Large School Football Preview

WINDSOR (4-0) at ANALY (3-1)
Kickoff: 7:30 tonight
Last week: Windsor defeated Maria Carrillo, 51-19. Analy beat Santa Rosa, 55-13.
Notable: Could the Sonoma County League title be decided on the first night of conference play? Very possible as these two teams look to be the class of the league … Both high-powered offenses (Windsor is averaging 48 points and Analy 43) and stifling defenses (Windsor allows seven points per game and Analy has given up an average of 10 in its last three games) … So, will the stingy defenses shutdown the high-octane offenses? Analy coach Dan Bourdon thinks there’s a good chance. “I don’t think there will be as many points on the board as people think,” he said. “We haven’t seen a defense as quick and as good as Windsor and I don’t think they’ve gone up against a defense as good as ours.” … Both quarterbacks have been outstanding. Analy’s Jake Zanutto, a three-year starter, has thrown for 13 TDs and only played three quarters in the Tigers’ last two blow-out wins … Windsor’s Christian McAlvain has already surpassed last year’s TD production. The senior threw for six scores in 2010 and goes into the Analy game with 11 … Windsor has an advantage in the ground game. Darrian Roman is averaging seven yards per carry and Jarod Leon is averaging eight … Analy’s run game pales in comparison … Last year, when these two played, there were no touchdowns scored. The final score: Windsor 6, Analy 3.
The pick: Windsor 28, Analy 7

UKIAH (0-3) at MONTGOMERY (0-4)
Kickoff: 7:30 tonight
Last week: Ukiah outgunned Willits, 55-40. Montgomery lost in the last minute to Casa Grande, 14-10.
Notable: Ukiah passer deluxe Trevor Taylor will be making his only Santa Rosa appearance in this game … The 5-foot-9 senior has tossed 18 touchdown passes in three games. Last Friday against Division IV opponent Willits, Taylor had six TD passes, five to Michael Michael … The Division II Wildcats are averaging 48 points per game … The defense is suspect, giving up 40 to Willits and 37 to Casa Grande … When coach Jeff Schueller calls a running play, Chris Berg usually gets the ball. He’s averaging six yards per carry … For the second straight year, Montgomery has opened the season with four losses … Last year, the Vikings finished 4-6 … Jason Franci, the winningest coach in Redwood Empire history, said his current squad much better than the 2010 team. He believes this year’s team could have been 3-1 heading into NBL play. Franci points out the opening-season loss to Windsor (42-0) was the only one-sided game the Vikings have played … To keep the Ukiah offense from going off, Franci said his defensive line will have to pressure Taylor … The Vikings got a lift when Mike Lyons — one of their top defensive linemen — recovered from an MCL injury and is back in the starting line-up … Montgomery’s offense has moved the ball until getting to the red zone. Then, the Vikings sputter. They are averaging just over 10 points per game … Franci said his team needs to get over the hump and learn to win.
The pick: Ukiah 28, Montgomery 20

MARIA CARRILLO (1-3) at CARDINAL NEWMAN (4-0)
Kickoff: 7 tonight
Last week: Maria Carrillo lost to Windsor, 51-19. Newman tied Palma (Salinas), 10-10.
Notable: If Cardinal Newman doesn’t go unbeaten in the NBL, it’ll be a major surprise. The only team with the firepower to match-up with the Cardinals is Ukiah. However, Newman is a much better defensive team than the Wildcats … Newman played big-name schools in its pre-league games. However, none of the four teams are proving to be powerhouses … Palma, last Friday’s foe, is averaging fewer than 12 points per game. The records for the other teams Newman has played: Concord (2-2), Alhambra (2-2) and Valley Christian of San Jose (1-2) … The Cardinals’ offense, behind running back Steven Tomasin and quarterback Matt Sullivan, should put up big numbers in league play … Maria Carrillo is a young team and has lost three straight since opening with a win over Yuba City (19-10) … The Pumas played Windsor tough for a half. It was 7-7 after one quarter and 21-13 at intermission.
The pick: Cardinal Newman 49,Maria Carrillo 6

