All four local high school football teams will head southbound on the 101 this weekend for their respective matchups.
Dos Pueblos once again will be in action on Thursday to take on undefeated Pacifica, who is currently tied for first place in the Channel League.
The team they are tied with, Ventura, will play host to the Santa Barbara Dons on Friday in a matchup between league heavyweights this season.
To wrap up local Channel League play this week, San Marcos will look to get its first league win of the season against the Buena Bulldogs.
Carpinteria, finally, will head down to Calabasas to face off against Viewpoint in a non-league contest before the Warriors jump into Citrus Coast league play.
Here is a capsule look and a prediction for each game this weekend.
Dos Pueblos (2-2, 0-2) @ Pacifica (5-0, 3-0), Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Dos Pueblos offense has struggled mightily since senior quarterback Ryan Marsh sustained a season-ending knee injury against Nordhoff on Aug. 25. Since then, the Chargers have scored just 12 points in two weeks, managing 381 yards of offense in losses to Buena and Ventura.
They will need to lean on the running back duo of Kaleb Williams and Danny Vidaure, which has handled the bulk of the offensive looks with backup quarterback Gonzo Murillo now under center.
Facing its toughest test yet, the Charger defense will also need to step up in a major way after allowing 81 points across two Channel League games.
Pacifica’s perfect season continued last week in a dominant 49-14 win over San Marcos where the Tritons scored 42 points in the first half. Quarterback Dominic Duran continued his stellar season, as he now has 988 passing yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions through five games.
However, the Chargers may have to gameplan more for wide receiver Isaiah Dillon, who has hauled in 27 receptions for 481 yards and six touchdowns. While the Pacifica offense is full of weapons, its defense has not allowed more than 15 points in a game this season.
The Tritons shouldn’t have too much trouble stopping the Chargers offense on Thursday.
The Pick: Pacifica
Santa Barbara (3-2, 2-1) @ Ventura (4-1, 3-0), Friday at 7 p.m.
The Dons have bounced back from a Channel League opener loss to Pacifica with back-to-back solid performances against San Marcos and Oxnard. Abel Renteria looked great last week, rushing for three touchdowns and throwing for over 300 yards.
Wideout Kai Mault and running back Koa Herrera have shined along with Renteria, as Mault has caught 35 passes for 337 yards while Herrera has taken 80 carries for 341 yards.
The defense, meanwhile, has been stout, allowing one touchdown in the last two games combined. Led by Michael Cabral and Sammy Perez, they will have the job of slowing down the Cougar offense.
That offense has outscored league opponents 94-14 in three games played and is led by quarterback Logan Scarlett’s 12 touchdown passes. Scarlett has distributed the passing offense well, as five different receivers have over 100 yards on the season.
The Ventura defense has been impressive in its own right, forcing a whopping 12 turnovers in five games, securing five interceptions and seven fumble recoveries.
This should be a very close matchup between two teams with playoff aspirations and plenty of talent on both sides of the ball.
The Pick: Ventura
San Marcos (2-3, 0-3) @ Buena (2-3, 2-1), Friday at 7 p.m.
The Royals have made it through a three-game stretch of Rio Mesa, Santa Barbara and Pacifica, the three teams that split the Channel League championship last year. In that time, San Marcos was outscored 130-21.
The biggest offensive threat for the Royals has been wideout Luke Crawford, who has caught 30 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns this season.
There have been flashes of potential, however, with this San Marcos squad, as they were down just six points to Rio Mesa at halftime and held Pacifica to just seven points after halftime.
Buena, meanwhile, is off to a 2-1 start to league play, defeating Dos Pueblos and Channel Islands and falling to Pacifica. While the record is positive, Dos Pueblos and Channel Islands are a combined 0-5 in Channel League play.
The Bulldog offense is predicated on the run game, with junior James Blanks rushing 85 times for 496 yards and six touchdowns this season. Their defense, meanwhile, has allowed 22 points per game and has three turnovers on the season.
This will be an interesting matchup, as the Royals have faced the upper echelon of the Channel League while the Bulldogs have beaten the bottom feeders of the standings. San Marcos being more battle-tested could be very valuable in this one.
The Pick: San Marcos
Carpinteria (2-2) @ Viewpoint (2-2), Friday at 7 p.m.
The Warriors have followed up back-to-back wins to open the season with two straight one-possession losses to Calvary Chapel and Grace Brethren, a much more competitive start to the year than recent Carpinteria teams.
Talon Trumble has continued to be a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball, and his success is crucial if Carpinteria wants to walk away with a win.
Along with Trumble, Sebastian Hernandez, Judah Torres and Isaya Gonzalez have been impact players both offensively and defensively.
Viewpoint is coming off a dominant 49-14 win over Los Amigos, but they struggled the week prior in a 35-7 loss to Clairemont.
Junior Connor Eagan has been the team’s leading passer up to this point while junior Seth Forrester is leading the rushing attack.
Another tight matchup may be in store for the Warriors, and their experience in close games may end up being the difference.
The Pick: Carpinteria