain side because they kind of figured out which way we were going. We don’t have the most complex offense and they definitely figured us out a little.”
* Trailing 21-14, Newman had a 3rd-and-11 at the Petaluma 24-yard line with 4:30 remaining when Cardinals coach Paul Cronin called a timeout. As Cronin walked toward his team’s offensive huddle he was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for wearing his headset on the field. Newman had an incompletion on 3rd-and-26 from the Trojans’ 39 and punted on fourth down. Two plays later, Petaluma fullback Ricky Sims scored on a 77-yard run to, in effect, put the game away. “I’ve never heard of that rule, so that’s on me,” Cronin said. “That’s tough, but if it’s in the rule book, it’s my job as a coach to know it.” Classy response — kudos to Cronin for superhuman restraint.
* Sims (24 carries, 195 yards) continued his remarkable late-season tear. In his past five games, he’s rushed for 757 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has 1,227 yards and 23 TDs this season. By the way, I’m sure Sims has been stopped behind the line of scrimmage for a loss this season. I just don’t remember seeing it. “Whatever he’s giving, he just reaches back in the tank for more,” Petaluma coach Steve Ellison said. “I don’t know how he does it.”
Said Cronin, “Sims is a load and when you’re playing their option with a big fullback they wear on you. I’m proud of our defensive performance, but I think we wore down late in the game.”
* James played brilliantly despite getting repeatedly pummeled. He was sacked seven times, but was near-perfect when he found a few seconds to look downfield. He completed 10 of 14 passes for 165 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He threw a sweet 36-yard touchdown strike on 4th-and-18 to Chris Reuter to give the Cardinals a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. James, not surprisingly, was blasted just as he released the ball on his TD throw.
* Linebackers Blake Olson, Dalton Berncich, Sims and defensive linemen Shawn Swanson and Josh Wolsko had sacks for Petaluma.
* Petaluma cornerback Dalton Johnson had an interception inside Newman’s 5-yard line in the final minute to officially seal the game. It was Johnson’s ninth interception.
* Ellison wasn’t exactly complaining, but there was one aspect of his team’s win that didn’t exactly thrill him. The Trojans will play the winner of tonight’s game between Ygnacio Valley and Eureka. And Ellison was off to scout the game — 235 miles away — in Eureka.