Empire notebook: Soccer teams soaring in high school, college

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.


The Middletown Mustangs are running away with the North Central I girls soccer title race.

The Mustangs were 12-3-1 overall and 8-0 in league heading into Tuesday’s contest at home against Fort Bragg. The last time those two teams met, the Mustangs won 7-0.

The Mustangs have scored 48 goals in eight league games and have allowed only five. Junior Sophie Kucer again leads the Mustangs with 32 goals this season. Brie Alves has added 14 and Ellary Isherwood has 12.

In second place, the St. Helena Saints were 6-2 in league play heading into Tuesday’s road game at Lower Lake.

Bear Cubs volleyball heads to Sacramento

The Santa Rosa Junior College volleyball team will try to bounce back from a five-set loss to San Joaquin Delta on Friday with a road match against American River on Wednesday. The loss to the Mustangs, who are undefeated in conference, was the Bear Cubs’ first loss in Big 8 Conference competition. The Bear Cubs are 11-5 overall and 3-1 in conference play. Like the Bear Cubs, the American River Beavers are 3-1 in the Big 8.

SRJC soccer can’t stop scoring

The goals keeping coming in bunches for the Santa Rosa Junior College men’s soccer team.

The Bear Cubs (9-1-1 and 3-0 in the Big 8) were averaging more than four goals per contest coming into their home game Tuesday against San Joaquin Delta. The Bear Cubs are coming off two straight 4-0 wins, the last one against Cosumnes River on the road Friday.

In that one, Montgomery grad Alan Soto scored his fifth goal of the season off of an assist from Sergio Valenzuela, an Elsie Allen grad. Brian Sanchez, who prepped at Santa Rosa High, netted an unassisted goal, followed by Windsor grad Rigo Barrigan’s sixth goal of the season thanks to an assist from Healdsburg High grad Eric Guzman Leyva.

The Bear Cubs’ points leader, freshman and Rancho Cotate grad Adrian Fontanelli, finished the scoring with his eighth goal on the season. The Bear Cubs’ next home game is against College of Marin at 4 p.m. Oct. 22.

SRHS grad White runs onto all-time Portland State list

Santa Rosa High class of 2016 grad Delaney White has run herself onto Portland State University’s all-time fastest list in cross country. Now a junior, White raced to a 14:42 finish in the 4K Viking Rust Buster last month, which was good enough for eighth all-time among Portland State Vikings.

Prep quarterbacks letting it fly

It’s been a high-flying season so far for some of the premier prep quarterbacks in the Redwood Empire. Piner’s Yonaton Isack is completing better than 70% of his attempts for an average of 330 yards per game for the 7-0 Prospectors, who play in the North Bay League-Redwood Division. He has thrown for 40 touchdowns to five interceptions.

Across the highway at Cardinal Newman in the NBL-Oak, fellow senior Jackson Pavitt is completing more than 65% of his attempts and averages 187 yards in the air per game for nine touchdowns and no picks for the 5-1 Cardinals who are 1-0 in league. Just a sophomore, St. Vincent quarterback Jacob Porteous has a completion rate of 57% and he throws for an average of 142 yards per game. He’s thrown 11 touchdowns and has just two interceptions for the Mustangs who are playing independent this season before joining the NBL next year.

Clash of leaders in VVAL football

In Vine Valley Athletic League football Friday night, it will be a battle for first place but also a battle of styles. The American Canyon Wolves (7-0 overall and 3-0 in VVAL) hosts the Vintage Crushers (5-1 overall and 2-0 in VVAL) at 7 p.m. Friday.

American Canyon has senior Vance Eschenburg at quarterback, a guy who completes nearly 50% of his attempts for 109 yards per game. He’s thrown for seven touchdowns and one pick.

The Crushers are clearly more reliant on the run. They are led by senior Mauricio Castro, who is averaging nearly 66 yards per game and has scored four touchdowns. Sophomore Dylan Smith averages more than 11 yards per carry, while seniors Pedja Zivkovic (who has also scored four times this season) and Bryce Eade both average seven yards a carry. Junior Bill Chaidez averages five yards a carry.

Bear Cubs football runs to first win of season

Santa Rosa Junior College football got its first win of the season Saturday with a resounding 45-7 win over visiting Feather River.

The Bear Cubs (1-4) spent much of the game running the ball — 64 run plays, to be exact. But why not keep going back to the well when you are picking up more than eight yards per carry?

Freshman JT Evans from IMG Academy in Florida led the charge with 226 yards on the day, with an average of nearly 10 yards per carry. He scored one touchdown.

Sophomore Maceo Barbosa, from Baltimore, Maryland, had 117 yards, one touchdown and averaged seven yards every time he touched the ball.

Quarterback Will Heckman also got in on the running act. The freshman out of Seattle went 3-for-9 in the air, but scampered for 164 yards on 22 attempts and scored two touchdowns.

Up next is their Big 8 Conference opener at Santa Rosa High against San Mateo at 5 p.m. Saturday.

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 707-526-8671 or, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes and SoundCloud, “Overtime with Kerry Benefield.”

Please read our commenting policy
  • No profanity, abuse, racism, hate speech or personal attacks on others.
  • No spam or off-topic posts. Keep the conversation to the theme of the article.
  • No disinformation about current events. Claims of "Fake News" will be delayed for moderation
  • No name calling. "Orange Menace", "Libtards", etc. are not respectful.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Emerald Report
Spirited Magazine