Friday Night Lights: It’s a battle of unbeatens in quarterfinals

There were 100 points scored in Bishop Diego’s first-round CIF Northern Division football playoff win over Newbury Park last week.

Friday’s 7 p.m. quarterfinal clash between the undefeated Cardinals and Palmdale at La Playa Stadium has the potential to exceed that total. Both teams possess explosive offenses that average nearly 40 points a game. While Bishop was outscoring Newbury Park, 53-47, in last week’s first round, fourth-seeded Palmdale was rolling up the yards and points in a 48-14 romp over Pioneer Valley.

The defensive coordinators will probably be bleary-eyed and grouchy on Friday after staying up late all week figuring out ways to slow down all the fast, talented skilled-position players.

Palmdale has a host of speedy playmakers, starting with senior dual-threat quarterback Nathaniel Myles. Sophomore running back Richard Newton is a special player. In the Falcons’ rivalry game against Antelope Valley two weeks ago, he rushed for 230 yards and two TDs on 35 carries, giving him 685 yards and 12 touchdowns in only three games. Last week, he had a 47-yard TD run against Pioneer Valley.

Junior Jorden Bowden and senior Chris Simmons are two more game-breaking threats. At wide receiver, Myles Christian and Napoleon Demison are athletic and fast.

Bishop Diego counters with its 1-2 punch of Mike Soracco and John Harris at running back, CIF sprint champion AV Bennett at flanker and steady quarterback Spencer Stovesand. They were operating in peak form against Newbury Park.

The Cardinals’ peak performance on offense was complemented by some clutch play from the defensive unit. They stopped Newbury Park and its star quarterback Cameron Rising on three straight possessions in the first half and on the first possession of the second half. Those stops made a huge difference in the game.

If Bishop can contain Palmdale’s big-play ability, it could find itself practicing on Thanksgiving Day, preparing for a semifinal game against either top-ranked Camarillo or St. Joseph in this rugged division. The Pick: Bishop Diego

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