HEALDSBURG (3-1) at PETALUMA (0-4)
Kickoff: 7:30 tonight
Last week: Healdsburg won at Acalanes, 8-7. Petaluma lost to Rancho Cotate, 34-0.
Notable: This is Rich Krist’s second year at the helm in Petaluma and both seasons, the Trojans lost their first four games. Last year, the team turned the season around and won four of its last six. That gave them second place in the SCL and a berth in the NCS playoffs. The 2010 team also lost game No. 5 and in fact was shutout in four of those games. This year’s team has scored 13 points in four games … Krist points out the Trojans have moved the ball until getting to the opponents’ red zone. Then, the drives stall … The defense had been adequate until losing several players with injury … Last year, Healdsburg beat Petaluma, 33-0 … Healdsburg’s win over Acalanes came in dramatic fashion. The Greyhounds scored its first points with 1:12 left on the clock. Quarterback Max Opperman hooked up with 6-foot-4 Richard Grant on a 26-yard strike. Coach Tom Kirkpatrick decided to go for two and Opperman ran it in. Acalanes had a chance to win at the gun, but a 42-yard field goal attempt went wide right … Opperman is completing 60 per cent of his passes … Grant and Charlie Conrad both have 15 receptions … On the ground, Gerardo Cervantes is averaging nearly seven yards per carry … On defense, John Etchell leads the way in solo tackles with 31 … Adam Hendrickson has also been a defensive stalwart and Grant has five sacks.
The pick: Healdsburg 28, Petaluma 7

EL MOLINO (2-2) at CASA GRANDE (2-1)
Kickoff: 7:30 tonight
Last week: El Molino lost at Alhambra, 54-19. Casa Grande won at Montgomery, 14-10.
Notable: Casa scored with 20 seconds remaining to gain a win over Montgomery. After the game, coach Trent Herzog told his young players “they had come of age” by showing they could handle pressure with the game on the line … Sophomore JaJuan Lawson found wide receiver Steven Bentley just inside the pylons for the winner. It was the fourth time this year the two have hooked up for a TD … Lawson has shown poise as he’s completed 45 of 72 with eight TDs and two interceptions … Elijah Qualls is averaging more than nine yards per carry … Jimmy Johnson is making an impact on both sides of the ball as he’s the Gauchos leading tackler and second-leading rusher … Casa rarely loses at home … Dallas Packard has four sacks for El Molino … Quarterback John Carlson is completing less than 40 per cent of his passes. Nearly half of his completions have been to Nathan Palmer … The top rushers have been Carlson and Owen Sunke.
The pick: Casa Grande 28, El Molino 14

SONOMA VALLEY (2-1) at ELSIE ALLEN (0-3)
Kickoff: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Last game: Sonoma Valley defeated American Canyon 42-28. Elsie Allen lost to Fort Bragg, 20-16.
Notable: The 42 points the Dragons scored against American Canyon marked their highest point total since Oct. 8, 2006, when they defeated El Molino, 44-21 … With seven games remaining, Sonoma has already won more games than it did in 2010 … Quarterback Sam Morgan has developed into a dual threat. He’s been successful running and passing … Dan Deely has been solid on defense … Elsie Allen has played its last two opponents close. Before bowing to Fort Bragg, the Lobos lost 21-14 to El Molino.
The pick: Sonoma Valley 21, Elsie Allen 6

PINER (0-3) at RANCHO COTATE (2-2)
Kickoff: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Last game: Piner lost at Drake 38-7. Rancho Cotate defeated Petaluma, 34-0.
Notable: Rancho is the defending NBL but don’t expect the Cougars to repeat. Coach Ed Conroy lost most of the key players that enabled the school to win all seven league games … Vaimaa Taito is the best of the returnees. Known primarily for his work with the defense, the senior scored two touchdowns against Petaluma. He scored on a 61-yard run and then ran a punt back 55 yards … Julio Mata has been precise in the kicking. He’s probably the best in the Empire … Turnovers have plagued Piner all season. Last Saturday against Drake, the Prospectors fumbled twice in the first quarter. Both led to Drake touchdowns.
The pick: Rancho Cotate 49, Piner 0

— Howard Senzell, for The Press Democrat