Empire football previews: Cardinal Newman faces Bay Area powerhouse in contest of unbeatens
It will be a battle of football titans at 7 p.m. Friday as the undefeated Cardinal Newman Cardinals (3-0) host undefeated Liberty (4-0) of Brentwood in a nonleague matchup.
The Lions of the Bay Valley League are ranked 18th in California, according to Max Preps, while the Cardinals are ranked 58th. Liberty has won its first four games by a combined score of 185-33.
“Liberty is big with lots of speed. They are bigger than we are,” Cardinal Newman coach Paul Cronin said. “We are playing a really good football team, but we have played so many big games in the last 15 years. Our kids are not intimidated.”
The Cardinals’ defensive unit will need to effectively deal with the Lions’ 6-foot-6 junior quarterback Jay Butterfield, who has received numerous athletic scholarship offers to Pac-12 programs.
“We have got to get a decent pass rush and our cornerbacks will need to make plays. He (Butterfield) is accurate passing the ball,” Cronin said. “We need to be precise on offense; it’s about executing.”
Perhaps the edge goes to the Cardinals since they are playing at home in front of what surely will be a raucous crowd.
“We really relish the opportunity to play at home in a big game,” Cronin said. “Especially after what happened last year (with the firestorm).”
In other games:
ANALY Tigers (1-3) vs. EL MOLINO Lions (1-3)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: El Molino High School
The Apple Bowl pits two teams that long have been league rivals, but this is a nonleague matchup after the realignment of leagues in Sonoma County. … The Tigers, who are in the new North Bay League Oak Division, got their first win of the season last week, 33-28 at Terra Linda (San Rafael). … The Analy victory may have eased the memory of the beating the Tigers took two weeks ago — a 55-0 loss at Monte Vista (Danville). … The host Lions of the NBL Redwood Division have lost two games in a row and have been outscored 132-86 for the season.
SANTA ROSA Panthers (3-1) vs. MARIA CARRILLO Pumas (2-1)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Maria Carrillo High School
The visiting Panthers (NBL-Redwood) are led by running back Jayvee Long (9 touchdowns, 693 yards on 102 carries for a 6.8-yard average). Long has more than double the yardage of any other running back in the league. … The Pumas (NBL-Oak) have prospered this season with a deep roster of 52 players. … Maria Carrillo is coming off a 41-7 victory last week at Casa Grande.
MONTGOMERY Vikings (3-1) vs. WINDSOR Jaguars (1-3)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Windsor High School
The visiting Vikings (NBL-Redwood) have won three games in a row — 35-7 at Casa Grande, 28-6 at Oakland and 17-7 hosting Cloverdale. … Montgomery quarterback Cole Hallin leads the league in passing (37-for-66 for 680 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions). … The Jaguars (NBL-Oak) have been outscored 162-33 in their four games. … Windsor has a three-game losing streak, including a tough 13-10 defeat at Santa Rosa last week.
Vine Valley League
Justin-Siena at Casa Grande, 7 p.m.
Petaluma at American Canyon, 7 p.m.
Napa at Sonoma Valley, 7 p.m.
Willits at Clear Lake, 7:30 p.m.
Fort Bragg at Cloverdale, 7:30 p.m.
Kelseyville at St. Helena, 7:30 p.m.
Middletown at Lower Lake, 7:30 p.m.
Fremont at Ukiah, 7 p.m.
Lowell at Piner, 7 p.m.
Stuart Hall at Upper Lake, 7 p.m.
Pleasant Valley at Rancho Cotate, 7:30 p.m.
Rincon Valley Christian at Anderson Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Roseland Collegiate Prep at Round Valley, 7:30 p.m.
St. Vincent at Burton, noon
Roseland Collegiate Prep at Round Valley, 2 p.m.
Calistoga at Point Arena, 2 p.m.