Small school previews: Playoff picture taking shape

Middletown (7-1, 2-0) at Lower Lake (4-4, 0-3)

Last week: Middletown defeated Kelseyville, 56-0. Lower Lake lost to Willits, 34-18.

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Notable: Middletown’s David Pike established himself as the top running back in Lake County with his performance against Kelseyville. The senior scored three touchdowns and averaged nearly 15 yards per rush…The Mustangs have a stingy defense, allowing less than 10 points per game while the offense has been putting up an average of 46…After a 4-1 start, Lower Lake has lost three straight. Veteran coach Stan Weiper has had to deal with a rash of injuries and players ruled academically ineligible.

Number to note: 2007 — That was the year Middletown lost its last North Central I-North game.

St. Vincent (2-6, 1-2) at Kelseyville (6-2, 2-1)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: St. Vincent lost to St. Helena, 35-0. Kelseyville lost at Middletown, 56-0.

Notable: Last Friday’s loss snapped a six-game win streak for Kelseyville…The rushing game had an off night, but the Knights are still averaging more than 300 yards per game on the ground. Nick Rodrigues is gaining nearly nine yards every time he touches the ball and Geno Poloni’s average is almost eight…St. Vincent is on its way to its first losing season since 2006…Conor Brown is already over the 1,000-yard mark in passing with two games remaining. The 5-10 senior has four primary receivers: Josh Mehta, Jordan Cox, Stewart Perry and Mike Meiswinkel…Brown has fumbled 14 times, but has lost only two.

Number to note: 6 — Kelseyville’s Mike Davis has caught 18 passes and a half-dozen of those have resulted in touchdowns.

Clear Lake (3-5, 3-1) at St. Helena (3-5, 2-1)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Clear Lake beat Upper Lake, 35-18, and St. Helena blanked St. Vincent, 35-0

Notable: This game will have North Central – I South title implications. The winner will remain alive and the loser must start thinking about next year…After this game, both have one game remaining. St. Helena plays at Upper Lake and Clear Lake hosts Lower Lake…St. Helena has an edge in the running game as Charles Bertoli’s 875 yards is more than the entire Clear Lake team (701). With Bertoli doing the bulk of the running, the Saints have rushed for 1,640 yards…St. Helena’s Alex Quirci has caught only nine passes, but four of those have been for touchdowns…The Saints are only 1-3 at home, but are coming off their most impressive effort of the season…Clear Lake has won five straight after beginning the season with three losses…As mentioned, the Cardinals running game hasn’t been explosive. Leading ground gainers Steven Edwards, Jamie Lopez and Jake Chapin are all averaging under four yards per carry…Eddy Lyons and Edwards have been the quarterbacks and the latter has a .588 completion mark.

Number to note: 6 — Chapin, a junior who plays linebacker on defense, is averaging that many solos tackles per game.

Upper Lake (1-7, 0-3) at Cloverdale (0-7, 0-3)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Upper Lake lost to Clear Lake, 35-18. Cloverdale fell at Fort Bragg, 33-0

Notable: Cloverdale, North Central I-South champs last year, had most of the top players graduate off the team that went 9-2 and 4-0…Upper Lake has lost seven straight since opening the season with a victory over Calistoga, 27-0. Since that win, the Cougars have been outscored 293-50…Running back Jason Harlan has been having a solid year. The senior has rushed for 761 yards on 123 carries…Upper Lake has lost eight fumbles.

Numbers to note: 69-0 — Cloverdale beat Upper Lake by that score on the Cougars’ home field last year.

Anderson Valley (5-2, 3-2) at Potter Valley (3-3, 3-2)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Anderson Valley beat Rincon Valley Christian, 52-14. Potter Valley lost to Calistoga, 28-12.

Notable: Mike Blackburn is “Mr. Everything” for Anderson Valley. The 5 foot-8 quarterback leads his team in rushing, punting, punt returns, scoring and is behind only Marcos Espinoza on solo tackles (53-52)…Last Friday against RVC, the 170-pound senior ran for six touchdowns and rushed for more than 300 yards…Blackburn is averaging 16 yards per rush, 233 a game…In addition to playing offense & defense, Blackburn is also on the field for special teams. He’s averaging 44 yards per punt and 24 per punt return…The Panthers have another away game to end the regular season, going to Laytonville…Potter Valley had difficulty adjusting to the muddy field at Calistoga. The Bearcats were down, 21-0, at intermission and then cut into the lead in the second half…Dustin Dashiell had only one carry in that game, going 87 yards for a touchdown…PV relies on the run, gaining five times more on the ground than through the air.

Number to note: 100 — That’s how many points Blackburn has scored this year.

Round Valley (0-6, 0-5) at Point Arena (3-3, 3-2)

Time: Saturday, 12 p.m.

Last week: Round Valley fell to Laytonville, 40-20. Point Arena lost at Tomales, 51-0.

Notable: Point Arena’s stats are lopsided, favoring the run. The Pirates are racking up 346 yards per game on the ground and only 28 through the air…Quarterback Dylan Johnson and tailback Harlan Bailey are each averaging about nine yards per rush. Fullback Ky Laiwa is going eight yards every time he touches the ball…For Round Valley, quarterback Marcis McCarty is completing about half his passes, but has been plagued by seven interceptions. Nathaniel Davila is his favorite target with seven receptions.

Number to note: 1 — Round Valley has won one game in each of the past four seasons. After Point Arena, the Mustangs close out the season by hosting Rincon Valley Christian.

Calistoga (4-4, 3-2) at Rincon Valley Christian (2-5, 0-5)

Time: Saturday, 2 p.m.

Last week: Calistoga beat Potter Valley, 28-12. RVC lost to Anderson Valley, 52-14.

Notable: Calistoga has turned around its season, winning four of its last five. The Wildcats began the year with three losses…Junior fullback Jose Sanchez needs 32 yards to reach 1,000 on the season…Sophomore Cris Flores has caught 10 passes for 156 yards…Quarterback Lucas Fernandez has been plagued by seven interceptions…RVC has lost four straight. The Eagles did not play Calistoga last year, but in 2009 they won, 28-13.

Number to note: 7 — Rafael Torres-Feiner has that many sacks for Calistoga. The remainder of the team has four.

— Howard Senzell, For The Press Democrat