Santa Babara High’s defense has played well against some good quarterbacks this football season.
When the Golden Tornado, as the football team is nicknamed during the postseason, take on Downey in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs on Friday at Peabody Stadium, they’ll face one of the most athletic quarterbacks in Southern California.
Aidan Chiles, a 6-foot-4 senior who has committed to Oregon State, is a dangerous dual threat.
In the Vikings’ regular-season finale against La Mirada, he completed 16 of 20 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 73 yards and two scores on five carries in a 43-21 win.
Chiles is coming into is own after playing behind Los Alamitos five-star recruit and USC commit Malachi Nelson for two years and then suffering a broken hand during his junior season at Downey.
He’ll face a Santa Barbara defense that has contained some good quarterbacks like Trevor Ke’enan Lagarde of North Torrance, Tagg Harrison of Pacifica, J.J. Bittner of Rio Mesa, and Zane Carter of Buena, all playoff teams.
The Golden Tornado (9-1) have lots of speed and athleticism on their defensive unit. They’ll need a performance like the one in the 7-6 overtime win over Rio Mesa to stay in the game.
With talented playmakers on both teams, this game has the makings of a shootout.
Santa Barbara quarterback Abel Renteria will need to utilize all of his talented wide receivers to keep pace with Downey (8-2).
The Pick: Santa Barbara
Vista Murrieta (5-5) vs. Bishop Diego (7-3), at SBCC, 7 p.m. — Don’t let the .500 record fool you. Vista’s four losses came in a league that includes Division 1 powerhouse Corona-Centennial. The league is so strong that all six teams qualified for the playoffs. Roosevelt, which went 0-5, is playing top-seeded Camarillo in a Division 4 opener.
Vista is led by 6-foot-6 sophomore quarterback Akili Smith, who works behind a big offensive line. The Broncos are a battle-tested bunch, but so is Bishop Diego.
The Cardinals finished third in a strong Marmonte League. Their offensive and defensive lines are playing well, and running back Qu’Ran Gossett has been unstoppable.
The Pick: Bishop Diego.
NOTE: Both CIF playoff games will be broadcast on AM 1290 and 96.9 FM.