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North Bay League play is finally here.

With nonleague schedules and byes behind us, the local football scene is set to heat up in the coming weeks with some marquee games between the area’s top teams.

The Press Democrat’s Game of the Week will feature top-ranked Rancho Cotate (4-1) hosting Analy (3-2), a meeting of two of the most potent offenses in the North Bay.

We’ll also have coverage from Cardinal Newman’s NBL-Oak opener against Montgomery.

A complete game preview for the Rancho-Analy game will be featured Friday, but before then here’s a closer look at the Newman game and a few others around the area we’ll be keeping an eye on this week.

Cardinal Newman (3-2, 0-0) vs. Montgomery (2-2, 0-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

It’s been a tough month for Montgomery, as the Vikings enter league play coming off a bye that followed two consecutive disappointing losses to Casa Grande and St. Vincent. Things don’t get any easier for the Vikings as they travel to always-tough Cardinal Newman to open NBL-Oak play.

The Vikings have plenty of talent — like senior quarterback Lucas Foye (744 passing yards, 12 touchdowns) senior wide receiver Keegan Peterson (387 receiving yards, seven total touchdowns) — but turnovers and penalties plagued them in their last two games. They’ll look to get back on track against a Cardinal Newman team also coming off a bye that followed a 32-18 loss to state-ranked St. Mary’s-Stockton.

As of Wednesday, it’s still unclear if star running back/linebacker Santino Acevedo will suit up for the Cardinals after missing the last three games with an ankle injury. But even if he doesn’t, the Cardinals have gotten great play out of players like junior quarterback Matthew Hilden (736 passing yards, 11 touchdowns), junior running back Kaize Steverson (400 rushing yards, five touchdowns) and senior wide receiver Zach Kelly (377 receiving yards, five touchdowns) in his absence.

CalPreps computer prediction: Cardinal Newman, 41-20

Ukiah (3-2, 0-0) vs. Maria Carrillo (2-3, 0-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

This meeting of two of the hottest teams in the area will likely also have massive implications for the NBL-Redwood race.

The Wildcats, winners of three straight, are coming off their biggest win of the season, 27-20 over Casa Grande last week. After managing just six points on offense in their first two games, they’ve averaged over 20 over their three-game winning streak.

They’ll need a good offensive game to keep up with a Carrillo team that’s hitting its stride. The Pumas, too, are coming off their biggest win of the year, a 31-27 win over Analy, which was the No. 5 team in last week’s Press Democrat rankings.

The Pumas are two plays away from being 4-1 and appeared to have turned a corner after some heartbreaking losses to open the year. They’ve now won two in a row and a win over the Wildcats would establish them as a clear contender in the NBL-Redwood along with St. Vincent.

CalPreps computer prediction: Ukiah, 20-14

Cloverdale (4-1, 2-0) at St. Helena (3-2, 1-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

The Eagles scored an emotional victory last week as they outlasted Willits, one of the best teams in the North Central League I this year, in double overtime to take a share of the league lead with Clear Lake.

St. Helena, which lost to Willits the week prior, bounced back with a 49-0 rout of Lower Lake. The Saints are led by senior quarterback Clayton Crean, who has run for 671 yards on 79 carries with 10 touchdowns on the season and leads the team with 52 tackles (29 solo) with seven for loss.

The Eagles have their own dynamic quarterback in freshman Mason Caturegli, who ran for over 200 yards and five touchdowns in their win last week. While both teams still need to play Clear Lake (5-0, 2-0), this game will be a good test early in the league calendar. Cloverdale will also look to snap a 12-game losing streak to St. Helena which dates back to 2010.

CalPreps computer prediction: St. Helena, 38-20

Sonoma Valley (3-3, 0-2) at Casa Grande (2-3, 0-1)

Both the Gauchos and Dragons will look to end their recent skids as VVAL play enters its third week.

After starting the year 3-1, a young Sonoma team has been on the wrong end of a few lopsided loss to American Canyon (57-7) and Justin-Siena (41-7). One of the major bright spots of their season has been the emergence of sophomore wide receiver Hudson Giarritta, who leads the team with 939 all-purpose yards.

Casa Grande is in desperate need of a get-right game after getting blown out by Vintage (41-19) before suffering a 27-20 loss to Ukiah in a nonleague game last week. They’ve played a tough schedule to date (Marin Catholic, Montgomery, Vintage) but need to right the ship if they want a chance at repeating as VVAL champions.

With Vintage’s loss to Petaluma last week, the VVAL appears to be anyone’s race, but the Gauchos need to step up their game if they want to be in the conversation.

CalPreps computer prediction: Casa Grande, 44-17

You can reach Staff Writer Gus Morris at 707-304-9372 or gus.morris@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @JustGusPD.

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