Friday Night Lights: DP takes on top-ranked Newbury Park

When the Dos Pueblos football schedule was finalized, there was a three-week stretch of games that looked like a daunting task: Newbury Park, Lompoc and Sierra Canyon. These are the kind of games that could make or break a team before entering league play.

The Chargers begin that gauntlet of games Friday night, hosting Newbury Park at 7 p.m. The Panthers are ranked No. 1 in this week’s CIF Northern Division. They have two athletes who have committed to Division 1 schools and a high-powered offense led by wide receivers and brothers Darick and Darnay Holmes. Darick Holmes, a senior, has committed to Arizona. Darnay is a sophomore.

“They have an outstanding offense,” DP coach Nate Mendoza said.

In a 48-20 win over Agoura last week, Darick Holmes caught seven passes from quarterback Daniel Prieto for 186 yards and two touchdowns, while Darnay Holmes had eight receptions for 188 yards and two second-half scores.

Prieto has put up some gaudy passing numbers for three games: he’s 61 of 83 for 1096 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The senior quarterback works behind a big offensive line, led by 6-4, 310-pound Oregon-bound Zach Okun

Mendoza said the best remedy to slow an explosive team like Newbury Park is to keep the ball as much as possible. “You want your offense to get some long drives and not commit any turnovers. And, you want to create turnovers on defense,” he said.

Sophomore quarterback Kellen Roberts will get his third start for the Chargers in place of senior Barrett Burnes, who’s recovering from a concussion suffered in the first game. Roberts is coming off a five-touchdown, 320-yard passing performance in a win over Santa Ynez last Friday.

A key to Roberts’ success last week was the play of his offensive line, which didn’t allow a sack. The line gets a boost this week with the return of guards Brandon Duran and Dylan Darga.

On defense, Daniel Hernandez returns at middle linebacker for the Chargers.

Linebacker Jeff Uyesaka made plays all over the field for DP in the Santa Ynez game. Mendoza said the entire team needs to play with that same intensity against Newbury Park.

“We’re going to need that same type of effort. We need a team effort to make it a competitive game.

“That’s a talented team we’re playing,” he added. “We’re excited for the opportunity.”

Oak Park (0-3) at Carpinteria (1-1), 7:30 p.m. — The Warriors get quarterback Jimmy Graves back for their home opener against their former Tri-Valley League rival. Graves missed last week’s game because of a concussion. He’s trained all week and is ready to go, said coach Ben Hallock. The Warriors will be without Oscar Garcia, who filled in for Graves. He’ll be missed in the secondary, where the Warriors have used several players. The Warriors face a young Oak Park team that has been outscored 165-15 in three games. Hallock said the Carpinteria students are organizing a “Warrior Zone” section in the stands.

Cabrillo (2-1) vs. Bishop Diego (3-0), at SBCC, 7:30 p.m. — The Cardinals’ offensive line and running attack has been impressive in the early season. Special teams deserved a game ball after last week’s 38-11 win at LaSalle, as AV Bennett returned the second-half kickoff 99 yards for a backbreaking touchdown. After wins over Santa Maria and Dos Pueblos, Cabrillo got pummeled by a tough Paso Robles team. Paso Robles is third ranked in the CIF Northern Division. Bishop broke into the top 10 at No. 9.

Santa Barbara (1-2) at Rio Mesa (1-2) — The Dons look to clean up the penalties and get their offense cranked up. They scored only 10 points in posting their first win last week at Channel Islands. They go up against a Rio Mesa team that is struggling on offense, too. The Spartans suffered a 38-17 loss against Ventura.

San Marcos (0-3) at Hueneme (0-2) — If the Royals can eliminate the turnovers, they have a good chance to post their first win of the year. Hueneme has allowed 93 points in its two losses. The Vikings had a bye last week.