Casa Grande and Petaluma high schools entertain their past and crown royalty at homecoming celebrations this week. Highlight for both will be crucial league football games on Friday night. Both Casa's Gauchos and Petaluma's Trojans are undefeated in their respective leagues going into their homecoming games.
Casa Grande will host Maria Carrillo on the east side of town, while on the west side, Petaluma will welcome El Molino to Durst Field.
Tomales has a tough chore in the North Central League II/Bay Football League, while St. Vincent has a high noon shootout with St. Elizabeth on Saturday at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland.
Pumas no bargain
Casa Grande gets no bargain in its homecoming opponent. After losing their first two games to Analy (63-6) and Benica (31-26), Maria Carrillo's Pumas have run off three straight wins, including two in North Bay League play, to match Casa Grande with a 2-0 league record.
In their two league wins, the Pumas have totaled 92 points in rolling bast Santa Rosa, 50-30, and Windsor, 42-26.
The Casa Grande defense, coming off its first shutout of the season, a 45-0, blanking of Santa Rosa last week, will face a severe test against a Puma offense that has come alive now that league play has begun.
Key to the Maria Carrillo attack is junior quarterback Julian Gonzalez, who, like Casa quarterback JaJuan Lawson is a threat both passing and running.
But Gonzalez doesn't have to carry the Puma load by himself. He has two exceptional running backs in senior Sage Ritchie and exciting sophomore Alex Netherda. Netherda led the way in the win over Windsor, running for 131 yards and scoring three touchdowns.
History, at least this season's history, suggests Maria Carrillo may have a tough time keeping Casa Grande's wide-open offense in check. The Gauchos have scored less than 30 points in only one game this season. That came in their only loss, a 35-14, shut down by Napa. They scored 34 in a 34-21 win over a very good Heritage team and scored more than 40 in each of their other three games.
Last week, Lawson had a huge game, completing 17 of 21 passes for 352 yards and five touchdowns against Santa Rosa. The Gaucho offense is also capable of grinding out the ground yards with 285-pound fullback Elijah Qualls, junior running back John Porchivina and Lawson, who is a threat on both designed and improvised plays.
Maria Carrillo, meanwhile, has held just one team, Alhambra, to under three touchdowns.
Lions are roaring
El Molino's Lions come into Durst Field hoping to spoil the Petaluma homecoming after roaring to their first win last week.
The Lions went through their first four games without scoring a single point, but last week, in their first Sonoma County League contest of the season, they broke loose for six touchdowns in a 42-0 trouncing of Elsie Allen.
While the Lions ride the emotional tide of their first triumph, they come into Trojan territory physically hurting. The Lions, who didn't field a junior varsity team last season, started the season with just 18 players, although 16 were seniors.
They lost perhaps their best player last week when leading rusher Owen Sunk went down with what was apparently a broken ankle.