Acalanes (2-0) at Vintage (2-0)
Friday, 7 p.m., Memorial Stadium
Radio: KVON 1440 AM, 6:30 p.m.
Last week: Acalanes routed Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep in San Francisco, 44-14, after leading just 10-7 at halftime. Vintage won 29-9 at El Cerrito.
Last year: Vintage fell 28-27 to visiting Acalanes, scoring 12 unanswered points in the fourth quarter but missing the tying extra point after a penalty on a two-point conversion moved the ball back to the 7-yard line.
Familiar face: In his fourth year as Acalanes head coach is Floyd Burned, 72, who coached several powerhouse teams at Miramonte-Orinda for 20 years before taking the Solano Community College helm from 2002 until the Falcons’ football program was disbanded in 2012.
Not pass happy: Acalanes junior quarterback Brady Hutchingson has already thrown for 399 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions, but is only 19 of 30 passing. He and his backup have thrown for 472 yards, but Acalanes has rushed for 375.
“When you watch film, they are a run-first team,” Vintage head coach Dylan Leach said. “They run GT (between the guards and tackles) very well, and counters, and they run inside zone very well, and a speed option. They do a lot of things very well, but I think people get enamored by the passing yards. Their passing game is simple yet effective. They pick on certain players and find the weak link. They’re very smart and disciplined on offense, and it’s our job to not give them someone to pick on. We’re going to have to do a good job of making sure that we make those adjustments. We feel if we can stop the run and put them in a pass-first situation, we have the upper hand.”
Something’s gotta give: Vintage has allowed nine points against two quality foes, while Acalanes has scored 119 against Armijo and SHC.
“Our defense is flying around with discipline. They’re starting to understand where they’re supposed to be, and our staff does a great job of preparing them,” Leach said.
Revenge factor: The Crushers responded to last year’s heartbreaker against Acalanes with a 10-game win streak, and they’ve already avenged last year’s loss to Wood.
“The revenge factor was a talking point before the Wood game, but now we have a team that’s rated higher than us and we need to do all the right things and be disciplined,” Leach said of the No. 15 Dons. “Coach Burnsed has been a legend coaching in the high school and junior college ranks for a long time. He does a great job. He knows how to make adjustments, so I’m not worried too much about our kids thinking about anything except the task at hand, and it’s gonna be a tough task.”
Napa (1-1) at Vallejo (1-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Napa lost 20-14 in overtime to visiting Nevada Union. Vallejo won 24-20 at Fairfield in its season opener, avenging last year’s 28-26 home loss.
Last meeting: Napa blanked Vallejo 36-0 at Memorial Stadium in 2013.
Historic rivalry game: After Napa held Vallejo to 48 total yards in 2013, the teams discontinued what had been the third-oldest football rivalry in the state – one dating back to 1898. Vallejo also has a long rivalry with Fairfield, which took a 22-21 edge in the series, according to the Daily Republic of Fairfield.
Redhawks to watch: Two seniors hit the century mark for Vallejo last week – quarterback Gerald Greene (9 of 14 passing for 103 yards, one touchdown) and running back Jaymes Hart (130 yards, one TD, five carries). Hart, whose scoring run was from 85 yards out, also returned a kickoff 84 yards to the house. Two other seniors had big plays, Jacarri Brown with a 90-yard touchdown kickoff return and Jaquan Edwards with a 50-yard scoring catch.
— Andy Wilcox
St. Helena (2-0) at Winters (0-1)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Winters High School
Last week: St. Helena shutout Drake, 52-0. Winters lost to Dixon, 28-14.
Last year: Winters beat St. Helena, 49-21, behind a big game from then-Warriors quarterback Daniel Carrion in Week 3 last season. The senior had four rushing touchdowns and one passing, and accumulated almost 400 yards of offense by himself.
New QB threat: Even with the departure of Carrion, who is now playing baseball at UC Davis, Winters still has a dangerous playmaker in quarterback Carson Lowrie. The junior recorded 22 carries for 168 rushing yards and two scores, including one run for 64 yards. He also completed 7 of his 17 pass attempts for 70 yards, accounting for 80 percent of the Warriors’ 296 total yards against the Rams.
