Petaluma (3-1) at American Canyon (0-4)
Friday, 7 p.m.
At Wolf Den Stadium, American Canyon High School
Radio: KVYN-99.3 FM, 7 p.m.
Last week: Petaluma won, 56-31 over El Molino-Forestville.
American Canyon lost, 28-22 to Wood-Vacaville.
League opener: Friday’s game is the Vine Valley Athletic League opener. The new league is part of the CIF North Coast Section.
“We’re looking forward to getting into this new VVAL,” American Canyon coach John Montante said Wednesday. “Everybody had had their preseason schedule. Everybody has got their strengths, their weaknesses. I think we’re going to have some parity in this league. It should be fun. Everybody is going to be well coached every week. Teams are going to have to bring their ‘A’ game. It’s encouraging that the records are set back to 0-0. We’re looking forward to competing and contending.”
Showing improvement: American Canyon has nonleague losses to Deer Valley-Antioch, 36-21, Inderkum-Sacramento, 69-0, Amador Valley-Pleasanton, 42-13, and Wood.
“Every week we’ve had growth,” said Montante. “Every week we’ve gotten better. Every week the ball security has gotten better. Every week the tackling has gotten better, the fundamentals have gotten better. And the coaching staff has learned how to work better together as a group. A lot of the staffs that we’re playing against have been together for, in many cases, years. And we’re together for weeks. The guys are dedicated to the kids. The kids are battling and they’re fighting. There’s good unity and camaraderie. The kids see the growth. Everyone is encouraged. I think we’re going to hit our stride at the right time of the year.”
A look at Petaluma: The Trojans opened the season with a win over Montgomery-Santa Rosa, 21-7. They lost to Santa Rosa, 42-26, and beat Terra Linda-San Rafael, 21-7.
“Petaluma is a very disciplined team,” said Montante. “They’re well coached. They’ve got really tenacious, physical linemen that get after you. They run hard with the football.”
— Marty James
Sonoma Valley (1-3) at Napa (0-4)
Friday, 7 p.m.
At Napa Memorial Stadium
Radio: KVON-1440 AM, 7 p.m.
Last week: Sonoma Valley won, 24-8 over El Camino-South San Francisco.
Napa lost 40-31 to Archbishop Riordan-San Francisco. Gunner Schoeps had a big game for Napa, completing 16 of 31 passes for 265 yards and running for 109 yards on 18 carries and scoring four touchdowns. Diego Olvera caught four passes for 110 yards, Brock Bowers caught six passes for 75 yards, and Kalani Posey caught five passes for 68 yards.
Coach Tom Petithomme said the offense is showing signs of clicking, but added that penalties and turnovers are hurting Napa.
“If we clean that up, we’re going to be a lot better,” Petithomme said Wednesday. “Every week we take two steps forward and then one step back.”
League opener: Friday’s game is the Vine Valley Athletic League opener. The new league is part of the CIF North Coast Section. Napa will play six league games.
“We’re having a good week of practice,” said Petithomme.
Sonoma Valley opened the season with three straight losses, falling to Cloverdale, 21-0, El Molino-Forestville, 14-7, and Kennedy-Richmond, 6-0.
Posey questionable: Posey, who suffered a bruised rib in the fourth quarter of last week’s game, is questionable for Friday’s game, Petithomme said.
“He’s one of our big weapons,” Petithomme said. “He’s taking it easy this week. He’s not practicing much.”
Plans to dedicate game: Petithomme said he is planning to dedicate Friday’s game to his father-in-law, John Norton of St. Paul, Minnesota, who passed away Wednesday.
“Losing a family member, it’s hard,” said Petithomme. “It’s hard to lose a good guy like that.”
Petithomme’s wife, Kelsey Petithomme, is in St. Paul with other family members.
— Marty James
Calistoga (2-1) vs. Point Arena (2-0)
Saturday 2 p.m.
At Point Arena High School
Last Week: Calistoga beat Upper Lake 39-20. Point Arena beat Anderson Valley 60-6.
Previous Meeting: Point Arena had to forfeit their last meeting against Calistoga in 2016. In 2015, Point Arena beat Calistoga 48-26.
Limiting Sundstrom: Jared Sundstrom is the do-it-all quarterback for the Pirates. He’s 14-for-24 passing on the season with 263 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. The senior does most of his damage on the ground, though, with 470 yards and eight rushing scores on 32 carries this year. He’s the focal point of the Pirates’ offense and will be need to be slowed down if the Wildcats want a shot at winning.
