Casa Grande, St. Vincent and Tomales show their high-octane offenses to the home folks this week, while Petaluma visits the traditionally unfriendly kennel of Healdsburg's Greyhounds.
The Gauchos, coming off an impressive dismantling of Montgomery in their first North Bay League game, entertain Santa Rosa's much-improved Panthers. St. Vincent continues to play at home against a good California School for the Deaf team and Tomales tries to continue to roll against Emery in this weekend's games. Petaluma's Trojans ride the emotion of their first win of the season to Healdsburg to play at Recreation Park against the Greyhounds. All games, except St. Vincent's, are Friday night. The Mustangs play, as usual, Saturday afternoon.
Tough place to play
Petaluma takes its quest for a second straight SCL win to Recreation Park in Healdsburg, a notoriously difficult place for visiting teams to win against the homestanding Greyhounds.
The game will match two teams that both recorded victories in their opening league games, but in dramatically different fashions.
Petaluma had to battle to the final buzzer to beat Piner, 13-12, while Healdsburg enjoyed a 51-0 romp over Elsie Allen. Overall, Petaluma is 1-4, while Healdsburg is 3-2, although one of its wins was a forfeit victory over Castlemont.
For the first time in 24 years, the Trojans will be meeting a Greyhound team not coached by Tom Kirkpatrick, who retired after last season. He has been replaced by his longtime assistant, Todd Beth.
A key player for Healdsburg is returning two-way starter Jared Walker, who is the Greyhounds' leading rusher on offense and leading tackler on defense. Last week against Elsie Allen, he ran for a touchdown on offense and returned an interception for a touchdown on defense. Combined with Trystan Cleaver, he gives the Greyhounds a difficult to contain one-two rushing punch.
Although Healdsburg will do more running than passing, the Greyhounds have an outstanding quarterback in Scott Reynolds, moving up from the junior varsity, and a fine receiver in returning starter Andrew Kozel.
The combination has helped the Greyhounds score at least three touchdowns in each of their games this season.
They will be running against a Petaluma defense that had its best effort of the season in last week's win over Piner. Scranton and Augie Bundesen were the noticeable standouts for the Trojans, but everyone had a hand in shutting down the Piner running game and containing, if not totally stopping, outstanding Piner quarterback Noel Hernandez.
Petaluma's own offense came to life against Piner, with the Trojan line taking charge and helping alternating fullbacks Sam Spurling and Nikko Respeto combine for 113 rushing yards. Quarterback Patrick Bailey finally hooked up with talented wide receiver Eric Hunsicker for a touchdown on a perfectly executed fade pass.
Gauchos rolling again
Casa Grande's Gauchos, after being ambushed by Napa's Indians in their final pre-league game, began life in the North Bay League with an enjoyable 49-19 rout of Montgomery in Santa Rosa last week. Friday night, back on their home turf, they face Santa Rosa's high-scoring Panthers.
The Panthers are 2-2 on the season, but have shown an ability to score lots of points in a hurry. Only Analy, in the third game of the season, has been able to slow the Santa Rosans.