NBL vs. SCL (2010 version)

Could the balance of power be shifting in Sonoma County football?

A year ago, the Sonoma County League went a decisive 14-0 against the North Bay League in preseason play. It was utter dominance. This year, the NBL already has two victories over the SCL, including last night’s 33-13 win by Mario Carrillo at Petaluma.

The SCL holds a 3-2 lead overall, but the gap seems to be closing even in the NBL’s losses. In 2009, for example, Casa Grande defeated Ukiah 30-7. Last night’s result was much closer: Casa 26, Ukiah 17.

“High school football, you’re gonna see cycles all the time,” Maria Carrillo coach Jay Higgins said after his team’s victory. “One team goes on a run, and then they have a little dip, and then another team goes on a run. The same thing can happen with leagues.”

Of course, there could be one major explanation for the seeming parity between the leagues this year. Petaluma was the Empire’s dominant team a year ago. With a new coach and just one returning starter, the Trojans are struggling to regain their prominence. They have both SCL losses this year (the other to Santa Rosa).

Carrillo star Sam Atoe wasn’t aware of the SCL’s undefeated record against his NBL a year ago. But he made no attempt to downplay the significance of beating Petaluma.

“To beat a team from a different league, it’s pretty big for me, because it says a lot about your team,” Atoe noted. “It shows people you can beat any team from any other league.”