Butch McElwee and Rick Scott will go toe to toe this season, but they don't exactly see eye to eye.
At the start of what should be a successful season for McElwee at Burroughs and Scott at Hart, one could expect both coaches to predict that their teams will finish first.
Scott, whose Indians are defending Northwestern Conference champions, is confident that Hart has the talent to repeat as league champion. McElwee, whose Indians climbed from last place in 1985 to second place and reached the conference semifinals last season, believes he has the team to beat.
"They'll be tough as always," McElwee said of Hart. "But they have some rebuilding to do. We don't."
But both Indian chiefs also disagree on another issue: Who has the best left-handed quarterback?
Seemingly, the nod would go to McElwee. As a junior last year, Burroughs' Jeff Barrett (6-1, 180) passed for 378 yards in one game and 2,766 yards for the season, both school records. Barrett, who started at Burroughs as a sophomore, also became the Indians' career passing leader with 3,918 yards.
"He's the best all-around quarterback in the league," McElwee said. "And I defy anybody to challenge that."
Scott will happily oblige. Senior Darren Renfro (5-10, 160), who played backup to Jim Bonds, an All-Southern Section choice, is Hart's southpaw quarterback. Scott says Renfro is better than Barrett.
"I wouldn't trade," Scott said. "I think Darren has a better arm and a better touch on his throws. And we're farther along with Darren than I hoped we'd be after the summer program. He's gonna be a good one."
Renfro, who passed for more than 1,200 yards for the sophomore team two years ago, concedes the issue to McElwee.
"Barrett deserves to be called the best quarterback in the league," Renfro said.
But Barrett thinks Renfro is a good signal-caller, too. "If he's left-handed, he must be good," Barrett said jokingly.
Beyond the quarterbacks, there is disagreement on which coach has the best group of Indians.
Although Bonds (3,153 yards passing, 39 touchdown passes) and tailback Chris Hite (88 receptions, 912 yards rushing) have graduated, Scott is sure his team is still talent-rich.
"Our sophomore team has been undefeated the last three years," Scott said "And this has been the best spring and summer I've had in my four years at Hart.
"As an individual, Chris Hite was the best receiver we ever had. But this is the best group of receivers I've ever had here."
Hart's receivers are seniors Joe DeSchryver and Darrin Kallaris and junior tight end Brian Allen, a converted tailback. Senior tailback Craig Whitten also will be used as a receiver.
"We'll pick up the slack with those guys," Scott said. "DeSchryver has glue for hands and he understands the coverages well. He fits in perfectly with Allen, who was the MVP of our sophomore team last season."
It looks like the rich are getting richer at Hart. But Scott has warned his team to prepare for an uprising from the Indians at Burroughs.
"They have the momentum," Scott said.
Indeed, McElwee's tribe is on the warpath. Burroughs' 35-28 loss to Temple City in the conference semifinals last season left the Indians with higher aspirations for this year.
"We're going to go for it," Barrett said.
No other league team has an experienced senior quarterback. Brian Murray of Schurr and Fred Castillo of Burbank are seniors, but, like Renfro, starters for the first time. Dan Bachman of San Gabriel is a junior and the quarterback spot at Alhambra is up for grabs between newcomers Edil Vazquez and Jesus Salazar.