Nevada Union (1-2) at Napa (1-2)
Friday, 7:30 p.m., Memorial Stadium
Radio: KVON-1440 AM, 7 p.m.
Last year: Napa pulled out a 35-34, double-overtime thriller at Nevada Union in Grass Valley, the first of seven straight losses to end the season for the 2-8 Miners.
Last week: Nevada Union lost 23-22 to visiting Lincoln of Placer County, which capped the scoring with a field goal with six minutes left. The Miners managed just 75 yards rushing and 66 passing. But junior Dawson Fay scored on a 94-yard kickoff return and he and his brother, senior Hayden Fay, each snagged an interception. Senior QB Owen Dal Bon threw a 44-yard TD pass to Isreal Gonzalez, and Tyler Nielson scored on a 1-yard run. All are returning starters.
Napa picked up its first win, 28-13 at Archbishop Riordan in San Francisco, outgaining the Crusaders 244-208 behind Caden Cortese three rushing TDs and scoring pass.
“Caden had a good game, but it’s due to having guys like Brandon Herter and Dawson Trent running the ball well,” Napa head coach Jesus Martinez said, adding that junior Carlos Mendez spelled Herter well on some plays in his varsity debut. “And our timing’s getting a little better with our passing. That was one of the most athletic teams we have ever faced, really really fast, and physical on defense. But we were able to run our game and go right at them and come out of there with a win.”
Martinez on NU: “I’m sure a couple of the kids who were on the team last year have that game in their mind. I know Caden mentioned about how many rushing yards they had,” the coach said of the 274 the Miners had out of their deceptive wing-T offense, helping them outgain Napa 359-353 in overall yardage. “Nevada Union has a great program and you can never count them out. There’s a reason they’ve had the success they’ve had over many many years. They play good, disciplined football.”
— Andy Wilcox
Justin-Siena (0-3) at Hercules (3-0)
Friday, 7 p.m., Hercules High School
First meeting: It will be the first time the Braves have played the Titans, whose school opened in 2001.
Last week: Justin-Siena fell at home, 51-7 to state-ranked Bishop O’Dowd. Hercules defeated visiting Galileo of San Francisco, 20-14.
No shutouts: Though significantly overmatched for the third straight game, the Braves once again managed to get on the scoreboard – this time with junior QB Barrett Donohoe’s first varsity TD pass, a 13-yarder to Ron Carretti Jr., late in the third quarter.
“I thought we took a step back in Week 2 against Sacred Heart Cathedral , but I thought we took a step in the right direction last week, especially against the best or second-best opponent we’ll see all year,” Justin-Siena head coach Brandon LaRocco said. “We still have a lot of work to do on execution, consistency and making plays, but I was pleased with the fight and the effort in the Bishop O’Dowd game. If you’re not playing hard every snap, the scheme makes no difference.”
More speed: LaRocco said Hercules senior Tashyia Smith is a good running back, senior WR Emany Johnson is a “big, physical, fast, deep-ball receiver,” and senior Kris Miles is “a good little speed guy who runs some underneath stuff and jet sweeps. They have good athletes. Fortunately, we’ve seen a lot of speed, so it’s not something new to us. We just have to play better against it.”
Hoping to be overlooked: The competition obviously has a lot to do with the Braves’ winless start – their second opponent, Sacred Heart Cathedral, is 2-1 but ranked 206th in the state by MaxPreps, and O’Dowd is No. 34.
“They say you learn more from losing than winning; if that’s true, we’ve learned a lot these last two weeks about our team,” LaRocco said. “Nobody likes to be 0-3, but if we focus on the right stuff, we’ll win games. I kinda like being the underdog, the discounted team. This puts a nice chip on our shoulder. Hopefully the kids take it that way and feel they have something to prove.
“The flip side is when you play teams of this caliber is your flaws get exposed pretty quick, so we have a pretty good idea of what we need to fix. More juniors are starting on the team than I can remember, and in important roles, and that exposure against high-caliber opponents will hopefully serve us well as we make our way into league.”
Must-win: Even though it’s the Braves’ last nonleague game, they will need at least five wins by the end of the regular season to make the section playoffs. LaRocco said that with Hercules being a Division IV team like Justin-Siena, a loss would hurt even more. “In the next six games, we don’t have a lot of margin for error. We need to play well this week,” the coach said.
