Prep football preview: El Molino next to challenge undefeated Piner

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El Molino at Piner — a crucial North Bay League-Redwood game at 7:30 p.m. Friday night — appears on paper to be another game the Prospectors could turn into a runaway, but games aren’t played on paper.

Piner (7-0, 3-0) is riding high, outscoring its opponents 397-14 with six shutouts in seven games. The Prospectors are guided by senior quarterback Yonaton Isack, who leads the nation in passing touchdowns with 39, according to MaxPreps. Perhaps most impressively, Isack has amassed his touchdowns primarily in the first half due to a running clock and being pulled in the second half in Piner’s blowout wins. He is complemented offensively by brothers Isaac Torres at wide receiver and Adrian Torres at running back.

“Yonaton is never up or down. He is consistent. We are extremely fortunate to have him as a leader,” Piner coach Terence Bell said. “El Molino is a tough football team. They aren’t going to roll over against us.”

Meanwhile, El Molino (3-3, 0-1) lost a 50-44 heartbreaker to Santa Rosa last week in overtime and gave up 439 yards on the ground to Panthers running back Mason Frost. The Lions will have their work cut out for them against the Prospectors’ dynamic offense.

“Piner is a juggernaut; they are just dominating this season. They’ve got athletes all over the field,” El Molino assistant coach Jerod Brown said. “We spent a lot of time this week at practice going back to basics. We have an opportunity to go in there and shock people.”

Bell said Wednesday’s power shut-offs implemented in response to fire danger created unease for some of his players. Coffey Park is one of the main neighborhoods for students at Piner High.

“(Wednesday) was a weird, anxious vibe at practice. The players are definitely nervous right now.” Bell said. “Football is going to be a relief when we get out there on Friday night, to be honest.”

In other games Friday:

RANCHO COTATE Cougars (3-3, 0-1) vs. WINDSOR Jaguars (5-1, 1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Windsor High School

In a pivotal NBL-Oak matchup, the host Jaguars will try and extend their winning streak to four games. … Windsor has outscored its opponents 216-75. … Windsor quarterback Billy Boyle is first in the league in touchdown passes (14) and second in passing yardage (915). … Cougars running back Rasheed Rankin averages 124 yards per game. … Rancho Cotate is on a two-game losing streak.

ANALY Tigers (1-5, 0-1) vs. MARIA CARRILLO Pumas (3-3, 0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Maria Carrillo High School

In an NBL-Oak battle, Maria Carrillo will try and bounce back from a tough 20-19 loss last week at Ukiah. … Struggling Analy won its season opener against Santa Rosa but has lost five straight since. … The Tigers have been outscored 226-72. … This game will remain at Maria Carrillo after power was restored Thursday night.

UKIAH Wildcats (3-3, 1-0) vs. CARDINAL NEWMAN Cardinals (5-1, 1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Cardinal Newman High School

Cardinals quarterback Jackson Pavitt leads the NBL-Oak with 177.5 yards passing per game and 10 touchdowns for the season. … Underdog Ukiah will try and build on its one-point win last week against Maria Carrillo.

MONTGOMERY Vikings (0-6, 0-1) vs. SANTA ROSA Panthers (2-5, 1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Santa Rosa High School

The longtime rivals are both having down years in the NBL-Redwood. … The Vikings have managed to only score 27 points in six games. … The Panthers have a two-game winning streak after losing their first five games. … Montgomery won last year’s rivalry game, 38-30.

MIDDLETOWN Mustangs (4-2, 3-0) vs. ST. HELENA Saints (5-1, 2-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: St. Helena High School

The visiting Mustangs are tied for first place with Willits and on a three-game win streak heading into this key North Central League I contest. … St. Helena has outscored opponents 265-128.

Friday’s other games:


Cloverdale vs. Kelseyville, 7 p.m.

Lower Lake at Willits, 7 p.m.

Clear Lake vs. Fort Bragg, 7:30 p.m.


Tomales vs. Stuart Hall (SF), 7 p.m.


Laytonville vs. Upper Lake, 6 p.m.

Potter Valley at Round Valley, 6 p.m.

Saturday’s games:


St. Vincent at Harker (San Jose), 7 p.m.


Calistoga at Branson, 1 p.m.

Roseland Collegiate Prep at Crystal Springs Uplands (Hillsborough), 1 p.m.

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