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Homecomings for PHS, Casa

Published: Friday, October 5, 2012 at 10:28 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 5, 2012 at 10:28 a.m.

Casa Grande and Petaluma high schools entertain their past and crown royalty at homecoming celebrations this week. Highlight for both will be crucial league football games on Friday night. Both Casa’s Gauchos and Petaluma’s Trojans are undefeated in their respective leagues going into their homecoming games.

Casa Grande will host Maria Carrillo on the east side of town, while on the west side, Petaluma will welcome El Molino to Durst Field.

Tomales has a tough chore in the North Central League II/Bay Football League, while St. Vincent has a high noon shootout with St. Elizabeth on Saturday at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland.

Pumas no bargain

Casa Grande gets no bargain in its homecoming opponent. After losing their first two games to Analy (63-6) and Benica (31-26), Maria Carrillo’s Pumas have run off three straight wins, including two in North Bay League play, to match Casa Grande with a 2-0 league record.

In their two league wins, the Pumas have totaled 92 points in rolling bast Santa Rosa, 50-30, and Windsor, 42-26.

The Casa Grande defense, coming off its first shutout of the season, a 45-0, blanking of Santa Rosa last week, will face a severe test against a Puma offense that has come alive now that league play has begun.

Key to the Maria Carrillo attack is junior quarterback Julian Gonzalez, who, like Casa quarterback JaJuan Lawson is a threat both passing and running.

But Gonzalez doesn’t have to carry the Puma load by himself. He has two exceptional running backs in senior Sage Ritchie and exciting sophomore Alex Netherda. Netherda led the way in the win over Windsor, running for 131 yards and scoring three touchdowns.

History, at least this season’s history, suggests Maria Carrillo may have a tough time keeping Casa Grande’s wide-open offense in check. The Gauchos have scored less than 30 points in only one game this season. That came in their only loss, a 35-14, shut down by Napa. They scored 34 in a 34-21 win over a very good Heritage team and scored more than 40 in each of their other three games.

Last week, Lawson had a huge game, completing 17 of 21 passes for 352 yards and five touchdowns against Santa Rosa. The Gaucho offense is also capable of grinding out the ground yards with 285-pound fullback Elijah Qualls, junior running back John Porchivina and Lawson, who is a threat on both designed and improvised plays.

Maria Carrillo, meanwhile, has held just one team, Alhambra, to under three touchdowns.

Lions are roaring

El Molino’s Lions come into Durst Field hoping to spoil the Petaluma homecoming after roaring to their first win last week.

The Lions went through their first four games without scoring a single point, but last week, in their first Sonoma County League contest of the season, they broke loose for six touchdowns in a 42-0 trouncing of Elsie Allen.

While the Lions ride the emotional tide of their first triumph, they come into Trojan territory physically hurting. The Lions, who didn’t field a junior varsity team last season, started the season with just 18 players, although 16 were seniors.

They lost perhaps their best player last week when leading rusher Owen Sunk went down with what was apparently a broken ankle.

That leaves the El Molino offense pretty much in the hands of improving quarterback Frank Nolan, who both passed and ran for touchdowns last week in the Lions’ win.

The game will feature somewhat mirror-image offenses, with both teams running a version of the triple option.

In the past two weeks, the Trojans have run their version very well, controlling the ball at times in a 13-12 win over a good Piner team and controlling it for three quarters before going to their bench in a 33-20 victory over Healdsburg last week. Fullback Sam Spurling rushed for 170 yards in that game as the Trojans totaled 334 as a team.

Petaluma, now 2-4 for the season, will be trying to extend its winning streak to three games.

The Lions, who won just two SCL games last season, can take heart from remembering that one of those wins came against playoff-bound Casa Grande.

On the road

After four straight weeks at home, St. Vincent’s Mustangs go on the road to play St. Elizabeth at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland Saturday afternoon. Kickoff for the varsity game is at noon.

The Mustangs, after being handled by California School for the Deaf, 44-17, last week, will be in bounce-back mode as they take on a winless St. Elizabeth team that is 0-5 on the season and 0-3 in the new North Central League II/Bay Football League.

St. Vincent is 3-2 and 1-1 going into the game. The teams have yet to play a common league opponent, with St. Elizabeth losing to Tomales, 54-8, and Calistoga, 37-0, while St. Vincent beat Stellar Prep, 51-7, before losing to CSD.

St. Vincent quarterback Mitch Sheppard will be trying to extend his two-season (plus one game) touchdown-passing streak that has now reached 16 games.

Brave battle ahead

Tomales High School’s Braves face one of their toughest North Central League LL/Bay Football League battles of the season Friday night when they take on California School for the Deaf in Fremont.

Both teams are 4-1 overall going into the game.

The only difference is that Tomales’ loss was to NCL I power St. Helena in a non-league game, while CSD was beaten by Upper Lake, 20-3, in a league contest.

However, CSD bounced back from that defeat for an impressive, 44-7, league win over St. Vincent last week.

Tomales rambled over its second straight league foe last week, handling Emery, 33-8. The Braves have scored 87 point in just two league games.

this season.

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