— Andy Wilcox
Wood (1-2) at American Canyon (0-3)
Friday, 7:30 p.m., at Wolf Den Stadium
Radio: KVYN-99.3 FM, 6:45 p.m.
Last week: American Canyon lost to Inderkum-Sacramento, 53-0. Wood lost 34-23 to Liberty-Brentwood.
Last year: American Canyon beat Wood, 71-36.
A look at Wood: Daniel McFadden already has 576 yards rushing and six touchdowns for Wood. McFadden is averaging 8.7 yards per carry and 192 yards per game.
“They’re big,” Wolves head coach Larry Singer said of Wood. “They have good size on the offensive and defensive line. They’re putting a little bit more into their run game. They’ve got good receivers. Offensively, they’re very well coached and I think they’ve improved on defense since last year. It should be a good test for us.”
Wood started off the season by beating Concord, 49-12. The Wildcats then lost to River Valley-Yuba City, 36-22.
Looking to clean up mistakes: The Wolves had five turnovers in last week’s game.
“Mentally, we have to be tougher,” said Singer. “We can’t let one mistake snowball into three, four and five mistakes.”
Inderkum capitalized on American Canyon’s mistakes.
“Inderkum is big, physical, athletic. If you make those mistakes, they’ll pounce on them. And you find yourself in a hole. And that’s what happened to us,” said Singer.
Bright spot for American Canyon: Singer said the offensive line showed improvement. The Wolves had 109 yards rushing and quarterback LaVar Seay completed 6 of 14 passes for 120 yards.
“Unfortunately, we put the ball on the ground a lot of the times,” said Singer. “It’s not a knock on our offensive line. But you don’t go very far when you’re fumbling the football.”
As a position group, the offensive line looked much better as far as making adjustments and recognizing shifts on the defense.
“We’ll see if we can carry that through and build on it,” said Singer.
Nonleague season continues: American Canyon plays its final nonleague game on Sept. 22 at home against Mission-San Francisco. After that, it’s on to the Solano County Athletic Conference season.
– Marty James
Vintage (2-0) at Woodcreek (1-2)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
at Woodcreek High, Roseville
Last week: Vintage beat Davis, 15-13, in the Crushers’ Hall of Fame Game. Isaiah Garcia ran for 113 yards and scored on a 3-yard run and James Robert had 91 yards rushing and scored on a 7-yard run.
Woodcreek lost to Antelope, 35-27. Carter Krupp led Woodcreek, running for two touchdowns.
Last year: Vintage lost to Woodcreek, 17-7.
A look at Woodcreek: The Timberwolves play in the Sierra Foothill League, maybe the strongest league in all of Northern California. The SFL includes Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills, Granite Bay, Rocklin, Folsom and Del Oro-Loomis.
“They’re a great program. They’re well coached. You can tell by film they’re disciplined,” coach Dylan Leach said. “They’re big and strong. I think that we kind of have the same type of matchup as far as being big and strong and disciplined. I think it’s pretty even in that aspect. They’re like us, where they don’t have a ton of (substitutes). It might be a battle of attrition at this point.”
A need to be better in the red zone: Vintage had 267 yards rushing out of its pistol veer base offense last week, but not the kind of point production that Leach would like to see. The Crushers have been hurt in this area by penalties and missed assignments, said Leach. “We’ve been moving the ball within the 30s, but we’ve been shooting ourselves in the foot in the red zone. That’s got to be the emphasis for us this week,” said Leach.
Defense is dynamite: The Crushers are getting the job done on defense, particularly against the run.
“I really think the defensive staff is doing a great job of preparing our kids to play, to where they’re only reacting. They’re not having to think on the field,” said Leach. “I think that’s a plus. Very excited and happy for our defensive coaches and the kids. They’re playing very well. We’re going to need to keep that up to have a chance in these games moving forward.”
Looking to stop skid: Vintage has lost three in a row to Woodcreek, falling in 2015 (21-3) in 2014 (27-3).
“This is a big test for us, we know that going in. We have to prepare,” said Leach.
Woodcreek lost its season opener to Sheldon-Sacramento, 63-6, and then beat Davis, 55-34.
