Monster matchups: All three local teams facing tough opponents

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Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown

Senior lineman Spencer Bliss (No. 50) returned to action last Friday night against San Marcos and made an immediate impact. Friday, Bliss and the Rangers will host Sierra Canyon at 7 p.m.

Mike Miller, Ojai Valley New sports editor

Nordhoff High School, Villanova Preparatory and Thacher School all face tough matchups on the gridiron this week.

Nordhoff, who is coming off its first win of the 2015 season, will play host to the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers in its final nonleague game of the season.

Sierra Canyon comes to town with a perfect 5-0 record having outscored their opponents 257-72 on the season. The Trailblazers are also sitting atop the CIF Southern Section Mid-Valley Division rankings.

According to NHS head coach Erik Monson, the Trailblazers are a talented squad with plenty of firepower on both sides of the ball.

Sierra Canyon’s quarterback, junior Niko Harris, has been lighting the world on fire with his play this fall. So far this season, he has completed 63 percent of his passes for 1,197 yards and 18 touchdowns to just one interception.

In the running game, Sierra Canyon will feature junior tailback Joshua Cole, who has racked up 771 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cole is averaging a robust 12.9-yards-per-carry average on the year.

The Rangers enter Friday’s game on a high note and are hoping to build on the positive momentum. Last week the Rangers were able to get some things going on the ground, which opened the passing game. Senior Daniel Williams has been doing a nice job at quarterback for the Rangers.

The biggest question for NHS will be how many players will be in street clothes instead of on the field. After a physical game against San Marcos last week, the Rangers had a number of key players get dinged with injuries. The good news is they will have a bye week next week that will give them time to heal.

Over at Villanova, the 3-2 Wildcats will host Orcutt Academy (5-1) in a key Condor League showdown. In the most recent CIF Southern Section Division I rankings, Orcutt Academy is ranked No. 7 and the Wildcats are No. 10, so this should be a competitive game.

Both teams are coming off losses last week, so both are eager to get back on track with a league victory. The game will be played Saturday on the VPS campus. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Thacher also will be facing a huge Condor League game as well when they travel to Carpinteria to take on the Cate Rams.

The Toads are 2-2 on the season while Cate is a perfect 4-0. When these two teams lock horns, anything can happen and the games are typically intense affairs.

Thacher is currently the third-ranked team in CIF SS Division I, while the Rams are right behind them in the fourth spot. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

© Ojai Valley News, 2015


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