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It’s a Saturday football special

Published: Friday, September 13, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 11:24 a.m.

It will be an unusual weekend with no Friday night lights for local high school football teams. All four area teams play Saturday, two in the afternoon and two more at night, and all four are coming off wins last week.

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Cody Hughson and Casa Grande’s Gauchos run into Napa’s impressive Memorial Statdium Saturday night to play what coach Trent Herzog says might be their toughtest game of the season.

SUMNER FOWLER/FOR THE ARGUS-COURIER

Facts

EMPIRE FOOTBALL

FRIDAY
Dublin at Montgomery
Point Arena at Anderson
Oakland at Windsor
John Swett at Calistoga
Benicia at Maria Carrillo
Lower Lake at Dunham
Mendocino at Laytonville
Kelseyville at South Fork
Pinole Valley at Rancho Cotate
Berean Christian at Cloverdale
Santra Rosa at Antioch
Healdsburg at Middletown
Miramonte at Analy
SATURDAY
Casa Grande at Napa
Petaluma at Terra Linda
St. Helena at St. Vincent
Marshall at Tomales
Piner at Tamalpais
El Cerrito at Cardinal Newman
Clear Lake at Upper Lake
El Molino at St. Bernard’s
Sonoma Valley at San Marin
Rincon Valley Christian at Round Valley

Petaluma and St. Vincent play in the afternoon, with Petaluma traveling to San Rafael to take on Terra Linda, while St. Vincent is home for the first time this season, hosting St. Helena. Both varsity games are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday night, Casa Grande visits Napa, while Tomales is home to Marshall from San Francisco. Those varsity games kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Toughest opponent

Casa Grande coach Trent Herzog says that, with all due respect to the teams on the Gauchos’ tough North Bay League schedule, Napa may be the best team the Gauchos will play all season. “They have great players. They are big and they are well coached,” he explains. Napa lost its season opener to Burbank from Sacramento, one of the best team’s in the state, 35-9, but bounced back last week to defeat Paradise, 42-21. Napa defeated Casa Grande, 35-14, last season on its way to a 7-4 campaign. The home team is one of the few the Gauchos play this season that can match their size and strength up front. The Napa line is anchored by 6-foot, 7-inch, 315 pound Braden Eggert.

The offense, as Paradise found out, can be impressive. Speedster Derek Poteet gained 183 yards and scored three touchdowns, while quarterback Kyle Beaver threw for three touchdowns. One of those TD throws was to 6-foot, 4-inch tight end Austin Aaron, who is so highly thought of by college recruiters that USC recruiters invited him to their game against Washington State.

Casa Grande goes into the game with a 2-0 record after rallying for a 12-9 win over Brentwood last week. Herzog said the key for the Gauchos was the play of the defense in the second half. “In the first half the defense bent, but it didn’t break,” he said. “It was a totally different defensive team in the second half. It was one of our better defensive efforts. I was very proud of the way our defense played in the second half. “

Herzog said the Gauchos know how good Napa is and how impressive it is to be playing in their Memorial Stadium, which he says is one of the best high school venues anywhere. But the Gauchos are not intimidated. “We know they’re big, but we’re not a small team. We are excited to be playing an opponent like this in a big game,” the coach said.

Trojans vs. Trojans

It will be the Petaluma Trojans against the Terra Linda Trojans when Petaluma, for the second straight week, plays a Saturday triple header in Marin County. Once again, the freshmen will stat things at 9:30 a.m., followed by the junior varsities at 11:30 a.m. and the varsities at 2 p.m. Petaluma’s first trip to Marin was profitable last week ass they took two of three games from Tamalpais. After the Petaluma freshmen lost the opening game, 6-0, both the junior varsity (32-27) and varsity (7-0) rallied to win.

The win evened the Petaluma record at 1-1 for the season, the same mark carried by their Trojan counterparts, who defeated Lowell from San Francisco, 37-26, but lost last week to Sonoma Valley from Petaluma’s Sonoma County League, 42-14. Unlike last week’s Petaluma opponent, Tamalpais, which prefers to pound the ball, the Petalumans might be facing a strong aerial attack this week. Terra Linda quarterback Easton English completed 14 of 26 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort against Sonoma. By contrast, Petaluma quarterbacks Patrick Bailey and Brendan White passed just nine times and completed only two in the Petaluma win over Tam. However, one of those completions was a 21-yard connection between Bailey and Brandon Marweg that set up Petaluma’s game-winning touchdown, a sneak by Bailey in the games’s final seconds.

Big small game

St. Vincent’s first home game after two wins on the road will be a big game for Redwood Empire small-school supremacy. St. Vincent’s homestanding Mustangs are ranked No. 3 among small schools, while St. Helena’s Saints come to town ranked No. 4 after rolling over Tomales from St. Vincent’s North Bay II/Bay Football League before losing last week to Healdsburg from the Sonoma County League, 16-14. Both teams are trying to repeat last season’s success when the Sainta went 11-2, while the Mustangs put together a 10-3 record. Both went deep into the North Coast Section playoffs, with St. Vincent reaching the Division V championship game, while St. Helena reached the Division TV title game. St. Helena dominated the teams’ head-to-head encounter last year, winning 44-14 in St. Helena.

Both teams lost outstanding quarterbacks, with St. Helena’s Richard Hoppe, the Redwood Empire’s Small School Player of the Year, and St. Vincent’s record-setting Mitch Shepard both graduating.

However, both teams have quality talent returning. Junior Jack Preston has proven to be a solid quarterback replacement for St. Helena, while Jack Richardson has had two strong games at quarterback for the Mustangs. Both teams also feature strong ball carriers. Derek Murphy led St. Vincent in rushing last season and ripped off 130 yards and two touchdowns last week.

in a win over Cloverdale last week. Sebastian Segura is a workhorse for the Saints. He ran through a tough Tomales defense for 157 yards in the Saints’ opening game.

Unknown foe

Tomales is playing something of an unknown in its Saturday night game against Marshall. Playing larger schools from San Francisco, the Phoenix were 1-9 last season, forfeiting two games. They have already forfeited once this season, not playing their opening game against San Rafael. It was probably not a bad move considering San Rafael ran up 72 points on them last season. Last week they lost to Oakland Tech, 57-12.

Tomales hosts with a 1-1 record that has them the fifth-rated small school in the Redwood Empire. Last week, playing without leading ground gainer Anthony Feliciano, the Braves still rolled over Elsie Allen from the Sonoma County League, 52-6.

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