No need to add a spoonful of Splenda or a maraschino cherry on top, Camarillo vs. Simi Valley is a high school football treat that can satisfy a shrew’s sweet tooth.
The Scorpions (1-1 overall), who had a bye last week, play host to the Pioneers (2-1) at 7 tonight in a captivating matchup between two offensive juggernauts. The teams could combine for 80, 90, 100 points while rolling up 1,000 yards of offense . . . fantasy football fans everywhere are drooling. These teams play at such a quick tempo, fans are encouraged to bring speedometers to their seats.
“It’s an interesting game to a lot of people,” Camarillo head coach Jack Willard said.
The Ventura County special features two of the best quarterbacks in Acorn country.
Camarillo trots out Jake Constantine, a polished pocket QB and patriot who completes 76 percent of his passes. Constantine, who is 6-foot-1½, has racked up 599 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. The junior handles himself like Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons, and he’s the rare prep athlete who’s comfortable talking with the press. He’s got a rock star aura.
“He’s really, really goodlooking,” Camarillo right tackle Vinny Plymire said, tongue in cheek while channeling his inner Zoolander. “He’s nice smelling, and his locker’s next to mine.”
Plymire and Constantine laughed.
“No, he’s a good guy,” Plymire said. “He throws it well, and he scrambles well.”
Davis Pinkston should be called Special Forces, because he does a lot of everything for Simi Valley.
Pinkston is the rare dual-threat quarterback who runs like (Steve) Young, and throws like Joe (Montana). The 6-foot-1 senior threw for 2,211 yards and rushed for 875 yards last season. This year, he has 725 yards through the air, with eight touchdowns and three picks, while gleaning 364 yards and two more scores on the ground. Pinkston also suits up at strong safety; the Pioneers try to get him rest whenever they can, but he’s on the field for pivotal defensive downs. He’s a favorite to net a Canyon League MVP.
“He continues to be a leader on the team,” Simi Valley head coach Ryan Taggart said of Pinkston. “We ask a lot of him, and he steps up every time.”
The quarterbacks are making all the right plays and saying all the right things.
“You can’t underestimate any team,” Constantine said. “Any team can shock you.”
“We’re looking forward to playing these guys,” Pinkston said. “Camarillo is another really good team. It’s going to be a challenge.”
The Scorpions have had an extra week to recuperate and prepare for the Pioneers.
Camarillo’s defense struggled in the first half of a 41-35 road loss to Paso Robles, according to Willard. The much-maligned defense wants to prove it can slow down a high-powered offense.
“We’re finding our chemistry,” said Bryce Arnold, a senior middle linebacker who also sprints for the track and field team. “We’re excited to show we can play with Simi Valley.”
Camarillo is a couple plays away from being 2-0. The Scorpions had two first-and-goals—and walked away with no points—and they allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown at Paso Robles.
Camarillo’s offense hums with Constantine, wide receivers Frankie Tostado, Colby Stevens and Cristian Hernandez, tight end Nico Lima and running back Isaiah Otis.
The Scorpion offensive line has also been stout: Plymire, right guard Brett Herron, center Ralph Martinez, left guard Isaac Centeno and left tackle Sean Chisholm are beasts in the trenches. The backups are tough, too.
“We have depth at every position,” said Plymire, who won a Pacific View League wrestling championship at 197 pounds last winter while reaching the Masters tournament.
“Our offensive line is pretty close. We’re going to come out full speed every single play. We’re going to be relentless every single play.”
This is a big game for Camarillo, a Camino League team ranked No. 7 in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division poll. The Scorpions do not want to fall under .500, especially at home after a bye.
“We have to prove that we can beat good teams,” Constantine said. “We’ll come out stronger.
“I believe that we’re one of the best teams in the county.”
Simi Valley practiced with urgency this week after falling 28-23 to Righetti.
The Pioneers moved their practice at night on Tuesday when temperatures soared into triple digits. It was still 89 degrees at 9:30 p.m. when practice ended, but nothing rattles this squad, which will play its fourth straight road game tonight.
“They can handle it,” Taggart said. “They approach every game the same way. They go out there and battle. The moment’s never too big.”
Ten different receivers have caught passes for Simi Valley, including standout senior Logan Alexander.
“We have to win,” Alexander said. “I still don’t think people take us seriously.”
Defensive end Kyle Murphy, who had four sacks against Buena on Sept. 5, is playing well for Simi Valley. Blake Kissane, a wide receiver and cornerback, returned an interception for a touchdown last weekend. Running back Drew Moore (156 rushing yards and three touchdowns) and Dane Kenworthy, a wide receiver and cornerback, are Pioneer standouts. Kenworthy returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown against Buena.
Simi Valley is ranked No. 9 in the Western Division.
“ They’re all important games,” Willard said. “In football, you only get 10 of them.
“We’re ready to play.”