FOOTBALL PREVIEW: OFFICIALLY IN THE HOME STRETCH
Before we get to the high school football part of things, congratulations to the San Francisco Giants. What a wonderful job by the team and Madison Bumgarner in particular.
So now they are a dynasty.
After so many years of being the Giants, that is hard to believe.
BACK TO FOOTBALL
Two weeks to go in the regular season. League championships are on the line.
One note on the NCS Division 5 playoffs. Earlier it was said here that the Division 5 playoffs will have eight teams. There can be up to sixteen, although there won’t be that many eligible teams.
Maria Carrillo (4-4, 2-3) at No. 2 Windsor (7-1, 4-1)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Windsor by 14
No. 3 Rancho Cotate (5-3, 4-1) at Ukiah (1-7, 0-5)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Rancho Cotate by 47
No. 4 Cardinal Newman (5-3, 4-1) at No. 6 Montgomery (4-4, 3-2)
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CALPREPS PROJECTION: Cardinal Newman by 13
Santa Rosa (1-7, 1-4) at Casa Grande (2-6, 2-3)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Casa Grande by 14
With two weeks to go it is advantage Rancho Cotate. The Cougars are tied for first with Cardinal Newman and Windsor, but has the tie-breaker advantage because of wins over both teams. With Ukiah and Santa Rosa on the schedule they also have the schedule advantage. If they win their last two games they will represent the NBL as league champions.
In the win over Windsor, Junior quarterback Gunner Mefferd passed for 153 yards which put him over the 1,000 yard mark for the season.
The win over Windsor pole vaulted them to No. 1 in the PD Large School rankings.
Of course Cardinal Newman and Windsor can still claim at least a co-championship if they win their last two games. Since they end the regular season against each other, only one of these teams can do that.
Before they get to that game both have games against potential playoff teams.
In the Maria Carrillo-Windsor game it will be interesting to see how the two teams react from a tough week.
Maria Carrillo got caught in the trap game. One week after the win of the season over Rancho Cotate they were defeated by Casa Grande, which knocked them out of NBL title contention. They are still playing for something. They appear to be a bubble team for a first round home game in the NCS playoffs. That is if they make the NCS Division 2 playoffs. To do so they need win one of their last two games to become eligible. They end the regular season with a home game against Ukiah.
For the first time this season Windsor is playing a game after a loss. They can still get a co-championship by winning out or an outright championship if they win out and Rancho Cotate loses.
They are still No. 3 in the Power Rankings for Division 2.
Windsor has lost both games to Maria Carrillo since coming into the NBL two years ago.
The best rivalry in the area continues with Cardinal Newman going to Montgomery. The stakes are added with both teams still in the running for the league championship. Cardinal Newman can get a co-championship by winning out. Montgomery would have to win out and Rancho Cotate and Windsor would have to lose one.
This is a weird series in the sense that only one home team has won since the year 2000. That was in 2011 when Cardinal Newman took a 41-34 thriller.
Thriller is nothing new for these two teams. For example: last season Montgomery took a 31-25 win in overtime.
Cardinal Newman sophomore quarter Jordon Brookshire now is over 1,100 yards rushing and 800 passing. Between passing and rushing combined he has 23 touchdowns.
Casa Grande is trying to save a season that started out like a disaster. After a 0-5 start they have won two of three. The little run gives them a shot at a playoffs spot. They are 1-1 against Division 2 teams and end the season against Santa Rosa and Montgomery who are both Division 2 teams so if they split they will qualify. Because of their schedule, if they qualify, they would be chosen.
The Santa Rosa-Casa Grande game has been moved to Saturday.
Elsie Allen (0-8, 0-4) at No. 1 Analy (7-1, 4-0)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Analy by 61
No. 10 El Molino (4-4, 2-2) at Sonoma Valley (2-6, 2-2)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: El Molino by 4
Healdsburg (1-8, 1-4) at Piner (4-4, 2-2)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Piner by 4
Petaluma (7-2, 4-1) BYE
Analy can clinch a tie for its third straight league championship with a win over Elsie Allen. They can’t sew up the league championship because second place Petaluma has a bye. The two teams meet in the regular season finale at Analy.
