Santa Barbara High and Dos Pueblos will take center stage for a crosstown rivalry game this Friday as most local teams find themselves in must-win games to remain in the playoff picture.
San Marcos, meanwhile, kept its playoff hopes alive last week and will need a win against Oxnard this week to keep them afloat.
Coming off an important win over Calabasas, Bishop Diego will look to make it two in a row on the road against Westlake.
The Carpinteria Warriors are still in search of their first Citrus Coast league win as they take the trip down to Fillmore High.
Here is a capsule look and prediction for each of this weekend’s games. Through nine weeks of play, my record on picks is 26-12.
Santa Barbara (6-2, 5-1) @ Dos Pueblos (3-5, 1-5), Friday at 7 p.m.
The Dons continued their dominant Channel League stretch last week with a 52-0 win that included a running clock for the entirety of the game. The victory made it five in a row for Santa Barbara.
Quarterback Abel Renteria, wide receiver Kai Mault and running back Koa Herrera headline an electric offense that can put up points in a hurry while the Dons defense has arguably been the strength of the team as of late.
After picking up their lone league win over Channel Islands, the Chargers have dropped back-to-back games to Oxnard and San Marcos. In those losses, they were outscored 62-22.
The offense has been the biggest issue for Dos Pueblos this season, as they have yet to score more than 15 points in a Channel League game. Running back Kaleb Williams handled 30 carries last week and could be leaned on heavily in this matchup.
Anything can happen in a crosstown rivalry matchup, but the Dons shouldn’t have trouble moving the ball and shutting down the Charger offense.
The Pick: Santa Barbara
Oxnard (2-6, 2-4) @ San Marcos (3-5, 1-5), Friday at 7 p.m.
San Marcos kept its playoff hopes alive last week with a 28-7 win in the Battle of the Goodland against Dos Pueblos. Nathan Jones led the charge, picking up a pair of interceptions and running for 100 yards and a touchdown.
The Royals’ defense has proven that it can keep the team in close games, but the offense has had some struggles. However, San Marcos found some success on that end in the second half of last week’s game with Robert Simentales under center.
The Yellowjackets are coming off a rough 41-7 loss to Rio Mesa after taking down Dos Pueblos by a score of 34-15 a week prior. They are in a bit of a rough patch, losing four of their last five games played by a combined score of 134-92.
This should be a tight matchup between two teams desperate for another Channel League victory, and the Royals being the home team could be the difference.
The Pick: San Marcos
Bishop Diego (2-6, 1-2) @ Westlake (1-7, 0-3), Friday at 7 p.m.
The Cardinals picked up their first Marmonte League win last week with a convincing 34-15 victory over Calabasas. After struggling mightily with injuries early in the season, the team has started to turn a corner and have some impact players returning from injuries.
Oscar Mauia has filled in nicely in the backfield for the injured Misa Paiau and quarterback Tua Rojas has been slowly making his way back from a shoulder injury that left him out for multiple weeks.
Westlake, meanwhile, has yet to win a Marmonte League matchup and is coming off a 45-14 loss to Oaks Christian last week. The Warriors have also lost seven games in a row.
The offense has been an issue for Westlake throughout the season, as it has failed to score double-digit points in four of the team’s seven losses.
It’s a battle between two teams in the bottom half of the league standings, but the Cardinals hold momentum from last week’s win that could go a long way.
The Pick: Bishop Diego
Carpinteria (2-6, 0-2) @ Fillmore (5-3, 2-0), Friday at 7 p.m.
The Warriors have fallen upon hard times as of late, as they are currently riding a six-game losing streak and are coming off a 39-28 non-league loss to Cabrillo last week.
However, the Carpinteria offense showed some encouraging signs in that loss as they had failed to eclipse 14 points in each of the three weeks before.
Fillmore is on the other side of that spectrum, as the Flashes come into this matchup on a four-game winning streak and are off to a 2-0 start in Citrus Coast league play.
Quarterback David Jimenez is in the midst of a monster season. Through eight games, the senior has 1,237 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also has 513 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.
The Warriors may have trouble slowing down Jimenez and the Fillmore offense.
The Pick: Fillmore