Capsule look at Cardinal Newman/Bishop O’Dowd, Rancho Cotate/Clayton Valley games

CARDINAL NEWMAN (8-3) AT BISHOP O’DOWD (10-1)
 
Time: 7 p.m.
Last week: Cardinal Newman defeated Campolindo, 35-7. Bishop O’Dowd defeated Ygnacio Valley, 47-17.
Notable: Cardinal Newman has the distinction as guest for Bishop O’Dowd’s first ever Friday night football playoff game. While the Cardinals are the higher seed, the Dragons won the Hayward Area Athletic League. The contest is the Cardinals’ toughest since one-sided losses to large school powers Valley Christian and Palma. A potent, balanced Dragons offense will test the Cardinals defense led by Phil Wright up front, linebackers Thomas Robles and Daniel Benjamin, and defensive back Brain Albin. Back Stephen Tomasin and quarterback Matt Sullivan are a dynamic duo and an improved offensive front needs to hold the line so they can get going. Getting receivers Chris Quock and Albin into the action early would help the Cardinals hold onto the ball. On offense Bishop O’Dowd has been a machine. Dominic Miroglio led the team in passing – 170 yards a game with 20 touchdowns and only 4 picks on the season. Receiver Terrence King has 47 catches, 22 yards per grab and 13 scores. Backs Trent Trammell and Nicholas Carrera combine for 130 yards per contest. On the other side of the ball, the Dragons defense led the league with fewest yards allowed.
Number to note: Cardinal Newman has been a ball hawking defense and figure to get a few chances against Bishop O’Dowd. In last week’s playoff victory, the Cardinals had four interceptions.
Pick: Bishop O’Dowd, 24-17.
CLAYTON VALLEY (6-5)
AT RANCHO COTATE (10-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
Last week: Clayton Valley defeated Windsor, 14-7. Rancho Cotate defeated Arroyo, 51-0.
Notable: Run, run, run. Both teams boast tailback-fullback tandems that can run around and over defenses. Jesse Medrano and Jeff Dominguez ran well against a tough Windsor defense last week. When the Eagles throw, they can score with wide receiver Kunle Fashola and tight end Brenden Eddy. Lineman Nick Mazza had a great game on both offense and defense, energizing the Eagles effort, with Dominguez at linebacker and Rudy Ellison on the line also top tacklers. One of the most physical fronts in some years at Rancho Cotate gives the Cougars a chance against any opponent, opening holes for record-setting back Brian Dworkin and fullback Jason Celli. At best defenses attempt to slow down the Cougars with quarterback Poueu Peleti-Gore running the triple option. Linebacker Vaimaa Taito leads in tackles with Matt Hunn and A.J. Davison clogging holes up front. The only blemish on Rancho Cotate’s record is a 2-point season-opening loss to Pinole Valley, second seed in Division II. Clayton Valley’s playoffs ended in Sonoma County the past two years – to Cardinal Newman in the Division II championship and to Montgomery in the quarterfinals last season.
Number to note: Rancho Cotate has scored more than 50 points in a game four times this year and also has four shutouts – twice in the same contest.
Pick: Rancho Cotate, 35-17.
— Michael Coit,