After being dumped by the Pacific Grove Breakers in a 47-6 season-opening loss, their worst opening loss since the 2004 season, the Watsonville Wildcatz hope they can get their season back on track against the speedy Santa Cruz Cardinals.
The Cards are coming off a 43-21 blowout win over Watsonville’s cross town rival Grizzlies.
The Catz will have to nulify the Cards running game and that all starts with containing the sweep to Cards runner Dale Stoller.
Stoller had three scores on the ground last week with two of those going for over 25 yards.
Watsonville’s offense, led by freshman quarterback Alex Carillo, will likely attack a SC defense with the read option.
The Cardinals gave up 257 yards on the ground last week.
• Monte Vista Christian at Pacific Grove (7:30 p.m. Friday): The Mustangs will get a much harder challenge against the Breakers on Friday.
The Mustangs’ offense looked like a well oiled machine in their 42-0 shut-out win over Del Mar.
It will be tough for the Breakers to stop the two-headed moster of Dominic Robles and D’Shawn Hopkins out of the MVC backfield.
But the Breakers are no slouches either. They totaled 428 yards on an athletic Watsonville defense.
• Aptos vs Seaside (7:30 p.m. Friday): The Mariners and Spartans will meet in a battle of strength versus strength.
The Mariners defense carried them through a heartbreaking late loss to Encinal of Alameda last Friday.
They gave up just 210 yards and 13 points in the loss.
The Spartans were able to score 24 points in their 24-0 win over Skyline of Oakland.
Expect a lot of running in this one.
Aptos ball carriers Austin Verdugo, Miles Beaudoin and Luie Demicell have to be frustrated after being bottled up for just 112 combined yards.
The expected return of senior center Alex Marquez will give the Mariners’ running game a slight boost as well.
Marquez sat out last week with a knee injury.
• North Monterey County at Soledad (7:30 p.m. Friday): The Condors stuggled with several self-inflicted wounds in their 42-20 loss to Galileo of San Francisco.
They also had some trouble in defending against the pass.
Good thing is they’ll face a run-first team this week. Bad thing is they excell at that part of the game.
The Aztecz ran wild against Alisal for 388 yards.
Despite the loss to the Lions, the Condors’ running game looked solid.
The combination of Peter Best and Jonathan Servin on the left side of the offensive line opended many big holes for running back Carlos Anaya.
If they establish the run early, they could see some success against a tough Aztec team that has hopes of winning a Mission Trail title.
• St. Francis C.C.C. at Yerba Buena (7:00 p.m. Friday): There is not telling how the Sharks will respond after winning their openning game against Greenfield in dramatic comeback fashion.
Junior quarterback Nick Ciandro led the Sharks to the win by throwing three touchdowns and running for one, but he also came out of the game with a few bumps and bruises.
It will be tough for the Sharks to stay healthy this season, but they’ll look to continue the hot streak they started in the second half of their win over the Bruins.
• Pajaro Valley vs Harbor (7:00 p.m. Saturday at Watsonville High School): The Grizzlies did a good job of sticking with the Cardinals for the first half, but they were unable to finish the game with a W.
Things wont get any easier for them as they face an underated Harbor team with quarterback Milo Small at the helm.
Small threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns against a tough Mills team.
Pajaro Valley will have to play to its strength: the runing game.
Anthony Cantrell led the Grizzlies with 91 yards and two touchdowns and Miguel Esparza carried 11 times for 79 yards.
The matchup between the Grizz and Pirates has been as even as could be. They have split the lasy six meetings 3-3.
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