Kevin Swartwood is expecting a "Hostile environment" tonight.
The Pitman High football team is considered one of the Central California Conference favorites and his Buhach Colony squad enters the league opener at Joe Debely Stadium as the three-time defending champs and having won 15 straight CCC tilts.
"I'm sure it's going to be packed," Swartwood said. "The band will be playing. The crowd will be energetic. It's going to be a rowdy environment and we're looking forward to it.
"They are big, fast, physical, pretty much every adjective you can think of. So we have our work cut out for us."
The clash in Turlock looks like the marquee matchup in an exciting opening night of league play as Merced hosts Turlock and Golden Valley visits Atwater. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at all three.
With trips to Whitney of Rocklin, Clovis North and Serra of San Mateo, the Thunder (2-3) have more than cut their teeth in hostile environments.
The team's youth has produced inconsistent play through a tough nonconference schedule, but Swartwood hopes all those big road tests will pay dividends tonight.
"I think that tough schedule is going to pay off," Swartwood said. "I think that toughness will show (tonight).
"Hopefully we've learned some lessons. We've either not been able to finish what we've started or we haven't started fast.
"You need to do both if you're going to win in this league."
BC will need to slow down the three-pronged rushing attack of Logan Wolfley, Drew Lewis and Mario Lewis.
Behind them, the Pride (4-1) has averaged 48.6 points per game, even with a 42-7 thrashing at the hands of Pleasant Grove.
The Thunder have scored at least 30 points in four of their five outings, but are still not fully healed from a physical battle with Serra two weeks ago.
BC isn't alone.
Merced (3-2) and Turlock (4-1) are both coming off of physical losses as well.
The key for the Bears will be the same as the last two seasons, slowing down Bulldog quarterback Sean Downs.
He's given Merced fits the last two years, beating the Bears in overtime in 2011 and then running wild in a single-score loss last year.
Merced's experienced front seven, led by defensive lineman Jamell Bedford, is hoping to change things up.
"He's a guy that you need to stay in your lanes with and then have help from behind when he starts to get flushed from the pocket," Scheidt said of Downs. "I think West Valley had seven sacks against him, which shows that they kept contain and then got good push from behind up the middle.
"The other thing we can do to help is keep them off of the field by driving the ball offensively."
Golden Valley (2-3) is the only CCC team coming into league play riding a couple wins.
The Cougars will try to avenge a 28-6 loss to Atwater (3-2) a year ago.
In other area action, Los Banos travels to Central Catholic and Waterford visits Le Grand in a rematch of last year's Division 5 title game.
Sun-Star sports writer Sean Lynch can be reached at 385-2476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.