Homan, Cardinals Defense Dominate, Start Off Year On Right Foot
Zachary Homan had 115 yards and 3 touchdowns in Newman's fantastic performance against Casa Grande on Friday Night. Cardinal Newman won the game 27-13 after leading 21-0 at halftime. Homan was the primary back for Cardinal Newman and led the team with 139 all purpose yards. "I feel amazing. All the credit's due to my line. It's been awesome to see them develop over the offseason, get stronger, get faster, get more explosive. I can't ask for anything better than that. All we gotta do is run behind them and we score. It's that simple," Homan said after the game. Newman continued to pound the ball into the ground with Homan, new QB Jayson Coulter, new RB Madhi Camara and returning RB/WR Jamari Gentry combining for 135+ rushing yards. Jonah Bertoli lead the Cardinals with 2 receptions for 62 yards and torched Casa DBs on every play. Homan had 24 yards receiving, returning All League Tight End Santiago Adan has 22 yards receiving with 3 receptions, Kenyon Hanlon-Strane had 14 yards and Camara had 11. Adan was exceptional as a blocker and played a little bit of fullback for Newman, laying pancakes and paving the way for a few Zach Homan TDs. The O-Line for Newman dominated, allowing little pressure on Colter and the Pancake Platoon of Devin Bertoli, Aidan Woods and Matt Hilden laid great blocks all night. Transfer QB Jayson Colter settled in in his first game for Newman and held his own in the pocket, throwing for 111 yards in a run-heavy Newman offense. Colter also had a rushing TD on a QB sneak. Colter seems like as he gets more reps, he will be a huge threat at QB for the Cardinals. He had this to say about his first Newman start, "It feels amazing. Got our first dub. 1-0. Hopefully we can just keep it up, go win next week, go win the week after that, trying to be 10-0." Backup QB Wyatt Knechtle played well, too, firing 2 completions for 22 yards.
On defense, Newman had a dominant game with LB Logan Rodriguez having a fantastic game, going for 8 tackles and 2 sacks. Rodriguez was a force to be reckoned with off the edge as was the entire Newman defense, but Rodriguez was speedy and easily penetrated the Casa line. All League standout Jesse Myers had 3 sacks, Zach Raia had a sack, Jamari Gentry had a sack, Jimmy McKenzie had a sack... Newman had a lot of sacks. The new blitz-heavy Newman defense showed to be dominant and powerful, blowing up a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage and totalling over 15 tackles for loss. Spencer Jacobs kept the secondary locked down with 8 tackles in his first varsity start. "It was a good game, good team win, little rough, but we came through. Good first varsity start," Jacobs said after the game. Newman's linebacker core and defensive line was fantastic. Jesse Myers was fantastic in the first half, but sufferred an injury that sidelined him for most of the 2nd Half. The Newman defense has returned to dominance and look even more dominant than last year. Newman has the best defense in the league and possibly, the 5 county area of Marin, Napa, Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma.
Cardinal Newman Head Coach Richard Sanchez took over playcalling for the defense this year and had this to say about the team's performance, "Our defense battled it and gave our offense a chance to try some things that we normally wouldn't in this type of game, but overall our toughness really showed." After the exit of multiple star players on defense last year including Santino Acevedo, Nick Ayre, Jack Grafe, Will Diehl, Sam Elliott and Kaize Steverson, Newman bounced back over the Summer and changed their defensive focus which showed to be affective in the Casa game. Newman seems poised for another solid season, and possibly the best in Sanchez's 3 year term at Cardinal Newman. Jayson Colter and Jamari Gentry are still Juniors as are most of the Newman star players, so Cardinal Newman is going to be good for the next few years at least. Jayson Colter had this to say about the team and how they've bonded, "We've been closer. I like this team a lot. I think we can go really far." Gentry had this to say about the atmosphere around the team, "I love this team. It's a really great program. Especially with the coaches, especially with the teammates. All love, all family. I love it so much. We can go far this year." Newman definitely will be one of the 2 teams to beat this year in the NBL and the rivalry will all build up to November 3rd when they play Windsor in Sonoma County's highest anticipated rivalry game all year. A game that should be for the title, Windsor @ Newman at Ed Lloyd Field.
Casa Grande had a good showing on offense with QB Daniel Mercado passing for 244 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cade Rea and Zachary Herrera were dominant and running back, combining for 147 yards on the ground and 133 yards receiving. Both broke off for long TDs that were helped by the Casa linemen. Despite a slow first half, Casa had some fantastic plays and diversified their playbook, mixing in some good runs with their pass heavy offense. Their line blocked well on screen plays and opened holes for Herrera and Rea who turned short passes and handoffs into long gains for the Gauchos. On defense, the Gauchos forced a couple turnovers and some stops, but couldn't contain the Newman run game and Zach Homan. Despite losing a tough one to Newman, Casa came in ranked 42nd in NCS and proved with their late game comeback attempt that they are contenders for the VVAL and should be given more respect. It's a good start to the year for two teams that are looking to bounce back and contend for another League Title this year.
Newman takes on Monticello Empire League Champions, Vacaville, in a highly anticipated matchup that could be Newman's greatest test this season. The Bulldogs are 8th in the San Joaquin Section Division 2 and finished 8-4 and 5-0 in League last year. In the California rankings, the 2-0 Bulldogs are in 142nd while Newman is 148th. Vacaville beat Davis 43-0 on August 18 before beating Sheldon 41-6. Star RB Cristian Diosdado is averaging 112 yards on the ground per game while Air Force Bound QB Brody Fortunati is averaging 2.5 TDs per game and 210 pass yards per game. Vacaville also has San Jose State bound LB Noah Siaosi leading their amazing defense, averaging 7 tackles per game. Vacaville is stacked and will be the toughest team Newman plays until they face Rancho on October 21st and Windsor on November 3rd. If the Cardinals defense is as elite as it was against Casa, the Cardinals will definitely have a chance.