Riding a five-game win streak, including four straight in Sonoma County League play, the second-place Sonoma Valley High School varsity football boys entered Friday night’s regular season finale at Petaluma’s Durst Field having already punched their postseason ticket.
While the visiting Dragons wanted to keep adding to their winning momentum and carry it into the North Coast Section championships, their longtime SCL rival Petaluma was in a must-win situation to qualify for the postseason playoffs.
Using their trademark running game for an early touchdown, the Trojans surprised with a rare pass play that ended up covering 83 yards for a touchdown, and with a successful two-point conversion, sputtering Sonoma was stunned with a 14-0 deficit after just one quarter.
But standout senior quarterback Dan Deely led the Dragons back by scoring on four- and six-yard touchdown runs in the second and third quarters, respectively, and, when Petaluma moved back in front 21-14, Deely capped another rally with a late fourth quarter 19-yard touchdown pass to junior Kyle Dunevent for a tie at 21.
Unfortunately, Sonoma left 2 minutes and 54 seconds on the clock and the Trojans, playing for their postseason life, put together a 40-yard drive to set up a 30-yard field-goal attempt. The kick was good as time expired making the final 24-21.
Pacing Sonoma were Deely’s 14 pass completions on 29 attempts for 179 yards and one touchdown, and 13 carries for 55 yards and two touchdowns; Dunevent’s four pass receptions for 79 yards and one touchdown; senior Austin Bailey’s 13 carries for 75 yards rushing; senior Mitch Hood’s four catches for 57 yards; and junior Noe Baron’s three extra-point kicks.
Comprising the 2013 Sonoma varsity football team – directed by first-year head coach Bob Midgley, assistant coaches Justin Weaver, Damien Magnani and Max Pond, and longtime head trainer John Holden and assistant trainer Mike Gilman – are seniors Baily, Deely, Hood, Hank Anderson, JJ Bollman, Dante Chipchase, Todd Decendario, Joe Decker, Cordell Kenniston, Kyler Fritz, Jake Lantz, Wyatt Lennon, Dario Minatta, Ed Pomeroy, Matt Robinson, Jose Rubio, Brandon Santana and Jose Valencia; juniors Baron, Dunevent, Andre Alcantar, Gabe Bernstein, Jack Biaggi, Vince Caruso, Nick Fantozzi, Cyle Gusse, Alex Gustafson, Graham Herder, Cedric Hernandez, Jackson Keechler, Derek Lewis, Jacob Little, Tristan Mertens, Dominc Sanfilippo, Mike Seelye, Mark Shipston, Luke Vaughn and Trevor Welch; and sophomore Sam Cordano.
Sonoma enters the postseason with a 7-3 overall record, including a 4-2 SCL second-place mark, and at Sunday’s North Coast Section Division-3 seeding meeting, the Dragons were given the 10th seed and face seventh-seed Acalanes (7-3, DFAL) in an NCS opening-round battle at 7 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 16, in Lafayette.
Saturday night’s winner will advance to a quarterfinal showdown with second-seed Campolindo (10-0, DFAL champ), which drew a first-round bye, on Friday, Nov. 22, in Moraga.
Rounding out the NCS Division-3 opening-round matchups are top-seed Marin Catholic (10-0, MCAL champ) with a bye before hosting the winner of eighth-seed Eureka (8-2, HDNL-Big5) and visiting ninth-seed Hercules (9-1, TCAL-S champ); third-seed El Cerrito (8-2, TCAL champ) hosting 14th-seed Tamalpais (6-4, MCAL); fourth-seed Analy (9-1, SCL champ) hosting 13th-seed Petaluma (5-5, SCL); fifth-seed Cardinal Newman (7-3, NBL) hosting 12th-seed Sir Francis Drake (6-4, MCAL); and sixth-seed Encinal (8-2, WACC-F) hosting 11th-seed Novato (4-6, MCAL).
Dragons of the Week
The Dragons of the Week in Sonoma’s regular-season-ending SCL road loss Friday to Petaluma were Austin Bailey, Matt Robinson, Noe Baron and Mitch Hood.
Bailey, a 5-foot, 10-inch, 205-pound senior linebacker and running back, turned in an outstanding defensive and offensive performance, making numerous tackles, while rushing for 75 tough yards on 13 carries.
Hood, a 6-3, 185-pound senior wide receiver, made four catches for 57 yards, including two clutch first-down receptions.
Robinson, a 6-4, 295-pound senior, and Baron, a 6-1, 235-pound junior, were the pillars of both the defensive and offensive lines, with the place-kicking Baron converting three extra points.
The Dragons of the Week are sponsored by Eraldi’s Men’s Wear and Shoes, and Broadway Market.