THIS AND THAT: CASA GRANDE TURNAROUND
The Casa Grande football team is in the same position as Montgomery, Cardinal Newman and St. Vincent were last week. They are going to meet a No. 1 seed that is a very very good football team.
Let’s face it; things probably won’t go well for Casa Grande this Friday Night when they travel for their NCS Division 2 semifinal game at Clayton Valley. The score will probably not be pretty.
It will probably be the kind of score that Casa Grande teams are used to. Usually they are on the “right side” of those scores. This year has been different. More often than not they weren’t on the right end of scores like that.
Whether it ends up that way or not, it isn’t what they will be remembered for. The fact that they are even in this game is what the memory will be. They went from 0-5, a bad 0-5 at that, to this.
This season started so unlike Casa Grande, it was hard to believe. I mean this is Casa.
I was getting reactions from people who follow these things and that are now out of the area wanting to know what is wrong with Casa.
There is no doubt they had a tough schedule. According to the power rankings, the easiest team of the 0-5 start was Windsor.
Having said that, Casa was losing those games by scores that good teams don’t lose by. The closest game was against Windsor which they lost 27-7. It was the opposite of a good team winning its game big because of a weak schedule. Casa Grande was looking like a bad team that just happened to have a tough schedule.
We are used to seeing scores like they were losing by, too many of them really, just not this team. They give out defeats like this, not take them. When they do lose, which is not too often, you know you have been in a game.
From 2010-13 they lost 11 games. Only two of them were by a larger margin then the closest game of the 0-5 start. In 2011, they lost four games by a combined 31 points. Four of the five losses to start this season were by 31 or more.
They snapped the 0-5 start when they beat Ukiah 47-0 in what was called “more like” a Casa kind of game. Things are back to normal right?
The next week they lost to Cardinal Newman 48-7.
So the season was over, right? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Well you know what has happened since. Five straight wins to get to .500 and four of them were either over playoff teams or were in playoff games.
The turnaround game was a 19-14 win over Maria Carrillo. Since then it has been a more familiar Casa Grande team. Until last week, not only did they win, but they won big.
The Casa Grande season is a blue print for not giving up and moving to the next challenge.
Maybe something good will happen.
Who knows maybe the good will continue.
Four local teams went into Saturday night hoping for a North Coast Section Volleyball championship. That in itself is a pretty good statement. Outside Division 6, which Anderson Valley has dominated, over the last four years a total of four teams made the Section Final in the other five divisions combined.
Anderson Valley had a five year streak as section champions end, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a local Section Champion.
Sonoma Valley is your Division 3 North Coast Section Championship. They did it by going on the road and defeating No. 1 Campolindo 3-1. That was a remarkable feat by Sonoma Valley in more ways than one. They became the first SCL team to win a section volleyball championship since Petaluma won a Division 2 title in 2009. In Division 3 they were the first SCL section champion since 2006 when Analy won it.
There was a feeling that Sonoma Valley could pull this off. They went into the playoffs 24-3, with the three losses to teams that are still playing. They successfully defended their SCL championship, going 12-0, the first SCL champion to go undefeated since Analy did it in 2008.
The season got them a No. 3 seed in the NCS playoffs. After winning the first two matches at home, they went on the road to defeat Bishop O’ Dowd and Campolindo to win the first section championship for Sonoma Valley since 2000. Both those teams have plenty of recent playoff history that includes six of the last seven section titles and eight of ten. Campolindo has two state championships and another runner up during that time.
What the season did was get Sonoma Valley a No. 4 seed and a home game in the first round of the state playoffs. They will meet Christian Brothers of Sacramento.
Maria Carrillo, Healdsburg and Anderson Valley each lost their championship matches.
The seeds weren’t that hot for the local teams except for Division 6 where No. 7 Rincon Valley Christian is at No. 2 Anderson Valley.
In Division 2, Maria Carrillo is a No. 8 (each field is eight teams) and travels to No. 1 Mitty in San Jose. Mitty has a 33-3 record and is the two time defending section champions.
In Division 4, No. 7 Healdsburg is at No. 2 Sonora. In the NCS Championship match at Marin Catholic, Healdsburg had a 2-1 lead before losing the last two sets.
One SCL team did win a state title. That was El Molino in 1999. They also finished second four times.
St. Helena won the state title in 1982 and 84 and finished second in 1987.
CHANGE OF SEASONS
There is a chill in the air, even some rain and here come the holidays.
That can only mean one thing: The Basketball Season is starting.
Actually the season is already underway and we are not too far away from the holiday tournaments.
There are some scattered games this week, but things really kick in after the Thanksgiving Day weekend when the tournaments start. The first weekend is December 4th, when the Russ Peterich Viking Classic at Montgomery tips off for the boys and for the girls, the Cardinal Newman Classic makes its debut featuring some of the top teams on the West Coast, including Oregon City, Oregon (#2 in state of Oregon), Sacred Heart Cathedral (#11 in the State) and the host Lady Cardinals (#21 in the State).
Also that weekend will be the Redwood Classic in Anderson Valley. As the month goes on will be traditional tournaments like the Rose City at Cardinal Newman, REIBT for Boys and Girls in Healdsburg, McMillan Tournament in Cloverdale and the Girls tournament in Sonoma Valley.
Also there are tournaments in Windsor, Casa Grande and the Sonoma County Classic in Piner.
It is a busy December.
By the way if you need a reason to look forward to league play. The NBL Boys League opener on January 7th features Cardinal Newman at Montgomery.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Will Smith, Analy…You really could have had several players from Analy get it this week, but it starts with Smith who was 27 of 34 for 362 yards and four touchdowns. The 362 yards was his second highest of the season and couldn’t have come at a better time as Analy needed all of it in a 49-41 win over Acalanes to keep its playoff run alive. It was his sixth game when has had at least four touchdowns. On the season he has thrown 43 touchdowns and six interceptions. He needs a little over 200 yards to hit the 3,000 yard mark
Just to show there were several Analy choices:
Running back Ja’ Narrick James, 152 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass.
Wide receiver Kerr Johnson, 121 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He also had a 50 yard run for a score and returned a kickoff 90 yards to set up another one.
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