Archbishop Riordan (2-0) at Justin-Siena (3-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Last week: Riordan won 39-27 at Tamalpais on Saturday afternoon. Justin-Siena won 40-7 at Armijo on Friday night.
Last meeting: This will be the first-ever meeting between the programs.
Ruth on a roll: Riordan junior Fazon Ruth, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound tailback, has already rushed for 495 yards and six touchdowns on 60 carries. He ran for 255 against Tam and 240 in a 26-24 win at Terra Nova in Pacifica. Also going over 100 yards against Tam were Aden Jackson and 6-foot, 295-pound Kemoeatu Kefu.
“Riordan has a very formidable run offense,” Justin-Siena head coach Brandon LaRocco said. “They have a big and physical offensive line, No. 4 (Ruth) has really good vision and is good at accelerating through the hole, and No. 42 (Kefu) isn’t just a blocking back; he has impressive speed and agility for a guy of that size.”
Rankings: Justin-Siena is ranked 400th in the state by MaxPreps.com, while Riordan is 250th. It will be the Crusaders’ last tune-up before their West Catholic Athletic League opener against No. 36 Serra, while the Braves will get ready to open Vine Valley Athletic League play at No. 480 Casa Grande.
“So far this year we have shown the ability to play fast, aggressive and physical on defense, but Riordan presents a different kind of challenge,” LaRocco said. “For us to be successful, we need to take that next step in our ability to execute our scheme and play sound. It’s good to be challenged, and we are looking forward to seeing how we measure up against a team like this.”
Marin Catholic connection: LaRocco said that Archbishop Riordan Dean of Athletics Brian Kelly, a former football assistant coach at Justin-Siena’s former league rival, Marin Catholic, reached out to him about playing this year and next year.
“We actually coached against each other in 2014 when I was the head freshman coach,” LaRocco said. “I think they beat us 21-14.”
Beers on a tear: Braves junior quarterback Hudson Beers is 28-of-50 passing for 591 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. The varsity rookie is on a pace to throw for nearly 2,000 yards.
“For having played in only three varsity games, Hudson has shown a really good understanding of what we are trying to achieve with our offense,” LaRocco said. “He is also surrounded by a lot of talented playmakers who know how to go down the field and get the ball. We have an experienced offensive line with center Grant Koehler, tackle Nolan Dunkle, and guards Jonas Gonzalez and Marcus Nunes all being seniors. Tackle Wyatt Humphries is a junior and he has fit right in with the guys. They aren’t the biggest group, but they are athletic and strong and know how to play to their skills.”
Wood (1-2) at American Canyon (3-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Wolf Den Stadium
Last week: Wood won 42-24 at Deer Valley-Antioch on Friday night, while American Canyon won 20-10 at Montgomery-Santa Rosa. Kaave Gaviola caught a 77-yard touchdown pass to put the Wolves on the board and Justin Del Rosario had two catches for 106 yards, including a 99-yard touchdown on a halfback pass from Zeke Anderson in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Last year: American Canyon lost 28-22 to Wood in Vacaville.
Home again: It will be the second game for first-year Wood head coach Kirk Anderson, a 1998 Napa High graduate, in his native county after his Wildcats lost their season opener 41-0 to Vintage at Memorial Stadium. Anderson was American Canyon’s co-defensive coordinator in 2017 after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant at Napa High.
Familiar foe: American Canyon has faced Wood more than any other nonleague opponent, including in the 2015 Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs, and leads the all-time series 4-3.
“I think both programs, in the past, have felt this was a good game to schedule,” Montante said.
Corrections: The story in Sunday’s edition about the American Canyon’s win at Montgomery had some errors. Kaave Gaviola caught a 77-yard touchdown pass to put the Wolves on the board. Justin Del Rosario, who caught a TD pass in the fourth quarter, finished with two catches for 106 yards.
Armijo (0-3) at Napa (2-1)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Radio: KVON 1440 AM, 6:30 p.m.
Last week: Armijo lost 40-7 to visiting Justin-Siena on Friday night, while Napa won 33-7 at Vallejo.
Last meeting: Napa won a 2017 Monticello Empire League matchup 49-14 over visiting Armijo.
