Saturday football previews

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

CASA GRANDE (3-2) at PETALUMA (0-6)
Kickoff: Today, 1 p.m.
Last week: Casa blasted Ygnacio Valley, 56-13. Petaluma lost to El Molino, 21-17.
Notable: Casa head coach Trent Herzog knows so much about the Egg Bowl, he qualifies as an historian for the cross-town rivalry. Herzog said the Egg Bowl came into being in 1993 and he remembers that because he was a senior and played in the game … According to Herzog, the series is tied 9-9 … It’s the East Side (Casa Grande) against West Side (Petaluma) … At one time, the town was known as “The Egg Capital of the World.” … The teams will continue to play each other in the future, but this is the last year the teams will be members of the same league. Casa Grande is moving from the Sonoma County League to the North Bay League … Anything can happen in a rivalry game but Casa looks to have the edge on paper … The Gauchos have been scoring at a 33 point-per-game clip while Petaluma’s scoring average is seven … The high-powered Casa offense is gaining more than 400 yards per game … Casa is coming off what looks like its best game of the year, the one-sided victory over Ygnacio Valley. The team from Concord handed the Gauchos their only regular season defeat in 2010 … Sophomore quarterback JaJuan Lawson has thrown for 13 TDs, four of those to Steven Bentley … Elijah Qualls, the team’s leading rusher, had been nursing nagging injuries, and is now near 100 per cent … Petaluma almost got its first victory last Friday. The Trojans had a 17-14 lead with a minute left in the game when El Molino quarterback John Carlson scampered 20 yards to paydirt.
The pick: Casa Grande 28, Petaluma 6

SANTA ROSA JC (3-2) at SAN MATEO (4-1)
Kickoff: Today, 1 p.m.
Last week: SRJC rallied to defeat Mendocino, 41-28. San Mateo blasted Los Medanos, 61-0.
Notable: This is the conference opener for both teams. However, Santa Rosa looks like its already been through the war … In five pre-conference games, the Bear Cubs have lost 11 starters or top reserves to serious injuries … Running back Orion Kamins was the latest to go down. He suffered a broken leg in the Mendocino game … Austin Shull (Montgomery) and Mike Tuaua (Rancho Cotate) suffered season-ending leg injuries in the first quarter of the first game. Simons called those two his best defensive players … In the Bear Cubs’ second game, offensive lineman Dan Farris injured his shoulder and hasn’t played since … Game 4 vs. Diablo Valley saw defensive back Isaac Watson fracture his ankle … Simons said his team continues to be undermined by players doing their own thing when the ball is snapped. The coaches have been stressing discipline and cutting down on mental mistakes … Four teams in the conference rank in the state’s top 10 — San Mateo, Foothill, Butte and San Francisco City College … San Mateo has won four straight since an opening season loss. In those four wins, the Bulldogs have yielded only 17 points … Simons said San Mateo has the best running game in the state.
The pick: San Mateo 35, SRJC 14

MONTGOMERY (1-5) at PINER (0-5)
Kickoff: Today, 1 p.m.
Last game: Montgomery lost at home to Rancho Cotate, 24-3. Piner was beaten by Maria Carrillo, 56-29.
Notable: Neither team has shown the ability to score … The Vikings are averaging 15 per game and the Prospectors,11 … A bright spot for Montgomery has been sophomore Etienne Ezeff. He’s grabbed three touchdown passes from Danny McRae … Eric Hartshorn and Cameron Mullen are the leading ground gainers … First year Piner coach John Antonio said his players are working hard in practice and improving … The 29 points the Prospectors scored in the loss to Maria Carrillo is a season-high … Senior Justin Pilisdorf continues to run the ball well … Tyler and Alex Pulley, both sophomores, are going to be special players, according to Antonio … The coach has also been impressed with the impact Natu Hezchias is making.
The pick: Montgomery 42, Piner 13

LAYTONVILLE (1-3) at RINCON VALLEY CHRISTIAN (4-2)
Kickoff: Today, 2 p.m.
Last week: Laytonville had a bye. RVC lost to Anderson Valley, 74-14.
Notable: Laytonville has a losing record but is scoring an average of 44 points per game. A stat like that could only happen in 8-man football … Anderson Valley is a common opponent. Laytonville lost at AV, 76-52, while RVC lost by 60 … Brandon Sutherland has been the Warriors’ top offensive weapon. He’s carried the ball 54 times and is averaging nearly eight yards per career. He’s also the team’s leading receiver with 15 catches … The Laytonville defense is yielding an average of 54 per game … Rincon Valley has lost two straight after starting the season 4-0 … Coach Brad Rickard’s team runs the ball 75 per cent of the time … Brandon Douglas and Dylan Bricker are both averaging more than six yards per carry … The Eagles top tacklers are Garrett MacInnis and Dan Hicks.
The pick: Laytonville 47, Rincon Valley Christian 38

UPPER LAKE (2-2-1) at ST. VINCENT (3-2)
Kickoff: Today, 2 p.m.
Last game: Upper Lake tied Tomales, 8-8. St. Vincent defeated Calistoga, 33-14.
Notable: In order to win this game, the Upper Lake defense will have to contain SV’s passing game. Against winless Calistoga, quarterback Mitch Sheppard threw five touchdown passes. This season, the junior has 17 TD passes while amassing 1,165 yards and the Mustangs still have five games left in the regular season … Jordan Cox has been on the receiving end of five of those scoring passes … Sophomore running back John Porchivina keeps opposing defenses honest. The sophomore averages more than five yards per carry … Upper Lake just might have the defense to contain Sheppard. The Cougars allow only 15 points per game with Robert Simondi and Bruce Tucker leading the team in tackles … First-year coach Alex Stabiner has a solid running game behind Joe Valdez (nearly 12 yards per run) and Brad Brackett (more than 10).
The pick: Upper Lake 33, St. Vincent 20

ANDERSON VALLEY (4-1) at MENDOCINO (2-2)
Kickoff: Today, 2 p.m.
Last game: Anderson Valley defeated Rincon Valley Christian, 74-14. Mendocino lost to Potter Valley, 39-37.
Notable: These are two of the elite teams in North Central League III (8-man football) … Quarterback Garrett Mezzanatto has been precise in his passing, completing 70 per cent of his throws. The 6 foot-4 senior has 15 TDs to his credit, eight of those to Salvador Gutierrez … Omar Benavides is the Panthers’ leading rusher averaging nine yards per carry … Jason Sanchez has terrorized opposing quarterbacks and has six sacks midway through the season … Mendocino’s loss to Potter Valley was a heart-breaker. The Cardinals scored a late touchdown to get within two points and then recovered an onside kick with 1:30 remaining. However, PV’s defense stiffened and Mendocino turned over the ball on downs … After a three-year hiatus, 8-man football has allowed the Cardinals to resurrect their program. Not only do they have a varsity squad, they also have enough players for a junior varsity team.
The pick: Anderson Valley 51, Mendocino 34

POTTER VALLEY (3-2) at POINT ARENA (4-1)
Kickoff: Today, 2 p.m.
Last week: Potter Valley edged Mendocino, 39-37. Point Arena won by forfeit over Round Valley.
Notable: Point Arena got the forfeit because a majority of the Round Valley team was being disciplined after getting in trouble two days before the game … The Pirates are undefeated in NCL III behind the strong play of Brendan Radtkey, Harlen Bailey, Dylan Johnson and Marco Davila … Potter Valley is 2-0 on the road … The Bearcats have been scoring an average of 48 per game while allowing 44.
The pick: Point Arena 48, Potter Valley 34