Game Preview: Sonoma Dragons vs. El Molino Lions

Friday night (October 21 at El Molino High School 7:30 pm (JV 5:00 pm)
Surface: Natural Grass

Colors: Green, Black and White.
2011 record: 3-3 (0-2 SCL)
Returning Starters: 6
Head Coach: Mick O’Meara (28th season) 165-128-6
Last week: Lost to Healdsburg 17-13 at home

Colors: Red, Black and White.
2011 record: 4-3 (2-1 SCL)
Returning Starters: 11
Head Coach: Matt Transue (1st year)
Last Week: Lost to Analy 38-0 on the road

Last meeting: 2010- El Molino won 14-7 at Arnold Field

Friday’s contest: The Lions come into the contest stinging from a 38-0 loss to rival Analy in last week’s Apple Bowl. The Lions were manhandled along with being shutout for the first time since a 57-0 loss to Petaluma in 2008. However, the Lion program appears to be on the rebound, qualifying and advancing in last year’s NCS playoffs and this year-to-date highlighted with a 20-13 upset win over Casa Grande on September 23.

Senior John Carlson replaces the phenomenal Mike Pierson at quarterback, and is doing his best to replace Pierson’s 1,554 yards passing and 16 TD tosses. Carlson has hit on only 44% of his passes so far this season, but has rolled up close to 1,000 yards through the air, despite first-year head coach Matt Transue’s pre-season stance that the Lions would be a “run-oriented team.”

Carlson is also the Lions leading rusher, picking up 385 yards on 71 carries for 5.42 yards a crack, a stat that is even more impressive considering that high school rushing totals include sacks. Nathan Palmer is Carlson’s favorite target, hauling in 21 passes for 403 yards and three touchdowns and Owen Sunkle has gained 290 yards rushing. Senior Chet Lambert was supposed to be the “go-to back,” coming off an All-SCL season, but he has been slowed on both sides of the ball by injuries. Carlson subbed for an injured Pierson and led the Lions to a 14-7 win over Sonoma last year at Arnold Field.

Defensively Eric Reab (5-10, 190) and Chris Sword (5-10, 150) lead the way with 8.2 and 7.8 tackles per game, respectively.

Entering last week’s game Sonoma was sporting an extremely balanced offense (132 yards rushing a game and 133 yards passing per game). However, Healdsburg’s defense forced the Dragons hand and the passing game took over in the latter stages of the loss. The Dragons finished with just 60 net rushing yards on the night to go along with 189 yards through the air.

Fun Facts: After finishing the pre-season 3-1 Sonoma is looking to avoid their third straight loss, all in SCL play. Friday’s game will be coach Mick O’Meara’s 300th game as the head coach of the Dragons.

SVHS alum Tony Moll, most recently a veteran of the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL, was on the sidelines Friday night helping with the offensive lineman.

Following their defeat by Sonoma, 37-22, Elsie Allen rebounded to record their first win in four years, downing Emery 45-12. It was the first high school win at any level for members of the Lobos senior class.

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