Quarterback trio: Napa High sophomore Hunter St. Clair played the last three-plus quarters in Game 2, a 20-14 overtime loss to Nevada Union, after senior and returning starter Isaiah Newton was sidelined by a first-quarter concussion. With Newton on protocol last week, freshman Anthony Turbridy called the signals until St. Clair took over in the fourth quarter.
Napa head coach Richie Wessman said it’s possible Newton could be cleared this week but that, as of Tuesday, St. Clair and Turbridy were competing for the starting job this week.
Worry about ourselves: Napa played league games against Armijo every year for as long as anyone can remember – until last year, Napa’s first year in a new league. Now Armijo is back on the Grizzlies’ schedule, and with a new attitude, after winning seven games over the last two seasons – the first time the it’s have done that in nearly 30 years.
“You’ve got to love the whole tradition and the challenge that comes with that,” Wessman said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Armijo got its first points of this season on Domonic Singleton’s 95-yard touchdown kickoff return in a 75-6 season-opening loss to Acalanes. It is led up front by last year’s MEL Lineman of the Year, 285-pound tackle Emmett Espino.
“They’ve got some athletes that do some good things. They’ve shown on film that they’ve been getting better each week,” Wessman added. “But for me, it’s always about us. If we’re preparing and executing the right way, we’ll be fine.”
What next? Wessman said he hopes to have a lot of the nine starters who were out with injuries last week will be back Friday, including tight end-linebacker Brock Bowers.
“We’re easing him back in and, barring any further setbacks, he’ll be OK to go this week,” Wessman said of Bowers.
But other Grizzlies are out for another reason – a flu bug.
“We have all those guys coming back from injury, and now we have all these guys that are out with a pretty bad illness,” Wessman said. “With that adversity, we have a great opportunity. We’ll see.”
You have free articles remaining.
Vintage (3-0) at Bellarmine Prep (0-2)
Friday, 7 p.m.
San Jose City College
Last week: Vintage beat visiting Acalanes 28-20 on Friday night, while Bellarmine Prep lost 38-14 at Clovis North of the Fresno area.
Last year: Vintage beat visiting Bellarmine Prep, 26-14.
Tough schedule: Bellarmine Prep, ranked 498th in the state by MaxPreps.com, has lost to teams ranked 88th (Menlo-Atherton) and 174th (Clovis North). The Bells need to play up to keep from getting shellshocked by a league that includes state-ranked Valley Christian (26th), Serra (36th) and Saint Francis (85th). Now comes Vintage, ranked 121st in the state and 11th in the North Coast Section.
Vintage head coach Dylan Leach said rising in the rankings was not a distraction.
“I think it’s a positive thing when you’re mentioned in a poll, or people talking about you on a coaches’ message board,” he said. “The kids understand that you’re only as good as your last game. One loss, and all of that talk goes away. We’ve talked about that as a unit, how we have to make sure we stay even-keeled and prepare like we do for every game.”
Asked how the Crushers are preparing for a winless team that’s played such a tough schedule, Leach said, “I don’t think we approach it different than playing anybody else. We just prepare the hardest we can, the same way we would for a big game or a playoff game.”
Vintage’s three-headed QB monster: Just when Vintage was looking vulnerable against Acalanes last Friday, following a first-quarter injury that sidelined starting quarterback Jacob Aaron the rest of the night, the Crushers reminded fans they do have at least one other skilled junior signal caller – Bill Chaidez.
“You always want to make sure you have a guy capable of following a game plan, even when it’s a different game plan,” he said. “This week, not having Jacob healthy means we may see Bill, and (senior) Jeremy Bradley and their capabilities. I expect Jacob to be ready by Friday, but he has a deep bruise to the iliac crest on his hip, so he’s got to pass a couple of tests first. He’s been in physical therapy and jogging, so he’s been up and about. (Tuesday) he was throwing to wide receivers at practice.”
Bells’ three-headed QB monster: Leach said Bellarmine Prep used three quarterbacks in each of its games – senior Nick Teresi, junior Joaquin Moreno, and sophomore Wade Smith.
“They each have a little different skillsets, and they run two different offenses, in a sense, so you’ve got to know what personnel are on the field,” said Leach. “I don’t think the quarterback necessarily determines what offense they run. They run both a single-wing and double-wing Cox Box, but they also run spread with trips and quads, and the quarterback might pitch the ball and then turn around and become a lead blocker. The good part is we’ve been training for two-back and three-back sets as much as we’ve trained for spread.”
