High school football previews, Week 11

Casa Grande (9-0, 6-0 NBL) at Cardinal Newman (7-2, 5-1 NBL)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last week: Casa Grande defeated Windsor, 42-28. Cardinal Newman beat Rancho Cotate, 42-41.

Notable: Casa is trying to become the first in school history to go undefeated in the regular season. Four Gauchos squads wound up 9-1 going into the playoffs … Here is what coach Trent Herzog said are the keys to defeating the Cardinals: “Be consistent on offense and hold onto the ball, thereby limiting Newman’s possessions. On defense, create some turnovers and also get off the field after third down. Have fun and enjoy playing in a championship game.” … If the Gauchos win, the NBL title is theirs. A loss and Newman shares the crown. Montgomery is also in the picture and a Vikings win and a Casa loss will make it a three-way tie at the top …In several games, Newman has fallen behind by double digits in the first quarter. If that happens tonight, it’s doubtful they can comeback. “We’ve been a bit tight early in games,” coach Paul Cronin said. “We are trying to work on focusing on the right things.” … Cronin called Casa a great team… With running back Craig Lucey sidelined with a broken left clavicle, Zach Stoltz will take up the slack for Newman.

The pick: Casa Grande

Montgomery (8-1, 5-1 NBL) at Windsor (4-5, 2-4 NBL)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Montgomery beat Maria Carrillo, 39-30. Windsor lost to Casa Grande, 42-28.

Notable: The stakes couldn’t be any higher for the Jaguars. “It’s win or go home for us,” coach Vic Amick said. “If we win,we’re eligible for the playoffs. If we lose, we go home.” … Montgomery is enjoying its best season since 2009 when the Vikings finished 11-3 … Logan Francavilla has been a workhorse on offense as he’s gained 1,228 yards on 210 carries. That’s an average of 136 yards per game … Windsor’s offense has been hitting on all cylinders the past month. The Jaguars have been exceptionally sharp the past two Fridays scoring four touchdowns against the solid defenses of Casa Grande and Cardinal Newman … Senior night and a must-win situation give Windsor the edge.

The pick: Windsor

Maria Carrillo (3-6, 2-4 NBL) at Ukiah (3-6, 1-5 NBL)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Maria Carrillo lost to Montgomery, 39-30. Ukiah beat Santa Rosa, 36-12.

Notable: Both schools will be playing for pride as neither qualify for the post-season tournament … .”I’ve watched Carrillo play on film and they look like a playoff team to me,” Wildcats coach Jeff Burrell said. “Their offensive line is one of the best in the league. They’’re a better team than their record shows.” … Carrillo coach Jay Higgins agrees with his counterpart: “We’ve been in every game. We’re disappointed our season is ending this soon. I’m hoping to see the best from our guys against Ukiah.”

The pick: Maria Carrillo

Rancho Cotate (5-4, 3-3 NBL) at Santa Rosa (2-7, 0-6 NBL)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Rancho Cotate lost to Cardinal Newman, 42-41. Santa Rosa fell to Ukiah, 36-12.

Notable: Both schools are riding streaks they’d like to forget about. The Cougars are 0-4 on the road and the Panthers have lost seven straight … A bright spot this year for Rancho has been the play of Chris Taylor-Yamanoha. The sophomore is a receiver on offense and defensive back on the other side of the ball. This is Taylor-Yamanoha’s second year on the varsiity. He was one of only a handful of freshmen to play varsity during Ed Conroy’s long tenure as head coachJust in time for the playoffs, Rancho will get its first road win tonight.

The pick: Rancho Cotate

Sonoma Valley (7-2, 4-1 SCL) at Petaluma (4-5, 2-3 SCL)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Sonoma beat Elsie Allen, 55-6. Petaluma lost to Analy, 42-13.

Notable: The Dragons have won five straight … Running back Austin Bailey has rushed for 600 yards despite missing two games … Quarterback Dan Deely has completed 53 per cent of his passes and throws for an average of 150 yards per game … Counting passing and running, Deely has gained 1,653 yards this season … Petaluma coach Rick Krist said the Trojans game plan is to keep Deely and the Sonoma offense off the field. “Hopefully, we’ll put together long, sustained drives,” he said. The Trojans racked up nearly 300 yards of offense and 17 first downs against league champ Analy. “The play of our offensive line has really progressed in recent weeks,” Krist said. “It’s the most improved part of our team.” … Senior night and a chance at making the playoffs provide the impetus for a Petaluma win

The pick: Petaluma

Piner (4-5, 2-3 SCL) at Elsie Allen (1-8, 0-5 SCL)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Piner defeated El Molino, 42-0. Elsie Allen lost to Sonoma Valley, 55-6.