“They’re traditionally physical and I don’t see anything different in this game film we watched,” said St. Helena head coach Brandon Farrell “They bring a wide open spread offense but they double that with playing very physical. (Head coach) Dan (Ward) does a good job of preparing them and they play tough teams throughout his tenure, so they’ll be ready for us and the physical pounding that we hope to portray ourselves as, as well.”
Defensive improvements: The Saints’ defense is rolling right now after shutting out Drake last week. But Winters will present a different challenge than what they’ve seen so far this season. Farrell thinks his unit is ready for it.
“I really like how the team is moving together as a unit, that makes a big difference,” Farrell said. “We seem to get better on film each week in terms of making reads. We have a ways to go. … But I think honestly we’re doing pretty well on the defensive side of the ball, and if we get better I think we could be very, very dangerous on the defensive side of the ball.”
Saints running and rolling: St. Helena’s multi-pronged rushing attack has been as dangerous as advertised two games into the season. Sophomore Ivan Robledo (6 rushing touchdowns, 337 rushing yards) and juniors Cody DiTomaso (3 rushing touchdowns, 202 rushing yards) and George Cutting (2 rushing touchdowns, 119 rushing yards) have led the charge thus far.
“I thought there were things that we improved on and things that we can still get better at,” Farrell said. “I would say we’re still not to the level of explosiveness that I think we can get to on the offensive side of the ball. We have to continue to work on some of supplementary plays and schemes to get more dynamic because teams will get better and they’ll start figuring us out and settle into what works for them and start putting in gameplans to stop what we do. So we have to add some counters and get better at those counters.”
Road Warriors: This will be the Saints first road game of the 2019 season. It’s also the start of three-game stretch of games away from home. St. Helena has their bye week following the Winters game, then will be at Kelseyville (Sept. 20) and then Clear Lake (Sept. 27). The Saints next home game is Oct. 4 against Willits.
“This is our first opportunity to show our make up on the road, and we aren’t coming home for a long time,” Farrell said. “The kids know that, so it’s a great opportunity to focus in ourselves and get better ourselves and see where the next four weeks take us.”
— Gus Morris
Justin-Siena (2-0) at Armijo (0-2)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Brownlee Field, Fairfield
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Last week: Justin-Siena defeated host Healdsburg, 27-0. Armijo lost to visiting Pioneer-Woodland, 41-21.
Last year: Justin-Siena hosted Armijo in the programs’ first-ever meeting and won 40-14.
Bertani Bowl II: Dylan Bertani, who played for Justin-Siena as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Armijo, is in his second season as a fullback and outside linebacker for the Indians.
Reps for the newbies: Junior Noah Young and sophomore Caden Parlett led the Braves’ rushing attack against Healdsburg.
“It was really good to get those guys a lot of carries last week,” Justin-Siena head coach Brandon LaRocco said. “For Noah, it’s about getting him reps carrying the ball so that he continues to build confidence in himself as a ball carrier. Caden gave us a really good idea of what he excels at and what skills he brings to the table. It was also really good for the offensive line to get the opportunity to work on executing our run schemes. Getting that many running plays on tape has been helpful in our ability to make adjustments, work through confusion and correct our techniques.”
Hometown game: Seven Braves commute from Fairfield and some of them grew up playing with some of the Armijo players, making this game their favorite of the preseason.
Armijo improved: Anthony Gonzalez guided the Indians to the most wins by an Armijo head coach in his first two seasons, seven, since Greg Clark won eight between 1988 and ’89, and is hoping to see them make the playoffs for the first time since 1937, according to the Daily Republic of Fairfield.
Indians solid up front: The Indians are probably strongest up front, where they are led by last year’s Monticello Empire League Lineman of the Year, 285-pound tackle Emmett Espino.
“They have a lot of size and (Espino) is as good as any player we will see up front this year,” LaRocco said. “He has good size, knows how to deliver a blow and is excellent at running his feet after contact.”
— Andy Wilcox
American Canyon (2-0) at Montgomery (0-2)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Jason Franci Field, Santa Rosa
Last week: American Canyon defeated visiting St. Patrick-St. Vincent last Friday, 20-6, while Montgomery lost 32-10 to visiting Casa Grande.
