Capsule look at Saturday’s NCS football playoff games

RANCHO COTATE (11-1)
AT PINOLE VALLEY (11-0-1)
DIVISION 2 SEMIFINAL

Time: 7 p.m

.Last week: Rancho Cotate defeated Clayton Valley, 30-13. Pinole Valley defeated Washington of Fremont, 38-28.
Notable: With the section playoff seedings holding form, Pinole Valley gets an edge by playing at home. Yet that wasn’t much of an advantage for the Spartans in holding off the Cougars, 23-21, in Rancho Cotate’s season opener.

Improved and playing inspired football, The teams are near mirror images of each other. Both run a lot — 85 percent of the Cougars yards have come on the ground, 80 percent for the Spartans. Brian Dworkin had a quiet game last week, but the record-setting back working in sync with quarterback Poueu Peleti-Gore gives the Cougars a double threat. Peleti-Gore ran for 156 yards and passed for 117 yards last week.

For the Spartans, James Lewis led the Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League in rushing, averaging 11 yards a carry and topped the league in scoring. Last week, Lewis ran for 251 yards and two touchdowns — and he missed a quarter with leg cramps. In the Spartans’ opening playoff win, Carvonte Hill had 190 yards and two touchdowns. In that victory over Alameda, defensive end Antoine Davis scored on a 68-yard interception return. Big defensive plays spurred Rancho Cotate against Clayton Valley. Ricky Shelton had a sack and interception, Vaimaa Taito — the Cougars’ top tackler — shared in a sack for a safety and snagged an interception and Justin Martin picked off two passes. Defensive end Mike Tuaua is second in tackles and leads the Cougars with 7½ sacks.

Number to note: Rancho Cotate’s defense has 20 fumble recoveries and 16 interceptions this year — averaging 3 per a game.

Pick: Rancho Cotate, 28-22.

TOMALES (10-2)
AT HOOPA VALLEY (10-1)

DIVISION 5 CHAMPIONSHIP,
AT HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY

Time: 7 p.m.

Last week: Tomales defeated St. Vincent, 26-6. Hoopa Valley defeated St. Bernard, 34-0.

Notable: Both teams broke open close semifinal games to reach today’s championship, demonstrating faith in power running games to wear down opponents. Michael Guerrero plowed for 125 yards and two scores last week to lead Tomales, giving him nearly 1,400 yards on the season. Back Logan Calvi also scored and with Andrew Caramagno gives the Braves other options on offense. Hoopa Valley — northeast of Eureka — also features a trio of backs, with Rodney McKinnon the main ball carrier with nearly 1,000 yards. Up front, the Braves and Warriors boast a wall of large linemen, most playing both ways. So expect a physical contest.

If defense is the difference, Tomales has Charlie Kain-Williams and Justin Kehoe, who make a lot of tackles for defensive linemen, with linebackers Justin Brady and Ricky Becerra looking to stop big plays from developing. Demetrius Villegas, Willie Simms and Jesse Yanez look to plug holes on defense for the Warriors with linebacker Brad Hostler always lurking. While both teams slogged through muddy conditions last week, Humboldt State’s field is all-weather turf.

Number to note: Tomales forced four turnovers by St. Vincent, giving the Braves 15 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries this season. Guerrero has 26 touchdowns this season.

Pick: Tomales, 21-13.