Casa Grande opens its football season

The Casa Grande Gauchos are invited to join the soccer party on Friday, kicking off their 2022 season with a home game against María Carrillo’s Pumas.

Meanwhile, the Petaluma Trojans and St. Vincent Mustangs try to build on the success of their first game. Petaluma plays at home on Thursday against old rival Santa Rosa, while St. Vincent tries something new and travels out of state on Saturday to take on Incline in Nevada.

Big house

The Casa Grande Gauchos said goodbye last week and will now play 10 games in a row without a break. The delayed start may prove beneficial for the Gauchos, who used the extra week to heal injuries to key players.

The Gauchos aren’t exactly back on the scene, playing at home, but they are facing a team that led them to a 7-4 season and a North Coast Section playoff berth last year. It was in that game, played at Maria Carrillo, that Home quarterback Jacob Porteous set his mark on what was to be a record passing season. Porteous recorded 29 completions of 52 pass attempts for 647 yards and seven touchdowns.

Porteous has moved on, leaving Wyatt Abramson in charge in the second leg against the Pumas. Casa Grande coach John Antonio is confident the senior can get the job done, and that the Gauchos will have an even tougher game than last season when they prevailed 49-35.

“They are always physical,” Antonio noted. “They will run the ball. They are much better than last season and they scored 35 points on us then.”

Although it has nothing to do with preseason play between teams from different leagues, there will be a major change for Maria Carrillo this season as the Pumas move from North Bay League Oak to North Bay League Redwood after going 1-9 last time out. year.

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The Pumas’ record does not fool Antonio and the gauchos who understand that the Pumas have talented players.

Among those players are two veteran running backs, Sam Lawson and Reed Sherman, who made the All-League team at defensive back last season. Also returning is respected quarterback Tommy McPhee.

Antonio said his players “missed” not playing last week, but will be ready to play Friday night. “I prefer to play 10 weeks straight,” he said.

After this week, the gauchos really get going, successively playing Marin Catholic, Montgomery, and Vintage, all along the way. But, as far as Antonio and his team are concerned, the entire focus is on Maria Carrillo. “We’re just taking it week by week,” the coach said as he reiterated the Casa Grande theme for the season.

Start is at 7 pm


Petaluma renews one of the Redwood Empire’s longest and most storied football rivalries on Thursday night when the Santa Rosa Panthers invade Steve Ellison Field.

The game will be played on Thursday at the request of the North Bay Officials Association due to an overload of contests on Friday nights.

Both teams are coming off successful seasons. Petaluma finished 7-4 and made the North Coast Section Division 4 playoffs. Santa Rosa finished 6-4 and shared the Redwood North Bay League championship with St. Vincent and Montgomery. Despite their co-championship, Santa Rosa was not selected for the NCS Division 3 playoffs.

As a reward for his successful season, Santa Rosa was promoted to the more competitive NBL Oak division despite the Panthers losing 20 of the players that made them so formidable last year.

The Panthers’ leaders are returning players Adam Lemus and Louwegie Arriaga, who will handle most of the ball carrying, replacing Carlitos Prado. Lemus and Arriaga will also anchor the defense at linebacker.

Trojan coach Rick Krist understands that it’s a rivalry game and it’s always a tough game no matter what league the teams are in. Last year, Petaluma built a 21-6 halftime lead and then had to hold on to win 27-20 as Prado led a feverish comeback from Santa Rosa.

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The teams had mixed results last week, with Petaluma taking care of business against Terra Linda while Santa Rosa was stopped by San Rafael 23-8.

Start is at 7 pm

Saint Vincent

After traveling more than 200 miles to face a known enemy last week, St. Vincent’s road warrior Mustangs travel roughly the same distance in a different direction to meet an unknown adversary on Saturday night and they meet the Incline Highlanders in Incline Village, Nevada.

The unusual out-of-state game was arranged by a connection between Bobby Silva Rodriguez, an Incline assistant coach and former St. Vincent player, and St. Vincent coach Trent Herzog.

The trip to St. Vincent comes a week after the Mustangs successfully traveled to Eureka last weekend to beat St. Bernard’s 33-7. That trip was to meet a familiar opponent. On Saturday they will play against a team they know very little about.

“We know they have a great physical team. They have a lot of size,” Herzog said. “Cameron Vaughn, Rob Rooks, Kieran Pedersen and our defensive line are going to have to play well.”

Incline is a public school with an enrollment of around 320 students. Play in the Nevada 2A Northern League. Last season, the Highlanders went 4-3 overall and finished second in their league. They are coming off a 21-6 loss in the opening game to Sparks.

St. Vincent is coming off a great 11-2 season that included league and section championships and a trip to the Northern California championship playoffs.

They’re also coming off what Herzog called “Our best opening game since I’ve been here.”

Start is at 6 pm

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