New leagues mean new start

Area high school football teams start all over again this week.

After what were tough pre-league schedules, local teams get down to the serious business of league play this weekend. And, it will all be different for Petaluma, Casa Grande, St. Vincent and Tomales.

Casa Grande opens league play with a familiar opponent, going to Santa Rosa Friday night to face Montgomery's Vikings. Over the years, the two schools have developed an intense, but friendly, rivalry on the football field.

What is different this season is that their meeting is a league game, as Casa Grande joins the North Bay League for the first time.

Petaluma remains in the Sonoma County League, but will have a new opponent as it hosts Piner Friday night. Piner is moving from the NBL to the SCL.

St. Vincent and Tomales both begin play in the all-new North Central League II/Bay Football League, a hybrid NCL II league that now includes small-school teams from the East Bay.

St. Vincent starts at home with an early evening (5 p.m. kickoff) game against Stellar Prep from Hayward while Tomales begins its league season Saturday afternoon at St. Elizabeth in Oakland.

New league, old rivalry

The only thing new about the Casa Grande vs. Montgomery game at Montgomery is the league. The Gaucho and Vikings are longtime intense rivals, and it doesn't much matter what their records are going into the game.

Last year, Casa Grande enjoyed a 9-4 season, while Montgomery was a disappointing 3-8, and yet the Gauchos had to battle furiously to pull out a 14-10 win.

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