Petaluma continued to piece together a terrific turn around football season as the Trojans routed Elsie Allen, 55-0, in Santa Rosa on Friday night.
After dropping four consecutive season opening games, the Trojans have bounced back to capture all four Sonoma County League contests and set up what seemed earlier to be an unlikely crucial head-to-head clash with undefeated Analy in two weeks for the Sonoma County League lead.
Petaluma had no trouble with the host Lobos, turning every ball possession in the first half into touchdowns en route to a commanding 41-0 advantage. Most of the Trojans' offense came on a crunching ground game anchored by heavy duty fullback work by Sam Spurling and Nikko Respeto.
Spurling and Respeto completely controlled the inside running game, bulling over Lobo tacklers with tremendous help up front from crisp blocking by the Trojan offensive line.
The Trojans scored three times in each of the first two periods to make it possible for coach Rick Krist to completely clear the bench against the outmanned Lobos.
Petaluma was quarterbacked by Patrick Bailey in the first half, while Branden Marweg got all the snaps in the final two periods. Bailey threw for a 37-yard touchdown to Danny Murphy to open the second period. Murphy also had one of the three picks in the Trojan secondary.
Petaluma tacked on a couple of touchdowns in the second half, and the officials asked for a running clock during the entire fourth period.
While offense took much of the center stage in this one, it was the Trojan defense that completely took the winless Elsie Allen club out of the contest.
Petaluma intercepted three passes by Lobo quarterback Jalin Busby, and returned two for touchdowns. The longest runback was turned in by junior Joe Lynch, who scampered 89 yards for a score in the final seconds of the first half.
The Trojans accounted for 168 return yards for three touchdowns, including a pair of thefts and an alert pickup of a fumble early in the second quarter.
Busby was able to spot nearly 100 yards throwing the ball for the Lobos, but most of his efforts came under tremendous pressure up front from the Trojans. Jose Rubalcaba battled for most of the hard-earned running yards for Elsie Allen.
Almost every Trojan defender had a hand in this outstanding team effort, but Ricki Decarli and Maxwell Krieg had multiple stops.
Petaluma captured the junior varsity contest 40-8. The Trojan teams get a well earned break with a SCL bye next week.
Up Against The Wall: Read Phil Barber's story on the Dawn Wall climbers at Sonoma Magazine.