Casa Grande will rely on QB Miguel Robertson in the Egg Bowl
Sumner Fowler

NCS notebook: Season extended, and a lot of big games

November 1, 2019

With the Kincade fire burning in Sonoma County, teams have been scrambling to reschedule games, find other sites to play, all while the schools are closed.

The NCS announced Wednesday morning that they would extend the season one more week due to the effects of the fire and power outages. The quarterfinals will now be played Nov. 15-16, semifinals Nov. 22-23, and the championships Nov. 29-30.

This allows teams to make up any games that were canceled either this week or last week to be made up next weekend. This can also allow teams that have nine games and are pursuing a playoff spot, to find a 10th game to complete their schedule.

Now, if you are a fan of Casa Grande or Petaluma football, the last 24-36 hours have been a whirlwind. From thinking you’re playing, to AQI issues, to an announcement at about 3:00 pm yesterday canceling the Egg Bowl. Now, the game is back on as scheduled for this Saturday at 3 pm at Casa Grande. Before the reinstatement of the game, parents and players from both Casa Grande and Petaluma met at the Petaluma City School District office to plead for the game to be played.

“We wanted them to reconsider putting the game back on. We know how much it means to our players, parents, alumni, and community. We also wanted to have it back on for Aidan (Spillane). That was going to be a special moment,” said Casa Grande Athletic Foundation President George Fragakis.

Now that the town of Petaluma got their wish and the Egg Bowl is back, let’s take a look at the history of the rivalry, and some key players to watch out for.

A Little History of the Egg Bowl

The first game between Casa Grande and Petaluma was played in 1974 and won by Casa Grande, 9-0. Through 1992, Petaluma won 14 of the next 18 games. In 1993, the game was first called the Egg Bowl. It was won by Petaluma, 27-13.

From 1988-1997, Petaluma won 10 straight games, the longest streak in the rivalry. The years 2003-2007 were owned by Casa Grande. In fact, Petaluma head JV coach Nick Emmanuel was a part of those Casa Grande teams from 2003-2005. They dominated in the final two games before the shut down in 2010-2011. Petaluma owns the all time series score 24-15 overall.

“Other than Napa-Vintage, I think this is the biggest rivalry game we have in the North Bay. Lots of history and great games have happened in this rivalry,” said Casa Grande head coach John Antonio.

One of the most hyped games in the history of the rivalry was in 2009. Both teams came into the game 6-0, and the crowd overflowed into then-Durst Field. Petaluma stormed out to a 14-0 lead behind Mike Russel and Ricky Sims. Casa Grande came back and tied it with two long runs by Kahlil Keys heading into the half. The second half was all Trojans as they dominated on defense, shutting out Keys and quarterback Nick Sherry. Petaluma defensive back and now assistant coach Dalton Johnson had two interceptions to stall Gaucho drives. Petaluma won that one 40-14.

Petaluma won the first game after the renewal in 2017, 20-14 at Casa Grande on Sep. 16, 2017. Fullback Jacob Rollstin had two touchdowns and QB Justin Wolbert had the other for Petaluma. It was now-SRJC player Kenneth Fitzgerald and Isaiah Cappelen on a touchdown catch from QB Jance Offerman for the two Gaucho scores. That was the only Egg Bowl ever played as a non league game.

Last year’s game was another instant classic. Petaluma jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but allowed Casa Grande to score on a touchdown pass from Jadon Bosarge to Nate Busse to end the half. Petaluma opened up a 21-7 lead in the third quarter, and then lead 28-14 in the fourth quarter after Garrett Freitas punched it in from nine yards out one minute into the final stanza.

Then came the Casa Grande heroics. The Gauchos scored on a QB scramble by Bosarge, who dived over the pylon for a Casa touchdown. They went for two, using the full house formation with Jordan Gramajo and converted to give Casa Grande their first lead of the game at 29-28.

