High school football preview: Saturday’s games

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Some of the Empire’s high school football teams didn’t play Friday, but will take the field today. Here’s a look:

El Molino (2-6, 1-3 SCL) at Piner (3-5, 1-3 SCL)

Kickoff: 2 p.m.

Last week: El Molino lost to Sonoma Valley, 47-26. Piner did not play.

Notable: The Prospectors will be playing for their playoff lives the next two weeks. They finish the regular season at Elsie Allen … Before the bye week, Piner had lost its previous two games by a total of three points … El Molino will have only has 17 players available. “We had five season-ending injuries,” coach Randy Parmeter said … Lions quarterback Steve Mori had his best passing game against Sonoma Valley. “Our offensive line held up better,” Parmeter said. “It’s taken a long time but we’ve finally found right combinations and have guys in the right spot now.”… Piner coach John Antonio said his team has shaken off the narrow losses over the bye week and his players realize the stakes are high today. “We’ve had a good week of practice,” he said. “We know El Molino has improved,” said Antonio, “and we’re ready for a dog fight.”

The pick: Piner

Upper Lake (0-7, 0-4 NCL II/Bay) at St. Vincent (5-2, 3-1 NCL II/Bay)

Kickoff: 2 p.m.

Last week: Upper Lake lost to Calistoga, 63-6. St. Vincent won at Tomales, 18-14.

Notable: A Mustangs victory would be the 200th of coach Gary Galloway’s career. He’s led the program for 30 years … St. Vincent’s defense has been excellent giving up an average of 11 points per game … Derek Murphy has run for more than 100 yards in four games this season. In his career, the 170-pound senior has cracked the century mark eight times. He scored all three touchdowns against Tomales and that follows a three TD game against Emery … This will be the Mustangs’ first home game since Sept. 28 … Upper Lake has beaten St. Vincent only once in the past six years. During that time, the Cougars have been outscored, 221-64 … The Mustangs are second behind Calistoga in league.

The pick: St. Vincent

Mendocino (6-0, 4-0 NCL III) at Point Arena (4-2, 4-0 NCL III)

Kickoff: 2 p.m.

Last week: Mendocino defeated Laytonville, 90-50. Point Arena won at Anderson Valley, 46-28.

Notable: The outcome will determine the league champion … The schools met the first game of the season at Mendocino. That was before league play began and the Cardinals prevailed, 48-30 … “Both teams have improved since that first game,” Cardinals coach Theron Miller said. “I feel confident we’re prepared.” … Mendocino flirted with the century mark against Laytonville and leading the scoring barrage was quarterback Reed Carter, who ran for five touchdowns and passed for a sixth … Point Arena’s Cody Cissna averages 174 rushing yards per game. The 165-pound sophomore has scored 12 touchdowns … The winner of this game wins the league championship as well as the right to host the inaugural NCL III “Redwood Bowl” to be played next week. Instituted this year, it pits the league champion against the runner-up. This season, the bowl will match up these same two teams as Anderson Valley has two league losses. Credit to Mendocino Sports Plus for the bowl game information.

The pick: Mendocino

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