Dragons falter at Petaluma; senior night tomorrow

Dragon defenders Chris Swanson (7), Skyler Marciel (34) and Charlie Stellon (46), pictured here against Casa Grande, will need to be on the top of their game to stop Analy’s high-powered offense tomorrow night at Arnold Field. Photo courtesy of Greg Ludlow. For more images of Dragon sports log onto www.glpimages.com.

Perhaps buoyed by a festive Senior Night crowd, the Petaluma Trojans overcame injuries and inexperience to upset the Sonoma Valley Dragons 17-7 Friday night at Durst Field in an SCL contest for both teams.

The win was the first of the season for the Trojans (1-8, 1-4 in the SCL) and dropped the Dragons to 4-5 (1-4 in the SCL) and tarnishes Sonoma’s bid for post-season consideration in the North Coast Section playoffs.

The Trojans, beset by injuries, were forced to call up sophomore Patrick Bailey mid-week from the junior varsity to start at quarterback and ended the game handing the ball off to a pair of converted offensive lineman who were engaged mid-game to serve as running backs.

Bailey’s first pass was intercepted by Sam Morgan just minutes into the game, but the Dragons were unable to capitalize on the miscue and were forced to punt just four plays later.

After two uneventful running plays, Bailey lofted a perfect pass over the Dragon defense to speedster Peter Maselli and the senior wideout did the rest, outracing the Dragon defenders down the left sideline for a 70 yard touchdown. Following a successful extra point by Trevor Shine the Trojans had an early 7-0 lead and seemingly took the air out of the Sonoma sideline.

Bailey finished the night completing two of four passes, both for touchdowns. Ironically, Bailey’s two incompletions were both intercepted by the Dragons.

Following Sonoma’s second interception of Bailey, the Dragons put together a 43-yard drive to even the score, capped by sophomore Dan Deely’s 11-yard power off right guard into the end zone. Deely carried the ball five straight times on the drive and accounted for 36 of the team’s 43 yards en route to the score.

Petaluma was outgained and ran fewer plays than the Dragons in the second quarter, but Bailey made the most of his chances as he hit Dylan Parks for an 11-yard score on the Trojans first possession of the quarter for a 14-7 lead.

Despite dominating the time of possession in the second quarter the Dragons were unable to dent the scoreboard. Sonoma compiled six first downs in the second quarter and gained 86 yards on offense, but three times were stopped on fourth down by the Petaluma defense.

The first two Trojan defensive stands occurred near midfield and may have involved some confusion by the game officials on the definition of forward progress, but the third stop by Petaluma was a dramatic goal line stand that played a significant role in the game’s outcome.

The Dragons, faced with a first and goal at the Trojan five yard-line with just over a minute to go before the half, actually moved backwards after three running plays, and Morgan’s pass intended for Chris Swanson fell incomplete on fourth down.

The Dragons put together some impressive drives in the third quarter, but again came away empty, perhaps epitomized by a 15-play drive to open the period that ended with a missed 27-yard field goal. The Dragon defense held Petaluma in check throughout the second half, yielding a mere 41 yards of total offense. However, the Trojans did add a late field goal following a Sonoma turnover to put the game out of reach at 17-7 with 2:50 to play.
The Dragons first three possessions of the fourth quarter ended on interceptions.

Petaluma – Patrick Bailey 70 yard pass to Peter Maselli (Trevor Shine kick)
Sonoma – Dan Deely 11 run (Chris Swanson kick)
Petaluma – Bailey 11 pass to Dylan Parks (Shine kick)
Petaluma – Shine 30 field goal

Sonoma Rushing: Deely 19-74, 1 TD; Morgan 16-21, Clouse 2-8; Clyde 3-6
Sonoma Passing: Morgan 12-22, 145 yards, 3 INT;
Sonoma Receiving: Swanson 5-50; Deely 4-52; Clouse 2-28; Hernandez 1-15

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