Prep Football Previews: Games of the Week

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The following four games are The Press Democrat’s Games of the Week for the week of Nov. 7-13.

RANCHO COTATE (8-1) AT MARIA CARRILLO (6-3)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Rancho Cotate defeated Santa Rosa 52-0. Maria Carrillo defeated Montgomery 58-7.

Notable: While both teams topped 50 points a week ago, don’t expect a shootout on the damp grass in Rincon Valley. The Pumas did have four backs rush for more than 100 yards against Montgomery, but the Cougars’ defense only allows 9 points a game. Still, the Pumas create problems because defenses must stop quarterback Sam Atoe first and Zach Bluestone has emerged as a solid complement to grinder Jake Delfino and speedster Emilio Pollock. Rancho Cotate’s defense is anchored up front by A.J. Davison and Matt Hunn and linebacker Vaimaa Taito. An offensive machine with its triple option attack, Rancho Cotate has ever-elusive back Brian Dworkin and a trio of fullbacks led by Jason Celi and Matt Hunn with tough veteran Poueu Peleti-Gore at quarterback. Openings the Cougars find can be closed quickly by an athletic defensive backfield with Anthony Ezrim and Atoe at linebacker and Delfino and Bluestone also crashing.

Number to note: One loss. Should host Maria Carrillo win and Cardinal Newman handles Santa Rosa, there would be a tie atop the North Bay League — the Pumas, Cardinals and Cougars each with one league loss.

Pick: Rancho Cotate 26, Maria Carrillo 20

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HEALDSBURG (7-2) AT CASA GRANDE (8-1)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last Week: Healdsburg defeated El Molino 41-27. Casa Grande defeated Windsor 28-21.

Notable: Coming off strong late-season wins against good opponents, Healdsburg needs to keep its resurgent offense in the game while Casa Grande looks for another business-like win to finish undefeated in Sonoma County League play. Empire rushing leader Carson Seanor and improved line play helped carry the Greyhounds to a big second half last week, but Healdsburg’s offense must play a complete game to hang with the Gauchos. If quarterback Max Opperman can connect with top receiver and scoring threat George Brush, the Greyhounds running game could find some bigger holes. Casa Grande’s offense has been balanced all season. While quarterback Nick Sherry throws for 200 yards a game and has four receivers with double digit reception totals, back Javonie Oden has been a workhorse with 120 yards rushing and receiving per contest and a team-leading 8 touchdowns. Healdsburg’s defensive front led by Gary Randolph, Mitch Mariani and Matt Spillane will try to pressure Sherry and plug holes.

Number to note: Casa Grande has 32 sacks — nearly four a game — and has three defenders averaging more than 10 tackles per contest.

Pick: Casa Grande 28, Healdsburg 13

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WINDSOR (7-2) AT PETALUMA (3-6)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Windsor lost to Casa Grande 28-21. Petaluma defeated Sonoma Valley 28-0.

Notable: A contest that appears to match teams going in the opposite direction should mean a more competitive game than had the two teams faced off earlier in the season. Petaluma has salvaged its season by winning three of four and played Casa Grande tough in the one loss. Windsor fell from the undefeated ranks with two consecutive losses. Still, the Jaguars finished strong against Casa Grande and look to continue improving on offense. Windsor’s backfield fuels the offense — averaging 160 yards per game — with Jerad Leon the primary running option, Darrian Roman capable of a big game and Lorenzo Camarena a pass-catching threat. Tougher defense has helped the Trojans stay in and win games of late led by Casey Rodd and Patrick Hodges at linebacker and Peter Maselli at cornerback. After struggling to score during the first half of the season, Petaluma has a corps of running backs and strong-armed Spencer Neve at quarterback with Adam Nizibian his top target. The best unit on the field is Windsor’s defense with five players averaging more than 7 tackles per game led by Kevin Brown — 12 per contest — one of the Empire’s top linebackers.

Number to note: Roman averages 35 yards on kickoff returns, and he also is tied for the team lead with six touchdowns.

Pick: Windsor 24, Petaluma 7

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KELSEYVILLE (7-2) AT FORT BRAGG (8-1)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Kelseyville defeated St. Vincent 44-7. Fort Bragg defeated Willits 35-0.

Notable: The small school game of the week has Kelseyville aiming to pull even with Fort Bragg in the very competitive NCL I North. Fort Bragg has done a bit better against common opponents. Both teams feature prolific offenses, and the Timberwolves and Knights each have a pair of shutouts on the season.
Kelseyville has its first winning season in four years due to a robust running game and a solid corps of defenders. Averaging more than 300 yards a game, the Knights are led by back Nick Rodrigues with 113 yards and Geno Poloni with 92 per contest. While the Knights don’t throw much, they typically hit on big plays when they go behind quarterback Chris Aguon. Michael Davis leads with 19 receptions, 7 for touchdowns.
Kelseyville’s defense is anchored by Ethan Rohner and Devin Baker at linebacker and Davis at free safety. While the Timberwolves offense gets the attention, the defense can be tough when playing with intensity as in last week’s shutout of a good Willits squad. Alfredo Huerta, Josh Nelson, Sean Thornton and Eric Herrejon are up front with Tyler Lander and Nick Ryken, back from an injury, roaming for tackles at linebacker. Record-setting skill players give Fort Bragg balance on offense. Brandon Freitas has a new single season mark for touchdown passes — 28 — and throws for more than 200 yards a game. Cody Ryden has 31 receptions with 16 for scores, also a record. A left tackle last season, Alfredo Huerta has 22 catches and 7 touchdowns, another mark for scoring efficiency. Caleb Cunha runs for 125 yards per contest.

Number to note: Kelseyville has a big play defense, averaging 3 sacks and forcing about that many turnovers a game.

Pick: Fort Bragg 34, Kelseyville 21