Friday Night Lights: DP, Bishop can clinch title shares

With 2-0 league records, Bishop Diego and Dos Pueblos are in position to clinch title ties and CIF playoff berths with wins this weekend.

But they?ll face stiff competition to earn that coveted third victory.

Dos Pueblos (4-4, 2-0) hosts an improved Ventura (2-5, 1-0) team on Friday night in a Channel League clash at Scott O?Leary Stadium.

In the Tri-Valley League, Bishop Diego (7-0) takes on a potent Oak Park (7-1) in a clash between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the CIF Northwest Division on Saturday night at SBCC?s La Playa Stadium.

?Obviously, they are a very talented and experienced team as evident by their record,? Bishop Diego coach Tom Crawford said of Oak Park. The Eagles? only loss was a 41-35 shootout with Agoura of the Marmonte League in the season opener.

Oak Park is led by quarterback Chandler Whitbord, a 6-3, 195-pounder senior, who can bust defenses with his arm and legs.

?Their offense is designed to take advantage of both as he is very fast, probably the fastest QB we will see this year. They run a lot of pistol- and gun-option type plays,? said Crawford.

Whitbord has completed 99 of 157 passes for 1,682 and an impressive 26 touchdowns. He?s rushed for 816 yards on 77 carries and scored six TDs.

But he is not the only weapon for Oak Park. Running back Brandon Coppell has gained 1,019 yards and scored 7 touchdowns.

Wide receiver Matt Byer is Whitbord?s favorite passing target. He has 47 receptions for 1,081 yards and 20 touchdowns.

?The diversity and balance of their offense presents issues, but we need to control these three players in particular,? Crawford said. ?For us, being disciplined while playing fast and physical remain a key for our defensive success.?

The Bishop Diego defense has been stellar this season. It?s allowed only 25 points in seven games.

Bishop?s high-powered offense (325 points) will be up against an Oak Park defense that held Nordhoff to three points last week. The Eagles twice stopped the Rangers inside the red zone in their 23-3 win.

?The key to their defensive success is putting pressure inside the box and they have some big, fast guys on the D-line to help them,? Crawford said. ?In particular, there are two boys both named Green (6-4, 195-pound Justin Green and 6-0, 280-pound Shawn Green) who make a lot of plays and create matchup issues.

?Nordhoff struggled to contain the D line effectively and that hampered Nordhoff?s ability to throw or maintain possession,? he continued. ? Obviously, that performance showed us how physical Oak Park can be so we have to be prepared for that. We anticipate Oak Park?s approach will be similar to what they used successfully against Nordhoff and we need to protect the football and put together some drives. Our O line and QBs have to be solid in fundamentals and adjustments throughout the game for us to be successful and we need to take advantage when situations arise for one on one plays.?

Dos Pueblos, which this week cracked the CIF Western Division rankings at No. 10, faces a Ventura team that is coming off a bye week after beating San Marcos, 30-25.

The Cougars appear to have found their offensive rhythm with sophomore quarterback Tyler Smith, who took over the position after senior Steven Ledesma suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth game. They like to pound the ball with running backs Tyler Peralta and Zak Crawford. Crawford is also a dangerous return man.

First-year Ventura coach Tim Garcia has told his team after the San Marcos victory that every game is for the Channel League championship. DP can expect an intense battle on Homecoming night.

In other action on Friday, Carpinteria travels to Nordhoff, and San Marcos visits Buena. Santa Barbara has a bye.

Ventura (2-5, 1-0) at Dos Pueblos (4-4, 2-0), 7 p.m. ? Ventura traditionally is tough in the trenches and likes to pound the ball. Dos Pueblos has jumped on its opponents from the opening whistle and rolled to comfortable leads by halftime. Quarterback Barrett Burnes has done a good job at managing the offense and using weapons like Matt Sessler, Tyler Welch and Leshon Bell. The pick: Dos Pueblos.

San Marcos (5-3, 0-2) at Buena (4-3, 1-0), 7 p.m. ? The Royals try to regain the magic that led to five straight wins to start the season. Their defense will have its hands full against a big Buena line and running back Noah Martinez, who last week returned from a concussion and amassed 188 yards against Santa Barbara. The pick: Buena

Carpinteria (6-1, 0-1) at Nordhoff (6-1, 0-1), 7:30 p.m. ? Carpinteria has to play physical and mistake free against the Rangers, who are smarting after last week?s 23-3 loss to Oak Park. Speedy Bryson Frazer needs to get his hands on the ball to stretch the Nordhoff defense. The pick: Nordhoff

Oak Park (7-1, 2-0) at Bishop Diego (7-0, 2-0), SBCC, 7 p.m.
? A share of the Tri-Valley League championship is at stake in this battle between the CIF Northwest Division top-ranked Cardinals and No. 2 Eagles. This game has the makings of a shootout as both offenses have lots of weapons. Bishop?s defense seems to thrive in these big games, making big stops and forcing turnovers. The pick: Bishop Diego