Game Preview: Sonoma Dragons vs. Tamalpais Red Tail Hawks

Saturday afternoon (September 10) at Tamalpais High School 2:00 pm (JV 11:30 am)
Surface: Artificial (Field Turf)

Dragons

Colors: Green, Black and White.
2011 record: 1-0 (0-0 SCL)
Returning Starters: 6
Head Coach: Mick O’Meara (28th season) 163-125-6
Last week: Defeated Terra Linda
21-17 at home

Red Tail Hawks

Colors: Red and Blue.
2011 record: 1-1 (0-0 MCAL)
Returning Starters: 16
Head Coach: Jon Black (1st year)
Last Week: Defeated Lincoln (SF) 34-8
Last meeting: 2010 – Tamalpais won 17-12 at Arnold Field

Saturday’s contest: With a win the Dragons could exceed last year’s win total. Saturday’s forecast is for temps in the mid 70’s which will be comfortable on the artificial surface in Mill Valley. The Saturday affair is the Dragons lone game not under the lights in the 2011 season.

Last season’s contest was a low-scoring affair in which both teams wasted multiple scoring opportunities. The Dragon defense came through in the late minutes of last week’s win over Terra Linda to preserve the victory. In addition, after Terra Linda kicked a 42-yard field goal to go up 10-7 and then added another score to lead 17-7 at halftime, the Dragon defense shutout the Trojans in the second half.

The Dragons used the big play for two of their scores with Sam Morgan connecting with Chris Swanson for 68 and 55 yard touchdown passes. Tamalpais will likely attempt to focus their pass coverage on Swanson in an attempt to slow down the Dragon passing game.

Sophomore Dan Deely made an impact in his first varsity action, rushing for a two-point conversion and thwarting the Terra Linda comeback efforts by intercepting a pass with 30 seconds remaining in the game to preserve the win.

Tamalpais used a small roster, but talented two-way players to hold off the Dragons last year at Arnold Field. On offense the Red Tailed Hawks emphasize the run and head coach Jon Black has identified the ground attack as the primary focus after two games.

“We are really trying to work on our rushing game first and once we get that rolling then we will move to the passing game,” say Black.

Quarterback Graeme Black (6-1, 205) returns as the starter and he rushed for a pair of touchdowns in last week’s win over Lincoln (SF). The contest was tied at six with 39 seconds left before halftime and Tamalpais took advantage of a fumbled punt on the two-yard line to score a go-ahead touchdown for a 13-6 halftime lead. Tam overcame its fumbling problems that existed during the team’s season-opening loss to St. Patricks / St. Vincents (Vallejo) and put together a solid rushing attack in the second half.

Tam iced the win with special teams play last week with an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown by Ren Sycpion in the second half.

Other top players for the Red Tailed Hawks include junior John Finklestein ( 6-0, 215 ) and senior Dana Mills (6-0, 175).

Fun Facts: Dragons starting quarterback Morgan and Justin-Siena’s (Napa) two quarterbacks (Matt Lawson and Mark Castelucci) all played on the same Little League team, the SVLL Cubs. I learned something new courtesy of former Stanford and NFL All-Pro safety Jon Lynch from his comments during Sunday’s 49er victory over the visiting Seahawks. According to Lynch, “football is football.” Thanks Jon! Through two games Windsor looks to be the class of the SCL outscoring its two opponents by a combined total of 80-3 in wins over Heritage (38-3) and Montgomery (42-0). Top-ranked Cardinal Newman (2-0) will be tested the next two weeks when they take on Central Coast powers Valley Christian and Palma on the road.


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