High school football: Friday's game previews

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A look at Friday's area high school football games:

CARDINAL NEWMAN (8-1, 5-1) at CASA GRANDE (7-2, 5-1)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last game: Cardinal Newman lost to Rancho Cotate, 21-14. Casa Grande defeated Windsor, 38-13.
Notable: If Rancho Cotate defeats Santa Rosa, this game will determine the North Bay League runner-up. More importantly, it will have an effect on the North Coast Section playoff seedings that will be announced Sunday … Based on enrollment, Casa will compete in Division 2 and Newman in Division 3 … Tonight, each team has an edge. For the Gauchos, it’s home field where they rarely lose. For the Cardinals, it’s their defense which has allowed only 92 points. By contrast, the Casa defense has surrendered 154 … Newman’s Kenny Carter has 1,056 rushing yards, averaging 7.3 per touch … Keaton Dunsford, a first-year starter, has developed into a solid quarterback, completing 69 passes, including 13 for touchdowns … Jacob Webb is his go-to receiver with a team-high 37 receptions, including four for TDs … Webb has also returned four kicks for scores … Matt Derner leads the Cardinals with six interceptions and Chris McDonnell has four … Casa is led by junior JaJuan Lawson and senior Elijah Qualls.
The pick: Cardinal Newman 21, Casa Grande 14

PETALUMA (4-5, 4-1) at SONOMA VALLEY (6-3, 4-1)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Petaluma lost to Analy, 40-13. Sonoma Valley beat Elsie Allen, 51-0.
Notable: This is for second place in the Sonoma County League … Kudos to both schools for turnaround seasons … Last year the teams tied for last in the SCL with 1-5 records … On the Dragons’ current four-game win streak, they’re outscoring opponents by an average of 27 points … Junior Dan Deely has led the offense. The quarterback has thrown for 1,391 yards and rushed for 449 … Sam Spurling is Petaluma’s leading rusher and had his best game of the season last Friday against league champ Analy. The senior ran for 130 yards and scored two touchdowns … Home field the difference in this one.
The pick: Sonoma Valley 28, Petaluma 20

SANTA ROSA (4-5, 2-4) at RANCHO COTATE (9-0, 6-0)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last game: Santa Rosa defeated Ukiah, 28-0. Rancho beat Cardinal Newman, 21-14.
Notable: “It’s been a happy mood on campus,” Cougars coach Ed Conroy said mid-week. “After beating Newman, the kids are feeling very confident. However, they also understand they have to finish with a win over Santa Rosa to take league by themselves.” If the Rancho defense can contain Jahray Hayes that shouldn’t be a problem. Hayes has rushed for 1,426 yards and averages nearly eight yards per touch … The Cougars defense is the best in the Redwood Empire, allowing opponents an average of 8.6 points per game … Props to first year Santa Rosa coach Dave Duncan, his staff and players. This is the most successful Panthers team since 2008. From 2009-11, the school’s record was 7-23.
The pick: Rancho Cotate 54, Santa Rosa 7

WINDSOR (3-6, 2-4) at MONTGOMERY (3-6, 2-4)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Windsor lost to Casa Grande, 38-13, Montgomery defeated Maria Carrillo, 23-22.
Notable: This game marks the end of an era as Montgomery’s Jason Franci, the winningest football coach in Redwood Empire history, will enter retirement after the final horn sounds … “I haven’t given much thought to things beyond Friday night,” Franci said on Thursday. I’m thinking about how we can beat Windsor and overseeing practices. I’ll have plenty of time to think about retirement after the game.” … Franci thought his young squad played its best game of the year against Maria Carrillo … “My reason for coming back this year was to leave the Montgomery program in better shape than it was at the end of last season,” he said. “With this group of kids, I feel like things are a lot better than a year ago.” … The 2011 Vikings finished the season 3-8 … Like Montgomery, Windsor will not be going to the post-season. However, first-year coach Vic Amick has his team playing good ball the past few weeks … The Jaguars trailed Casa14-13 at halftime and were behind 13-10 at intermission vs. Newman.
The pick: Windsor 28, Montgomery 20

FORT BRAGG (8-1, 6-0) at CLOVERDALE (1-9, 1-5)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Fort Bragg edged St. Helena, 22-21. Cloverdale lost at Middletown, 49-7.
Notable: Fort Bragg holds a one-game lead over St. Helena in the North Central League I. So, the Timberwolves have clinched at least a tie and with a victory over the Eagles they win the title outright … Fort Bragg is coming off a pair of one-point wins. Prior to the St. Helena game, the T’wolves slipped past Willits, 33-32.
The pick: Fort Bragg 49, Cloverdale 7