Notable: The Prospectors are already eligible for the NCS playoffs and a win tonight will make their resume look better. It’s been more than a decade since Piner has played a post-season game … Quarterback Noel Hernandez needs to pass for 64 yards to reach the 2,000 mark. He averages 215 per game … His favorite target is Niko Formosa and the pair have combined for seven touchdowns … The Prospectors’ leading tacklers are: Peter Barbieri (77), Tyler Gabriel (68), Mark Ainger (64), Cameron Westphal (58) and Justin Tauaefa (55) … Piner has lost three games by a total of four points (Tamalpais, 21-20), Sonoma Valley, 32-30 and Healdsburg, 19-18).

The pick: Piner

Healdsburg (5-4, 3-2 SCL) at El Molino (2-7, 1-4 SCL)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Healdsburg did not play. El Molino lost to Piner, 42-0.

Notable: Coach Todd Beth reports his team is healthy heading into the regular season finale … “Our goal is to play crisp football and put the game away early,” he said … Ian Black has been playing lights out on defense racking up double digit tackles in recent games … Making the offense go have been quarterback Ramsey Wittke and running back Trystan Cleaver. “Wittke has been great in not turning the ball over,” Beth said. “Cleaver has been steady all year.” … El Molino dressed only 17 players for the Piner game.

The pick: Healdsburg

Middletown (8-1, 6-0 NCL I) at Lower Lake (3-6, 1-5 NCL I)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Middletown beat Clear Lake, 38-6. Lower Lake lost to Kelseyville, 50-29.

Notable: No question the Mustangs own the best defense among small schools in Northern California. They haven’t allowed more than a touchdown in eight straight games … Austin Benson rushed for a Middletown school record 256 yards against Clear Lake. The old mark of 228 was set by Ryan Schmitz in 1996 … A win or tie tonight and the Mustangs will be undisputed champs of the NCL I … .Lower Lake’s Isazah King needs to run for 165 yards to reach the 1,000 mark … The Trojans’ Eric Moreno has gained 835 all-purpose yards.

The pick: Middletown

Cloverdale (4-5, 4-2 NCL I) at St. Helena (7-2, 5-1 NCL I)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Cloverdale won at Fort Bragg, 42-27. St. Helena defeated Willits, 60-0.

Notable: No matter what happens tonight, the Eagles will go down as one of the most improved programs in the Empire. In the thee seasons prior to this one, Cloverdale was a combined 3-18-1 … .”Senior leadership has been the key to turning things around,” coach Rick Berry said. “We’ve relied on Zach Rege, Josh Holden and Mike Gobel and they’ve done the job.” … The Eagles will dress only 19 players. Jose Calvillo (shoulder), Sam Swan (concussion) and James Villivicenzio (concussion) aren’t expected to play.

The pick: St. Helena

Fort Bragg (4-5, 3-3 NCL I) at Clear Lake (5-4, 3-3 NCL I)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Fort Bragg lost to Cloverdale, 42-27. Clear Lake fell to Middletown, 38-6.

Notable: The Timberwolves will be without leading rusher Zach Smith. He aggravated an old knee injury in the the first half against Cloverdale. The senior has 1,300 rushing yards to his credit. Nathaniel Johnson will pick up the slack … “We’ll really feel Smith’s absence on defense,” coach Roy Perkins said. “He played linebacker and not having him available is a big problem.” … Teammate Tyler Ashby has 1,163 yards to his credit. He’s gained 630 through the air and 533 on the ground … Fort Bragg needs a win to become playoff eligible … The Cardinals’ Gabe Oilar-Strong is the league’s sack leader with seven.

The pick: Clear Lake

Willits (0-9, 0-6 NCL I) at Kelseyville (5-4, 2-4 NCL I)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Willits lost to St. Helena, 60-0. Kelseyville beat Lower Lake, 50-29.

Notable: Kelseyville’s Kevin Duty is the leading rusher in Lake County with 1,276 yards … The Knights have improved their chances to get an NCS playoff invitation by winning their last two. In the win over Lower Lake, Robert McLean ran for 209 yards on 29 carries.The junior scored twice … Duty also had two touchdowns and rushed for 155 yards … Willits hasn’t scored more than six points in a game and has been shutout in its last two.

The pick: Kelseyville

Upper Lake (0-8, 0-5 NCL II/Bay) at Tomales (5-4, 2-3 NCL II/Bay)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Upper Lake lost to St. Vincent, 68-0. Tomales lost to Calistoga, 52-16.

Notable: This game has playoff ramifications for the Braves … Despite missing two games, running back Anthony Feliciano can still reach the 1,000 mark. He needs to rush for 151 yards tonight.. His brother, Dante, has a dozen sacks to his credit and Danny Moretti has 9 1/2 … Moretti is also the team’s leading tackler with 77. William Nunes is next with 69 followed by Ivan Gomez (64) and Willy Lepori (60).

The pick: Tomales

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