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Prep football preview: Cardinal Newman eyes piece of league title

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Cardinal Newman High School’s football team can clinch at least a tie for the North Bay League-Oak Division title Friday night with a win at Maria Carrillo, where the lights will be on after some concern that they might not be.

PG&E’s planned power shut-off that canceled classes at Maria Carrillo on Thursday ended late in the afternoon, so the game will go on as scheduled with a 7 p.m. kickoff after contingency plans were made in case the outage lasted into Friday.

The powerful Cardinals (7-1, 3-0 NBL-Oak) are on a four-game winning streak and are two victories away from posting a perfect league record.

Cardinal Newman coach Paul Cronin says his team is where he wants it to be.

“It’s Week 9 of the season, so hopefully we are improving,” Cronin said. “We are trying to get more sound every week.”

Playing on senior night, host Maria Carrillo (4-4, 1-2) will present challenges for the Cardinals and is looking to bounce back from a 55-21 drubbing last week at Rancho Cotate.

“There is still room for improvement, but we are certainly playing better ball than we had been at the beginning of the year,” Higgins said. “Cardinal Newman is playing pretty good football right now. When you play a team that is on top of their game, you have to play clean and solid.”

Said Cronin of the Pumas: “Maria Carrillo always has some wrinkles (on offense).”

Cardinal Newman’s offense uses multiple weapons and is led by the NBL-Oak’s leading quarterback, Jackson Pavitt, who is averaging 189.5 yards passing per game, and has thrown 15 touchdowns and zero interceptions for the season.

The Cardinals have outscored opponents 246-97 on the season. The Pumas, on the other hand, have been outscored 204-91.

Both teams have one more game after this one before North Coast Section playoff seedings are set Nov. 3. Newman will finish against Analy, and Carrillo will play at Windsor to conclude the regular season, both on Nov. 1.

More Friday games:

ANALY Tigers (1-7, 0-3) vs. RANCHO COTATE Cougars (5-3, 2-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Rancho Cotate High School

The Cougars — tied for second place in the NBL-Oak with Ukiah — are picking up late-season momentum as they meet the struggling last-place Tigers. Rancho Cotate is on a two-game winning streak while Analy has lost seven straight games. … Rancho Cotate is led on the ground by running back Rasheed Rankin, who has 776 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns on the season. … Analy’s offense is led by quarterback Gavin Allingham, who has thrown for 1,272 yards and nine touchdowns.

SANTA ROSA Panthers (3-5, 2-0) vs. HEALDSBURG Greyhounds (0-8, 0-2)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Place: Healdsburg High School

The Kincade fire located north of Healdsburg does not appear to be a factor in this game being played. The visiting Panthers are the only challenger to Piner for the NBL-Redwood title and are on a three-game winning streak after starting the season 0-5. … Santa Rosa’s Mason Frost has raced to the No. 2 spot on the local list of rushers with 870 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground this season. … Last-place Healdsburg has been outscored 384-35 for the season.

CASA GRANDE Gauchos (3-5, 2-2) vs. AMERICAN CANYON Wolves (7-1, 3-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: American Canyon High School

The visiting Gauchos are in fourth place in the Vine Valley Athletic League and looking to upset the second-place Wolves. … Casa Grande has been outscored 206-189 for the season. … American Canyon has more than triple the points of its opponents (239-71).

WINDSOR Jaguars (5-3, 1-2) vs. UKIAH Wildcats (4-4, 2-1)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Place: Ukiah High School

In a relatively even NBL-Oak matchup, the host Wildcats are battling to stay in second place in the league. Ukiah is seeking to build on momentum accrued in a 51-21 win over Analy last week. … Windsor is on a two-game losing streak after last week’s 36-19 loss to Cardinal Newman. The Jaguars’ Billy Boyle has thrown for 1,254 yards and 18 touchdowns this season.

FORT BRAGG Timberwolves (1-6, 1-4) vs. MIDDLETOWN Mustangs (6-2, 5-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Middletown High School

In a matchup between traditional North Central League I rivals, first-place Middletown has the upper hand against Fort Bragg, which is having an unusual down season. … Fort Bragg has been outscored 206-127. … Fort Bragg won last year’s game 18-14. … Middletown is led on offense by running back Nico Barrio.

Saturday’s game:

ST. VINCENT Mustangs (8-1) vs. CALIFORNIA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF Eagles (5-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: St. Vincent High School

Under the lights on their home field for the second straight week, the Mustangs look to finish off the regular season with just the one blemish on their record. … In a battle between two nonleague independent teams, the host Eagles are having a stellar season as well, outscoring their opponents 283-111. … The Mustangs have outscored their opponents 302-84.

Friday’s other games:

North Bay League-Redwood

Montgomery at El Molino, 7 p.m.

Vine Valley Athletic League

Petaluma at Napa, 7 p.m.

NCL I

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

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

Willits at Kelseyville, TBA

NCL II

Roseland Collegiate Prep at Tomales, 7 p.m.

NCL III

Laytonville vs. Branson, 6 p.m.

Potter Valley vs. South Fork, 7 p.m.

Round Valley at Upper Lake, 7 p.m.

Saturday’s other game:

NCL II

Calistoga at Stuart Hall (SF), 6 p.m.

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