Last year: In the first-ever meeting between the programs, American Canyon came back from a 16-7 third-quarter deficit to down the Panthers, 43-29, in a North Coast Section Division 3 playoff opener at Santa Rosa High’s Nevers Field.
“Our game last year was great. It was so competitive and so physical,” American Canyon head coach John Montante said. “We thought it would be a nice matchup in the nonleague schedule.”
Same town, different turf: After closing Jason Franci Field just before last year’s playoff game due to safety concerns with its 14-year-old synthetic turf surface, Montgomery appeared on its way to breaking it in with a win of Casa last week. But the Panthers failed to let a late onside kick, which went the required 10 yards, hit the ground before recovering it. It resulted in a 15-yard penalty that helped swing the momentum to the Gauchos, who responded with 26 unanswered points. It was reminiscent of American Canyon’s comeback last year, but Montante knows Montgomery has payback in mind – and needs a win, after also falling 40-0 at Campolindo in its opener.
“Montgomery has some players. They’ve played two good teams so far. They were a league champion last season and have a good coaching staff,” said Montante. “You need to play four quarters against anyone. I definitely wouldn’t take them lightly.”
Passing Panthers: Montgomery’s senior quarterback, Cole Hallin, threw for nearly 1,000 yards last year but didn’t play in the playoffs.
“On film, he does some good things,” Montante said. “He can make the throws, has disciplined eyes, and good pocket presence. He’s made some impressive throws with pressure in his face. Our defense has played well this season. This is another big test for that unit. We’re looking forward to a fun game.”
— Andy Wilcox
Calistoga (0-1) at Upper Lake (0-1)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Upper Lake High School
Last week: Calistoga lost to Woodside Priory, 26-12. Upper Lake lost to Virginia City (Nevada), 20-0.
Last year: Calistoga beat Upper Lake, 39-20.
Scouting the Cougars: Like the Wildcats, the Cougars are relatively young and inexperienced. Their defense was solid but their offense stalled against Virginia City last week, forcing several takeaways but amassing only 199 yards on offense.
“I talked to the guys who beat them from Nevada and they’re pretty young and inexperienced, kind of like us, but they’ve got a couple playmakers and their coach thinks they’re much more physical than in the past,” said Calistoga head coach Jim Klaczak. “That should be interesting to see.”
Cat fight: The Wildcats’ 26-12 loss to Woodside Priory last week ended on a sour note. After a long run in closing seconds by the Panthers to seal the win, a shoving match ensued between opposing players in front of Calistoga’s bench. No ejections were handed out but it wasn’t the kind of behavior Klaczak wanted to see.
“I told the kids how stupid it was because if we lost kids we couldn’t play next week because they’d have to sit out a game (if players got ejected),” he said. “Practice on Monday, I gave them a gentle reminder of what happened on Saturday. Let’s just say they learned their lesson.”
Klaczak added that there were no hard feelings between the teams following the scuffle.
“Players shook hands after the game and the coach came over afterwards and asked ‘Are we good?’ and I said yeah,” he said. “We’ll continue to play. I said, ‘Hey, you guys were fired up and wanted it more than we did.’ Last year they took a licking and this year they all came back and they wanted revenge and they played really hard and really well and just took it to us. We didn’t lose the game, they beat us.”
Injury issue: All-league senior running back Jesus Rojas-Mendoza reaggravated a knee injury during practice last week. He didn’t play against Woodside Priory and isn’t slated to play against Upper Lake, dealing a big blow to the already young and thin Wildcats.
“He’s a great competitor and a great talent,” Klaczak said. “He’s not a guy that you can just take out of the team and think someone is going to step up and replace him in all facets of the game. … He’s a tough one to replace.”
Wake-up call: Even after losing a hefty chunk of their team before the season even started the Wildcats’ confidence was sky high entering their opener. This loss didn’t necessarily serve as a wake-up call, but only further emphasized how much they need to improve with a relatively young and unproven roster.
“The younger kids, they don’t realize the speed of the game, how it’s different from practice. How hard as you try to make it look that way in practice and make it that fast, it’s nothing like the actual game. And our younger kids, I think at the beginning were a little overwhelmed. They were much bigger than we were. … So our younger kids were taken aback by the size and speed of the game.”
— Gus Morris