“He’s a big kid, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds or something like that,” said Calistoga head coach Jim Klaczak. “He’s obviously big running back, quarterback, whatever. … Obviously their offense is based around him.”
Wildcat reinforcements: Calistoga played its first three games this season with an incomplete roster. They’ve gained some players here and there whether it’s becoming eligible or joining the team late. Their numbers will increase again this week and they hope they’ll improve for their next game as well. They now have a bye week next week because Anderson Valley cancelled the remainder of their season.
“We’ve got just about everybody cleared,” Klaczak said.” I’m hoping that we’re going to be at about 16 or 17 for the game. What the Anderson Valley game does is it gives us a bye week before we start league and it gives us a chance to heal up and get all those kids out.”
Tackling a key: The Pirates wield some serious size. They have five players who weigh over 215 pounds.
“We’re definitely emphasizing tackling. We want to make sure we bring these guys down right away and don’t allow them those extra couple yards just because they’re a little bit bigger.”
— Gus Morris
St. Helena (2-1) vs. Kelseyville (2-1)
Friday 7 p.m.
At St. Helena High School
Last Week: Neither team played because of bye weeks. The week before, Kelseyville beat Biggs 54-22, and St. Helena fell to Winters 49-21
Previous Meeting: Kelseyville beat St. Helena 28-14 last season.
Big Plays: One glaring weakness of the Saints that the Knights will try to exploit is their trouble limiting big plays. Against Winters, the Saints allowed four scoring plays of 33 yards or more.
“We’ve tried to address that area in these two weeks for sure,” said St. Helena head coach Brandon Farrell. “Obviously that’s been one of the glaring weaknesses of our team, big runs around the edge and big pass plays that we’ve allowed. But the kids are getting better, they’re getting more receptive to what we want out of them on the edge and out of the pass game.
Bye Week: This season’s bye week came at a good time for the Saints. In the two weeks they’ve had to prepare for league play, they’ve regrouped and gotten as healthy as they’ve been all season.
“We don’t have any dramatic injuries that are keeping us away,” said Farrell. “We added a couple pieces back to the mix and we look forward to adding them in to see what they can do and that helps because we’re kind of really thin in the running back area the last couple weeks. So now we have a couple more options.”
Stopping the run: To beat the Knights, St. Helena will also need to limit their potent backfield. All seven of Kelseyville’s scores came on the ground as the Knights rushed for 356 yards against Biggs two weeks ago.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how we match up because I think one of our strengths is our front guys but we gotta play, to,” said Farrell. “So that’s going to be a challenge because we haven’t been challenged right up the middle like they’re going to challenge us this week.”
— Gus Morris
Justin-Siena (3-1) at Casa Grande (0-4)
Friday, 7 p.m.
At Casa Grande High School
Last week: Case Grande lost its third straight home game, 41-7 to Maria Carrillo. Justin-Siena won its third straight home game, 39-8 over Hercules.
Introductions necessary: These programs have never met before.
Quarterback switch: Casa Grande switched from returning senior QB Jadon Bosarge – who threw for 719 yards and eight TDs during last year’s 8-2 season – to junior Miguel Robertson after Bosarge threw for 412 yards and four TDs in losses to Windsor and Montgomery. Robertson was 15 for 25 for 125 yards and one TD in losses to San Marin and Maria Carrillo. The Gauchos have rushed for only 200 yards as a team.
“They’re definitely a pass-first team, but they are still really efficient in the run game,” Justin-Siena head coach Brandon LaRocco said. “They also have good size up front. It’s important for our box players to keep their eyes on their keys and not just bail out on pass when the ball is snapped. Their two outside receivers (juniors Rashad Nixon and Dominic McHale) are good at going up and getting the ball and the running back (junior Matt Herrera) runs and catches out of the backfield well.”
Strong out of the gate: Casa Grande has had strong first halves in its last two games, and moved the ball well last week before getting intercepted three times in the Maria Carrillo end zone.
“We need to make sure we come out with a really good focus on our assignments. It’s important to avoid mental mistakes when you are playing a team that starts fast,” LaRocco said. “We certainly don’t want to dig ourselves into a hole feeling a team like this out, because they aren’t afraid to take vertical shots early and often.”