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PREVIEW: Watsonville vs. Santa Cruz (CA)

September 9, 2013

WATSONVILLE, CA – One of the oldest rivalries in California will continue on Friday at 10:30 p.m. (EST) when the Watsonville Wildcatz meet the Santa Cruz Cardinals. More than 5,000 fans will converge at Watsonville High School to witness a game that’s part of the 2013 Great American Rivalry Series presented by the U.S. Marine Corps and Hibbett Sports.

The rivalry began back in 1908 with Watsonville leading the all-time series 53-37-5. Watsonville won last season’s match-up 44-30.

The John Montante-coached Wildcatz are looking to turn things around after going 4-6 last season. And they’ll have to do that without the quarterback-back duo of Eddie Mares and Roger Contreras. Mares threw for 1,163 yards and eight TDs, while combining with Contreras for over 2,000 yards and 20 TDs on the ground. Sophomore Nick Carillo takes over under center, while seniors Dustin Rocha and Alex Azevedo get the ball-carrying duties.

The Cardinals went just 1-9 last season and have just 29 players on the roster this season; however, 16 of those players are returning starters for coach Bubba Trumbull’s team. The back trio of juniors Ashtyn Davis, Alex Morris and Dace Stoller return after combining for over 1,000 yards and six TDs last season.

Watsonville opened its season with a 47-6 blowout loss to Pajaro Valley, while the Cardinals routed Pajaro Valley 43-21. Davis and Stoller combined for 204 yards and six TDs.

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What is the Great American Rivalry Series?

Each fall for over a century, high school football has been the centerpiece for families and communities on Friday night. In 2004, iHigh, Inc. created the Great American Rivalry Series to celebrate this uniquely American sport and the cultural phenomenon of “Friday Night in America.” The Series shines the spotlight on top high school football rivalries across the nation, where long-standing traditions are valued, expectations are sky high, and followers are committed.