Friday Night Lights: Big Game has the ingredients for a shootout

The Big Game

The football rivalry between San Marcos and Santa Barbara High Schools is renewed this week in the 54th Big Game

It?s the football game that leaves lasting memories for the players who play in it.

The Big Game between crosstown rivals Santa Barbara High and San Marcos celebrates its 54th anniversary on Friday night at San Marcos? Warkentin Stadium. With neither team going to the CIF playoffs, this game should make the season for the winner.

Both teams enter the contest seeking their first league win, and second-year San Marcos coach Anthony Linebaugh and the Royals senior class are looking for their first victory against the Dons.

Santa Barbara has won the last three meetings and leads the series 30-23.

The game will feature plenty of offensive playmakers. Santa Barbara has talented sophomore quarterback Brent Peus, explosive running backs Ramon Harper and Cheroke Cunningham. San Marcos features hard-running Esteban Alfaro, the multi-purpose Cameron Whitney, sure-handed receiver Austin Pugh and strong-arm quarterback Wesley Ghan-Gibson.

The two local Tri-Valley League teams play in games that have CIF playoff implications..

At Carpinteria, the Warriors face a must-win situation against Santa Paula to have a shot at an at-large bid in the CIF Northwest Division playoffs.

Bishop Diego heads to Ojai to face defending Northwest Division champion Nordhoff in a battle for second place in the TVL and an automatic playoff berth.

Santa Barbara (3-5, 0-2) at San Marcos (5-4, 0-3) ? With all the offensive talent on the field, this has the makings of a shootout. Whichever team makes the big defensive stands will win the game. The pick: San Marcos.

Bishop Diego (7-1, 2-1) at Nordhoff (7-1, 1-1) ? Bishop finds itself in an unfamiliar situation, coming off a regular season loss. It had a winning streak of 26 regular season games before falling to Oak Park last week. The Cardinals face a tough assignment against an experienced Nordhoff team that rarely loses at home. If they can eliminate the turnovers and put pressure on Nordhoff QB Tanner Workman, the Cardinals should be able to rebound. The Pick: Bishop Diego.

Santa Paula (5-3, 0-2) at Carpinteria (6-2, 0-2) ? The Warriors have extra motivation in this game. They?ll be playing for senior running back and leading rusher Jonathan Esqueda, who is recovering from serious injuries sustained when the car he was driving was hit from the side by a SUV last Saturday night. It?s also Homecoming. The Pick: Carpinteria.