Weekend football previews: Small schools


Here’s a look at this weekend’s Empire small school (NCL I and II) football games.

Lower Lake (4-3, 0-2) at Willits (5-2, 0-1)

Time: Friday, 8 p.m.

Last week:  Lower Lake lost to Kelseyville, 60-18. Willits defeated Upper Lake, 36-8.

Notable: Lower Lake coach Stan Weiper spent the hours following last Friday’s loss at Sutter Lakeside Hospital … Antonio Hines, E.J. Germany and Justin Sims were treated for mild concussions while Aaron James dislocated his ankle … Lower Lake also lost two players last week because of grades … Weiper said with the injuries and grade problems, his team had no depth in the second half against Kelseyville. The Trojans were outscored 35-6 after halftime …Willits has won five of its last six … The Wolverines are 3-0 at home.

Numbers to note: 68-18 — Willits had a 3-8 record last year, but one highlight was that 50-point victory at Lower Lake.


Point Arena (3-2, 3-1) at Tomales (6-2, 5-0)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Point Arena defeated Calistoga, 20-15. Tomales downed Laytonville, 40-18.

Notable:  Both teams are coming off road victories … Point Arena must have this win if it hopes to catch Tomales in the North Central II … The Pirates have won three straight after losing their first two … Point Arena definitely favors the run, averaging 346 on the ground and 28 through the air … The Pirates’ backs are averaging eight yards per rush. Dylan Johnson and Harlan Bailey are each averaging nine yards per rush … Tomales has won five of its last six … Quarterback Javier Isias has completed 27 passes, 10 of those for touchdowns … John Dalmolin has caught five and Mike Guerrero four … Justin Kehoe has recorded four sacks.

Numbers to note: 28 and 50 — The former number is the unassisted tackles Point Arena’s Ky Laiwa has to his credit. The latter number is the distance per punt this season by Laiwa.


St. Vincent (2-5, 1-1) at St. Helena (2-5, 1-1)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last week: St. Vincent lost to Clear Lake, 26-21. St. Helena beat Cloverdale, 33-27.

Notable: The Saints snapped a three-game skid when they beat Cloverdale … Quarterback Richard Hoppe has been effective for St. Helena, completing 39 of 76 passes and six TDs … Alex Quirici has caught eight passes, four of those for touchdowns … St. Vincent’s Conor Brown  has passed for more than 1,000 yards this season. Among his 85 completions are 11 TDs … Josh Mehta and Mike Meiswinkel have each hauled in three TD passes.

Number to note: 74 — Anthony Battaglia has been involved in that many tackles for St. Vincent. Twenty-nine were solo tackles and 45 were assisted.


Cloverdale (0-7, 0-3) at Fort Bragg (6-1, 1-1)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Cloverdale lost to St. Helena, 33-27. Fort Bragg lost to Middletown, 38-14.

Notable: The Timberwolves will be in a foul mood, having their dreams of a perfect season dashed by Middletown … Fort Bragg was down 24-0 at one point … Fort Bragg had no rushing offense that night. Caleb Cunha led the way with 10 yards on 15 carries … The Timberwolves did have success through the air as Brandon Freitas threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns … Alfredo Huerta caught five, including a 29-yard TD … Cloverdale has had several close games, losing three by less than 10 points.

Numbers to note: 9-2 — That was the Eagles’ record last year when they were North Central I South champs.


Rincon Valley Christian (2-4, 0-4) at Anderson Valley (4-2, 2-2)

Time: Friday, 6 p.m.

Last week: RVC lost to Point Arena, 60-28. Anderson Valley defeated Woodside Priory, 46-20.

Notable: Both teams have done well when playing non-Empire teams … Last Saturday, Anderson Valley traveled to Portola Valley to get the victory over Woodside Priory … Cloverdale has played two teams outside the area, defeating Cornerstone Christian (Antioch), 68-0 and Alma Heights (Pacifica), 66-12 … The Eagles have lost three straight … Quarterback Mike Blackburn is the leading rusher for Anderson Valley. The senior has gained 631 yards on 47 carries (more than 13 yards per carry) with five touchdowns.

Number to note: 43 — Blackburn also does the punting and is averaging that many yards per kick.  


Laytonville (3-4, 2-3) at Round Valley (0-5, 0-4)

Time: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Last week: Laytonville lost to Tomales, 40-18. Round Valley was defeated by Potter Valley, 55-12.

Notable: Jesse Hencz has thrown 10 TD passes for Laytonville … Brandon Sutherland has been on the receiving end of seven of those scoring plays … Eddie Gutierrez is rushing for nearly eight yards per carry.

Numbers to note: 2-0 — Round Valley forfeited to Laytonville last year, so that score goes into the record books.


Clear Lake (2-5, 2-1) at Upper Lake (1-6, 0-2)

 Time: Saturday, 2 p.m.

 Last week: Clear Lake beat St. Vincent, 26-21. Upper Lake lost at Willits, 36-8.

 Notable: The Cardinals are trying to salvage their season, having won two straight after opening with five losses … Eddy Lyons and Steven Edwards have shared passing duties for Clear Lake. Lyons has completed 21 of 46 and Edwards 20 of 34 … Tanner Mansell has turned his catches into long gains. The wide receiver is averaging 25 yards per completion … Upper Lake began its season with a 27-0 win over Calistoga, but has since lost six straight.

Number to note: 44 — Jake Chapin has that many solo tackles through seven games.

NOTE: Looking for the Kelseyville-Middletown game? It’s one of the Games of the Week. Click on this link to get there.