Friday Night Lights: Dons begin final stand at Peabody

Dons senior quarterback Brent Peus

Senior quarterback Brent Peus and the Dons offense has scored 108 points in two games this season. (Presidio Sports Photo)

Friday night is the beginning of the end at Santa Barbara High’s venerable Peabody Stadium. A major renovation project is scheduled to begin after the football season, so the Dons are playing at the old stadium for the last time this fall.

The final five-game homestand at the stadium that opened in 1924 starts with a bang as the Dons play Channel Islands in a battle of two undefeated reams ranked in the CIF Western Division top-10. Santa Barbara (2-0) is fifth and Channel Islands (2-0) is No. 8 in this week’s poll.

Santa Barbara coach JT Stone has gained a greater appreciation of the football history at Peabody Stadium since coming over to the school a year ago.

“The tradition at Santa Barbara is unreal,” he said. “It is overwhelming to see the lasting affect this stadium has had on people over the years. We anticipate a packed house at all of our home games. Peabody is the root of our program.  Many great players have run up and down this field, truly. Stop and think about how many greats this stadium has produced… Blows my mind! This is Santa Barbara tradition and my boys get to represent our Dons in this final season at Peabody.”

The Dons are off to a great start, winning their opening two games by a combined scored of 106-8. The blanked Santa Maria, 42-0, last week and routed Hueneme, 64-8, in Week Zero.

Channel Islands figures to offer a stiffer challenge. The Raiders also are coming off a shutout, 40-0 over Fillmore.

“They are big up front and they like to ground and pound,” Stone said of the Raiders. “We expect a physical game.”

It will be a good test for the young Santa Barbara offensive line. Last week, it gave quarterback Brent Peus time to throw and he riddled Santa Maria for 356 yards and five touchdowns.

Stone would like to see the running game have a bigger impact.

He said there was improvement from the first game.

“They are continuing to grow as players,” he said. “They are getting better at understanding and committing to their role on each play at 100 percent effort.”

Stone noted that while it’s exciting that a new stadium is coming, it’s important the players respect and cherish the history of the football program.

“As any coach, you are excited to upgrade your facilities. It was needed, so I am happy for all the programs that will utilize the stadium,” Stone said. “Our goal is to carry on the Dons tradition and respect the past. The roots of this program will always be Peabody.”

Emotions will be sky high for this game. The leadership of the seniors will be key for Santa Barbara. The pick: Santa Barbara

Dos Pueblos (1-1) at Santa Ynez (2-0), 7 p.m. — The Chargers got a boost in confidence with their 35-9 win over Cabrillo last Friday. Chris Noggle showed that he’s a force on defense, as he was part of a whopping 21 tackles, including a huge sack in the red zone. His impact and the play of Marcellous Gossett (2 TD catches) will help take some of the sting off the loss of senior defensive end/tight end Austen Pearce to a leg injury. Quarterback Kellen Roberts did a nice job running the no-huddle offense. The Chargers will need another big defensive effort against a strong and experienced (26 seniors) Santa Ynez team. The Pirates blanked Carpinteria, 42-0, last week and beat San Luis Obispo, 29-7, in Week Zero. The pick: Dos Pueblos

Pacifica (2-0) at San Marcos (0-2), 7 p.m. — San Marcos coach Anthony Linebaugh figured  it was going to take some time before the Royals got settled and put it all together. The schedule hasn’t helped them. Their first two opponents, West Ranch and Rio Mesa, are strong teams. Pacifica will be another tough foe. The pick: Pacifica

Nipomo (1-1) at Carpinteria (0-1), 7:30 p.m. — After a rocky season opener against Santa Ynez, the Warriors face another challenge, taking on the top-ranked team in the CIF Northwest Division. Nipomo, the defending Northwest Division champion, gave powerful Lompoc a tough game last week, losing only 18-13. Mistakes on both sides of the ball hurt Carpinteria, and the Warriors lost standout Tim Jimenez to an injury. The Warriors will need to clean things up against a rugged Nipomo team that held Lompoc to a pair of touchdowns. The pick: Nipomo.

SATURDAY

La Salle (2-0) vs. Bishop Diego (2-0), at SBCC, 7:30 p.m. — Bishop quarterback Spencer Stovesand showed great poise in leading his team on a 99-yard drive for the go-ahead touchdown, and the defense came up big in a 29-21 win at Santa Fe Christian. Now the Cardinals take on a La Salle team that put up 77 points last week against Blair. The Lancers have a powerful running back in Amon Milliner (5-8, 180), an efficient quarterback in Jake Caan (12-13 for 115 yards and 2 TDs in two games), and a big line, led by 6-3, 310-pound John Mercado. Just like Bishop’s first two games, this one figures to go down to the wire. The pick: Bishop Diego.

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