— Andy Wilcox
Calistoga (1-1) at Pinewood-Los Altos Hills (1-1)
Friday, 4 p.m.
Pinewood High School
Last Week: Calistoga beat Upper Lake 64-29. Pinewood lost to Tomales 64-6.
Last Meeting: The Panthers beat the Wildcats 58-56 in 2016.
Confidence builder: The Wildcats got a nice bounce-back win after their disappointing season-opening 26-12 loss to Woodside Priory. On Friday, they scored 30 points in the first quarter and ran all over the younger and smaller Cougars.
“Good bounce back, especially since we scored 30 points in the first quarter,” head coach Jim Klaczak said. “The kids were fresh, well-rested. … The kids all just clicked in the first quarter. Christian (Caldera) had a good game but so did Yuli (Caballero). We took it to them early. They weren’t as strong as they were last year but they have a lot of young kids, like every place like that it goes in cycles. … They weren’t real big but they played hard and scrappy till the end.”
Caldera’s big game: Caldera, the aforementioned sophomore quarterback, had his fingerprints all over Friday’s game. He had six rushing and two passing touchdowns and also returned a punt for a score. He finished with 237 rushing yards on 23 carries and 74 passing yards on 2-of-5 attempts.
“The big thing is if you lose your discipline on defense, cutbacks just become foot races and that’s what he was doing,” Klaczak said. “He’d take everyone one way, then cut back and there’d be nobody around him. He even had one called back because of a holding penalty. He was spectacular again. As he goes, we will. … He’s bringing everyone up to his level. Hopefully by the time we hit league we’ll be in good shape as long as we can stay healthy.”
Scouting Pinewood: Like many of their small school opponents, there’s not much out there on Pinewood. The Panthers do have senior returners at quarterback and running back but are overall relatively young and inexperienced.
“We don’t know much about them,” Klaczak said. “They throw the ball a bit. I saw them in a scrimmage and they like to spread things out and throw the ball.
Klaczak did note that, while young, the Panthers are a smart team and don’t make a lot of mistakes.
“They go where they’re supposed to go, they’re in the right locations, they’re just not the physical matchup like most teams,” he said. “We shall see. It’s going to be a long trip and around 100 degrees down there.”
St. Helena (3-0) Bye
Last week: St. Helena beat Winters, 44-30, to complete their non-league schedule with a 3-0 record.
Non-league: The Saints swept through St. Patrick-St. Vincent, Drake and Winters in their first three games. Aside from their 52-0 thrashing of Drake, the Saints still beat the Bruins and Warriors with a combined margin of victory of 16.5 points.
The Saints have jumped on their opponents with a strong and balanced running game, led by junior quarterback Daniel Martinez, senior running back Cody DiTomaso and sophomore running back Ivan Robledo. Their defense has improved as well. They’ve forced at least two turnovers in every game so far this season.
Still, head coach Brandon Farrell wants to their consistent play continue into North Central League I play. They open at Kesleyville next Friday.
“I feel pretty good about where we’re at right,” Farrell said. “It’s a football season that can change very much on one play to the next. You look at our Winters game, there were ten plays that we went from thinking we were going to be able to finish the game off and drive up a big lead and ten plays later they were tied. … Those things happen with high school kids at a moment’s notice.
“Obviously we’re 3-0 and we feel about where we’re at, but you try and keep the kids level-headed. … There’s still a long way to go. This game against Kelseyville is really, really important. They’ve been on top of the league for the last few years and have steadily gotten better and better under (head coach) Erick Larsen, they’re playing great competition, Middletown is playing great competition, there are a couple other teams that are sneaking up on people.
“We’re not the favorites, I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination but I think we’re one of the favorites. … We just have to get better and try to fix some of the mental breakdowns like we’ve had that have allowed some bigger plays. … We probably gave up too many points to St. Pat’s, but we think they’re pretty talented, and then this week we did some things to shoot ourselves in the foot and we’ve got to find a way to correct those things.
“I can tell you the coaching staff and the players are behind what we’re trying to do and that’s the main thing. The vibe on the team is good but we just have to not let up off the gas. Just keep the pedal down.”
— Gus Morris