If they can ever field two healthy teams, the game between Buena and Oxnard highs may develop into one of the best rivalries in Ventura County.
Unfortunately, this Channel League matchup has become a battle of the Band-Aids as doctors desperately try to patch up players for Friday's game.
The tale of the tape has Oxnard ahead with three key players returning to its active roster.
Middle linebacker/offensive guard Alex Soriano, defensive tackle Joe Torres and linebacker Donald Espinosa return after missing two weeks with knee injuries.
"We're in the best shape since the opening game," Oxnard Coach Jack Davis said. "We sure don't want to lose to them again."
Quarterback Johnel Turner and fullback Bryant Taylor played with injuries and the Yellowjackets (3-0) were stunned, 35-15, in the league finale.
The Bulldogs will have a hard time accomplishing the same trick with five starters sidelined with injuries. Buena (1-2) has been shut out in its previous two games.
"I've never coached a team that has been shut out twice in a row," Buena Coach Rick Scott said. "I think it could be three times in a row the way Oxnard is playing right now."
Bulldogs out with injuries are linebacker Steve Ledesma (knee surgery), guard Terry Hall (broken bone in right foot), tackle Phil Kurta (broken bone in left hand), center Kurt Tachert and defensive back/receiver Chuck Steuart (separated shoulder).
"Those are good football players we can't afford to be without," Scott said. "Our only hope is that we can cut down the number of big plays. If Taylor or Turner break a couple big gains, we're in trouble."
Cornering the problem: Santa Clara Coach Larry Lawrence is tired of seeing opponents turning the corner on his defense and running away for big gains.
Rio Mesa had 326 rushing yards en route to a 34-20 victory.
"We got hurt on the option," Lawrence said. "We have a cornerback that consistently gets beat."
Lawrence is going to try senior Chris Samuels at the suspect position. Two other seniors--Jack McCormick and Carlos Martinez--are candidates to become the new right outside linebacker.
The Saints also lost one of their leading tacklers. Middle linebacker Mike Hager, who has 10 unassisted tackles, has an ear infection and will be out at least another week.
"From sideline to sideline, he's a stud on defense," Lawrence said.
Add Saints--Fumbling is another problem Lawrence needs to correct before Friday's game at St. Bonaventure. The Saints (2-1) have had 11 fumbles in their first three games.
"It looks like our players have the ball tucked away, but then they get hit and it goes flying away," he said. "It's not just one player. All of our backs have trouble holding onto the ball."
Moral victory: Despite losing, 45-20, Santa Paula became the first team to score against Carpinteria, and the Cardinals accomplished the feat on their first series.
On the fourth play, quarterback Ben Fausett threw a 61-yard scoring pass to Jason Freeman. It was the fourth time the pair have hooked up for a touchdown.
Carpinteria blanked Nordhoff, 56-0, and Calabasas, 36-0, in its first two games.
Finally a win: With its 27-14 win over St. Bonaventure, Nordhoff (1-2) ended an eight-game losing streak.
The Rangers' last win was a 25-7 nonleague victory over Moorpark.
The two teams square off again Friday at Nordhoff.
The Musketeers are currently riding a three-game winning streak, their longest since 1985.
"I think they're an improved team from last year," Nordhoff Coach Cliff Farrar said, "but I'm not worried. They had one good win against Calabasas. The other two games weren't very good tests of strength. Our game will be a better indication if Moorpark is for real."
Football overdose: In less than 18 hours, Joe Davis went from running Oxnard High's offense to coaching and quarterbacking the Ventura County Cardinals, a semi-professional team that competes in the High Desert League.
"I'm already footballed out and the season is getting started," Davis said.
His football weekend began at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with the Yellowjackets' game against Channel Islands. It ended with the Cardinals' 1 p.m. game Sunday against the L.A. Mustangs.
Davis, who has been forced into playing because of injuries, completed 13 of 30 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown.
Davis last played quarterback for San Diego State in 1976 and 1977.
Sidelined: Oxnard College's Andy Beltowski may miss the entire Condors' basketball season because of a small bulge on a disc in his back.
According to Robert Lewis, the team physician, a test Monday determined Beltowski--a starter on last season's 20-12 team--has ruptured disc in his back. There is a chance the 6-foot-5 forward who averaged nine points and eight rebounds may miss the season if a bone scan later this week shows extensive damage.
Oxnard Coach Remy McCarthy doesn't relish the thought of losing his hard-working, backboard-crashing sophomore.
"To say losing him is a big blow would be putting it mildly," McCarthy said. "We were counting on him to have a big year."