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High school football preview: Friday's key games

MARIA CARRILLO (3-2, 2-0) at
CASA GRANDE (4-1, 2-0)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last game: Maria Carrillo won at Windsor, 42-26. Casa Grande beat Santa Rosa, 45-0.

Notable: In the Santa Rosa game, Gauchos’ quarterback JaJuan Lawson set a school record by passing for 353 yards. The junior threw for five touchdowns while completing 17-of-21 passes. … Casa coach Trent Herzog on what his team must do to win this game: “First, we must play disciplined on defense. Their (Maria Carrillo’s) offense is very tricky, lots of misdirection and deception. We have to stay home and go with our reads and keys. On offense, we need to do what we have been doing the last two weeks. “… Pumas coach Jay Higgins on Casa: “If a defense gets out of position or takes poor angles, they have size and speed that can lead to big plays.” … Carrillo is healthy going into the game. The same can’t be said for Casa. The Gauchos have lost two starting linemen to injuries — center/nose tackle Conor Feeney and guard Brian Guzman. … Pumas QB/defensive back Julian Gonzalez completed 14 passes against Windsor, intercepted three passes and made seven tackles.

The pick: Casa Grande 28, Maria Carrillo 14

HEALDSBURG (3-3, 1-1) at
ANALY (6-0, 2-0)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last game: Healdsburg lost to Petaluma, 33-20. Analy defeated Piner, 41-26.

Notable: Although unbeaten, coach Dan Bourdon says the Tigers haven’t been playing crisp football. “We’ve committed a lot of penalties and turned the ball over too many times,” he said. “Last Saturday, we started the game by having a pass intercepted deep in our own territory. Piner went on to score. I think that game was a wake-up call for the players. They’ve been a lot more focused this week in practice."… Kyle Lewis, the Tigers’ No.1 running back, is healthy again after seeing limited action in recent games. … QB Darin Newman is completing 62 percent of his passes and has thrown 15 TDs and four interceptions. … Aaron Maher has caught seven scoring passes. … Running back Ja’narrick James is averaging nearly 9 yards per touch; the sophomore has also enjoyed success returning punts and kickoffs.

The pick: Analy 49, Healdsburg 20

MONTGOMERY (1-4, 0-2) at
RANCHO COTATE (5-0, 2-0)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last game: Montgomery lost to Cardinal Newman, 55-0. Rancho Cotate won at Ukiah, 35-0.

Notable: Cougars coach Ed Conroy believes a big reason for his team’s early season success is the play of the offensive and defensive lines. … “Overall, I’m very pleased with the way the team has been playing,” he said. “This group has come a long way from where they started.” … The offense is averaging 39 points and 444 yards per game. … Jalon Luque is rushing for 141 yards per game. … QB Michael Courchaine is completing 66 percent of his passes. … Fono Misi leads the team with 61 tackles, followed by Ty Brantley with 45. … Montgomery is young and has been compromised by injuries.

The pick: Rancho Cotate 49, Montgomery 0

SANTA ROSA (2-3, 0-2) at
CARDINAL NEWMAN (5-0, 2-0)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Last game: Santa Rosa lost at Casa Grande, 45-0. Cardinal Newman defeated Montgomery, 55-0.

Notable: The way the Cardinals’ defense has played, it’s hard to envision Santa Rosa scoring many points. … Newman has shut out three of its last four opponents (Novato, Ukiah and Montgomery). To get another shutout, the unit will have to contain bulky Panthers running back Jahray Hayes. … This week in practice, coach Paul Cronin has had the Newman players focusing on “little things” like effort away from the ball. … “I’ve liked the effort the kids have made and the way they’ve been improving fundamentals."

The pick: Cardinal Newman 56, Santa Rosa 0

UKIAH (1-4, 0-2) at
WINDSOR (1-4,0-2)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last game: Ukiah lost to Rancho Cotate, 35-0. Windsor fell to Maria Carrillo, 43-26.

Notable: Ukiah hasn’t scored in its last two games and hasn’t put more than seven points on the boards in its other contests…Windsor’s defense allows 38 points per game….If the Jaguars hope to finish in the top tier of the NBL, this is a must-win…However, coach Vic Amick said his team’s mind-set is on the big picture: "We are just trying to get better. We just have to practice better and play better."

The pick: Windsor 35, Ukiah 7

EL MOLINO (1-4, 1-0) at
PETALUMA (2-4, 2-0)

Kickoff: 7:30 P.M.

Last week: El Molino defeated Elsie Allen, 42-0. Petaluma won at Healdsburg, 33-20.