— Marty James
St. Helena (1-1, 0-1 NCL I) at
Cloverdale (2-1, 1-0 NCL I)
Friday night, 7:30 p.m.,
Cloverdale High School
Last year: Niko Lopez amassed 202 rushing yards and scored three times in a 33-0 shutout of the Eagles in the Saints’ home opener. It came after a blowout of Drake and a Week 2 loss to Kelseyville, the same situation St. Helena finds itself in once again.
Last week: As mentioned, St. Helena fell behind 21-0 at halftime to visiting Kelseyville last Friday but scored 14 unanswered to get back in it. However, a wasted first-and-goal opportunity and another empty drive inside Knights’ territory in the fourth quarter left the Saints short in the end, 28-14.
“We just fought, which is good,” said Saints head coach Brandon Farrell Tuesday. “Any time you fight and you don’t give in, you’ve got a good chance of being successful … It’s just that unfortunately you have 20 halves of football, or 40 quarters or 10 games – whatever you want to call it – and we let half of that game get by us without knowing what hit us.”
Cloverdale forced six turnovers and even saw a running clock in the fourth quarter on Saturday in Petaluma, beating league foe St. Vincent 35-0.
Not your older brother’s NCL I: So get this – last week Clear Lake beat winless Fort Bragg in overtime, Lower Lake and Kelseyville are currently undefeated, and Cloverdale opened the season with a win over Berean Christian, a team that – prior to 2017 – had won 19 games the past two seasons.
Scouting Cloverdale: The Eagles spread the ball around and run most of their offense through senior QB James Wirt, who leads the team in rushing yards and ran for a 51-yard TD against St. Vincent. Cesar Buenrostro and BJ Grady also get a bulk of the carries, and receiver Christian Chavez could become a problem if the Saints have any miscues like they did last week, allowing a breakdown that led to a wide-open 36-yard TD pass.
“They’re going to give us a lot of problems,” Farrell said. “They have a nicer run-pass balance than even Kelseyville … They’ve got some big, up front linemen a little bit bigger than what we’ve seen the past two games so that’ll be a challenge. They run a lot with the quarterback downhill rather than option-style. So they’ll lead with their quarterback, and they’ve got some nice players, for sure, and we’re going to have to play well.”
— Yousef Baig
Calistoga (3-0) at
Anderson Valley (0-1)
Friday night, 7 p.m.
Anderson Valley High, Boonville
Last year: Calistoga’s Flavio Fernandez broke up a pass as time expired to give the Wildcats a thrilling 29-26 win on homecoming night at the Napa County Fairgrounds. He also got it done on offense, scoring three TDs on the ground and one in the air, hitting Kevin Pulido on a 37-yard TD pass.
Last week: The Wildcats continued their early-season tear, trouncing first-year program Roseland Collegiate Prep 66-24. Fernandez scored six total TDs in the win.
The Panthers lost to defending Redwood Bowl champions Rincon Valley Christian 35-0.
Going, going, gone: The shortest scoring play for Calistoga last week was a meager 21-yard TD run by Fernandez in the second quarter. The other plays went for 25, 31, 32, 39, 70, 40, 23, and 30, respectively.
“We have to be a quick-hitter on offense, and that’s what we’ve been able to do so far and that’s what we have to continue doing Friday night,” said Calistoga head coach Mike Ervin. “Every time we hand off the football or throw the ball, our goal is to score and as fast as we can get there.”
Running up the score is OK: During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Calistoga is partaking in a national initiative put on by MaxPreps.com. For every TD scored by participating programs, donations from local fans will be sent directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For more information or to donate to Calistoga’s effort, visit touchdownsagainstcancer.com.
“Craig (Wycoff), our principal, has had cancer,” Ervin said. “I’ve had cancer, but not at the level these little kids do. To be honest with you, that’s the heartbreaking part, to see those kids be sick like they are. We’re going to do everything we can to donate money to them.”
Scouting Anderson Valley: Playing the Grizzlies last week does more than continue the Wildcats’ early season rhythm. The Panthers, like RCP, run sweeps and counters but do it out of a split backfield. Considering the Wildcats’ defense showed that it can stay home on enough plays to get the job down on defense.
“They get after you, and John (Toohey, head coach) spends a great deal of time setting up to stop us, and they did a great deal of that last year,” Ervin said of the Panthers’ defense.
— Yousef Baig