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Football preview: Piner looks to extend improvement trend

New QB Tony Martignoli can throw deep passes well. Read Article →
Quarterback Brendan White prepares to pass during Petaluma High School’s football practice on Thursday. He’ll work behind an offensive line that will be bigger than last year’s group.
(CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat)

Football preview: Boost in numbers should help Petaluma

Trojans see increase in roster size, including twice as many offensive linemen Read Article →
Free safety Chris Pedroni, right, wraps up teammate Julian Lopez during practice at Healdsburg High.
Photo by John Burgess / Press Democrat

Football preview: Healdsburg has depth, renewed confidence

Healdsburg has the depth and experience to rank among the Empire’s best. Read Article →
Maria Carrillo’s Claire Howard, left, and Maddy Gonzalez show younger kids a drill during a soccer camp Thursday.
(CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat)

Benefield: Maria Carrillo at head of the pack

Pumas look as strong as ever, though rival Montgomery could challenge Read Article →
Lonnie Gaspar fights through a tackle at El Molino preseason practice. (Beth Schlanker / The Press Democrat)

Football preview: Surge of energy at El Molino

The Lions have a strong core of upcoming juniors returning and they're eager to do better than last year's sixth-place finish in the SCL. Read Article →
Linebacker Richard DePaz (14) springs forward to deliver a blow to the blocking sled at Elsie Allen’s preseason practice. 
(JOHN BURGESS / The Press Democrat

Football preview: Elsie Allen taking 2014 one step at a time

Lobos' goal for season is building a foundation. Read Article →

Empire athletes awarded NCS scholarships

The North Coast Section Foundation handed out $1,000 scholarships to nine Empire athletes who averaged a minimum 3.3 GPA and were involved in other activities. Read Article →
Analy running back Ja’Narrick James says the team hasn’t really needed to rebuild.
(CRISTA JERAMIASON / The Press Democrat)

Football preview: Analy’s key playmakers return, but offensive line a question mark

Tigers coach Bourdon still deciding on two O-line starters Read Article →
Ke' Shawn Walker, left, does a plank exercise with his teammates during Montgomery's first day of football practice on Monday. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Benefield: Real work begins for Empire’s football teams

The first of football practice began on Monday. For all the football teams in the Empire, it's a clean slate; everyone's a contender. Read Article →
Kerry Benefield, The Press Democrat's new local sports columnist.

Benefield: Sports is about the cheering

I didn’t cry when the final whistle blew on my last college soccer game. What I remember feeling was relief. It had been a long time. I was ready to hang it up. About six months later, ... Read Article →

PD Preps Insider: Cardinal Newman signs up for early bowl game

A behind-the-scenes look at Empire high school sports. Read Article →
Montgomery quarterback RJ Flores (18) throws a touchdown pass to wide receiver Etienne Ezeff against Ukiah last Friday. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

North Bay League preview: Only two squads return starting QBs

Rancho Cotate, Montgomery only NBL incumbents at quarterback this season Read Article →
Washington State has landed Casa Grande senior kicker Matt Abramo, considered to have one of the strongest legs among this season’s recruiting class. He verbally committed to the Cougars in late July. (Alvin Jornada / For The Press Demorat, 2013)

Padecky: Casa’s Abramo a great kicker, better person

The Gauchos' kicker would rather talk about his leukemia fundraising efforts. Read Article →

High school football: Cardinal Newman to forfeit nine practices

Cardinals held spring practice eight times after its school year ended in late May; Middletown also held three unauthorized practices Read Article →
El Molino football players, just like athletes from every other school in the area, lift weights and do conditioning drills during the summer. (Photo by John Burgess, The Press Democrat)

Summer football: More intense offseason programs pay off when practices begin

Football season officially kicks off Aug. 11 but teams are already hitting the field. Read Article →
Wilmington University pitcher Stephanie Sarris, a Rancho Cotate graduate, delivers a pitch against Concordia College on April 12. (Alisa McKinney / Wilmington University Athletics)

Former Rancho softball standout battled back from adversity

After a line drive to the head, Stephanie Sarris came back in a big way. Read Article →
Taylor Stroud finished the 2014 season with the second-best ERA in the Big Sky Conference.
BOB SOLORIO / Sacramento State Athletics

Stroud finishes college career on high note

Former Montgomery star found ways to pitch around injury, earn conference honors throughout college Read Article →

A look at Empire college softball stars

The Press Democrat checks in on six former Empire stars excelling at the college level Read Article →

California Haze holding U16 tryouts in late August

The California Haze Junior Olympic fast-pitch U16 A-level softball team will host tryouts for its fall tournament team in August. Read Article →
Matt Nadolski led Campbell in four offensive categories in 2014. (photo by Will Bratton / Campbell University Athletics)

Former Casa star Nadolski bounced around until finding home at Campbell

Matt Nadolski finished 2014 season as Campbell’s top power hitter. Read Article →

A look at Empire college baseball stars

A look at how various Empire players are performing in the college baseball ranks Read Article →
Former Rancho Cotate star Brent Gillespie led Youngstown State 
to its first NCAA tournament victory in school history.
(Youngstown State athletics)

Rancho grad Gillespie helped Youngstown State reach NCAA tourney

NCAA Tournament berth fuels Gillespe's fire to earn another appearance Read Article →
Middletown graduate Jessie Flynn captured a North Coast Section Section title at 189 pounds this past season. (Photo by the Flynn family)

Middletown’s Flynn is a 2-sport winner

Jessie Flynn qualified for the state wrestling tournament this past season and also anchored the Mustangs' defense as the starting goalkeeper. Read Article →
Casa Grande's Daniel Greisen, right, takes on Rancho Cotate's Hector Hernandez, left, during the South's football practice held at Rancho Cotate High School in preparation for the Kiwanis All-Star Football Game held on Saturday.

(Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Sonoma County’s best back for Kiwanis All-Star Football game

All-star game will divide players into teams from north, south parts of Sonoma County Read Article →

C.J. Banaszek loses battle with leukemia

Petaluma youngster served as inspirational figure to Casa Grande football team Read Article →

All-State honors: Empire athletes earn accolades

Carrillo baseball's Hoge, Vaughn honored; Petaluma, St. Vincent softball also in spotlight Read Article →
Cardinal Newman graduate Keaton Dunsford will transfer to Princeton in 2015 after completing a year at Phillips Exeter Academy, a college-prep school in New Hampshire. (Conner Jay / The Press Democrat, 2013)

Former Newman QB Dunsford offered spot on Princeton football team

Keaton Dunsford will spent a year at an East Coast college-prep school before transferring to Princeton in 2015. Read Article →

Spring 2014 All-league teams

The complete all-league teams for baseball, softball, boys golf, boys tennis, and boys and girls badminton. Read Article →
Peter Hoge of  Maria Carrillo, the All-Empire Large School Baseball Player of the Year.  (KENT PORTER / Press Democrat)

All-Empire Large School Baseball: Hoge stepped up his game

Maria Carrillo senior worked on becoming a pitcher for the Pumas. Read Article →
Clear Lake junior Cole Brodnansky (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

All-Empire Small School Baseball: Clear Lake’s Brodnansky a student of the game

The junior catcher helped Clear Lake capture the NCL I title and a playoff win. Read Article →