There was hope heading into both games last season.

There was the belief that the underdog wasn't so far beneath is competition.
In both cases, it didn't turn out that way.

The Silver Valley and Barstow football teams were left losers in their games biggest games last season. Lucerne Valley dropped the Trojans 27-8. Silverado shutout Barstow 48-0.
There's reason to believe the results could be different this year.

The losses affected the turnout of both teams' season. For Silver Valley, it was its first Desert Mountain League game and kicked off a winless league season.

For Barstow, the loss cemented the Aztecs into second place in the Desert Sky League and marked the beginning of offensive struggles. The Aztecs were shutout three times in their final four games of the season, including the Silverado loss.

Mark Hassell, former Barstow assistant football coach, said just before kickoff that if the Aztecs were able to keep the game close, they could pull out a win at Ray Moore Stadium.
The game was never close. Barstow failed to score a point. Silverado was running the double-wing offense and scoring by the end.

Silverado made no mistake it was the league champion in 2006. The Hawks took a 5-1 record into the league season and began dismantling its league foes one by one. No DSL team came with in 42 points of Silverado as they outscored DSL opponents 234-54. Barstow was the only DSL team not to score a point on the Hawks offense.

The Hawks also had an experienced, senior-heavy roster. The squad boasts more than 20 seniors this year, but without the experience.

That's not say Barstow should pencil in a win with the game still eight days away. Silverado is still the favorite in the Desert Sky League, but doesn't have aura last year's team had. At 2-2-2, the Hawks haven't run over opponents the way they did last season.

Barstow coach Jesse Ceniceros said he believes the two teams will be playing for a league championship when the meet at Langworthy Field on Oct. 26.

Lucerne Valley has been near the top the DML in recent years and one of the teams standing in the way of a Silver Valley playoff berth. The Trojans haven't won a league game since beating Desert Christian 22-14 in 2004 and haven't made the playoffs since 2002.

The Pick Game hasn't been much of a competition so far. Lucerne Valley has won the rivalry game between the two schools each time. The Mustangs outscored Silver Valley 131-24 in the last three meetings. Former Silver Valley assistant coaches Kevin Mintun and Mike Garcia said last year they'd never seen the pick that's awarded to the winner.

An early season, three-game winning streak gave the Trojans hope they could finally beat Lucerne Valley last season. They ultimately lost 27-8.

The Mustangs have struggled through the season so far. They didn't pick up their first win until defeating Meadows 40-37 on Oct. 5 and are averaging 15 points per game. Lucerne Valley lost quarterback Jarred Powell to a season-ending knee injury before the season ever began. Lucerne Valley coach Doug South, a former Silver Valley coach, planned to open up the offense with Powell at the helm, but the Mustangs have instead struggled to score any points.

It's not out of the question that both Silver Valley and Barstow could be celebrating at the same time on Oct. 27.