Five things to watch for: MC vs Redwood Football

Adam Kreitzman

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Long known as the perennial powerhouse of MCAL football, the Marin Catholic Wildcats have continually dominated other Marin football teams and sent players to the collegiate level. This year, rather than entering its rivalry game against Redwood as a heavy favorite with MCAL title aspirations, the Wildcats are looking for answers after an underwhelming 1-2 start. While Marin Catholic is certainly one of the top teams in MCAL, a new-look Redwood football team that is undefeated after non-conference play will look to bring the Wildcats down on Saturday, a game in which the winner will likely emerge as the league favorite. Let’s take a look at the matchups that will decide who comes out on top.

 

1) Can senior Alex Wilson continue to be a deep threat?


The Giants’ balanced offensive attack has been a large part of the impressive three-game stretch they have put together to start the year. Going into the season, it was obvious that Redwood would continue to be prolific on the ground with exceptional senior running backs Nick Calzaretta and Kyle Fulton returning, but senior quarterback Trevor Foehr’s ability to air it out has made Redwood’s offensive attack a force to be reckoned with.  Wilson has caught five touchdowns so far this year, and if he continues to haul in passes for huge gains, it could turn the tide of the game. Foehr is currently second in MCAL with 537 passing yards and six touchdowns. The MC secondary is going to be the toughest test that Redwood has faced thus far, so if the Giants’ passing game is held in check, it will have to rely heavily on the run game, allowing MC to load the box.

 

2) Will Redwood be able to establish the run game early?

There isn’t much of a question of whether Calzaretta will get his rushing yards, but if Redwood gets out to a slow start, an early deficit could affect its play calling. If the Giants find themselves in a position where they have to abandon the run and throw the ball to get back in the game, MC will have a critical edge. On the other hand, if Calzaretta gets it going early and punishes the MC defense, Redwood could control the game on the ground and prevent MC from gaining rhythm on offense. Calzaretta is light years ahead of every running back in MCAL right now, with 597 yards so far on the ground at a ghastly 7.8 yards per carry despite his enormous volume of carries (nearly 26 per game).

 

“What would it mean if you guys beat MC”

 

3) Can the Giants secondary contain MC quarterback Spencer Petras and his playmakers?

In Redwood’s previous game, its opponent, Mission, kept the game close because of its big-play ability. As is common with MC, there are plenty of athletic playmakers who could punish the Redwood secondary. If the Giants want to remain in the game, they need to contain the MC playmakers and force Petras to throw check-down passes and drive the field. A few big plays by MC could be the deciding factor in this game if the Wildcat wideouts can blow past the Redwood safeties. Petras currently leads MCAL with 670 passing yards and 7 touchdowns, as the offense is centered around his passing ability.

 

 

4) Who will win the special teams battle?

MC senior Hunter Juarez showed just how dangerous of a return man he was last week against St. Ignatius, returning a kick to the house in a nerve-wracking 31-28 loss to MC’s out-of-conference rival. Success on special teams is going to be vital to the outcome on Saturday, as the team who has better field position is likely to have more success on both sides of the ball. Additionally, Redwood has struggled to convert PATs early this season. If these misfortunes continue, it could be a deciding factor in a close game.

 

5) Can Redwood tackle well?

If Redwood struggles to tackle, it’ll be in for a long day. Marin Catholic is currently throwing the ball very often (81 percent of the time), which means the Wildcats will try to maximize the amount of times their players can get in open space. Open-field tackling is going to be essential for the Giants if they want to slow down a hungry MC offense.

 

By the numbers:

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Infographics by Adam Kreitzman