NCS football roundup: Cardinal Newman breezes in playoff opener
Top-seeded Cardinal Newman got off to a great start in the first round of the North Coast Section Division 4 playoffs by demolishing visiting Tennyson 56-7 on Friday night.
The Cardinals (10-1) move on to a semifinal next weekend versus the winner of Saturday’s matchup between No. 4 Tamalpais and No. 5 Piner.
As for the win over No. 8 Tennyson (5-6), it was no contest from the beginning. After Cardinal Newman blocked a Lancers punt, the Cardinals scored on their first play from scrimmage on a 35-yard scamper by Tsion Nunnally (3 touchdowns).
On their next possession, the Cardinals scored on a 53-yard pass from quarterback Jackson Pavitt (10-11, 178 yards, 4 touchdowns) to Giancarlo Woods (4 catches, 85 yards, 2 touchdowns) to ignite the fuse for the Cardinal Newman rout.
Pavitt connected with Nunnally again for a 14-yard score to give the Cardinals a 21-0 lead. Clayton Woo (5 rushes for 72 yards, touchdown) followed with a 33-yard scoring run and Pavitt hit Woods for a 7-yard score to give the Cardinals a 35-0 cusion after the first quarter. The Cardinals put their reserves in midway through the second quarter.
“It was a mismatch. We were faster than they were. The kids did a good job of focusing and taking care of business,” Cardinal Newman coach Paul Cronin said. “Our offensive line did a really good job — they were really crisp.”
The Cardinals’ defensive was a stone wall, giving up very few yards to the struggling Tennyson offense.
“They didn’t hit many plays. Their quarterback was uncomfortable. Our defensive line really put on the pressure,” Cronin said.
The first-string Cardinals defense was led by Shane Moran and Mitch Russell, each with five tackles (each with one for a loss) in less than one half of action.
MIDDLETOWN 40, PINOLE VALLEY 6
The No. 3 Mustangs (8-2) easily won their first-round Division 6 game against the visiting No. 6 Spartans (6-5) of Pinole. Middletown led 13-0 after the first quarter and 33-0 at halftime. It was Middletown’s seventh consecutive victory.
For the Mustangs, it was a punishing ground game that did the trick as usual on offense. Middletown scored a touchdown on every offensive possession in the first half.
“The kids were very disciplined and we controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” Middletown coach Bill Foltmer said. “It was a big win for us.”
Running back Nico Barrio did the bulk of the damage, rushing for 181 yards on 15 carries with three touchdowns. Barrio had scoring runs of 18, 25, and 4 yards.
Dillon Tingle also had a 1-yard scoring run and Cheydon Tom scored on special teams by recovering a fumble in the end zone off a botched snap on a Pinole Valley punt.
Defensively, the Mustangs put the clampdown on the Spartans’ offense, squeezing off running lanes and pressuring their quarterback.
“Defensively, the kids played great. We shut them down,” Foltmer said. “Pinole Valley was not able to complete a long pass.”
As a team, Middletown rushed for 266 yards and threw for 102 yards while Pinole Valley ran for 83 yards and passed for 148 (mostly in the second half).