It is the calm before the league storm for area high school football teams this week.
There is only one game on the agenda, with Petaluma High hosting Jefferson from Daly City. Casa Grande, St. Vincent and Tomales all take the week off to heal hurts and prepare for the start of league seasons.
Petaluma's Trojans play Friday night at Steve Ellison Field against a new Jefferson team that comes to town with an 0-2 record after losing to Aragon from San Mateo, 50-0, and St. Patrick-St. Vincent from Vallejo, 63-0.
"I don't know much about them other than what I've seen on film and what our scout has told me," said Petaluma coach Rick Krist. "It's a new program with a new coach. It looks like they are athletic and they are going to be bigger than us."
Petaluma hosts the game with a 1-2 record, sandwiching a 7-0 win over Tamalpais between losses to Santa Rosa (33-0) and, last week, Terra Linda (33-18).
Petaluma's first Sonoma County League game, coming up in Santa Rosa on Saturday, Sept. 28, will be a big one as the Trojans face Piner's Prospectors, one of the SCL title favorites. The much-improved Prospectors are 2-0 going into a Friday game at Hercules.
Top favorite for the title is Analy's defending champion Tigers, the No. 4-ranked team in the Redwood Empire despite last week's 23-13 loss to Miramonte that dropped them to 2-1 on the season.
Another SCL team in title contention is Sonoma Valley's Dragons, winners of their first two games before losing to a strong San Marin team, 47-19 last week.
Casa Grande's Gauchos reach their bye week with a perfect 3-0 record and the No. 1 ranking among large schools in the Redwood Empire. The Gaucho season thus far has consisted of wins over Eureka (31-13), Heritage (12-7) and Napa (31-19).
Casa gets no break in its North Bay League opener, hosting Montgomery's vastly improved Vikings, the No. 5-rated team in the Redwood Empire with a 2-1 record.
In fact, the Gauchos get no break the entire NBL season. To claim their first NBL title they will have to fight through defending champion Cardinal Newman (2-1), ranked No. 3 in the Redwood Empire; Rancho Cotate (2-0), ranked No. 2; Montgomery and an upstart Santa Rosa team that has won its first two games.
St. Vincent's Mustangs have a home opener in their second year in the North Central II/Bay Football League on Sept. 28 against Steller Prep from Hayward. The Mustangs won two of three pre-league games, defeating St. Bernard's, 26-0, and Cloverdale, 21-6, before losing a tough 12-7 decision to St. Helena last week.
Stellar Prep made a promising start in its first year of football last season, showing flashes of potential in a 2-8 season. This year, it has a very ambitious pre-league schedule. It has already lost to Mendota, 51-12, and Oakland, 37-8, and Friday night faces Analy the No. 4-ranked large school in the Redwood Empire. Among the teams the Mustangs will have to deal with if they are to repeat as league champions are California School for the Deaf (1-1), last season's co-champions and a highly regarded Calistoga (3-0) team. CSD and Calistoga play Friday night at CSD in an early season showdown game.