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Casa Grande and Petaluma football teams hit the road

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It’s on the road again for area football teams this week as Petaluma and Casa Grande both travel.

Petaluma’s Trojans visit old friends when they play at Arnold Field against Sonoma Valley’s Dragons on Friday night, while Casa Grande’s Gauchos go to Memorial Stadium to face Napa’s Indians. St. Vincent’s Mustangs have an unwanted bye.

The Trojans are anxious to get back on the field after using their bye week to heal hurts in preparation for a stretch run in pursuit of a North Coast Section playoff berth.

Although both Petaluma and Sonoma Valley are new to the Vine Valley Athletic League, they are certainly no strangers to one another, having competed together for the past several years in the Sonoma County League.

The Dragons shocked their new league by beating Napa, 28-16, in their first VVAL game. They have gone on to compile a 2-2 league mark and are 3-5 overall.

However, the Dragons are coming off a 40-7 disappointment at Casa Grande last week, and they are looking forward to getting on their own field for homecoming this week.

Petaluma is 1-2 in its VVAL debut and 4-3 overall.

The game matches a pair of basically ground teams.

Petaluma, like Sonoma Valley, likes to control the ball, using fullbacks Colton Prieto and Derick Pomi to pound between a very good offensive line. However, the Trojans also have big-play capabilities, with quarterback Cole Powers able gobble up big chunks of yardage and speedster Garrett Freitas capable of going to the house on any down from any spot on the field. Freitas has rushed for 639 yards despite missing a game with an injury.

Sonoma Valley, although it had its problems, many caused by penalties and turnovers, against Casa Grande last week, has similar ground weapons. Quarterback Jake Baker burned the Gauchos with a 45-yard run last week, and senior Ryan Sherwood averages better than 7 yards a carry.

After last week’s impressive win over Sonoma Valley, Casa Grande’s Gauchos are hoping to duplicate last season’s furious finish as they go into Memorial Stadium to take on Napa’s league-winless Indians.

Last season, Casa Grande won four of its last five games to reach the North Coast Section playoffs after an 0-6 start. This year, they lost their first four games, but have won two of their last three, and have a shot at a break-even season and a return to the playoffs.

It starts Friday night with a Napa team that has given up points by the truck full in an 0-7 season. The Indians allow an average of 44 points a game.

However, they are coming off their best game of a disappointing season, losing a battle to Justin-Siena, 36-32, last week.

Casa Grande can expect to face an aerial bombardment with Napa junior quarterback Isaiah Newton throwing to elusive speedster Brock Bowers.

Casa Grande is also coming off its best all-around game of the season, but its was the winning 40-7 effort over Sonoma Valley.

Casa was perfectly balanced against the Dragons, with quarterback Jadon Bosarge passing for 217 yards and eight different ball carriers combining for 217 rushing yards. Bosarge completed 11 of 19 passes and two touchdowns. He also led all rushers with 107 yards. Matt Hererra added 66 yards on the ground.

To move the ball on the ground against the Gauchos, Napa is going to have to get by a strong Casa front line led by Matthew Murphy, backed by linebacker Jack Green. The duo tore Sonoma up last week, with Murphy making five solo tackles (six total), including two for loss, and Green seven tackles, including one for loss, with an assist on another tackle for loss.

For the second time this season, St. Vincent has had an opponent give up football during the season. The Mustangs were able to find a replacement earlier in the year, salvaging homecoming when Piner was able to fill in.

This week, there will be no substitute for Madison Park Academy, and St. Vincent will use the week to prepare for its final regular-season game on Oct. 20 against Harker from San Jose.

St. Vincent will bring portable lights to Yarbrough Field for that historic 7 p.m. game.