Arroyo Grande vs Righetti, October 21, 2016

Damien Robles sheds a tackler during a game at Arroyo Grande last season. Robles returns to the Warriors this year as team takes on Morro Bay tonight at 7 p.m.

Times file photo

Week Zero

Who: Morro Bay (4-6, 2016) at Righetti (1-9, 2016).

Where: Righetti High School.

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Broadcast: A live webcast will be available at www.santamariatimes.com. Times assistant sports editor Joe Bailey will call the play-by-play. Times sports writer Lorenzo Reyna will provide color commentary. The pre-game show will start at 6:45 p.m. 

Morro Bay outlook: No statistics were available on the Pirates from last year, but they do have Mike Unks, a tough RB-LB, returning.

Righetti outlook: Last year was a tough one all around for the Warriors, but they do have 18 returnees. Damian Robles, their leading rusher with 344 yards and two touchdowns last year, is among them.

How the game shapes up: Righetti doesn't have a proven quarterback coming back. Jalen Davis, however, figures to be available to catch passes, and that will be a plus. An experienced offensive line should be another plus for the home team tonight. Morro Bay will try to get through a Righetti defense that lost its three leading tacklers in 2016 to graduation.

Who: Pioneer Valley (4-6, 2016) at Nipomo (6-5, 2016).

Where: Nipomo High School.

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Broadcast: None.

Pioneer Valley outlook: The Panthers have a lot of skill position players back. At press time, incumbent Matthew Garcia was competing with Nipomo transfer Nick Robledo for the starting quarterback job. With RB Emmanuel Alcantar, and capable receivers, the Panthers should have ample options on offense. The defense is less seasoned.

Nipomo outlook: The Titans offense-defense situation is the opposite from the Panthers'. On defense, the defending Northern League champions have, among others, safety Gage Wynn, who led the league in interceptions in 2016 with five, returning. On offense, sophomore Brayden Groshart figured at press time to inherit the quarterback job. Nipomo's leading 2016 skill position players graduated.

How the game shapes up: Pioneer Valley's defense will contend with a Nipomo offense which, under third year coach Tony Dodge, has shown it can change things up when it needs to.

Who: Santa Maria (5-5, 2016) at San Luis  Obispo (0-10, 2016).

Where: Frank Holt Field, San Luis Obispo High School.

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Broadcast: ESPN 1280.

Santa Maria outlook: With a lot of returnees from a program that had its best campaign in years in 2016, the Saints are eager to get this season started. QB Blake Truhitte (just over 2,000 yards combined passing and running in 2016), and Isiah Garcia, the team's leading rusher last year, are two reasons in particular for the excitement.

San Luis Obispo outlook: The Tigers took a battering last year, but productive running back Pierson Mosichuk (583 yards in 2016), is back.

How the game shapes up: Santa Maria comes into the 2017 season with a blast of momentum. San Luis Obispo is limping into the 2017 campaign. Barring the unforeseen (and in football, the unforeseen happens often), the Tigers figure to have their hands full with the Saints tonight.

Who: St. Joseph (7-5, 2016) at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (5-6, 2016)

Where: Notre Dame High School.

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Broadcast: None.

St. Joseph outlook: The 2016 Los Padres League runner-up lost standoutRB C.J. Cole to graduation. Cole plays for Cal Poly now. However, the Knights have prolific QB Dino Maldonado, among several other players who were productive on offense and defense in 2016, back.

Notre Dame outlook: These Knights lost a lot of their top players from the 2016 team that made it into the playoffs, but QB Erik Zimmerman, who threw for 1,045 yards, and capable receiver Cameron Jones return.

How the game shapes up: Two solid programs will go at it in this Knights vs. Knights clash. St. Joseph figures to have an advantage in terms of experience. However, having to make the long trip down might hurt the Knights from St. Joseph. Then again, it might not. Notre Dame made the long journey north to St. Joseph last year and won 35-21.

Who: Lompoc (12-1, 2016) at Arroyo Grande (10-2, 2016).

Where: Doug Hitchen Stadium, Arroyo Grande High School.

Broadcast: KTNK 1410 AM, Tap TV 100.9 FM.

Lompoc outlook: Once again, the Braves will be a load for anyone to try to handle. For starters, Toa Taua (he rushed for 1,777 of those), Dallas Canley and Ruben Cortez combined for more than 2,700 yards on the ground last year, and they're all back. So is standout WR-DB Shemar Savage who caught 13 TD passes last year. Savage and LB Cortez return to help anchor the Lompoc 'D'.

Arroyo Grande: The Eagles lost a lot to graduation last  year, but leading rusher James Gilmet (1,113 yards in 2016) returns. So does DB Cade Cunningham, who was one of the Eagles' leading tacklers last year. Besides, the Eagles have made a habit of producing solid teams no matter who they lost to graduation the previous year.

How the game shapes up: The Lompoc-Arroyo Grande game has shaped up as the perennial marquee opening Central Coast match-up. This time, Arroyo Grande figures to be an underdog but to have a decent chance if its special teams can make Lompoc start deep in its own territory. And, with Colton Theaker, the Eagles have a kicker who can do it. Lompoc has struggled the past few times it has played at Doug Hitchen Stadium.

Who: Bakersfield Frontier (2-9, 2016) at Cabrillo (4-6, 2016).

Where: Huyck Stadium, Lompoc.

Kickoff: 7 p.m.

Broadcast: None.

Frontier outlook: QB Greg Youngblood was a main cog in the Titans' offense year, and he graduated. Frontier does have a capable receiver, Connor Gettman, returning.

Cabrillo outlook: The Conquistadores have a new coach, A.J. Pateras. They also have a lot of new players, thanks to graduation. Ben Dixon does return. A productive receiver, Dixon will also help anchor the secondary, along with Sean Wood and J.D. Czjakowski.

How the game shapes up: Two relatively unseasoned teams will go at it tonight. This one looks to be competitive.

Who: San Marcos (0-10, 2016) at Santa Ynez (8-2, 2016).

Where: Santa Ynez High School.

Kickoff; 7 p.m.

Broadcast: KRAZy Country, 105.9 FM.

San Marcos outlook: No statistics on the Royals from last year were available.  

Santa Ynez outlook: Half of the prolific 2016 Mike McCoy-to-Gabe Prendergast connection returns. Prendergast is the half of that combination who returns. Jasper Kadlec figures to be another reliable target for incoming QB Dustin Gregg. Gregg definitely has a strong arm. He was an All-League Los Padres League catcher for the LPL championship baseball team.

How the game shapes up: The Royals figure to have a hard time keeping this one from going to a running clock.

Other games: Santa Ana Foothill (5-6, 2016) at Atascadero (5-5, 2016). Broadcast: KIQ0 1504 AM.  Templeton (3-7, 2016) at Aptos (8-3, 2016), no radio. Lemoore (2-8, 2016) at Paso Robles (8-3, 2016), 7:30 p.m., War Memorial Stadium, Flamson School. Broadcast: KPRAL 1240 AM. 8-man: Los Angeles Price (3-4, 2016) at Orcutt Academy (5-5, 2016) at Pioneer Valley High School.         

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Sports Reporter