Football roundup: Piner thumps Ukiah 28-6

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Piner's Niko Formosa (22) gets his facemask pulled while running past Ukiah's Cheyenne Noda (20) on Saturday in Santa Rosa. (Alvin Jornada / For The Press Democrat)

Piner’s Niko Formosa (22) gets his face mask pulled while running past Ukiah’s Cheyenne Noda (20) on Saturday in Santa Rosa. (Alvin Jornada / For The Press Democrat)

The Piner football players had heard all the talk about the teams in the North Bay League being superior to those in the Sonoma County League. On Saturday afternoon the host Prospectors, an SCL team, used that as motivation to soundly defeat Ukiah of the NBL, 28-6.

“The kids definitely had a bit of a chip on their shoulders after hearing all that talk about how much stronger the NBL is,” coach John Antonio said. “They turned the negativity into a positive.”

Piner was an NBL member until 2012, when the school was moved to the SCL along with Elsie Allen. Casa Grande and Windsor switched to the NBL.

The Prospectors didn’t trail in the season opener for both teams. Niko Formosa scored the game’s first touchdown on a 2-yard run. Following a 4-yard touchdown run by Ukiah’s Chandler Rickel and a missed extra point, Ty Simmons responded for the Prospectors on a 3-yard pass from Noel Hernandez.

Leading 14-6, the Piner defense took over and the Wildcats didn’t cross the goal line again. Ukiah quarterback Shane Baarts was sacked nine times. The only score of the second half came on a 90-yard drive that ended with Isiah Carter scoring from four yards out.

“That last score put the game away,” Antonio said. “We marched down the field mixing up our plays between the pass and the run. We were a one-dimensional passing team last year, but now we have a running game to go along with the passing.”

Formosa was Piner’s leading rusher with 43 yards on six carries. He also caught four passes.

“Because we were playing an NBL team, we looked at this as the most important game of the year,” Antonio said. “I’m so proud of the way the guys played.”

Ukiah is the only NBL team on the Prospectors’ schedule.

Piner won four games in 2012, its highest total in nine years.

SONOMA VALLEY 18, REDWOOD 13

It turned out the Dragons’ most difficult task of the day was getting from Sonoma to Larkspur for the game.

“The bus to take us never showed up,” coach Bob Midgley said. “Thanks to our parents, we had enough cars and pickups to transport everyone and the equipment.”

The start of the game was pushed back 15 minutes because Sonoma was late in arriving. The first half was scoreless despite two red-zone trips by the Dragons. They fumbled once and turned the ball over on downs on the other drive.

Redwood led 7-6 heading into the fourth quarter. Sonoma quarterback Dan Deely, however, led a comeback, capped with a 20-yard scoring strike to Kyle Dunevent to give the Dragons the lead. Deely figured in all the points for his team. He got the Dragons on the board with a 10-yard pass to Tristan Mertens and scored Sonoma Valley’s final touchdown on a 7-yard run.

“Given all that happened, it was a good opening game for us,” Midgley said. “We’re a young team and will get better as the season progresses.”

RINCON VALLEY CHRISTIAN 30, POTTER VALLEY 12

RVC used its offensive quickness to defeat the visitors from Mendocino County in an eight-man game.

“Potter Valley was much bigger, but we came out with a version of the Oregon hurry-up offense and I think we tired out their defense by the end of the first quarter,” coach Robert Gray said.

“It was like David against Goliath and David came out on top.”

Quarterback Daniel Maples threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score. Morgan Guiesponi was on the receiving end of three scoring passes, the longest was 23 yards.

ST. VINCENT 26, ST. BERNARD’S 0

Senior quarterback Jack Richardson started his first game for visiting St. Vincent and celebrated by throwing two touchdown passes and rushing for another score. He also kicked two extra points.

He hooked up with Sean Healy on a 6-yard touchdown pass, found Austin Salizzoni for a 31-yard score, and rushed in from five yards out for the game’s final score.

Richardson got off to a rocky start as he tossed three interceptions in the first half. St. Bernard’s quarterback Noah Davis threw four picks before intermission.

Since 1993, St. Vincent is 16-4 in its season openers.

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