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Friday Night Lights: Week Zero

A look at Friday night's high school football games on the South Coast

Santa Barbara head coach JT Stone leads the Dons into their season opener against Saugus on Friday night. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara head coach JT Stone leads the Dons into their season opener against Saugus on Friday night. (Blake DeVine / Noozhawk file photo)

It’s time to switch on the Friday Night Lights. High school football season is here.

Bishop Diego tailback John Harris looks for a breakout performance against Righetti on Friday evening.
Bishop Diego tailback John Harris looks for a breakout performance against Righetti on Friday evening. (Noozhawk file photo)

Every Friday, Noozhawk will break down the games involving our five local schools that play 11-man football.

Four teams kick off tonight in Week Zero games on the CIF-Southern Section schedule: San Marcos is the only team playing at home, taking on Santa Ynez at 7 p.m. at Warkentin Stadium. It will be the debut of Jason Fowle as coach of the Royals.

In another county matchup, Bishop Diego plays at Righetti. Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos take long road trips, with the Dons traveling to Saugus and the Chargers visiting San Juan Hills in San Juan Capistrano. Carpinteria opens play next Friday.

The Bishop-Righetti game will be broadcast on radio station 1290 am at 6:45 p.m. John Martony will handle the play-by-play.

        Also kicking off Friday is Laguna Blanca's 8-man football team. The Owls host New Designs of L.A. on their Hope Ranch campus at 3 p.m.

Here is capsule look at Friday night's games.

Santa Ynez at San Marcos: The young and inexperienced Royals will have their hands full against a Pirates team that has a big line, an athletic senior quarterback and talented playmakers. Mike McCoy can make plays with his arm and legs. He has a good passing target in 6-foot-3 Gabe Prendergast. Junior Travis Vreeland takes over for his graduated brother, Austin, at running back. The pick: Santa Ynez.

Bishop Diego at Righetti: The Cardinals, ranked No. 2 in CIF Division 5, will break in quarterbacks David Gladish (a junior) and Jake Engel (a sophomore) against a young Righetti squad. The QBs have the luxury of working behind an experienced and physical offensive line and have a power running back in John Harris to carry the offensive load. Righetti's offense is led by sophomore quarterback Chase Artopoeus, who saw lots of action as a freshman. He’ll be handing the ball off to senior running back Johnuel Laron. Bishop’s experience on both sides of the ball should make the difference. The pick: Bishop Diego.

Santa Barbara at Saugus: The Dons’ heart will be tested right away after the loss of dynamic receiver and team leader Chris “Tick” Jellison earlier in the week. Coach JT Stone expects his team to rise to the occasion. The defense will need to be disciplined against an up-tempo Saugus attack. The pick: Saugus.

Dos Pueblos at San Juan Hills: Coach Nate Mendoza said he didn’t mind making the long trek in Week Zero. “It’s the first game of the year and if can’t get up for that, then I don’t know what you’re going to get up for.” The Division 10 second-ranked Chargers will look to control the game with Irvin Miguel and Chris Noggle running the ball behind their big offensive line. San Juan Hills has an outstanding receiver in Jacob Huff. He caught 82 passes for 1,293 yards on 10 touchdowns. The pick: Dos Pueblos

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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