St. Vincent rides NCL II dominance to league crown



PETALUMA — It took a while for host St. Vincent to get going against rival Tomales on Saturday in a game to determine the North Central League II champion, but when the Mustangs hit the accelerator, the Braves were helpless to stop them.

Trailing 12-0 with 3:35 to play in the second quarter, the deeper and more physical Mustangs (6-4, 6-0) scored seven straight touchdowns on offense and defensively shut out the Braves (7-3, 4-2) the rest of the way for a 49-12 St. Vincent win.

St. Vincent's George Sammon during a September football game. (CONNER JAY/ PD FILE)

St. Vincent’s George Sammon during a September football game. (CONNER JAY/ PD FILE)

The Mustangs win the NCL II outright and, although not guaranteed, likely will get a home game for the North Coast Section Division 5 playoffs. The NCS selection committee will announce the seedings today.

“I think we will be around a 7 or 8 seed,” St. Vincent coach Gary Galloway said. “We will play next Saturday, but not sure if we will have a home game.”

After starting out 0-4 with a gauntlet of a preseason schedule, St. Vincent dominated the four-team NCL II and defeated the second-place Braves twice (a 40-6 St. Vincent win earlier in the season at Tomales). St. Vincent currently has a 10-game regular-season NCL II winning streak dating back to last year.

Tomales will almost certainly get selected for the Division 5 playoffs but likely will play on the road against a tough foe.
“We will get into the playoffs probably as a 13 seed,” Tomales coach Leon Feliciano said. “Our first half today was great. We were running the ground-and-pound and keeping the clock going. But St. Vincent is a better team and our guys got fatigued. The second half was disappointing but it’s not as if we didn’t try.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Tomales got on the board early in the second quarter on a 10-yard scoring pass by quarterback Joel Gutierrez to receiver Jacob Sampietro. With 3:35 left in the second quarter, Gutierrez added a 1-yard score for a 12-0 Tomales lead and it appeared an upset was in the making.

St. Vincent, however, got on the board just before halftime with a 13-yard scoring pass from quarterback Dominic Pedersen to running back George Sammon to cut Tomales’ lead to 12-7.

“Tomales played great. We turned the ball over in the beginning and you can’t do that. We were not executing early,” Galloway said. “I told our guys at halftime that we were doing everything wrong but we were still in good shape.”

The second half was a different story. With roughly twice the number of players as the Braves, St. Vincent’s depth wore down Tomales (16 players on the roster). With the gassed Braves defenders on the field most of the second half, massive holes opened up in the Tomales defense that Mustang ball-carriers ran through with ease.

St. Vincent took a 14-12 lead on an 8-yard scoring pass from Pedersen to Kyle Dannewitz and then the Mustangs’ running game took over. In quick succession, the Mustangs scored on a 40-yard run by Zach Sitchler, three touchdown scampers by Sammon (39, 49 and 38 yards), who ran for 203 yards, and a 16-yard run by Manny Reyes.