This week in local high school football features a Marmonte League rivalry matchup between Bishop Diego and St. Bonaventure and a rematch of last year’s thrilling showdown featuring Santa Barbara High and Rio Mesa.
The game between the Cardinals and the Seraphs is the Marmonte League opener for both teams, and this year is athletic director John Muller’s first time experiencing the rivalry from the Bishop Diego sideline after serving the last 14 years as the St. Bonaventure athletic director.
Santa Barbara High’s next test comes against Rio Mesa this week. When these two teams squared off last season, it was 0-0 after four quarters and the Dons pulled it out 7-6 in overtime, a defensive slugfest that could repeat itself this year.
Also in the Channel League, Dos Pueblos will host Channel Islands in a battle of teams at the bottom of the standings, as neither has registered a win in league play.
Carpinteria will also open up league play this week with a road clash against Hueneme.
Here is a capsule look and a prediction for each game this Friday.
St. Bonaventure (3-2, 0-0) @ Bishop Diego (1-4, 0-0), Friday at 7 p.m.
The injury bug hit Bishop Diego hard this season, and the Cardinals are still dealing with it halfway through the year.
Running back Misa Paiau has not played a snap, quarterback Tua Rojas has missed multiple games and senior lineman Tristan Fui went down with an injury a few weeks ago.
“Coming off the bye week I anticipate a few guys who were banged up but still playing will be in better shape physically and fresher going into league,” head coach Tom Crawford said.
“While hoping to get a few who have missed games back, I’m not free to comment or speculate on guys, particularly with some medical clearances pending and then of course, resumption of contact after a week in helmets only per CIF rules.”
John Michael Flint has been under center for the Cardinal offense but it’s the defense that has been the biggest weakness for Bishop Diego, giving up 125 points in the last three games.
That defense will have to stop a St. Bonaventure offense that is averaging 178 rushing yards per game in a tough non-league schedule. In five games, however, the Seraphs have been outscored 124-112.
Both teams are coming off a bye week, which means both teams should have fresher legs and the anticipation should be high for this edition of the rivalry matchup.
With the injuries that Bishop Diego continues to deal with and the inexperience on the defensive side of the ball, St. Bonaventure should have the upper hand in this one.
The Pick: St. Bonaventure
Santa Barbara (4-2, 3-1) @ Rio Mesa (4-1, 1-1), Friday at 7 p.m.
The Dons made a statement win last week, taking down Ventura on the road in convincing fashion, 28-10.
The win put them in second place in Channel League behind undefeated Pacifica. While there are plenty of playmakers on offense, Santa Barbara has leaned on the defensive side of the ball as of late, allowing just 17 points across the last three games.
In this three-game stretch, the Dons have gotten lots of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and their talent in the secondary is performing well. Meanwhile, Abel Renteria and Kai Mault have led the way on an offense that has plenty of big-play capability.
Rio Mesa, meanwhile, is fresh off a dominating 56-0 win over Channel Islands last week. Two weeks prior, the Spartans engaged in a tight battle with Ventura where they fell 17-14.
JJ Bittner has produced under center all season for Rio Mesa, completing nearly 70% of his passes while throwing for 11 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He has also rushed for 240 yards and eight touchdowns.
While this high-flying Spartan offense will be tough to slow down, the Dons defense has found its footing and should give Rio Mesa some trouble.
The Pick: Santa Barbara
Channel Islands @ Dos Pueblos (2-3, 0-3), Friday at 7 p.m.
Dos Pueblos’ rough stretch of league games continued last week with a 68-7 loss to Pacifica, who jumped out in front early and never looked back. In three league matchups, the Charger offense has scored just 19 points while the defense has given up 149.
With Gonzo Murillo at quarterback following the injury to Ryan Marsh, the Dos Pueblos running back tandem of Danny Vidaure and Kaleb Williams have handled the bulk of the offensive work, a pattern that will likely continue this week against the winless Channel Islands Raiders.
While the Chargers have struggled this season, Channel Islands has struggled even more. Through three league games, the Raiders have been shutout and have been outscored 153-0.
That trend wasn’t exclusive to league games either, as Channel Islands lost its two non-league matchups by a combined score of 79-12 to Santa Paula and Carpinteria.
One team is going to walk away with its first league victory on Friday, and Dos Pueblos has the edge with the game being played in Goleta.
The Pick: Dos Pueblos
Carpinteria @ Hueneme, Friday at 7 p.m.
After an encouraging 2-0 start to the season, Carpinteria lost three straight games to wrap up non-league play. However, two of those losses were by one score and the third defeat was a 24-13 loss to Viewpoint.
Senior quarterback and middle linebacker Talon Trumble will look to lead his Warriors to a win after falling to Hueneme 35-21 in the final game of the season last year. Trumble will have the help of running back Isaya Gonzalez and wide receiver Sebastian Hernandez.
This season’s Hueneme team has had its fair share of struggles as well, carrying an 0-6 record into league play. In those six games, the Vikings have been outscored 254-33 and have scored more than seven points in only one game, last week’s loss to Banning.
First-year head coach Jake Goossen-Brown will look to pick up his first win of his coaching career at Hueneme, but Trumble and Carpinteria’s scrappy defense and solid offense are sure to make that difficult.
The Pick: Carpinteria