The time for talk is over.
It's either put up or go home.
We had three 11-man football teams in our coverage area advance to the quarterfinals. Two are on the road, two are playing the top seed in their respective divisions.
Before the season starts, the goal is to be practicing on Thanksgiving. And I'm not sure we'll be covering football then as all three teams have tough roads ahead.
Santa Maria hosts Schurr, the top seed in Div. 12. It's a tough matchup for the Saints, who have given up yards and points in bunches, though they have settled down on their five-game win streak.
I'm not sure Santa Maria can keep up with the Spartans, but I'm a sucker for a story and a Santa Maria win would be the biggest story of not only the football season, but perhaps the entire year.
So I'll go with the Saints in a close one.
A St. Joseph win at top-seeded Paraclete would also be a heckuva story. Before the year began, everyone had the Spirits, the defending state champions, going on an untested stroll to the Division 5 title and that's pretty much stayed true to form.
I think the Knights will put up some points, but it's nearly impossible to stop Brevin White and the Paraclete offense.
I have to go with Paraclete in that one.
Then we have the Braves going on the road to face a really talented El Toro team about 200 miles south. Lompoc is banged up, but I think the Braves should still win this one. It's going to be tough though and we knew it would be, with the Braves moving up to Division 3 somehow after falling in the Div. 4 semifinals last year.
I think the Braves will win, and Andrew Jones and his staff will be practicing on Thanksgiving once again.
We can't forget about 8-man football of course, and we've got a big one Saturday night. Orcutt Academy hosts top-seeded Faith Baptist, the team that beat the Spartans to give them their first loss of the season.
This is Orcutt Academy's first semifinal appearance and the I think the Spartans will avenge their early 42-28 road loss to Faith Baptist Saturday night.
One quick reminder: Hancock hosts a bowl game Saturday at 4 p.m. at Santa Maria High School. It's the Bulldogs' first bowl game in five years, so be sure to check that one out!
Joe Bailey (90-24)
Div. 3 quarterfinal: Lompoc 27, El Toro 25
Div. 5 quarterfinal: Paraclete 55, St. Joseph 33
Div. 12 quarterfinal: Santa Maria 27, Schurr 21
Div. 1 semifinal: Orcutt Academy 42, Faith Baptist 40
Kenny Cress (84-30)
Div. 3 quarterfinal: Lompoc 27, El Toro 24
Div. 12 quarterfinal: Schurr 49, Santa Maria 35
Div. 5 quarterfinal: Paraclete 51, St. Joseph 34
Div. 1 semifinals: Faith Baptist 42, Orcutt Academy 31
Elliott Stern (81-23)
Div. 3 quarterfinal: Lompoc 42, El Toro 28
Div. 5 quarterfinal: St. Joseph 52, Paraclete 49
Div. 12 quarterfinal: Schurr 35, Santa Maria 21
Div. 1 semifinal: Orcutt Academy 42, Faith Baptist 36
Brian Stanley (80-34)
Div. 3 quarterfinal: Lompoc 42, El Toro 35
Div. 5 quarterfinal: Paraclete 35, St. Joseph 31
Div. 12 quarterfinal: Santa Maria 28, Schurr 24
Div. 1 semifinal: Faith Baptist 56, Orcutt Academy 49
Lorenzo J. Reyna (79-35)
Div. 3 quarterfinal: Lompoc 35, El Toro 28
Div. 5 quarterfinal: Paraclete 49, St. Joseph 10
Div. 12 quarterfinal: Schurr 41, Santa Maria 20
Div. 1 semifinal: Orcutt Academy 34, Faith Baptist 27