Now the season really begins.
When the Aragon High School football team travels to Pacifica to take on Terra Nova High School on Friday night, the previous four weeks will no longer count.
The two teams, each at 2-2 after nonleague action, kick off Bay Division action in the Peninsula Athletic League with the same goal in mind: Sitting on top of the division standings when league play concludes on Nov. 5.
Four games into the season and the Dons are playing close, low-scoring affairs — despite last week’s 35-0 rout off Capuchino — while Terra Nova has trended toward higher-scoring shootouts. But that has been the preseason games and all of those results are basically tossed aside as the five-week league season gets underway.
The two teams do have a common opponent this preseason in San Mateo. Terra Nova toppled San Mateo 50-29 two weeks ago, while Aragon fell to the Bearcats 27-15 in the season opener last month.
So on paper, this looks like an easy league-opening victory for Terra Nova, right? Not so fast says Aragon coach Steve Sell.
“On paper, we’re not so evenly matched,” Sell said. “But we don’t play on paper and we are better than our two losses show. Sometimes it takes awhile to figure out what you’re best at.”
It will also help the Dons’ cause that they will have their starting offensive line playing together for the second straight week as Aragon has finally started to heal up from early injuries.
Linemen Etoni Tonga and Viliami Fukofuka anchor the Dons’ line and will look to protect quarterback Sam Tulvailala long enough for him to find wide receiver Aaron Eder and move the ball downfield. Tonga and Fukofuka will also be charged with trying to slow down Terra Nova’s high-powered offense.
“Terra Nova is a well-coached team,” Sell said. “We’ve always had a fierce, but friendly rivalry with them. It’s a great environment to play in when we go over there.”
The Tigers will be led by senior quarterback Chris Forbes, who is averaging 269.5 yards per game passing and also leads the team in rushing yards with 286 yards.
Making things even more difficult for Aragon is that Forbes does not have a prime receiver he throws to. Forbes has four receivers with at least 16 or more receptions and at least 224 yards or more receiving so far this year.