Friday Football Previews: Games of the Week

Windsor quarterback Christian McAlvain looks for a receiver. (KENT PORTER / PD)

SCL

HEALDSBURG (6-1) AT WINDSOR (6-0)
Time:
7:30 p.m.
Last Week: Healdsburg defeated Sonoma Valley 39-7. Windsor had a bye.
Notable: Windsor’s bid to remain undefeated hinges on the Jaguars’ stout defense slowing down the Greyhounds’ running game. Windsor has four players who average more than 7 tackles a game, led by linebacker Kevin Brown and lineman Louie Correa. Healdsburg has three running backs who average more than 30 yards per contest led by small, but elusive Carson Seanor with 121 yards a game. For a running team, though, the Greyhounds have a top receiver in George Brush with 24 receptions and 13 yards a catch on the season. While the Jaguars have a more balanced offense, they need quarterback Christian McAlvain to connect with a trio of targets — led by wide receiver Kyle Smith — to open things up for back Jerad Leon. Among the toughest on the small, but tenacious Greyhounds are linebackers Adam Hendrickson and Travis Arreguin, who lead in tackles.
Number to note: Windsor averages 3 sacks a game with three players — Taylor Biaggi, Darrian Roman and Jason Foell — each recording four this season.
Pick: Windsor 24, Healdsburg 21

CASA GRANDE (5-1) AT ANALY (4-3)
Time:
7:30 p.m.
Last week: Casa Grande defeated Petaluma 22-7. Analy lost to El Molino 24-17.
Notable: Both teams are coming off tough games against historic rivals. And each is looking for an offensive spark. Casa Grande keeps winning, but has not dominated opponents as expected. Analy’s prolific passing has not been enough to overcome the lack of a solid rushing game. The Sonoma County League is loaded with strong-armed quarterbacks and two more go at it here. Nick Sherry’s passing average has dipped but remains at 200 yard a game for the Gauchos with Makana Garrigan a prime target both short and long, leading the team with four scoring catches. Jake Zanutto’s scoring passes have tailed off, but receiver Aaron Maher —24 yards per catch and 5 scores — can break open a game. Casa Grande could have an edge on defense up front with four sacks per contest, but Analy has five defenders who average more than 5 tackles a game.
Number to note: The Gauchos and Tigers both have 11 interceptions on the year.
Pick: Casa Grande 28, Analy 14

CARDINAL NEWMAN (4-2) AT MONTGOMERY (2-4)
Time:
7:30 p.m.
Last week: Cardinal Newman defeated Ukiah 42-7. Montgomery defeated Piner 41-6
Notable: Cardinal Newman spent the week preparing for a Montgomery team it figures is better than the Vikings’ record indicates. Still, the Cardinals are favored because their offense is running the spread well and the Vikings’ defense hasn’t yet stopped a running team with multiple threats. Last week, Matt Sullivan blasted through the Ukiah defense for 101 yards on the ground. But the Cardinals are still trying to get a passing game going. Otherwise, the Vikings big men can try to clog holes up front and give Montgomery’s swarming defensive backfield led by linebacker Cameron Mullen a chance to make plays. Alex Ciudad-Real remains Montgomery’s workhorse, averaging 125 rushing yards per contest and could be even more dangerous if he plays less on defense. Quarterback Kurtis Ceniceros is back, giving Montgomery a tall, strong passer. Stalking the Vikings’signal caller will be Cardinal Newman defensive end Nolan Sheahan, who had two sacks a week ago. With its offense starting slow against Ukiah, the defense took control setting up scores off takeaways.
Number to note: Montgomery kickoff returner Danny McRae averages 28 yards when he runs the ball back.
Pick: Cardinal Newman 20, Montgomery 13

MIDDLETOWN (5-1) AT FORT BRAGG (6-0)
Time:
8 p.m.
Last week: Middletown defeated St. Helena 40-7. Fort Bragg defeated Lower Lake 49-42.
Notable: In what has become annually one of the North Coast’s most anticipated small school contests, the Mustangs and Timberwolves again are lighting up the scoreboard. Middletown averages 46 points a game, Fort Bragg 39. While the offenses could find yards tougher to come by with the defenses also strong on both sides, the Mustangs and Timberwolves have key players back from last year’s 49-41 Middletown win. But it was Fort Bragg celebrating in the end as the Timberwolves won the North Coast Section Division IV title. In the second round of that playoff push, Fort Bragg won an overtime game while Middletown fell in overtime. The Press Democrat’s PDPreps blog has been busy with fans on both sides talking up the showdown in Fort Bragg, mostly predicting a good game between two well-coached squads.
Number to note: The Mustangs are 5-0 in the series that began with the realignment of the region’s small schools putting Middletown and Fort Bragg in the NCL I North league.
Pick: Fort Bragg 35, Middletown 27

— Michael Coit, The Press Democrat