Petaluma scored with one minute to go up 36-29, but Casa Grande came back on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Bosarge to Carson Kerrigan, and the two point conversion with 28 seconds left gave them Casa Grande the 37-36.

Casa Grande will be led by QB Miguel Robertson. He’s thrown for 1,223 yards with 15 touchdowns and 56% completion rating. He struggled against American Canyon, throwing for just 55 yards and two interceptions. Their passing game has been strong and their two leading receivers are Dominic McHale and Dominic Giomi. McHale has 27 passes for 464 yards and 9 touchdowns. Giomi has caught 24 passes for 364 yards, but only two touchdowns. Rashad Nixon has caught just 8 passes for 198 yards, but half of his catches, four, have been touchdowns. The receiving core struggled last week, combining for just five catches, 55 yards, and one touchdown.

“We’re playing for a playoff spot. It may be a slim chance, but we know we still have a chance to participate in the NCS Playoffs. It would be great if we made it,” Antonio commented

“Casa Grande has improved throughout the season. They have speed on the outside, their running backs do some good things, and their quarterback has a good arm.” said Petaluma Head Coach Rick Krist

Petaluma is led by QB Jack Hartman. In their triple option offense, it’s no surprise Hartman doesn’t have high passing numbers. In 49 pass attempts, he’s thrown for 222 yards with two touchdowns. He’s been nursing a bad knee for a few weeks, and it showed against Napa last Friday at Memorial Stadium, fumbling the ball, and rushing for -12 yards. He was 9 of 12 passing for 103 yards, so it’s a promising sign. The Petaluma running backs do the job offensively. They’re lead by Dante Ratto who’s rushed for 431 yards. He was aided by a 200-yard rushing outing against Santa Rosa back in Week 1. Joey Alioto is their second leading rusher, signing in at 338 yards and four touchdowns. Randall Braziel has 206 yards rushing.

“We have got to hold onto the ball. Having some healthy bodies back for us will be big,” said Krist

“Petaluma is not giving up. They still play hard. This is the biggest game they’ll play in. They’ll play extra hard. This game is a chance to chant Egg Bowl at the basketball games,” said Antonio

This game also has a special significance. Aidan Spillane, who was diagnosed with a form of Cerebral Palsy as a young child, has attended Petaluma football games for a decade, and has been the team water boy for the past four years. He will be suiting up for his first game and playing in the Egg Bowl in what should be a very special moment for all involved. You can read the full story about Aidan here.

“I can’t wait for Aidan to have his moment. That will be an incredible moment,” Antonio said

“We have a play made out, and we will have all seniors on the field with him for this. It will be amazing,” Krist said. “We need to get off to a good start on both sides of the ball. We have to get our confidence up and have something positive happen right off the bat.”

“Your emotions can be from so high to so low in a game like this. It’s an important game to the kids. When they’re sitting at Beyond The Glory in 20 years talking about the 2019 Egg Bowl, I hope it is a fond memory, win or lose,” said Antonio.

Piner goes for undefeated season

Piner has been on a roll this season that does not seem to end. The Prospectors have outscored opponents 500-28 this season through nine games. That is the most points in the entire North Coast Section. Their closest margin of victory was 39 points, a 53-14 win over Miramonte on Sept. 20.

Piner’s averages are an astounding 311 receiving yards per game, just 134 rushing yards per game, but it adds up to 445 yards of total offense per game. They’ve scored 67 touchdowns, and have recorded 26 sacks.

QB Yonaton Issak has had a superb season throwing the football. Through nine games, he’s thrown for 2786 yards, at a 69 percent clip with 47 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He’s thrown for six touchdowns in a game five times and hasn’t thrown less than two in a game.

His favorite target has been Issac Torres. He’s caught 54 balls from Issak, for 981 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Torres’ brother, Adrian is their leading rusher with 928 yards on the ground with 13 touchdowns.

