Will Atoe help Pumas open with a win?

Sam Atoe is the Maria Carrillo leader. (PD photo by Crista Jeremiason)

MARIA CARRILLO (0-0) AT PETALUMA (0-1)

Time: 7:30 tonight

Last week: Petaluma lost to Santa Rosa, 13-0.

Notable: New Petaluma coach Rick Krist, who replaces legend Steve Ellison, gets a crack at another NBL team as he looks for his first win … Against Santa Rosa last week, the Trojans had a punt blocked, a 70-yard punt return called back because of a penalty, a lost fumble in the end zone and two passes intercepted … Carrillo’s final loss of 2009 was an 18-17 nail-biter at Casa Grande in the first round of the NCS Division II playoffs … Many consider Pumas’ Sam Atoe, a senior RB/LB, the best player in the Empire … Last year, Petaluma won this matchup 34-14.

Number to note: 1 — Number of Petaluma starters who returned from the 2009 team.

The pick: Maria Carrillo 21, Petaluma 7

CASA GRANDE (0-0) AT UKIAH (0-0)

Time: 7:30 tonight

Last week: did not play

Notable: Casa Grande lost its run of SCL championships last year, finishing second to Petaluma after claiming or sharing the title six straight seasons … The Gauchos are stocked with firepower on offense, with strong-armed QB Nick Sherry, big-play receiver Makana Garrigan and fleet running back Javonie Oden all returning from last year’s 11-2 squad … The Wildcats have a formidable one-two punch in the backfield with FB Will Laster and HB Ben Brooks; Ukiah’s challenge is getting its inexperienced offensive line to coalesce … Casa Grande defeated Ukiah last season, 30-7.

Number to note: 2,419 — Sherry’s passing yardage in 2009.

The pick: Casa Grande 28, Ukiah 7

ANDERSON VALLEY (0-0) AT POINT ARENA (0-0)

Time: 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Last week: did not play

Notable: These two teams were quite evenly matched a year ago. Both went 4-2 in the NCL II; Point Arena was 5-5 overall, while Anderson Valley was 4-5; the Panthers entered the NCS Division V playoffs as a No. 6 seed, the Pirates as a No. 7; and both were bounced in the first round (the Panthers via forfeit) … Or were they? Anderson Valley won 39-6 at Point Arena a year ago … The Pirates’ top returning players are TB Harlan Bailey and FB Ky Laiwa. The Panthers’ leader is QB/S Michael Blackburn … If this one’s a good game, look for the rematch at Anderson Valley in just three weeks.

Number to note: 16 — Possibly, the number of players on the field when these teams face off in 2011. Both are considering a move to eight-man football.

The pick: Anderson Valley 28, Point Arena 21

TOMALES (1-0) AT ST. VINCENT (0-0)

Time: 2 p.m., Saturday

Last week: Tomales beat Mission, 42-6.

Notable: Mustangs have won three straight in one of Sonoma County’s longest-running rivalries … St. Vincent entered the 2009 NCS Division V playoffs as the No. 1 seed but fell to St. Elizabeth in the title game. Tomales, the fifth seed in that same bracket, fell to St. Bernard in the opening round … Gary Galloway’s Mustangs return seven starters (four offense, three defense) from last years 9-4 team … This game features two of the best small-school offensive lines in the Empire. The Braves’ averages a hefty 236 pounds … Tomales’ Michael Guerrero rushed for 138 yards last week, while Javier Isais passed for 145 … Last year’s score: St. Vincent 33, Tomales 18.

Number to note: 16 — Consecutive home wins for St. Vincent.

The pick: St. Vincent 24, Tomales 20