Almost everything went right for the Watsonville High Wildcatz in last week’s win against Pacific Grove High. They’ll look to keep the momentum going this week against Santa Cruz High in their home opener.
Friday’s game at Emmett M. Geiser Field will be the 100th meeting between the Wildcatz (1-0) and Cardinals (0-1) in a historic rivalry game that dates back to the 1890s. Watsonville, which holds a 56-38-5 lead in the all-time series, had beaten Santa Cruz four straight times before losing last year in a 7-6 heartbreaker.
The Wildcatz, however, come in as the heavy favorites after last week’s showing in their season opener. Watsonville snapped a four-year losing streak to Pacific Grove with a 41-18 win over the Breakers. Senior running back Evan Delozier and junior running back Matthew Barcelo each scored a pair of rushing touchdowns, while senior fullback Jorge Maya added another for the Wildcatz, whom have not started a season with back-to-back wins since 2003.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, struggled in last week’s 40-7 loss to Sequoia High, of Redwood City. They were nearly shut out, scoring a touchdown with 2 minutes, 53 seconds left to play, and totaled only 120 yards of offense against the Cherokee, who are ranked No. 500 in the state by MaxPreps. But Santa Cruz, coached by Bubba Trumbull, last year was also routed by Sequoia before stunning Watsonville by a point.
The Cardinals could also receive a big boost if starting quarterback Abram Soriano and several other players return from injury.
Here’s a look at the rest of the action happening this weekend:
• Aptos vs Aragon, 7:30 p.m. — Aptos High looked like its usual dominant self last week in a 58-12 drubbing of Templeton High and the Mariners will try to continue that trend this week against the Aragon High Dons at Trevin Dilfer Field in Aptos.
Friday’s meeting will be the third time the two have played over the past two years. Last year, Aptos (1-0) beat Aragon (0-1) twice, handling them in the preseason, 49-21, and again in the Central Coast Section Open Division III playoffs, 35-14.
Friday will serve as the Dons’ season opener. Ranked 169th in the state by MaxPreps, Aragon, coached by Steven Sell, figures to be a bigger thorn in the Mariners’ side this time around. The Dons, who have made the playoffs in six consecutive seasons, are loaded with talent, including senior quarterback Gabe Campos, junior running back Paul Lautaimi and senior receiver Davion Cox.
The Mariners, ranked 136th in the state by MaxPreps, will have to play a complete game to start the season 2-0.
• Pajaro Valley vs Greenfield (at Cabrillo College), 7:30 p.m. — Pajaro Valley High showed some flashes of promise during last week’s 37-0 loss to St. Francis High. The Grizzlies will have to hope they can consistently create several more of those flashes this week against Greenfield High at Carl Conelly Stadium on the campus of Cabrillo College.
While P.V. (0-1) is coming in off a tough loss, Greenfield has yet to start its season. The Bruins, coached by Ryan Bravo, are coming off a 3-7 season and have not notched a winning record since 2011. Senior quarterback Rodrigo Frias and Co. will try to change that this season.
P.V. has played Greenfield in eight of the last nine seasons. The Grizzlies hold a 4-2-2 advantage in that series and have won the last four.
• North Monterey County at Monte Vista Christian, 7:30 p.m. — Monte Vista Christian and North Monterey County High will face off for the fifth straight season on Friday night in Watsonville. M.V.C. (1-0) has had the upper hand on N.M.C. (0-1) in all four previous meetings, including in last year’s 20-14 victory.
M.V.C. welcomed in new head coach Bruce Dini, who was previously with Stevenson High, with an impressive 37-20 win over King City High last week. Dini’s record-setting spread offense produced four passing scores, including three from senior quarterback Sean White. The Mustangs will look to notch their 12th straight preseason win dating back to the 2014 season on Friday.
The Condors, however, have not had the same luck, losing their last nine preseason contests dating back to the same season. Last week’s 40-0 loss to Alvarez was particularly hard to stomach but head coach Sean Gomes will try to get his troops pointed in the right direction this week.
• St. Francis vs California School for the Deaf (at Santa Cruz High), 7:30 p.m. — The St. Francis High Sharks started the John Ausman era with a big 37-0 win over Pajaro Valley last week but will have a much tougher task come Friday at Santa Cruz High.
The California School for the Deaf Eagles, a private school in Fremont for the hearing impaired, will come into town and try to make it two wins in a row against the Sharks. Last season, the Eagles blew out the Sharks 49-29 in their regular-season finale behind the running backs Calel Aramboles and Spezio Harmount’s five touchdowns. Both runners are back this year and last week they helped their team hammer Turlock Christian in a 46-14 season-opening win.
St. Francis senior quarterback Derric Estrada-Haro missed last year’s game because of injury but this time around he will be behind center leading the Sharks’ offense. The precise signal caller completed all three of his passes last week and two went for scores.