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Friday Night Lights: First Round of CIF Playoffs

Dos Pueblos, Santa Barbara look for first playoff wins in several years

Natani Drati is one of Santa Barbara High’s playmakers. Click to view larger
Natani Drati is one of Santa Barbara High’s playmakers. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk file photo)

With the goal of reaching the CIF-Southern Section playoffs realized, the next item on the list of the four local football teams that qualified is to win a first-round game.

It’s been a long time coming for three of the local four qualifiers. Santa Barbara hasn’t won in the first round since the 1990s, Dos Pueblos last won in 2001 and Carpinteria’s most recent victory was in 2013.

Bishop Diego won in the first round last year and advanced to the divisional semifinals.

The first round begins Friday with Dos Pueblos hosting Mission Prep in a Division 10 opener, Santa Barbara traveling to Agoura in Division 9 and Carpinteria taking on St. Genevieve in a Division 12 game at Crespi High in Encino.

On Saturday, Bishop Diego plays Salesian in a Division 5 game at La Playa Stadium.

Here is a look at the first-round matchups:

Mission Prep (4-5) at Dos Pueblos (8-2), 7 p.m. — The Chargers are flying high after a solid performance in their 28-21 win at Ventura last week to clinch a tie for the league title. Quarterback Kellen Roberts mixed things up nicely on offense, throwing some play-action passes to keep Ventura’s defense off balance. They’ll be going against a Mission Prep defense that’s given 87 points in its last two games. The Royals tied for second in the Northern League and won a tiebreaking draw against Templeton and Santa Maria to gain the league’s second automatic playoff berth. Quarterback Bryce Fledderman has had a good season passing the ball, throwing for 1,803 yards and 18 touchdowns; he passed for 417 yards in a 53-42 loss to Templeton. He’ll face a fierce pass rush from Marcellous Gossett, Nathan Beveridge and Matt Molina. The Pick: Dos Pueblos

Santa Barbara (5-5) at Agoura (3-7), 7 p.m. – The Dons turn into the Golden Tornado when they reach the playoffs. This is the first time since 2012 that they’ll wear the special gold uniforms. They’ll face a surging Agoura team that went 3-0 in league play after losing seven straight. Quarterback Spencer Lin is a double threat and Cole Hontas is a punishing running back for first-year coach Kamran Salem. The teams have two common opponents, Saugus and Royal. They both lost to Saugus (Santa Barbara fell 35-7 and Agoura lost 35-23) and beat Royal (Santa Barbara 7-3 and Agoura 21-8).  Santa Barbara will be looking to get its offense going as it’s scored just 24 points in its last two games – 14-13 over Dos Pueblos and 10-7 against Buena. Like the Golden Tornado, Agoura plays a bend-but-don’t-break defense. Santa Barbara needs to get playmakers Natani Drati and Chris “Tick” Jellison going to break the Chargers. The Pick: Santa Barbara.

Carpinteria (4-6) at St. Genevieve (9-1), at Crespi High, 7 p.m. — After holding its breath on Saturday to see if they’d get in the playoffs, the Warriors have been celebrating all week. They are playing their best football, rolling up big wins in their last two games. They’ll be up against a speedy St. Genevieve team that is led by running back Darrius Gaines (1,243 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns). He’s coming off a 250-yard rushing, five-touchdown performance in a 63-24 win over Mary Star. Carpinteria will need to control possession and score on those time-consuming drives. The Pick: St. Genevieve.

Saturday

Salesian (6-4) at Bishop Diego (7-3), at SBCC, 7:30 p.m., Radio: 1290 AM — Bishop gets the opportunity to face the kind of talent that Pac-12 schools go after.  Deommodore Lenior, who does just about everything for the Mustangs, including play quarterback, has committed to Oregon. Defensive back Nick Pickett also made Oregon his college choice, while linebacker Rahyme Johnson is deciding between such schools as Oregon, UCLA, Florida and Texas A&M. Bishop Diego won’t be intimidated. Most of its starters were on the field in wins over talented Palmdale and Newbury Park teams during last year’s run to the CIF final.  The Cardinals have a stout defense, led by linebacker Ashton Borgeson. The offense has stepped up and is operating on all cylinders. The Pick: Bishop Diego

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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