EL MOLINO (1-8, 1-4) at HEALDSBURG (3-6, 1-4)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last game: El Molino fell to Piner, 41-0. Healdsburg lost to Piner, 35-28.
Notable: This will be the first time in at least eight years, probably more, that Healdsburg is not advancing to the North Coast Section playoffs … Longtime coach Tom Kirkpatrick stepped down after last season’s 10-4 campaign and his successor, Todd Beth, inherited a team with a minority of seniors … During the rebuilding season the Greyhounds, as expected, were plagued by incosistent play. They’ll be a force in SCL next season … El Molino didn’t have the depth to compete in a majority of its games, sometimes having only 20 players in uniform … The Lions have scored 55 points, 42 in a winning effort over Elsie Allen and 13 against Sonoma Valley.
The pick: Healdsburg 35, El Mollino 14

UKIAH (1-8, 0-6) at MARIA CARRILLO (3-6, 2-4)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Ukiah lost at Santa Rosa, 28-0. Maria Carrillo lost at Montgomery, 23-22.
Notable: Neither team going to the post-season … The Pumas needed to win its last two to be NCS eligible and had a 14-7 at halftime against Montgomery. However, a late Vikings touchdown and extra point sealed their fate … Carrillo was plagued by inconsistency throughout the season … It’s been a tough first year for Ukiah coach Bill Norby. Most of the key players from last year’s team, including QB Trevor Taylor and RB Chris Berg, graduated.
The pick: Maria Carrillo 35, Ukiah 7.

WILLITS (6-3, 4-2) at ST. HELENA (8-1, 5-1)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Willits defeated Lower Lake, 58-0. St. Helena lost to Fort Bragg, 22-21.
Notable: Both teams lost at Fort Bragg by a point. The Wolverines were edged, 33-32, on Oct. 19 … The loss snapped St. Helena’s 20-game NCL I winning streak … The Saints finish second in league to Fort Bragg with a victory … This game will have a bearing on the seeding for the NCS Tournament.
The pick: St. Helena 28, Willits 21.

ST. VINCENT (7-2, 5-1) at CALISTOGA (6-3, 4-2)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last week: St. Vincent defeated Upper Lake, 42-26. Calistoga beat Tomales, 33-14.
Notable: The Mustangs will earn a share of the NCL II title with a win. Coach Gary Galloway has his team playing its best ball of the season. They’ve won four straight by an average of 32 points per game … QB Mitch Sheppard has completed 60 per cent of his passes and has 18 TDs to his credit … The run game has also excelled with Derek Murphy (753 yards) and George Sammon (459) leading the way … On defense, Mike Carroll, Zach Sitchler and Murphy have played well … Calistoga High has turned its football fortunes around this year. This is the same school that was 0-10 last year. No matter what happens tonight, the Wildcats are NCS playoffs eligible.
The pick: St. Vincent 28, Calistoga 14

MENDOCINO (7-0, 5-0) at LAYTONVILLE (7-0, 5-0)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last week: Mendocino took a forfeit over Round Valley. Laytonville won at Potter Valley, 52-22.
Notable: This game is for the NCL III (eight-man football) crown … Mendocino has been the recipient of two forfeits this season and Laytonville has one … The Cardinals are averaging 51 points per game while yielding 16 … Laytonville averages 59 points per game while giving up 10 … The Warriors have three solid rushers — Evan Steel (485 yards), Brandon Sutherland (484) and Anthony Adkinsson (382) … This is Mendocino’s second year back playing football. The school was unable to field a team from 2008 to 2010.
The pick: Laytonville 27, Mendocino 21

MIDDLETOWN (6-3, 4-2) at CLEAR LAKE (5-4, 3-3)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Middletown defeated Cloverdale, 49-7. Clear Lake handled Kelseyville, 43-26.
Last week: Both teams are already NCS playoffs eligible … Using common opponent Fort Bragg as a comparison, the Mustangs have an edge. They lost to the Timberwolves, 18-14, while Clear Lake dropped a 22-0 decision. Both games were in Fort Bragg … Kelseyville is another common opponent. Middletown beat that rival, 34-0, while Clear Lake prevailed, 43-26..The Cardinals are 6-3 at home over the past two years.
The pick: Middletown 21, Clear Lake 14

KELSEYVILLE (2-7, 0-6) at LOWER LAKE (1-8, 1-5)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Kelseyville lost to Clear Lake, 43-26. Lower Lake fell to Willits, 58-0.
Notable: The Knights won one game last year and that was against Lower Lake, 36-18 … Kelseyville will be much-improved next year. Its two leading ground gainers will be back — sophomore Robert McLean (650 yards and seven TDs) and junior Kevin Duty (521 and four scores).
The pick: Kelseyville 27, Lower Lake 14