Friday Night Lights: Back-ups take center stage in DP-Carpinteria clash

Friday night’s game between Carpinteria and Dos Pueblos could be called the “Banged-Up Bowl.”

The South Coast area teams meet for the first time in several years at DP’s Scott O’Leary Stadium. DP is 1-4 and Carpinteria 0-4.

Both teams enter the non-league contest with injuries to several starting players.

“We’re definitely going to be light on personnel going in,” Carpinteria coach Ben Hallock said. “We got some injuries and we’re trying our best to replace guys and get guys ready to go.”

DP coach Nate Mendoza knows the feeling.

“It’s pretty brutal,” Mendoza said of the rash of injuries. “But we’re telling (the players) it’s a team sport and we need everybody to step up. If there’s one thing I expect my team to do it’s to play hard on Friday night, play with discipline and compete for four quarters.”

The good news for DP is quarterback Kellen Roberts is OK and will start. He took a big hit and came out of the game last against Lompoc, a 56-6 loss.

“He took a big hit and, with the score the way it was, we thought to keep him out,” Mendoza explained. “Tommy Johnson played for him and he didn’t have many reps. Josh Flora was our second quarterback and he’s out for the season with a stress fracture in his hip.”

With Flora out, Mendoza is expecting Marcellous Gossett to fill the role as the go-to receiver for Roberts. He stressed that other players need to step up and make some plays.

Friday is Senior Night at DP and the final tune-up before the start of Channel League play, so Mendoza is hoping his team is sharp.

“That’s been our biggest goal, to get better before league. We know that time is of the essence,” he said.

The Chargers will face a Carpinteria squad that played well defensively last week in a 21-7 loss against a bigger South Torrance team. The Warriors came up with several turnovers but couldn’t capitalize on them.

“Last week we got a bunch of turnovers. We just didn’t covert those turnovers to points. We’re looking for consistency on offense,” said Hallock.

Mike Garibay, Carpinteria’s quarterback, is getting a better grasp on running the Warriors’ option attack at the varsity level.

“He’s got to get better,” Hallock said. “We’re starting to see some performance from him that had been missing in the previous games.”

Hallock said Friday will be his first time playing at DP’s stadium.

Mendoza is expecting a tough game from Carpinteria.

“We respect Carpinteria’s program and tradition and we know they’re going to come ready to play,” he said. “They’re going to be putting up a big fight Friday night.”

The pick: Dos Pueblos

Pacifica (4-1) at Santa Barbara (3-2), 7 p.m. — Dons coach JT Stone plans to move some players around to strengthen his defense, which has given up 82 points in its last two games – both losses. He’s also bringing in Alea Hyatt, a standout player on the girls soccer team, to handle the kicking on PATs and field goals. Santa Barbara’s offense is still producing points. It will need another big effort against a solid Pacifica team. The Tritons have beaten three Channel League teams: Dos Pueblos, San Marcos and Buena in overtime. The pick: Santa Barbara

San Marcos (1-4) at Nordhoff (0-5), 7 p.m. — The Royals face a Nordhoff team that has suffered some heavy losses during the last three weeks against Lompoc, North Torrance and Paso Robles. The Rangers were outscored 163-21 in those three games. San Marcos can use a momentum boost going into Channel League play next week. D’Shaun Vines should have another big game here. The pick: San Marcos.

Mission Prep (3-1) vs. Bishop Diego (4-0), at SBCC, 7:30 p.m.
— This is a battle of CIF-ranked teams. The host Cardinals, coming off a bye week, are No. 8 in the Northern Division and Mission Prep is ninth in the Northwest Division. The Royals are led by junior running back Brayden Corona (555 yards on 71 carres and 7 TDs) and 6-4 junior quarterback Bryce Fledderman (706 passing yards and 5 TDs). They’ll be facing a rested Bishop defense, led by fierce linebacker Matt Shotwell. When the Cardinals last played, running back Mike Soracco was starting to make a greater impact on offense. Look for him to continue piling up the yards in this one. The pick: Bishop Diego.