PD Preps Insider: Cardinal Newman signs up for early bowl game

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Cardinal Newman, ever stalking that elusive state football championship, always puts together a tough preseason schedule. This year’s has a different wrinkle, though.

The Cardinals open the season Aug. 30 by facing Churchill County (Nev.) at Del Oro High in Loomis. It’s part of the Honor Bowl, a prep-football showcase created to raise money for military veterans and “educate students and communities in America regarding what a hero looks like,” according to the website of Honor Group, the organization that stages the showcase.

Ten elite teams from California, Nevada and Hawaii will square off in five games at Del Oro on Aug. 29-30. The next weekend, 10 more will duke it out at Oceanside High in Southern California.

Churchill County – based in Fallon, Nev., about 60 miles east of Reno – went 10-2 last year and ended up the Division I-A state runner-up.

Leaving the gridiron for the hardwood

Ukiah lost perhaps its most important football player, and it had nothing to do with an injury or a grade-point average. Gabe Knight, whom football coach Jeff Burrell calls “probably the best athlete in the school,” decided to focus on basketball rather than the gridiron this year.

Knight, who is about 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, was injured for much of last year as a sophomore but returned for the season finale against Maria Carrillo and played well. Burrell was looking forward to having Knight behind center for his junior year, and he was fine with the kid playing two or more sports. But Knight spent a lot more time at offseason basketball camps than at football camps, according to Burrell.

“If you’re my quarterback, I need to see you more than one time in the summer,” Burrell said.

It’s starting to feel a little bit like fall

Football takes the spotlight first with Monday’s start of preseason practices, but other fall sports aren’t far behind.

Cross country gets started a week later, on Monday, Aug. 18, with everybody aiming for league competition, the North Coast Section championship meet on Nov. 22 and the CIF state meet Nov. 29.

Girls golf and girls tennis also start practices Aug. 18, as does girls volleyball.

Soccer, too, will get started a week from Monday, but those teams won’t wait long to play games that count. Santa Rosa is at El Molino on Wednesday, Aug. 20, in a girls non-league match that starts at 7 p.m. That’s the first game of the new school year in the Redwood Empire, at least as far as our schedules show.

Athletic directors who haven’t forwarded fall sports schedules to The Press Democrat, should email them to sports@pressdemocrat.com.

The life of Riley at USA swim nationals

She didn’t get the attention that the college stars and former Olympians received at the USA Swimming 2014 National Championship meet in Irvine, but Petaluma’s Riley Scott made a strong showing.

Scott competed in the 200-meter breaststroke and posted times in the preliminary heats that qualified her for the ‘C’ final, meaning she was among the top 24 competitors in that event.

Scott placed seventh in her final with a time of 2:32.37.

Staff Writer Phil Barber contributed to this report.