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Casa Grande picked to beat Montgomery


Montgomery (3-0) at Casa Grande (3-0)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Montgomery defeated Washington (SF), 40-0. Casa Grande did not play.

Notable: Following a month of preleague games, NBL play begins tonight with this marquee matchup of unbeaten teams … Kudos to the Montgomery players and staff for the turnaround from 2012 when the Vikings began the season by losing five of six games … Montgomery did not face a team as good as Casa in preleague. Their three opponents (Pinole Valley, Dublin and Washington of SF) are a combined 3-9 … The Gauchos have had two weeks to prepare for this game. "The bye week came at a great time," coach Trent Herzog said. "We were banged up after our battle with Napa (a 31-19 win on Sept. 14). The extra week gave us time to get healthy and also work on some new schemes and get better fundamentally." … Brendon Jackson, the Gauchos' best lineman, will play tonight after missing the first three games with a leg injury … Much in Casa's favor, including home field.

The pick: Casa Grande

Windsor (2-1) at Rancho Cotate (2-1)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Windsor won at Washington (Fremont), 29-23. Rancho Cotate lost at American Canyon, 56-12.

Notable: Against American Canyon, the Cougars 49 points off seven turnovers and that's how the home team scored a majority of its points … "We're not as bad as we looked in that game," coach Ed Conroy said. "We've narrowed our game plan for Windsor. We are going to keep things simple and cut down on our mistakes. I think we'll play much better." … Windsor coach Vic Amick is looking for his team to play hard all four quarters. "We haven't done it yet and that's a bad habit to get into," he said. "We've won two games but we're not going to get away with it against NBL teams. We've just scratched our potential but to go farther, the players are going to have to play hard all the time." … Amick graduated from Rancho and played for Conroy … The Cougars rarely lose at home.

The pick: Rancho Cotate

Maria Carrillo (1-2) at Santa Rosa (2-1)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Maria Carrillo won at Alhambra, 42-21. Santa Rosa lost to Deer Valley, 50-16.

Notable: The Pumas played their best game of the year at Alhambra. "All parts were working," coach Jay Higgins said. "It was a solid effort across the board. If we can come out and play with the same intensity level against Santa Rosa, we'll be in good shape." … During preleague, Higgins was pleased with the play of quarterback Clayton Pool and defensive stalwarts Alex Wrenn and Alex Netherea … In analyzing the loss to Deer Valley, Santa Rosa coach Dave Duncan said the Division I school had players who are bigger and faster than those in the NBL. "It was a learning experience for the kids," he said. "The kids fought through it and played hard to the end." … Vince Jones passed for 236 yards and two touchdowns but running back Jahi Hayes was held to 39 yards which is far below his average … This is the most difficult game on this weekend's schedule to predict.

The pick: Maria Carrillo

Cardinal Newman (2-1) at Ukiah (2-1)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Cardinal Newman did not play. Ukiah did not play.

Notable: Ukiah coach Jeff Burrell said his team has targeted this game for months. "It's always special to play Newman because it give you a gauge of where your team is at," he said … The Wildcats will get a boost from the return of Koa Sibley. The running back had his eligibility reinstated by the NCS after missing the first three games of the year. "With Sibley in the lineup, we're a much better team," Burrell said … Newman coach Paul Cronin said his players used the bye week to focus on their roles. "I think we have made positive strides in our growth as a football team," he said … This series favors the Cardinals in a big way. They've outscored Ukiah, 147-13, over the past four years … To stay competitive, Ukiah must improve its passing game and reduce turnovers.

The pick: Cardinal Newman

Analy (3-1) at Sonoma Valley (2-1)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Analy won at Stellar Prep, 49-6. Sonoma Valley did not play.

Notable: Dragons coach Bob Midgley has spent the week convincing his players they have a shot at beating SCL favorite Analy. "The key is to play sound, fundamental football and prevent big plays," he said. "Their no-huddle offense is tough to prepare for but we're ready." … In nonleague games, Midgley praised the play of Brandon Santano and Alex Gusafson on defense and Dan Deely and Austin Bailey on offense … The Tigers are racking up twice as many passing yards as running yards … Quarterbacks Will Smith and Jacob Royer have combined for 11 touchdown tosses … Leading the defense is T.J. Acheson with 36 tackles and four sacks … Playing at home will help Sonoma Valley, but not enough to get the win.

