Weekend football previews: Games of the Week

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Rancho Cotate quarterback Poueu Peleti-gore. (THE PRESS DEMOCRAT)

Here’s a look at this weekend’s football games of the week:

Cardinal Newman (5-2, 4-0) at Rancho Cotate (6-1, 4-1)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Cardinal Newman defeated Montgomery, 42-9. Rancho Cotate beat Ukiah, 42-6.

Notable: Can a stingy defense hold down a high-powered offense? Answer the question correctly and you’ll have the winner of this game … Rancho is averaging 50 points per game since a season-opening loss at Pinole Valley … Newman has allowed its last four NBL opponents an average of four points per game. Two of those wins were shutouts (Maria Carrillo and Elsie Allen) … The Cougars use the triple-option veer offense and coach Ed Conroy has his players hitting on all cylinders … Quarterback Ricky Garcia has learned the system well. Most plays, the junior will roll out and keep the ball or toss to running backs Poueu Peleti-Gore, Brian Dworkin or Jason Celi … Rancho does well at home, but the Cardinals are solid road warriors. Newman has a 20-3 away record since 2006 and this year have beaten Maria Carrillo, Elsie Allen and Montgomery on foreign turf … Since its home field was refurbished prior to the 2008 season, Rancho is 13-3 … Newman’s Stephen Tomasin had a career night last Friday. He had four touchdowns as Newman scored 42 straight in the middle quarters … Last year’s renewal resulted in a 40-21 Newman victory.

Number to note: 190 — Newman has 30 players who weigh that much or more on its 54-man roster.

Pick: Rancho Cotate 31, Cardinal Newman 17

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Windsor (7-0, 3-0) at El Molino (5-3, 2-2)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Windsor edged Healdsburg, 22-20. El Molino downed Sonoma Valley, 14-7.

Notable: The big news in this SCL matchup is that El Molino quarterback Mike Pierson will play after recovering from a concussion Oct. 15 vs. Analy. An excellent passer, Pierson missed the exciting finish of the Analy game, which his team won in overtime. He was also held out of last Friday’s 14-7 victory over Sonoma Valley … Coach Mike Roan got a clearance letter from Pierson’s doctor and he has practiced with the team this week … Pierson, a senior, has thrown 13 touchdown passes this year … Joe Douglass is his primary receiver with 31 receptions and six TDs … The Lions will be without their leading rusher. Tommy Krausmann is out for the season with a separated shoulder and rotator cuff injury … Windsor coach Dustin Davis will have to make sure his team is emotionally ready to play after last Friday’s thrilling win over Healdsburg. The Jaguars got the winning score with no time left on the clock. Quarterback Christian McAlvain found Kameron Richardson in the end zone on the final play of the game … Also, coach Davis must stress his team can’t look past El Molino in anticipation of the Nov. 5 game with Windsor. That game will likely decide the SCL title.

Number to note: 3 — Windsor’s defense is averaging that many sacks per game. The Jaguars have also intercepted 11 passes, three by Brad Grainger. 

The pick: Windsor 35, El Molino 14

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Montgomery (2-5, 2-2) at Santa Rosa (3-4, 2-2)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Montgomery lost to Cardinal Newman, 42-9. Santa Rosa defeated Piner, 32-28.

Notable: With three games remaining, the Panthers have surpassed their 2009 win total when they finished 2-8 … Last Friday’s home win over Piner was aided by a gutsy call by coach Les Richardson. Nick Keeton ran a reverse play for a touchdown that made the score 28-26 in favor of Piner with 2:07 remaining. The try for two failed. Piner then kicked off and Tyree Collins recovered the onside kick. With 4th and 16, he took a lateral and ran around the weak side for the final touchdown, The try for two failed. That made it 32-28 which stood up … Defense has been a problem for the Panthers the past three weeks. They’re yielding an average of 36 points … Montgomery’s only two wins this year have come over sub-.500 teams (Ukiah and Piner) … Last year, the Vikings were 11-3 … Montgomery began the season with five consecutive away games. After Santa Rosa, the Vikings will finish the year with a pair of home games … Curtis Ceniceros and Danny McRae have shared quarterback duties and have been completing more than 50 percent of their passes. The connections have resulted in only two touchdowns … Alex Ciudad-Real has been the work-horse for the offense, carrying 121 times.  The senior is averaging more than six yards per carry.

Number to note: 4 — That’s the number of sacks Montgomery’s Eric Brown has to his credit. The linebacker is 5-11 and weighs 230.

The pick: Montgomery 38, Santa Rosa 21

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Kelseyville (6-1, 2-0) at Middletown (6-1, 1-0)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Kelseyville beat Lower Lake, 60-15. Middletown defeated Fort Bragg, 38-14.

Notable: Middletown coach Bill Foltmer wants to make sure his team doesn’t have a letdown following the victory over rival Fort Bragg … It was the sixth straight time Middletown has beaten its Lake County rival … David Pike had a huge game running the ball, picking up 139 yards on 10 rushes … Kelseyville has won six straight since a season-opening loss to Hamilton. That team is now 4-4 … Kelseyville’s last three wins were by an average of 46 points. Coach Rob Ishihara favors the run 3-to-1 … Nick Rodrigues leads the way, averaging nine yards per carry and scoring eight TDs … Chris Augon has completed six TDs … Mike Davis has caught six touchdown passes and has seven interceptions on defense.

Number to note: 9 — Kelseyville has lost seven fumbles through seven games.

Pick: Middletown 28, Kelseyville 20