PD Preps Insider: Netherda makes Cal football roster

Maria Carrillo's Alex Netherda, the 2014 Large School Defensive Player of the Year.  (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Maria Carrillo’s Alex Netherda, the 2014 Large School Defensive Player of the Year. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Netherda makes Cal roster

Maria Carrillo grad Alex Netherda is on the roster. A preferred walk-on heading into summer workouts at Cal Berkeley, Netherda is now on the squad wearing No. 38. He’s listed as running back/wide receiver for the Golden Bears.

As a senior for the Pumas, Netherda ran for 1,330 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2014. On defense, he had 50 solo tackles, 20 assisted stops and four interceptions. He was named The Press Democrat’s All-Empire Large School Defensive Player of the Year and was named overall Large School Athlete of the Year last spring.

Netherda, a two-year All-Empire pick in football, was a four-time All-Empire selection in track and field. He intends to suit up for the Cal track squad as well.

Bad break for Nuño

Omar Nuño, the Healdsburg High grad who was last season’s Big 8 Conference Player of the Year while playing soccer for Santa Rosa Junior College, is back to working out at Chico State after sustaining a broken foot in July.

Nuño scored 19 times as a sophomore for the Bear Cubs, earning the attention of the Wildcats. But the 6-foot-2 forward broke his foot in July while practicing with the Sonoma County Sol, a semi-pro team made up primarily of SRJC and Sonoma State players.

“It was a scrimmage during practice with the Sol,” he said. “I heard my foot crack.”

That crack was the fifth metatarsal in his foot.

Nuño started back on the bike two weeks ago, got the protective boot off a week ago and has been running under the guidance of a trainer at Chico.

“I’m not 100 percent back but at least I’m running,” he said.

The possibility of redshirting this season remains.

“I feel good,” he said. “I’m doing that the trainer is telling me.”

Christy struggles

Former Petaluma High star catcher Francis Christy is batting .136 in 36 games and 118 at-bats in his first professional baseball season with the Pioneer League Missoula Osprey. He has two home runs and 20 RBIs. He was drafted in the seventh round last spring by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Preseason bonding

Petaluma High School’s football players spent some quality time this preseason getting to know each other better.

In between practices and weight training, the Trojans “let off a little steam” with ping pong, a softball tournament, a sleepover at the school and other team-building activities, coach Rick Krist said.

“This is a unique group of kids,” he said. “They’re very close, they get along really well. Only with certain teams these things work. This team likes to play.”

Petaluma opens its season with a home game Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Windsor.

A fair disadvantage

Playing a football game against Salesian High, which has won four North Coast Section championships in the past five years, is always a daunting task for a small school.

Middletown didn’t exactly need a handicap when it hosted Salesian a year ago, but that’s exactly what the Mustangs got.

“Not to make excuses, because even with those kids, Salesian is tough,” Middletown coach Bill Foltmer said. “But we had the fair that weekend. Several starters were not there because they were at the fair showing their animals.”

Yes, when you live in Middletown, the Lake County Fair can be hazardous to football. Other than blue-ribbon livestock, though, Foltmer has no complaints about facing Salesian on Sept. 5.

“To be quite honest, I like playing them,” he said. “If you want to be the best, you’ve got to play the best. It’s a good measuring stick. I think we work a tad harder in preseason knowing we have a tough first game.”

The only problem for the Mustangs? Yeah, it’s fair weekend again.

Kerry Benefield, Lori A. Carter, Phil Barber, Howard Senzell and Ted Sillanpaa contributed to this report.