High school football previews: Friday’s games

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Division 3: No. 5 Cardinal Newman (8-3) at No. 4 Analy (10-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Last week: Cardinal Newman defeated Drake, 53-7. Analy beat Petaluma, 42-6.

Notable: Newman has played a much tougher schedule than Analy. Often times in playoffs, the battle-tested team has the advantage … On the other hand, the Tigers get to play at home where over the past six years they’ve posted a 26-7 record … Both teams have gaudy offensive numbers. The Cardinals score an average of 37 points, 7 points less than the Tigers … Analy gives up an average of 11 points and that’s a dozen fewer than Newman. Again, it must be taken into account that the SCL had several weak teams … Both schools have excellent passing games. Analy’s Will Smith completes 68 percent of his passes and has thrown 21 touchdowns. His counterpart, Keaton Dunsford, has been equally as effective … Smith’s favorite target is Kerr Johnson Jr. The wide receiver averages 28 yards per reception … Five Tigers have more than 50 tackles: TJ Acheson, Trent Ackerman, Jaxon Cantu, Isaac Kangas and Kieran Newell … The loss of running back Craig Lucey (shoulder injury) has hurt Newman’s offense. In what figures to be a close game, the loss of one player might turn out to be the difference.

The pick: Analy

Division 2: No. 5 Concord (8-3) at No. 4 Montgomery (9-2)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Last week: Concord defeated Newark Memorial, 50-25. Montgomery beat American, 27-0.

Notable: Concord will put on an aerial show. Mitch Daniels, the Minutemen quarterback, has thrown for more than 3,000 yards. He’s 6-foot-2 and weighs 193 pounds. Five-foot-11 Mason Knight is his favorite target and they’ve hooked up for 16 touchdowns … “Daniels reminds me of the Windsor quarterback (Colin McAlvain),” coach Dean Haskins said. “They both get rid of the ball quickly. We have to keep him off the field.” … Montgomery got a boost last Friday with the return of Elijah Higgs. He was sidelined half the season with a shoulder injury. The senior played several positions and was especially effective at wide receiver where he caught four passes, including one for a 25-yard touchdown from RJ Flores … Since replacing Higgs as the signal-caller, Flores has completed 63 percent of his passes … Running back Logan Francavilla is at 1,399 yards and averages 5.6 yards per touch … Henry Stelzner has made 138 tackles … “If we can establish the run on offense and tackle really well on defense, we’ll do fine,” Haskins said … Playing at home is a big advantage for the Vikings.

The pick: Montgomery

Division 5: No. 5 Salesian (6-5) at No. 1 Middletown (10-1)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Last week: Salesian beat St. Vincent, 42-21. Middletown defeated Emery, 51-0.

Notable: Salesian has won the Division 4 title two of the past three years and is dropping down a division in 2013 … This is a rematch of the season opener for both teams. Middletown won on the field 21-14, but later had to forfeit for using an ineligible player. It’s the only blemish on the Mustangs’ record … Middletown’s leading running back Austin Benson missed the game because of a concussion. In 10 games since then, he’s rushed for 1,544 yards … The 14 points the Pride scored are the most the Mustangs have allowed. The defense yields an average of 4 points per game and has posted five shutouts … “I feel good about the game,” coach Bill Foltmer said. “We play well at home and we’ll have a big crowd cheering us on.” … In recent years, Salesian has beaten Middletown in an NCS championship game and a semifinal … “They’re well-coached and always tough,” Foltmer said. “The current team isn’t as big as recent years. Also, I think we’re quicker.” … One advantage the Richmond school has is that it plays in a tougher league than Middletown (NCL I). The Pride compete in the Tri County-Rock League and they finished next-to-last with a 2-4 record. El Cerrito, the No. 3 seed in Division 3, won the league with a 6-0 mark.

The pick: Middletown

Division 4: No. 5 St. Mary’s (7-4) at No. 4 St. Helena (9-2)

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Last week: St. Mary’s beat Fort Bragg, 48-13. St. Helena defeated Kelseyville, 47-20.

Notable: Saints coach Brandon Farrell thinks his defense is the key to the game. “St. Mary’s offense is explosive,” he said. “We must play good team defense and tackle well.” … The Panthers score an average of 37 points per game and the St. Helena defense allows 9 … The Berkeley school is equally adept at running and passing. Lorenzo Longwood rushes for an average of 108 yards per game while Tamarik Pierce averages 10 yards per rush … Quarterback Ian Bonde has passed for 2,006 yards … St. Helena prefers the run (236 per game) to the pass (90) … Sebastian Segura is one of the best runners in the Empire. He’s gained 1,623 yards and rushed for a school record 270 yards last Friday … Like Salesian, St. Mary’s comes out of the Tri-County Rock League. The Panthers finished tied for third with a 3-3 mark … St. Helena has won five in a row and is 5-1 on its home field … The edge goes to the team playing the tougher regular-season schedule.

The pick: St. Mary’s

Comments are closed.