Friday Night Lights: Dons waiting for offense to click

Friday-Night-LightsAs a former record-setting quarterback, JT Stone knows what it takes to move the football and put points on the scoreboard.

The first-year Santa Barbara High coach also is a realist and understands it takes time and patience to put the pieces together and instill discipline to make the offense work. His Dons haven’t lit up the scoreboard in the last couple of games, but they’ve come away victorious thanks to a solid defense.

That defense will be put to the test on Friday night in a home game against Royal of Simi Valley. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Peabody Stadium.

Royal (2-1) has a solid ground attack, led by running back River Meza. He rushed for 200 yards last week in a 21-7 win over Channel Islands and gained 186 yards in a win over Golden Valley two weeks ago.

The Dons are coming off a 7-6 win at Rio Mesa and a 10-8 victory at Channel Islands.

“We’re like any team, we have to make adjustments,” said Stone of putting the offense together. “It’s a collective effort of a whole bunch of things that had to be fixed. We’ve moved the ball, we just have had too many penalties; we have too many mental mistakes.”

The defense, meanwhile, has come up big.

“I think when you have a program of change the easiest thing to change is the defense,” said Stone, who was named interim coach at the end of July. “I feel like we’re headed in the right direction but until we get mentally better on offense we’re going to struggle.

“I’m not discouraged,” he continued. “Our offense is going to get there. We have some adjustments to do, but I’m happy because our defense is where it needs to be.”

South Torrance (3-0) at Carpinteria (2-2): Basketball playmaker Omar Miranda showed he can do the same on a football field. Last week, he caught two TD passes and intercepted a pair, returning one for an 80-yard touchdown in 45-23 win over Oak Park. The return of Jimmy Graves at quarterback was a big boost to the Warriors. The Warriors’ defense will be tested against a run-oriented South team that’s scored 61 and 57 points in its last two games. This is the third straight year the schools have met. Carpinteria won at South last year.

San Marcos (1-3) at Channel Islands (0-4): The Royals make a return trip to south Oxnard. Running back Inri Cortez emerged as a go-to player for the offense in last week’s win at Hueneme. He could have another big game against a CI defense that gave up 200 yards to a running back from Royal in a 21-7 loss.

THURSDAY – Dos Pueblos (1-3) at Lompoc (4-0):  Dos Pueblos gets some key players back on the field, but the Chargers face another difficult task Thursday night as they travel to Lompoc for a non-league football game against the CIF Northern Division third-ranked Braves. Senior quarterback Barrett Burnes returns after missing the last three games recovering from a concussion. Also back is defensive end/tight end Austen Pearce. Their return should give DP a big boost of confidence as it gets closer to Channel League play.

The non-league schedule has been brutal for the Chargers (1-3). Last week, they were routed 51-0 by Newbury Park, the No. 1 team in the Northern Division. Tonight, it’s Lompoc, a perennial CIF power, and next week they play at Sierra Canyon, the top-ranked team in the Mid-Valley Division. All three opponents are unbeaten.

Lompoc is led by fleet-footed junior quarterback Torey Sims. He’s rushed for 378 yards and nine touchdowns. In the air, he’s thrown for 459 yards and two scores.

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