The pick: Analy

Elsie Allen (1-3) at Healdsburg (3-1)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Elsie Allen lost to Emery, 34-0. Healdsburg beat Piedmont, 40-10.

Notable: The Greyhounds are coming off their best game of the year. "The kids played with energy they hadn't shown in earlier games," coach Todd Beth said. "They played mistake free." … The message Beth has conveyed to the players this week: "No letdown." … Center Connor McKay will miss the game with a herniated disc.

The pick: Healdsburg

Kelseyville (3-0) at St. Helena (2-1)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Kelseyville beat Swett, 60-16. St. Helena did not play.

Notable: This is the best game of the weekend among Empire small schools … Can the St. Helena defense slow down the Kelseyville offense? The Knights are averaging 55 points per game and the Saints allow an average of 7 … With its next victory, Kelseyville will surpass last year's win total … Saints running back Sebastian Segura has gained 464 yards, averaging 7 yards per touch.

The pick: St. Helena

Middletown (1-2) at Willits (0-3)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Middletown defeat El Molino, 48-0. Willits did not play.

Notable: Austin Benson averaged nearly 20 yards per carry in the El Molino game and Nick Borissenko averaged 15 per rush … Josiah Amos passed for 209 yards and three touchdowns … Willits has been shutout twice and scored six points in a loss to Ukiah … This NCL I opener won't be pretty.

The pick: Middletown

Clear Lake (2-1) at Cloverdale (0-3)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Clear Lake lost to South Fork, 28-24. Cloverdale fell to Berean Christian, 26-14.

Notable: In the loss at South Fork, David Mansell and Gabe Oilar-Strong sustained ankle injuries on the same play. That game was played on a muddy field … When the Cardinals and Eagles met last year, Clear Lake prevailed, 39-12.

The pick: Clear Lake

Lower Lake (2-1) at Fort Bragg (1-2)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Lower Lake won at Upper Lake, 40-14. Fort Bragg lost to Galileo, 57-30.

Notable: The Timberwolves are 25-3 at home going back to 2008 … Only three Lower Lake players have gained rushing yards but the trio has put up gaudy numbers — Isazah King (406 yards), Eric Moreno (314) and Mason Sanders (261). Moreno had 154 in the win against Upper Lake and Sanders had 114 … Ryan Dahneke is the Trojans' leading tackler with 19 solos and 17 assists.

The pick: Fort Bragg

Emery (3-1) at Calistoga (4-0)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Emery beat Elsie Allen, 34-0. Calistoga defeated California School for the Deaf, 32-14.

Notable: Calistoga has outscored its opponents, 144-33 … The Wildcats gained 482 yards against the CSD defense … Quarterback Orion Harrell has completed 26 of 51 passes while Dylan Alvarado has rushed for 691 yards … Timmy Montanez leads the Empire with seven interceptions … .This is the fifth consecutive road game for Emery.

The pick: Calistoga

Castlemont (0-3) at Tomales (2-1)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Last week: Castlemont lost to Burton, 48-8. Tomales did not play.

Notable: Anthony Feliciano, the Braves' top rusher, will see extensive action after being sidelined two games with a nagging leg injury. "He's ready to go," coach and father Leon Feliciano said. "We also had a bye week in there and that gave him extra time to heal. We want him to be at full strength when we start league play next weekend." Last year, he rushed for 1,619 yards and gained more than 7 yards per carry … Castlemont has been outscored, 115-14, this season … Last year, the Oakland school was 0-8.

The pick: Tomales

Rincon Valley Christian (1-2) at Anderson Valley (3-1)

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m .

Last week: RVC lost to Mendocino, 54-6. Anderson Valley won at Potter Valley, 34-8.

Notable: Anderson Valley has outscored its opponents, 182-78 … RVC's attack couldn't be more balanced. The Eagles average 156 rushing yards and 155 passing … .Quarterback Daniel Maples leads the way with eight touchdown passes and is the team's leading runner with 342 yards … On defense, senior Ben Crane and freshman Partholow are the leading tackers.