Notable: Two weeks into the league season, Petaluma is the undisputed surprise team of the SCL. The Trojans opened the season with four pre-league losses before defeating Piner and Healdsburg. … “We had some kids that hadn’t played much competitive football and they’ve turned the corner,” coach Rick Krist said. “We’re a much more physical team now than we were at the beginning of the season.” … On offense, Sam Spurling and Pattick Bailey have picked up the bulk of the yardage; on defense, J.P. Crudo and Teddy Scranton lead the squad in tackles. … The joy of El Molino’s first win of the season was muted by an ankle injury to Owen Sunke. The junior had been a stats leader on both sides of the ball. … Frank Nolan and Joey Beale will pick up the slack on offense; on defense, the play of Michael Callender, Ryan Holden, Baxter Ming and Gonzalo Santibanez will be key.

The pick: Petaluma 27, El Molino 0

PINER (1-5, 0-2) at
SONOMA VALLEY (2-3, 0-2)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Piner lost to Analy, 41-26. Sonoma did not play.

Notable: Piner has been effective through the air, scoring 16 TDs. On the ground, it’s been a different story as the Prospectors have only two rushing TDs …Quarterback Noel Hernandez has thrown six of his scoring passes to Natu Hezchias and four to Austin Nahmens … Piner made a good showing against SCL powerhouse Analy by putting 26 points on the board…For Sonoma, QB Dan Deely has passed for 11 scores and rushed for four other … Dustin Sloane has caught six of the TD passes.

The pick: Sonoma Valley 27, Piner 14

MIDDLETOWN (4-1, 2-0) at
FORT BRAGG (4-1, 2-0)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Middletown defeated Willits, 28-0. Fort Bragg downed Lower Lake, 14-8.

Notable: This game matches two of the best small school defenses in the Redwood Empire. … The Mustangs have held opponents to an average of five points per game and have two shutouts. … Fort Bragg has yielded an average of eight points. … Both teams have beaten Lower Lake. The Timberwolves won by six and Middletown by 43. … Fort Bragg is 3-0 at home.

The pick: Middletown 14, Fort Bragg 7

TOMALES (4-1, 2-0) at
CALIFORNIA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF (4-1, 2-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Last week: Tomales defeated Emery, 33-8. CSD handled St. Vincent, 44-17

Notable: The story line to this game comes down to the ability of CSD to contain the Braves’ ground game. The Braves are averaging 303 yards rushing and have seven ballcarriers who rack up more than eight yards per touch. … Anthony Feliciano has picked up 755 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. CSD’s defense is solid, allowing 16 points per game.

The pick: California School for the Deaf 28, Tomales 20

KELSEYVILLE (2-3, 0-2) at
CLOVERDALE (0-6, 0-2)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Kelseyville lost to St. Helena, 45-19. Cloverdale was beaten by Clear Lake, 39-12.

Notable: Robert McLean (just shy of 300 yards) and John Mark Reagan (just under 200 yards) give the Knights a solid run game … Zac Cocco and Jake Cyr lead the team in tackles … Last year, Cloverdale’s only win was over Kelseyville (34-28).

The pick: Kelseyville 21, Cloverdale 7

CLEAR LAKE (3-2, 1-1) at
WILLITS (3-2, 1-1)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Clear Lake beat Cloverdale 39-12. Willits lost to Middletown, 28-0

Notable: Against Middletown, the Wolverines had several key players helped off the field with injuries … In four previous games, Willits had allowed only 13 points … Clear Lake also plays solid "D." The Cardinals haven’t allowed more than 12 points in a game.

The pick: Willits 21, Clear Lake 13

LOWER LAKE (0-5, 0-2) at
ST. HELENA (5-0, 2-0)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Lower Lake lost to Fort Bragg, 14-8. St. Helena won at Kelseyville, 45-19.

Notable: The St. Helena offense is averaging 50 points per game. … QB Richard Hoppe is completing 69 percent of his passes. The senior has thrown for 13 TDs with no interceptions. … Gatlin Blakely has caught six of the scoring passes and Joey Brink has four. … Sebastian Seguara is the Saints’ leading rusher with 292 yards (8 yards per touch).

The pick: St. Helena 41, Lower Lake 6

CALISTOGA (3-3, 1-2) at
STELLAR PREP (1-4, 1-2)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Calistoga defeated St. Elizabeth 37-0. Stellar Prep lost at Upper Lake, 72-24.

Notable: After five road games, the Hayward school finally gets a home game. … Calistoga continues its turnaround season. After going winless in 2011, the Wildcats have three victories overall and four regular-season games remaining.

The pick: Calistoga 26, Stellar Prep 12

— Howard Senzell,
For The Press Democrat