Delays in the renovation project at Peabody Stadium have made it possible to play one more “Big Game” at Santa Barbara High’s home field.
Crosstown rivals Santa Barbara and San Marcos meet on the gridiron for the 57th time on Friday night. City bragging rights are at stake, but of greater importance is starting Channel League on a winning note.
Both teams went through rocky pre-league schedules. A young and inexperienced San Marcos team didn’t win a game (0-6) while Santa Barbara managed two victories during an injury-ravaged six-game slate.
Some of the injured Dons will be back on the field Friday, among them big-play receiver Chris “Tick” Jellison. Ironically, he got hurt in last year’s Big Game.
Santa Barbara leads the series 32-24 and has won five of the last six games.
San Marcos (0-6) at Santa Barbara (2-4), 7 p.m. — Santa Barbara sophomore quarterback Franky Gamberdella has improved with each game. He threw three touchdown passes to Jeremiah Nicholson in last week’s loss to Pacifica. With Jellison returning, he now has two big-play threats. The versatile Nicholson figures to get his share of snaps as well. San Marcos junior QB Jacob Villarreal is a dual threat. He ran for a touchdown last week and threw a beautiful fade pass to 6-foot-3 receiver Mason Zimmerman. Ashkan Allen, the Royals’ primary running threat, is coming off a 117-yard rushing performance. Discipline and focus will be the keys to winning this rivalry game. Santa Barbara’s experience gives it the edge. The Pick: Santa Barbara.
Fillmore (1-5) at Bishop Diego (4-2), SBCC, 7:30 p.m. (Radio: 1290 AM) – John Harris is 86 yards from the 1,000-yard mark. He could reach that in the first quarter against a struggling Fillmore team. It’s homecoming for Bishop Diego. The Pick: Bishop Diego.
Carpinteria (1-4) at Santa Paula (2-3), 7 p.m. — After getting run over by Bishop Diego last week, the Warriors face another opponent that favors the ground game. Santa Paula is averaging over 300 yards rushing. Carpinteria coach Ben Hallock feels his team matches up with the Cardinals. The Warriors are due for a break-out game. The Pick: Carpinteria