Prep football preview: Analy, El Molino renew west county rivalry

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Lions and tigers — and apples? Oh my.

Friday marks the 55th edition of the Golden Apple Bowl in west Sonoma County, as rival high schools El Molino and Analy fight it out on the football field for the fruit-forward trophy.

Analy’s Tigers, of Sebastopol, have won eight consecutive trophies, including last year’s 14-7 victory, and they dominate the overall competition, 31-23.

But the 2-2 El Molino Lions, from Forestville, travel to town with strong momentum after last week’s 52-0 beatdown of Berean Christian.

Analy (1-2) hopes to turn things around after letting Terra Linda erase a two-touchdown lead and steal a 21-14 win a week ago.

The game formerly was a league rivalry, but now Analy is in the North Bay League-Oak Division while El Mo is in the NBL-Redwood.

Still, the game means geographic bragging rights for a year.

Junior quarterback Weston Lewis will be under center for El Molino. He has connected for seven touchdowns in four games and has thrown for a total of 803 yards.

Lewis is also a running threat, averaging 65 yards per game on the ground, including 4 TDs.

Receivers Jalen Hall and D.J. Ramalia are his favorite targets, with the pair adding another 80 yards in the air.

Analy will try to counter that offense with a defense that includes linebackers Gary Gritsch and Danny Chidester.

Meanwhile, quarterback Gavin Allingham will look to connect to receivers William Koenig and Trenton Vogel, along with a cadre of running backs.

The Tigers likely will be spending a lot of time and energy trying to escape from the mighty paws of Colman Hayes, El Molino’s senior inside linebacker.

He has 45 total tackles in four games, including 15 for losses and 32 solo tackles, leading the Redwood Division. Hayes also has three sacks.

Boosted by last week’s 52-point offensive output, El Molino is outscoring its opponents 115-95. Analy has allowed 99 points while scoring just 40 in three games.

Other games this week:

PINER Prospectors (4-0) vs. MIRAMONTE Matadors (3-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Piner High School

Piner faces perhaps its toughest opponent yet in the Matadors. While the undefeated Prospectors have outscored opponents a staggering 244-0 in four games, Miramonte can throw some points on the board, too. The Matadors are averaging 50 points a game and their only loss was on opening night, 45-7, to higher-ranked DeAnza.

Piner has thus far succeeded with a potent offense of quarterback Yonaton Isack (25 touchdowns) and tall, swift, sure-handed receivers Isaac Torres, older brother Adrian Torres, Michael Collins and Jake Herman.

Adrian Torres handles the bulk of the rushing attack, with 281 yards and five TDs on the ground in four games.

Miramonte quarterback Matt Meredith is no slouch, having thrown for 1,260 yards and 17 TDs in four games.

The Matadors don’t have much of a rushing game, averaging 52 yards a game, but have three main receivers Meredith will seek out: Tanner Zwahlen, Reed Callister and Jameson Braitberg, who combine for 273 yards a game.

PETALUMA Trojans (1-3) vs. AMERICAN CANYON Wolves (4-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Petaluma High School

In the Vine Valley Athletic League opener, the Trojans will have to rally hard to hang with the unbeaten Wolves, who have allowed just 36 points this year.

For Petaluma, it’s all about the ground game. Dante Ratto averages 93 yards a game and has three TDs in four games, while Joey Alioto averages 79 yards and has four touchdowns.

Trojans quarterback Jack Hartman has thrown for two touchdowns.

American Canyon placed second last year in the VVAL, finishing 5-1 behind undefeated Vintage. The Trojans were 3-3 in league last year.

WINDSOR Jaguars (3-1) at MONTGOMERY Vikings (0-4)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Montgomery High School

This is Windsor’s last nonconference game before the North Bay League-Oak Division schedule begins on Oct. 4.

The Jags’ Lorenzo Leon is a tough back to bring down, averaging 106 yards a game, while Jeremiah Pignataro and Joey Skinner add another 60 yards on the ground.

Quarterback Billy Boyle is among the NBL leaders in yards, 680 in four games, and averages 170 yards in the air with 10 TDs. He’s vulnerable to the pick, though, with five.

Though talented, Montgomery is still seeking its first win. The Vikings have lost to Campolindo, Casa Grande, American Canyon and Eureka this year.

After this week, Montgomery faces Maria Carrillo before beginning NBL-Redwood play on Oct. 11.

RANCHO COTATE Cougars (2-1) at PLEASANT VALLEY Vikings (2-2)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Place: Pleasant Valley High School, Chico

The Cougars head to Chico for for one tough tuneup before facing powerful Campolindo next week.

Rancho, ranked 119th in the state by MaxPreps, looks to hone its steel on the 134th-ranked Vikings.

Jared Stocker leads the Cougars under center, throwing for an average of 140 yards a game and five TDs in three games. Giani Gigliello and Darius Hurst are threats in the air.

But the Vikings likely will focus on stopping Rasheed Rankin, the Cougars’ strongest rusher who has two 100-plus yard games and has scored six TDs.

Mihalis Santorineos holds down the Cougars’ defense, with 21 solo tackles and 26 assists to his name. Tai Peleti and Fautua Tuaua have 37 and 34 tackles as well.

CARDINAL NEWMAN Cardinals (3-0) vs. LIBERTY Lions (4-0)

Time: 6 p.m., Saturday

Place: Freedom High School, Oakley

Though this is a nonconference game, it will showcase some of the best talent of the week among Bay Area games.

Newman, undefeated through three games, escaped with a tight win over Placer, 30-27, two weeks ago. It took a touchdown with 4 seconds left to pull it out.

The Lions haven’t lost a regular-season game in two years and are 4-0 this season.

But it hasn’t been a cakewalk, particularly the last three games, as Liberty narrowly pulled out all three victories (19-14 over Oakdale, 28-27 in overtime past Clayton Valley Charter and 24-21 over Monte Vista last week).

Liberty is ranked 23rd in the state by MaxPreps, compared to Newman’s 43rd. But because of the close calls, the Lions fell to No. 4 behind De La Salle, Serra and Valley Christian in a Bay Area preps ranking. Newman is ranked fifth.

Newman lost 31-14 at home last year to Liberty, its only defeat of the year.

Cardinals quarterback Jackson Pavitt has slightly better numbers than Lions QB Jay Butterfield, while Liberty’s rushing game is more productive than Newman’s.

This could be a well-balanced, well-played game.

Friday’s other games:

Vine Valley Athletic League

Casa Grande at Justin-Siena (Napa), 7 p.m.

Sonoma Valley vs. Napa, 7 p.m.

NCL I

Cloverdale at Fort Bragg, 7 p.m.

Lower Lake at Middletown, 7 p.m.

Kelseyville at St. Helena, 7:30 p.m.

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

NCL II/III

Round Valley at Roseland Collegiate Prep, 4 p.m.

Laytonville at Tomales, 7 p.m.

Nonleague

Healdsburg at San Rafael, 7 p.m.

Maria Carrillo at Santa Rosa, 7 p.m.

Saturday’s other games:

NCL II/III

Upper Lake vs. Stuart Hall at Kezar Stadium, SF, 6 p.m.

Nonleague

St. Vincent vs. Burton (San Francisco), 2 p.m.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.

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