If it wasn’t for Analy this would be a heck of a race. Petaluma has a one game lead in the loss column over three teams. Those three teams have already played Analy and they have had a series of close games. The Cal Preps Projection expects that trend to continue.
El Molino and Sonoma Valley are two of the teams.
Despite its record, Sonoma Valley is a bubble team for the NCS Division3 playoffs. They have already qualified because of their 1-1 record against Division 3 teams, but still need wins to get picked.
El Molino has also qualified because of its 4-1 record against Division 4 teams. They need wins if they are going to get a home game.
The tough season for Healdsburg continues. The 21-14 loss to Sonoma Valley last week is its fourth loss by seven points or less of the season. This will be the last game of the season for Healdsburg.
They could play spoiler for Piner who needs one more win to qualify for the Division 4 playoffs. That win won’t be easy as they end the season at El Molino.
Willits (3-5, 1-4) at No. 5 St. Helena (7-1, 4-1)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: St. Helena by 31
No. 7 Fort Bragg (6-2, 4-1) at No. 9 Cloverdale (6-2, 4-1)
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CALPREPS PROJECTION: Fort Bragg by 6
Middletown (5-3, 3-2) at Clear Lake (3-5, 0-5)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Middletown by 25
Kelseyville (5-3, 2-3) at Lower Lake (4-4, 2-3)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Kelseyville by 2
St. Helena has had a season that mirrors Windsor. So like Windsor, they are playing their first game coming off a loss.
If they win the last two they will at least share the NCL I championship, which would be their second in four seasons.
Willits has a three game losing streak and needs to pull off an upset and win its finale against Kelseyville to become eligible for the NCL Division 4 playoffs.
For St. Helena to win the title outright they need to win two and get a Fort Bragg loss. So you can probably assume that St. Helena will be hoping for Cloverdale to beat Fort Bragg. St. Helena is at Cloverdale next week.
Fort Bragg and Cloverdale got here different ways.
Fort Bragg is fourth in the area in offense and first in the NCL I.
Cloverdale has the No. 1 defense in the area.
That isn’t the only difference. The offensive philosophy is different too.
For Fort Bragg it is going through the air.
For Cloverdale it is a running game.
Fort Bragg sophomore quarterback Kaylor Sullivan needs 186 yards to go over the 3,000 mark for the season. If he has an average game he will get it easy. His worst game was against Willits when he threw for 263. That is the only game he didn’t hit the 300 yard mark.
Cloverdale’s offense is basically running the ball. They are led by Junior running back Luke Bernardi who has rushed for over 100 yards in each game this season.
The schedule had them on the road the first four weeks of the season. The schedule makes up for it with the two big games that end the season at home.
In the PD rankings, Cloverdale is the No. 1 small school. Fort Bragg is No. 2.
Cloverdale is still behind St. Helena and Middletown in the Division 5 power rankings.
It is an unlikely scenario, but Middletown could still get a share of a championship if they win out.
This week’s game is a playoff game for Clear Lake. They need a win to become eligible for the Division 5 playoffs. They are 2-2 vs. Division 5 teams and Middletown is the last Division 5 team on the schedule. That is the only .500 scenario in which they can make the playoffs.
Kelseyville and Lower Lake are Division 4 teams. Kelseyville is already eligible for the playoffs. Lower Lake needs a split. They end the season at Middletown.
St. Vincent (4-4, 4-0) at Upper Lake (0-8, 0-4)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: St. Vincent by 47
Calistoga (1-7, 1-3) at Tomales (6-2, 3-1)
CALPREPS PROJECTION: Tomales by 18
One week away from showdown number two between Tomales and St. Vincent which ends the regular season.
DeAnza (0-7, 0-2) at SRJC (5-2, 0-2)
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SRJC is coming off the 70-0 disaster against San Francisco. What can you say about it besides it was a disaster. It knocked SRJC out of the state top ten and out of the conference championship race.
They have three games left. The next two are at home.
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