They will be looking at either a 3 or 4 seed in the NCS Division 4 playoffs behind Cardinal Newman and Marin Catholic. They close out the season at Santa Rosa next Friday Nov. 9, with the winner claiming the NBL-Redwood and getting an automatic NCS Berth.

Big Game

The 48th edition of Big Game will be played Friday Night at Memorial Stadium. Both teams have some big things to play for.

Vintage is looking to win its second straight VVAL title with a win over their rivals from Napa. Vintage did not play last week since Sonoma Valley forfeited the game. Vintage with a win can solidify themselves as a top-four seed in the NCS Division 2 playoffs. The Crushers are led by running back Mauricio Castro. He’s rushed for 487 yards and four touchdowns. QB Jacob Aaron has thrown 576 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions.

Napa rolled Petaluma 49-7 on Friday. Napa is playing for a shot in the NCS Division 2 Playoffs. If they are to win Friday, they will not only force a Tri-VVAL Champions scenario, but they will have a pretty good case to get in as the seven or eight seed in the NCS playoffs. Napa is led by tight end Brock Bowers, who has received offers from the top Division 1 programs in the country. Bowers has 35 catches for 1,039 yards and 14 touchdowns. QB Isaiah Newton is 57 of 93 on the year passing, with 1,165 yards, 15 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

Napa leads the all-time series 28-17-2, but Vintage has won the last two matchups, including last year 69-14. In 1982, both teams came into the game 9-0 and Napa came out victorious 7-0.

Redwood in control for MCAL

Marin Catholic cannot win the MCAL championship and instead just gets an automatic NCS berth. So the MCAL comes down to Redwood and Tamalpais, with the Giants holding a one-game lead after beating Tam 35-6 in their meeting. Tamalpais is coming off of their last second win over San Marin, and has now completed its league slate since it hosts Marin Catholic on Saturday. Redwood lost to Marin Catholic, 14-0, but can secure an unbeaten run against MCAL opponents with a win over Drake on Saturday.

Both teams are expected to make the NCS playoffs.

Diablo-Foothill comes down to a very interesting finish

This has been a fascinating league thus far. Las Lomas has finished league play at 3-1, and will travel to play rival Northgate in the Battle of the Creek to close the regular season. Here comes the breakdown.

Las Lomas beat Acalanes, but lost to Campolindo last week. Acalanes beat Campolindo while losing to Las Lomas, and Campolindo beat Las Lomas, but lost to Acalanes. Campolindo hosts rival Miramonte this week, who is 1-2 in league play. Acalanes hosts Alhambra, who is 0-3 in league play. Should Acalanes and Campolindo win their games, we would have a Tri-Champions scenario.

WCAL-Foothill leader Encinal faces tough test to close season

Another three-way tie may be in the works in this league. Encinal is 4-0 heading into the final week, and goes to Bishop O’Dowd, who is 3-1. O’Dowd’s lone league loss came to San Leandro, who is 3-1. Their league loss came to Encinal this past Friday, 13-12. Should Bishop O’Dowd defend home field and defeat the Jets, and San Leandro defeats Berkeley, we have ourselves another Tri-Champion in the WCAL-Foothill

Huge game to decide WACC-Shoreline title

Hayward hosts Mt. Eden in a rivalry game to decide who wins the league championship. Both teams are 5-0 and have dominated their other league opponents to set up this championship game. Hayward is 8-1 overall, with their only loss coming to Campolindo.

Mt Eden is 7-2, with their losses coming to College Park 28-27, and Pinole Valley 17-13. If Hayward were to win, they would most likely solidify their spot atop the top five seeds in the NCS Division 3 playoffs. Right now, Mt. Eden qualifies, but with one of the worst strength of schedule ratings in the entire North Coast Section are on the outside looking in. The Division 2 field is rather deep, and Mt Eden would need to win Friday to get into the bracket as a league champion.

Adult contributor Kyle Foster contributed to this report

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