On paper, the Camarillo High football team looks like a 4.0 student.
The Scorpions are 9-0 and the No. 1-ranked team in CIF-Southern Section Division 4.
They’ve outscored opponents by more than 35 points per game and have only really been pulled into one competitive fourth quarter once this season.
But the final exam of a near-flawless regular season arrives Friday night at Moorpark College.
“This is kind of our biggest test so far,” receiver Mason Brown said.
Friday night’s Camino League championship game between Camarillo (9-0) and Grace Brethren (7-2) at Moorpark College will determine the league title, probably the top seed in the division and perhaps the upper hand ahead of a potential postseason rematch.
“We know it’s going to be really important to win this game, so we can get the No. 1 seed,” Camarillo quarterback James McNamara said, “because that’ll be big for playoffs.”
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Camarillo may be the team on the nine-game winning streak, bringing to mind memories of its unbeaten run to the CIF Division II-AA state championship bowl in 2015.
But the matchup with big, beefy Grace Brethren is a callback to last year, when the upstart Scorpions opened eyes by giving physically superior Oaks Christian and Westlake everything they could handle in the Marmonte League.
“It’s kind of similar to it,” McNamara said. “It’s a big game, really intense. We know that they have athletes like those teams did last year.
“It’s important. We know coming into it, we’ve got to take every day of practice seriously, work hard every single day and make sure we watch film to know what to expect on Friday night.”
After all, Grace Brethren, who reached last year’s CIF Division II-A state championship bowl, already has a physically dominant win at Westlake on its resume.
“Honestly, I always felt like if someone was going to win, they were going to have to beat Grace Brethren,” Camarillo coach Jack Willard said. “It was always, ‘How are we going to match up with those teams in our league, the teams that are physically bigger than us with the same kind of athletes?’ ”Powerhouse running back Lontrelle Diggs, who is second in Ventura County in both rushing (1,304 yards) and scoring (122 points), controlled possession in the Lancers' 24-6 win at Westlake on Sept. 21.And now he’s the big obstacle standing between Camarillo and a league title.
“They just try to hammer the ball down,” Camarillo linebacker Drew Carter said. “They play smashmouth football and they do it really well. They’re disciplined. They block well. Their (offensive) line are big boys.”
Grace Brethren has plenty of size on its other front, as well. Since opening the season with a 32-29 loss to Antelope Valley, Grace Brethren has allowed just 8.5 points per game.
“Grace has some dudes,” Camarillo offensive coordinator Teohua Sanchez said “Their front seven is probably the best we’ve faced this year.”
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“Those two guys are behemoths and they don’t take plays off,” Sanchez said.
Camarillo has dipped into its depth this month to keep rolling, despite injuries to high-profile offensive weapons like running back Jesse Valenzuela and receiver Mason Brown.
Running backs Devin Long and Fletcher Gravel and receivers Jack Holden and Peter Dufau have picked up the slack. But the Scorpions will need their entire roster to finish their regular-season run.
“They just look physical,” Brown said. “That’s going to be something we’re going to have to overcome.
“All I’ve heard about is our small size. But we make up for that with our speed and our coaching."