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Prep football: Napa runs over Casa Grande

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Brock Bowers and Napa High’s Grizzlies, pretty much in that order, put a hurt on Casa Grande’s North Coast Section football playoff chances Friday night, defeating the Gauchos, 41-18.

Bowers, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior who has attracted the attention of college recruiters from the SEC to the Pac-12 and everywhere in between, broke open a close game with three long runs in the final quarter. Combined with a first-half touchdown reception, he crossed the Casa Grande goal line four times.

Strange as it sounds, Casa Grande did a decent job containing the speedster for most of the game, but when Napa was able to get him the ball with even a hint of breathing room it was goodbye, and eventually, good night, Casa.

The loss left Casa Grande with a 3-5 record and a 2-2 Vine Valley Athletic League mark with games remaining at American Canyon next week and a final contest against rival Petaluma in the Egg Bowl on Nov. 2. Napa is now 6-2 overall and 3-2 in league with a game against Petaluma next week and a big showdown with VVAL unbeaten Vintage on Nov. 1.

Take Bowers out of the equation and Friday night’s game at Casa Grande might have been an even tussle between two good football teams. Napa led 14-12 at the half and was still in front just 21-12 after three periods.

Of course, there is no taking the big man out of the equation. Combining strength with have-to-see-to-believe speed, he broke for runs of 55, 45 and 65 yards in the final quarter to lift the Grizzlies from a battle to a romp.

Until Bowers brook loose, the game was a well-played, hard-fought battle.

Casa Grande impressively marched 76 yards to score on its opening possession, getting the touchdown on a 4-yard pass connection from quarterback Miguel Robertson to Dominic McHale. Twice during the march, the drive was kept alive with throws from Robertson to Rashad Nixon. The conversion kick try was blocked, a play that looked big until Bowers took over in the last quarter.

Casa Grande’s defense was able to contain Napa early, but the Grizzlies did get a touchdown on a 54-yard pick-six by Kyle Jezycki.

Before Casa Grande paused for homecoming festivities, Napa found a way to get the ball to Bowers with quarterback Isaiah Newton throwing to the main man on a 31-yard play that, combined with two conversion kicks from Erik Vargas, gave Napa a 14-12 lead.

Napa’s Benito Saldvar punched in a 9-yard score late in the third period to up the Grizzlies’ lead to 21-12.

From that point on, it was pretty much the Brock Bowers show, although the Gauchos, game to the end, managed to get a touchdown on a 13-yard run by Dominic Giomi. A final Casa drive that featured strong running from Matt Herrera ended at the Napa 4-yard line when the Gauchos ran out of time and downs.

PETALUMA 35, SONOMA VALLEY 14

Petaluma High scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter and went on to victory over Sonoma Valley in a VVAL contest that ended with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter because of an altercation on the field.

Sonoma Valley took a 7-0 first-quarter lead on a 3-yard run by Aiden Alverez.

Petaluma answered with three second-period touchdowns, scoring on a 2-yard run by Mario Zarco, a 35-yard pass from Jack Hartman to Gianni Johnson and another 2-yard run by Zarco.

The Trojans then added two more scores on a run by Hartman and a pass from the quarterback to Ryan Sullivan.

Sonoma answered with an Alvarez TD run, but on the ensuing kickoff, a dispute escalated into an on-field altercation and the officials ended the game.

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