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FRIDAY’S GAMES

NBL

Montgomery at Cardinal Newman, 7 p.m.

Casa Grande at Santa Rosa, 7:30 p.m.

Windsor at Maria Carrillo, 7:30 p.m.

Ukiah at Rancho Cotate, 7:30 p.m.

SCL

Piner at Healdsburg, 7:30 p.m.

Sonoma Valley vs El Molino at Windsor High School, 7:30 p.m.

Analy at Elsie Allen, 7:30 p.m.

NCL I

Fort Bragg at St. Helena, 7:30 p.m.

Willits at Lower Lake, 7:30 p.m.

Middletown at Cloverdale, 7:30 p.m.

Kelseyville at Clear Lake, 7:30 p.m.

NCL III

Anderson Valley at Tomales, 7 p.m.

Point Arena at Calistoga, 7 p.m.

Potter Valley at RV Christian, 7 p.m.

Bay League

St. Vincent at Valley Christian, 7 p.m.

SATURDAY’S GAME

NCL III

Laytonville at Upper Lake, 2 p.m.


Fort Bragg’s high-flying offense and St. Helena’s relentless ground attack will square off Friday in a pivotal game that likely will determine the North Coast League I champion.

The Timberwolves and Saints share identical unblemished records: 5-0 in the NCL and 8-0 overall.

But the similarities end there.

Kaylor Sullivan, the Timberwolves’ record-breaking quarterback, leads Fort Bragg in a lightning-speed, no-huddle offense that racks up the points, averaging five passing touchdowns and more than 49 points a game.

Sullivan and his multiple receivers average nearly 400 yards a game in the air.

Fort Bragg’s defense is solid too: It has held five of its opponents to single-digit scores and the most it has allowed is 24 points, in a 54-24 win against Kelseyville.

St. Helena has been able to accomplish the same unbeaten results, but with a powerful rushing game.

The Saints, on the shoulders of leading running backs Jahaiver Otero, Alfio Basile and Niko Lopez, average 300 rushing yards per game, contrasted with Fort Bragg’s 102.

Saint Helena has thrown up impressive scoring like the Timberwolves, averaging 36 points a game. Its defense has stifled its five league opponents, holding them to just 21 total points this year.

“I’m thrilled to be in a position where two undefeated teams can meet late in the year like this,” said Fort Bragg coach Roy Perkins. “I felt like we were on a collision course all year. This is the way it should be.”

Whoever wins will be in the driver’s seat for the league title with one game remaining.

If St. Helena comes out on top, it would likely take the league title since the Saints play Willits (1-4, 4-4) next week.

If the Timberwolves win Friday, they would face Cloverdale next week with the possibility of remaining undefeated and winning the league outright.

Cloverdale trails both teams at 4-1 and 7-1, with a game against 3-2, 3-4 Middletown Friday.

If Fort Bragg wins Friday but loses to Cloverdale next week, it could set up a three-way tie with St. Helena, Fort Bragg and Cloverdale all at 6-1.

“Whoever wins (Friday) is in a position to control their own destiny,” Perkins said. “That’s always nice.”

Saints coach Brandon Farrell knows Fort Bragg will be tough.

“They have multiple facets of their team that are very good, including their defense, which goes a little unnoticed. They get the ball back to their offense and their offense takes over,” he said. “We have our work cut out for us.”

Everyone knows Fort Bragg will throw the ball. A lot. And move quickly.

Perkins’ team has run an average of 65 plays a game, about 20 more than most teams that concentrate on the run game, which eats up the clock.

Fort Bragg’s league-leading wide receiver Lucas Triplett, who has caught 15 touchdown passes this season, suspects the Saints will try to slow the game with the run.

“When we get the ball, we’ll try to go, go, go fast, like we always do,” Triplett said. “We need to make sure to keep our offense rolling. We need to (make them) get three and out, always.”

Farrell’s Saints will have to be quick on their defensive feet, knowing there could be six potential Timberwolves receivers on any given play.

FRIDAY’S GAMES

NBL

Montgomery at Cardinal Newman, 7 p.m.

Casa Grande at Santa Rosa, 7:30 p.m.

Windsor at Maria Carrillo, 7:30 p.m.

Ukiah at Rancho Cotate, 7:30 p.m.

SCL

Piner at Healdsburg, 7:30 p.m.

Sonoma Valley vs El Molino at Windsor High School, 7:30 p.m.

Analy at Elsie Allen, 7:30 p.m.

NCL I

Fort Bragg at St. Helena, 7:30 p.m.

Willits at Lower Lake, 7:30 p.m.

Middletown at Cloverdale, 7:30 p.m.

Kelseyville at Clear Lake, 7:30 p.m.

NCL III

Anderson Valley at Tomales, 7 p.m.

Point Arena at Calistoga, 7 p.m.

Potter Valley at RV Christian, 7 p.m.

Bay League

St. Vincent at Valley Christian, 7 p.m.

SATURDAY’S GAME

NCL III

Laytonville at Upper Lake, 2 p.m.

“They have playmakers all over the field,” he said. “We’ll have to compete every play.”

Along with Triplett, a junior, Sullivan has a corps of other receivers he can connect with. Shane Giaccani, Tyler Baker and Triplett lead a pack of seven Timberwolves who have caught at least 10 passes from Sullivan this year.

Defending against the Saints’ run game will be physical, Baker knows.

“They’ve got really big, strong backs that like to run inside. For us, we will want to force those big backs to go outside so our linebackers can do what they’ve done all year,” he said.

Farrell said he wants to see his linebackers, Mark Martin, Austin Cia and Jake Flood, stake their claim at the scrimmage line.

“First and foremost, we need to try to establish a presence in line of scrimmage, and see what develops form there,” he said. “We have to do our best to put them in situations where it’s difficult for get them to get first downs in short-yardage situations.”

Both coaches said they wouldn’t pull out any surprises this game, going with what’s proven successful.

In its seven games (not including one won by forfeit), St. Helena has won by an average margin of 28 points. Fort Bragg has nearly doubled that, winning by an average of 55 points in its eight games.

“What I always find with these games is,” Perkins said, “you think something’s going to happen, and oftentimes it’s something else that determines the win.”

Fort Bragg receiver Baker predicted it will be the most challenging game each team has played this year.

“The winner will win by a few touchdowns,” he said. “It will not be a blowout.”

You can reach Lori A. Carter at 521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.