Friday Night Lights: Carpinteria kicks off season against Santa Ynez

Carpinteria takes the field for the first time in 2015 as it hosts Santa Ynez on Friday night at picturesque Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

This is one of the oldest football rivalries on the Central Coast, dating back to the 1940s. The Pirates come into Carpinteria full of confidence after a 29-7 win over San Luis Obispo in Week Zero. They are a senior-loaded team, with 26 upperclassmen on the roster.

Carpinteria is also senior heavy, and the Warrior upperclassmen have never lost to Santa Ynez at the varsity level.

The game will mark the debut of  Mikey Garibay at quarterback for the Warriors. The junior enjoyed success running the same offense at the JV level. He has plenty of experienced players around him, starting with an offensive line led by seniors Pancho Sanchez (6-5, 265) and Nico Jimnez (6-3, 267). Seniors Aaron Vargas, Oscar Garcia and Tim Jimenez return at running back and Jimmy Graves is at wide receiver.

The Pirates are led by quarterback Tanner Shean. His 11-yard improvised touchdown run in the second quarter sparked the team to 22 straight points last Friday. Austin Vreeland is a dual threat at running back.

This figures to be one of those wild, see-saw games, where the team that has the ball last will win. The pick: Carpinteria.

A side note: It’s highly recommended to get to the stadium early to have dinner. The snack bar crew at Carpinteria makes tasty barbecue tri-tip sandwiches.

Santa Barbara at Santa Maria, 7 p.m. — The Dons dominated on both sides of the ball against an inexperienced Hueneme team. Santa Maria should offer a stiffer challenge. The Saints are coached by Dan Ellington, who takes over the program after a successful career at Pioneer Valley. “We’ve stressed to our boys that Santa Maria is definitely an improved team,” Santa Barbara coach JT Stone said. “I lived there and I’ve seen some struggling Santa Maria teams, but Ellington has his team headed in the right direction.” The Saints suffered a tough 13-9 loss against Cabrillo, giving up the winning touchdown in the last 1:30 of the game. “It breaks my heart that we didn’t come out with a W because (the kids) deserved it,” Ellington said. “But, at the same time, we didn’t do enough to win.” Santa Maria has a good running back in Isaiah Bernal. The Pick: Santa Barbara

San Marcos at Rio Mesa, 7 p.m. — Both teams will be looking to bounce back after suffering lopsided defeats. Rio Mesa was outscored 28-0 in the second half in a 52-17 loss against Camarillo. San Marcos fell behind 49-0 at halftime and lost 62-14 at West Ranch. Coach Anthony Linebaugh said this team needs to right the wrong of last week and be ready to play from the opening kickoff. It will be a tough game for the Royals, as Rio Mesa has an experienced squad. The Spartans are ranked seventh in the CIF Western Division. The Pick: Rio Mesa.

Cabrillo at Dos Pueblos, 7 p.m. — The Chargers will have a chip on their shoulders after last week’s opener against Pacifica got away from them in the fourth quarter. Pacifica scored 31 unanswered points to win 38-24. Coach Nate Mendoza said he was pleased how the coaching staff kept the team together after the loss. He said the players learned a lot at Saturday’s film session and they “are really motivated to come out strong at home on Friday.” Cabrillo scored in the last 1:30 to beat Santa Maria, 13-9. Cabrillo coach Don Willis said afterward that the team has a lot to clean up before its next game. The Pick: Dos Pueblos

Saturday
Bishop Diego at Santa Fe Christian, 2 p.m. – The Cardinals head to Solana Beach looking for their fourth straight win against the San Diego Section small schools power. They’ll face a talented dual-threat quarterback in Conner Whitton. He passed for 157 yards and ran for 73 on six carries in a 39-0 win over Sweetwater, a large public school in San Diego. Bishop Diego also beat a public school in Week Zero, pulling out a 14-9 win against Righetti. While coach Tom Crawford said his team didn’t play well, the CIF rankings committee was impressed as it ranked the Cardinals No. 4 in the Northern Division poll. Expect Bishop to be sharper this week. The pick: Bishop Diego.

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