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Friday Night Lights: CIF Quarterfinals

Dos Pueblos hits the road to take on an athletic St. Anthony's squad

Dos Pueblos will be counting on Irvin Miguel to help the Chargers establish a running game against St. Anthony’s in the CIF quarterfinals. Click to view larger
Dos Pueblos will be counting on Irvin Miguel to help the Chargers establish a running game against St. Anthony’s in the CIF quarterfinals. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk file photo)

Dos Pueblos is right where it expected to be at this time of the year —in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section football playoffs.

The Chargers travel to Long Beach to face an athletic St. Anthony’s squad on Friday night. If they want to keep playing this month, they’ll need to be much sharper than in their 29-16 first-round win over Mission Prep. They take on a team that possesses a bevy of talented players who can break a game open. The Santa Fe League-champion Saints average nearly 50 points a game.

It starts with Johnny Buksa V at quarterback. The senior is a dangerous double-threat player. In 11 games, he’s thrown for 1,843 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for another 1,003 yards and 16 scores.

“He’s confident in executing what has to be executed,” St. Anthony coach Mario Morales told the Long Beach Press Telegram of the powerful 6-2, 195-pound signal caller.  “He has a great football IQ and always has the same demeanor.”

In St. Anthony’s 24-21 first-round win over Gahr last week, Buksa scored on a 1-yard run to pull the Saints within two. Then on a 2-point conversion attempt to tie the score, he rolled to his right, was swarmed by Gahr defenders, somehow escaped, rolled back to the left and scampered into the end zone.

In the last two minutes of the game, he led his team down field for the game-winning field goal.

Dos Pueblos’ defense, led by senior end Marcellous Gossett, will need to play disciplined to keep Buksa from doing damage. Buksa hasn't seen a defensive end like Gossett. He's made things difficult for quarterbacks all season. He has 17.5 sacks.

On offense, the Chargers have to make plays from the start. They didn’t start clicking until the second half against Mission Prep.

The two other county teams that remain in the playoffs also hit the road for quarterfinal games. In Division 4, second-seeded Lompoc (11-0) makes the long trek to Etiwanda (5-6) while St. Joseph (7-4) travels to Division 5 top-seed Calabasas (11-0).

Dos Pueblos (9-2) at St. Anthony’s (9-2), 7 p.m. — This game has the makings of a shootout. Dos Pueblos needs a huge game from its defense to contain St. Anthony’s do-it-all quarterback Johnny Buksa. If the Chargers are chasing him all over the field, it could be a long night. DP coach Nate Mendoza feels his team can run the ball against the Saints. If the Chargers can pound the ball on the ground, quarterback Kellen Roberts and wide receiver Cyrus Wallace can work their magic. The Pick: St. Anthony's

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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