Santa Barbara High finds itself in the no-man’s land between two celebrations:
Last week’s Big Game football victory over San Marcos and this Saturday’s Homecoming Dance.
But coach J.T. Stone is expecting no letdowns or distractions with Santa Ynez High coming to town for tonight’s 7 p.m. contest at Dos Pueblos High’s Scott O’Leary Stadium.
“Last year, they derailed us a little bit,” Stone said. “We’ve had this game marked on our calendar. This is definitely one in which we want to redeem ourselves.”
The Pirates earned the first victory of their first Channel League season last year by pummeling the Dons 28-10 in Santa Ynez. Quarterback Bennett Redell returns from that team, having already passed for 784 yards and seven touchdowns this season.
Santa Ynez (2-4, 0-1) limps into O’Leary Stadium with several injuries, although it did get two of its defensive stalwarts – linebacker Dean Tipolt and lineman Tyler Germani – back for last week’s game against Lompoc: The Pirates are still receiving votes in the CIF-Southern Section’s Division 8 poll.
“They have a good football team,” Stone said, “but we’ve been working hard at this to make sure we don’t lose to these guys because it shot us in the foot last year.”
Junior quarterback Deacon Hill leads the Dons’ offense, having completed 88 of 158 passes for 1,201 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Santa Barbara (4-2, 1-0) also got its running game untracked in last week’s 38-12 win over San Marcos with juniors Ty Montgomery (87 yards and two TDs on 11 carries) and Justin Perez (72 yards and one TD on 10 attempts). The Dons are ranked No. 5 in this week’s Division 8 poll.
In other games tonight:
DOS PUEBLOS (1-5, 1-0) AT LOMPOC (4-2, 1-0): The Chargers will take their second-straight trip to Lompoc’s Huyck Stadium, although they’ll face a bigger challenge than last week when they beatn Cabrillo, 40-13.
Lompoc High didn’t miss a beat last year after moving from the Los Padres League to the Channel League. Last week’s 45-7 rout over Santa Ynez was its 42nd-straight conference win.
The Braves have yet to be tested in the Channel League. They won last year’s five games by an average margin of 32.4 points, with no team coming closer than 17 points.
“I told these kids, ‘You’re going to play a giant, but we’ve already played two in Righetti and Pacifica,’” DP coach Doug Caines said. “We’re as prepared, preseason-wise, as we can be for this game. But it’s obviously an immense challenge.”
Lompoc freshman Cavin Ross (988 yards and nine TDs passing) has filled in well for injured quarterback Cameron Iribarren. Seniors Leondre Coleman (448 yards) and Oscar Tenorio (367 yards) lead the Braves’ rushing attack, although sophomore Sheldon Canley had a breakout performance last week against Santa Ynez with 105 yards on just five carries.
DP junior Josiah Severson is also coming off his best game, having passed for 195 yards and a pair of scores against Cabrillo.
“He’s brand new to varsity, he’s green and he’s still learning,” Caines said. “He’s just trying to find out how things work, but I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Conner Lee caught one of Severson’s TD passes and rushed for three additional scores last week.
Junior linebacker Daniel Santacruz has emerged as a defensive standout, leading DP this season with 50 tackles, three quarterback sacks, and an interception.
CABRILLO (0-6, 0-1) AT SAN MARCOS (2-4, 0-1): The Royals are determined to end a 12-year playoff drought, and last week’s league-opening loss to Santa Barbara hasn’t changed those plans.
“We still feel like we have everything ahead of us that we want to accomplish this year,” coach Jason Fowle said. “That’s how we’re going to continue to move forward.”
They remain potent offensively with their big senior trio of quarterback Ben Partee (1,423 yards and 13 TDs passing), receiver Josh Brown (45 catches for 681 yards and 12 TDs), and running back Henry Herrera (126 rushes for 560 yards and eight TDs).
Cabrillo is looking to end a 20-game losing streak that dates back to the 2017 season. The Conquistadores have shown some offensive potency of their own with a junior class that includes quarterback Zack Ramos (722 yards passing) and the receiving trio of Cade McNamee, Hunter Barthel, and Tony Boneck (a combined 56 catches for 725 yards).
SANTA PAULA (2-4, 0-1) AT CARPINTERIA (1-5, 0-3): This year’s 11th-hour departure of Santa Clara and Malibu from the Citrus Coast League has left the Warriors tonight with a scheduling oddity: They will be playing their final conference game of this season. Three non-league games are to follow.
Endurance has been a problem for short-handed Carpinteria, with injuries having whittled its roster to 20 available players. The Warriors led Hueneme 14-7 last week before giving up 25 unanswered points in the second half. They hope to rebound tonight behind junior quarterback Diego Mendez, who scored last week on a 16-yard run.
Santa Paula will challenge the Warriors with a balanced attack that features quarterback Hector Zuniga (1,134 yards and eight TDs passing), receiver Victor Duran (36 catches for 528 yards), and running back Cristian Marceleno (580 yards and nine TDs rushing).
In Saturday’s action:
CAMARILLO (6-0, 0-0) AT BISHOP DIEGO (3-3, 0-1): The Cardinals, who lost to undefeated state champion Grace Brethren last week, will get no reprieve in Saturday’s 7:30 game at La Playa Stadium. The Scorpions are ranked No. 1 Division 4, No. 38 in the state by MaxPreps, and well-rested after taking their bye week.
“They’re similar to Grace in that they have very fine athletes, but their schemes and what they prioritize are somewhat different,” Bishop coach Tom Crawford said. “Grace has the mentality that they’re going to pound you physically, while Camarillo likes to keep you guessing. They’re very diverse in what they do.”
Camarillo’s offense averages 451.2 yards per game behind third-year quarterback James McNamara (1,066 yards and 14 TDs passing). The Scorpions’ diversity is best reflected in their stable of five receivers who all have at least 10 catches.
Jesse Valenzuela, who averages nearly 10 yards per carry, leads a rushing attack that has already gained 1,183 yards and scored 21 TDs.
Bishop’s offense has been wracked with injuries. Starting quarterback Buddy Melgoza is out for the season with a knee injury and four of the Cardinals’ five starting linemen are also sidelined. Backup quarterback Michael Luckhurst, who returned from a shoulder injury to play part of last week’s game against Grace, is “day-to-day” for this week’s game.
“We do get Sam Mikaele back,” Crawford said of his star sophomore receiver and defensive back. “That should help us on both sides of the ball.”
In eight-man football, Cate and Laguna Blanca are both taking the week off.