Prep football previews: Games of the Week

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

PETALUMA (1-5) AT CASA GRANDE (4-1)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Petaluma defeated El Molino, 35-14. Casa Grande lost to Ygnacio Valley, 36-28.

Casa Grande running back Javonie Oden. (PD)

Notable:

A year ago the Egg Bowl was for control of the Sonoma County League. Casa Grande’s main competition this season appears to be Windsor, but the Gauchos can’t look past the Trojans, who recorded their first win last week against a game El Molino team. Quarterback Nick Sherry averages 214 yards a contest passing and back Javonie Oden is totaling more than 100 yards in rushing and receptions per game for Casa Grande. Petaluma quarterback Spencer Neve had his best game last week with 151 yards combined passing and running, and the Trojans defense held in check a prolific El Molino passing game.

Number to note: Casa Grande has 21 sacks of opposing quarterbacks with linebacker Michael Ielmorini and defensive lineman Mat Floerke totaling four each.

Pick: Casa Grande 35, Petaluma 7

UKIAH (2-3) AT CARDINAL NEWMAN (3-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Last week: Ukiah defeated Santa Rosa, 31-3. Cardinal Newman defeated Elsie Allen, 38-0.

Notable: Coming off a pair of wins against lower division North Bay League teams, both squads have something at stake. Ukiah wants to do more than hang around against a quality opponent and finish strong. Cardinal Newman likely needs a win to keep pace with Rancho Cotate atop the league standings. While both teams opened their passing games a week ago, the Cardinals have a potent running game with back Stephen Tomasin strong up the middle and quarterback Matt Sullivan an option threat. Look for Ukiah linebacker Ben Brooks and free safety Mason Colombo to help against the run. First-year Wildcats quarterback Trevor Morris has been a pleasant surprise throwing the ball and has a great target in Aaron Dhuyvetter. The Cardinals defense can put heat on offenses led by Phil Wright and Garrett Guanella up front and linebacker Matt Bowman.

Number to note: Ukiah last defeated Cardinal Newman eight years ago, by one point.

Pick: Cardinal Newman 31, Ukiah 14

ANALY (4-2) AT EL MOLINO (3-3)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Analy defeated Healdsburg, 16-14. El Molino lost to Petaluma, 35-14.

Notable: Coming off an upset of previously undefeated Healdsburg, the Tigers hope to unleash their pass-first offense sooner. Analy quarterback Jake Zanutto found his rhythm in the second half last week and the Tigers’ running game has improved. After going to the wire in splitting league games with Windsor and Healdsburg, the Tigers would like a more comfortable win against the Lions. El Molino is looking for a spark after dropping three straight, including its first two Sonoma County League contests. While much attention deservedly is on El Molino quarterback Mike Pierson, the Lions’ backs can provide enough run support to outscore opponents. Defense could be the difference in the game. Analy linebackers Dallas Hamilton and Issak Olsen average 9 and 7 tackles a game, respectively. Leading the El Molino defense is linebacker Dylan Licciardo with more than 9 tackles per contest.

Number to note: El Molino has four receivers in double figures with catches — Joe Douglass, Jordan Nordy, Chet Lambert and Levi Karns.

Pick: Analy 27, El Molino 21

SANTA ROSA (2-3) AT MARIA CARRILLO (2-3)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Santa Rosa lost to Ukiah, 31-3. Maria Carrillo defeated Piner, 41-8.

Notable: Look for plenty of running in this game. Maria Carrillo has fast, strong and tough-to-tackle Sam Atoe at quarterback, backed by a strong complement of backs including Jake Delfino, Emilio Pollock and Cody Giles. Santa Rosa had 218 yards rushing against Ukiah from the trio of Jaray Hayes, Ethan Rosselli and Kalen Rosselli. But last week the Pumas scored often and the Panthers couldn’t reach the end zone. Defense up front should be the game changer and Maria Carrillo might have the edge with Anthony Ezrim at linebacker and Atoe at linebacker to help plug any gaps in the Pumas’ defensive front. Playing similar roles for Santa Rosa are Ethan Rosselli at linebacker and Nick Keeton at defensive back.

Number to note: Five Maria Carrillo players scored touchdowns in last week’s win.

Pick: Maria Carrillo 20, Santa Rosa 14