Dragons walloped by Windsor in a rough-road SCL opener
Sonoma hosts ’Hounds in Friday homecoming, JVs, frosh topped
Senior Eric Clouse (left, No. 25), who turned in strong all-around effort for Sonoma, readies to tackle a Jaguar player, who bounces off an official, as teammates Matthew Robinson (No. 74) and Chris Swanson (No. 7) follow the play during the Dragons’ dismantling by high-powered Windsor in their Friday night SCL opener on the road.
To say the least, it was definitely a tough Sonoma County League opener for Sonoma Valley High School’s varsity football boys – playing on the road against not only the SCL title-favorite, but the top-rated team in the Redwood Empire, which is ranked 16th in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle.
With speed, size and talent, highly favored Windsor posed a daunting challenge for the Dragons, who entered Friday night’s game on the heels of a successful preseason that netted a 3-1 nonleague record.
But that was the preseason and now it was time for some serious SCL play, with the juggernaut Jaguars lurking as pumped-up Sonoma put together a 10-play drive from its own 28-yard line to Windsor’s 33-yard stripe before it stalled.
Then the Jaguars pounced, and kept bouncing full-tilt until they had laid a 53-7 licking on the staggered Sonoma gridders.
Going into the game, there was no question what the Dragons needed to do if they wanted to keep the game interesting, or even pull off a major upset, and that was to try and control the pace of the action by keeping the ball away from Windsor’s offense with sustained drives, and, paramount, avoiding the turnovers.
When Sonoma’s first drive accomplished part of the game-plan, but didn’t produce any points, the Jaguars put together a sustained drive of their own and turned it into a 6-0 lead.
After the Dragons were quickly forced to punt, their senior quarterback/defensive back Sam Morgan intercepted a pass, but then ended up throwing an interception, which Windsor returned 26 yards for a touchdown.
Unfortunately, the Jaguars’ interception was just the start of Sonoma’s downfall, as it ended up committing six turnovers in the game, with four of them directly resulting in 28 points, including an interception and stripped-fumble returned for touchdowns.
Pacing the Dragons were senior running back/linebacker Eric Clouse’s bundle of tackles and a couple of quarterback-sacks, while, rushing for 30 hard-earned yards, which included a four-yard touchdown run, and he also caught three passes; an interception each by Morgan and senior Chris Swanson, who also kicked an extra-point; and a recovered untouched kickoff deep down the field by senior Tyler Johnson.
In the wake of the Windsor onslaught, the Dragons had to take heart in the fact that this was just the first, and without a doubt the toughest, of six straight SCL games to finish the regular season and they are looking ahead to getting back on the positive track that leads to, hopefully, the playoffs.
Facing a league-full of parity behind unbeaten Windsor (6-0), the Dragons (3-2) will again have their hands full when they host longtime rival Healdsburg (5-1) in their homecoming game this Friday night, Oct. 14, at Arnold Field, with the junior varsity starting at 5 and the varsity kicking off at 7:30 p.m.
The Greyhounds are coming off an impressive 47-20 SCL win over Analy.
Sonoma’s jayvee and freshman football teams also came up short on the scoreboard last week, as the Dragon jayvees lost 33-6 to Windsor on Friday, preceded on Thursday by the frosh Dragons dropping a 16-6 decision to Petaluma.
Dragons of the Week
The Dragons of the Week in Sonoma’s 53-7 SCL-opening loss Friday night at top-ranked Windsor were Eric Clouse, Skyler Marciel and Jonny Amandoli.
Clouse, a 5-foot, 10-inch, 180-pound senior running back and linebacker, rushed for 30 hard-earned yards, which included a four-yard touchdown run, caught three passes, delivered a couple of quarterback-sacks and had a team-leading 10 tackles.
Marciel, a 6-0, 175-pound junior outside linebacker, turned in strong effort defending the run and registered six tackles.
Amandoli, a 6-1, 185-pound junior defensive end, came through with another standout game pressuring the quarterback, picking up a sack, making eight tackles and also playing well on special teams.
The Dragons of the Week are sponsored by Eraldi’s Men’s Wear and Shoes, and Broadway Market.