Prep football preview: Cardinal Newman to play at home at last
Delayed by the Tubbs fire in 2017, Cardinal Newman’s new multi-sport field will finally host a Cardinals football game this week.
A planned renovation of the track and field, which play host to football, soccer and lacrosse games, actually began about four years ago.
But priorities were thrown to the wind in October two years ago when flames ripped through the region and seriously damaged the Newman campus in north Santa Rosa — among thousands of homes, businesses and other structures destroyed or burned in the deadly fire.
As students and families scattered in the fire aftermath, the football team practiced and played wherever it could find an open field.
Last season, the team was able to head back to its campus field, but field renovations fell behind other campus rebuild priorities.
“It’s been a long time coming for us,” said Graham Rutherford, Newman’s dean of student life. “It took us a while to raise the money for this. The challenge was, it started before the fire and we were feeling like we were making progress, but then we had such a disaster. What are you going do?”
Finally, earlier this year, the field project got the go-ahead and work began.
“We felt like if we didn’t get it done, it’s like something else we lost in the fire,” Rutherford said. “We don’t need another loss.”
Students rallied Thursday on campus during a ribbon-cutting and kids had an opportunity to step foot on the new all-weather turf, which has ground olive pits as the filling between artificial strands of grass.
Before Friday’s game, famed Cardinals alum Jerry Robinson — who played for the Philadelphia Eagles — and possibly Ed Lloyd, Newman’s first head coach after whom the field is named, may appear.
The Cardinals, 3-1 following a 17-13 loss last week to Liberty High of Brentwood, likely will notch a win in their first home game of 2019.
Ranked 38th in the state, they welcome No. 792 Balboa, which is 0-3 on the season.
Quarterback Jackson Pavitt, running backs Shane Moran and Clay Woo, with receivers Tsion Nunnally, Giancarlo Woods and Justin Lafranchi could put up some big numbers against the winless Buccaneers.
The game begins at 7 p.m.
Other games this week:
PINER Prospectors (5-0) vs. ANALY Tigers (1-3)
Time: 7 p.m.
Place: Piner High School
The undefeated North Bay League-Redwood Division Prospectors continue their run through nonconference play by facing NBL-Oak rival Analy. The Tigers haven’t won since their opening game on Aug. 23 over Santa Rosa, 26-20.
Piner is putting up impressive numbers on both sides of the ball.
Defensively, the Prospectors didn’t allow an opponent to score until last week, when Miramonte put 14 on the board. Still, Piner won, 53-14.
Piner’s offensive stats are even better: They have scored 297 points in five games, a 283-point differential.
Yonaton Isack leads all quarterbacks in the North Coast Section with 31 touchdowns, 1,748 yards and only four interceptions in 117 passing attempts. He connects most often with Isaac Torres, who has scored 14 TDs, while Michael Collins has added eight.
Analy played well against El Molino last week, hanging tight until the Lions pulled away late for a 39-24 win.