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At the midway point of the 2018 season, there's a football resurgence on Foster Road.

The rival schools situated across from each other in Orcutt — Righetti and St. Joseph — each stand at 4-1. The last time both teams have experienced similar starts at the same time was in 2009, when the Knights went 12-1 and the Warriors finished 8-3. 

St. Joseph most recently started out 4-1 in 2015. The Knights got up to 6-1 before finishing 9-3. The last time Righetti was 4-1 was in 2011, when the Warriors went 8-4 and St. Joseph ended up at 3-7.

But it's been a while since both teams, which are situated diagonally across Foster, have been successful simultaneously. And it's the perfect time for it to happen now that they're both in the Mountain League and will face off in the regular season finale, set for Oct. 26.

Both the Warriors and Knights have their share of similarities.

They have first-year head coaches, though Righetti's head man Tony Payne is a homegrown guy and former Warrior, while Knights coach Pepe Villasenor's roots lie in Ventura County. 

Both teams, though, have taken on the attitude of their coaches.

Righetti has grown into a rushing juggernaut, averaging over 300 yards per game on the ground. That comes from Payne, a former offensive lineman infatuated with hard-nosed football.

St. Joseph, meanwhile, has employed a complex offense that attacks and exploits match-ups, which Villasenor knows all too well. Villasenor was a record-setting receiver at St. Bonaventure in Ventura, who found ways to excel despite being undersized, something the Knights know well as the smallest school in the area and, by far, the smallest school in the CIF Central Section Division I at 368 students.

The Knights can rely on quarterback Chase Artopoeus to lead the offense, but Villasenor is just as content giving the ball to running back Devin Guggia 30 times a game. 

Righetti uses a stable of talented running backs, namely Adan Solis and Isaiah Gayfield. Solis has 13 rushing touchdowns in five games and is well over 700 yards rushing. The Warriors also have one of best players in the CIF Central Section in Caleb Thomas, a do-everything lineman/tight end.

Righetti, like St. Joseph, isn't one-dimensional, though the Warriors certainly favor the run in their throwback double-wing offense. Warrior quarterback Brandon Giddings has proven he can hurt defenses with his arm.

Solis is in the mix of players to land the Times' All-Area MVP award. St. Joseph has an early contender as well in senior receiver Trevor Cole, who caught three touchdown passes in Friday's 48-28 win over Centennial, the team that handed Righetti its only loss, 37-35 on Sept. 7. 

The squads also have huge tests coming up this week against teams from the Channel League.

Righetti hosts Dos Pueblos, which is 3-1 and will be coming off its bye week. The Chargers shut out the Warriors in 2017, 24-0. 

St. Joseph, meanwhile, is at Lompoc, its former Los Padres League rival. The Braves are also coming off a bye and are uncharacteristically 2-2 on the season, its most recent game a 24-10 home loss to Arroyo Grande. Lompoc beat St. Joseph 50-6 last season in an LPL game that was also played at Huyck.

If the Knights and Warriors win next Friday and keep that momentum going in successive weeks, everyone in Orcutt will need to buckle up for that 'Battle for the Shield' on Oct. 26. It'll be more epic than any we've seen in the last decade.

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Joe Bailey is the sports editor at Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Contact him with tips and story ideas at jbailey@leecentralcoastnews.com or (805) 739-2239. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jbaileysmsports

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Sports Editor

Alumni Fresno State