High school football season kicks off in just six weeks and all five South Coast schools will be playing Week Zero games on Aug. 24.
Carpinteria, Dos Pueblos, San Marcos and Santa Barbara will open their campaigns at home, while Bishop Diego travels to Santa Maria. The four home teams also will get things started against schools from the north. Carpinteria faces Templeton, Dos Pueblos takes on Santa Ynez, San Marcos plays 2011 CIF finalist Cabrillo and Santa Barbara entertains St. Joseph.
The high school season is starting earlier this year due to the CIF’s approval of adding regional playoffs following the section finals. The regional winners will advance to the State Bowl Games. The regular season ends on Nov. 2 and the section finals are to be played on Nov. 30 or Dec. 1. Regional games will be played Dec. 7-8, with the State Bowl Games being held Dec. 14-15.
Bishop Diego has put together a demanding pre-league schedule to get ready for its jump into the Tri-Valley League. The Cardinals were promoted to the TVL after a runner-up finish in 2010 and a undefeated championship season in 2011 in the Frontier League. (The leagues are part of the Tri-County Athletic Association). Fillmore moved to the Frontier League.
Bishop Diego has tough slate of home games against Santa Ynez (Sept. 1), Valley Christian of Cerritos (Sept. 8) and Sante Fe Christian of Solana Beach (Sept. 28). Santa Fe Christian reached the San Diego Section final last year and lost on a last-second field goal. The Cardinals open league play at Carpinteria on Oct. 5. The other TVL games are against Santa Paula, Oak Park and Nordhoff.
After opening against Templeton, Carpinteria will face a stiff challenge against South Torrance, which two years ago lost to Lompoc in the CIF Northwest Division final. The Warriors will continue their traditional rivalry games with Santa Ynez (Sept. 9) and Fillmore (Sept. 28).
The highlight of Dos Pueblos’ non-league schedule is a Sept. 14 home game against two-time defending CIF Northwest Division champion Lompoc. Chargers first-year coach Nate Mendoza will be coaching against his alma mater and good friend Andrew Jones.
Lompoc, by the way, is now in the same playoff division as the Channel League — the Western Division.
The Chargers will make a long trek to San Juan Capistrano to face San Juan Hills (Sept. 28) before entering Channel League play against San Marcos.
San Marcos, under first-year coach Anthony Linebaugh, will play half of the Pacific View League during its non-league schedule, hosting Rio Mesa (Aug. 31) and playing at Hueneme (Sept. 14) and Channel Islands (Sept. 21).
Santa Barbara will play host to a pair of perennially strong programs in Atascadero (Sept. 7) and Centennial of Bakersfield (Sept. 21) in pre-league games. Centennial is known for scoring a lot of points (it scored more than 40 five times last year), but Dons first-year coach Doug Caines is expected to have plenty of offensive firepower this season.
The dates for the city championship games: Dos Pueblos at San Marcos (Oct. 5); San Marcos at Santa Barbara (Oct.19); Santa Barbara at Dos Pueblos (Nov. 2).