PD Preps Insider: Catching up with Gaucho grads

JaJuan Lawson and John Porchivina, key cogs in Casa Grande’s drive to the 2013 NBL football title, are both redshirting this season at Division I colleges.

Lawson is at New Mexico where he hopes to play quarterback, and Porchivina is at Cal being primed as a running back.

“Both are enjoying college life and are doing well in the classroom,” Gauchos coach Trent Herzog said.

All-Empire Large School Football Player of the Year: Casa Grande's JaJaun Lawson

All-Empire Large School Football Player of the Year: Casa Grande’s JaJuan Lawson

Two players from the Casa class of 2012 — Elijah Qualls and Conor Feeney — are also playing college football.

Qualls, a nose tackle at Washington, sees action for about 25 plays a game. Feeney is a backup center and guard for Willamette in Salem, Ore.

Coaching off the field

At the Cardinal Newman-Casa Grande football game Friday, both squads took time to acknowledge a program the two teams participated in this season that had little to do with X’s and O’s and more to do with the student athletes underneath the helmets and shoulder pads.

Coaching Boys into Men, a program backed by the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, Verity and the YWCA, sent pairs of instructors to both the teams’ practices to talk about social media, bullying, sexual consent, leadership and other issues.

The program, free to participating schools, gave athletes quick sessions over the course of a number of weeks on topical issues and opened discussions for questions, according to Cardinal Newman head coach Paul Cronin.

“It was to the point with what our kids are dealing with,” he said. “They talked about issues that are current in today’s world.”

Bigger night for Flores

R.J. Flores was even better than we thought.

In leading Montgomery to its 41-21 victory Friday at Ukiah, Flores, the Vikings’ senior quarterback, threw six touchdown passes — accounting for all of Montgomery’s scoring. Preliminary reports from the game site, which were reported Saturday in The Press Democrat, credited Flores incorrectly with four TD passes.

Lights, camera, action

Rincon Valley Christian turned on the lights for its football game Saturday against Point Arena. Portable lights were used to put the spotlight on the girls soccer game Friday and the Eagles’ football game Saturday.

In plans since the end of last season, football under the lights lured what coach Roger Maples called “by far the biggest crowd of the season.” The crowd didn’t get quite the outcome it might have wanted with the Eagles losing 54-34, but the experience was enough that Maples said they’ll do it again next season.

Kerry Benefield and Howard Senzell contributed to this report.