SAN DIEGO — A year ago, Mia Labovitz was teasing her brother, Aaron, saying she thought she could make the football team at San Diego High School.
Aaron laughed at the notion that his sister might be a football player.
Aaron, a former player, has graduated, but there's still a Labovitz on San Diego's team. Mia Labovitz wasn't kidding.
She kicked two extra points last Friday in San Diego's 24-14 loss to Marian.
"It was pretty exciting when the first one went through," said Labovitz, a junior. "I said, 'Oh my God, I made it.' "
What Aaron didn't realize is that Steve Hembera, then the Cavers' coach, was unhappy with his kicker last year and had approached Labovitz, who plays girls' soccer at San Diego.
"I was shocked," she said.
The season was half over, but Labovitz decided to try kicking footballs for the junior varsity team. She made 8 of 12 extra points.
This season, Coach Bill Williams views Labovitz--whose longest practice field goal has been a modest 35 yards--as a player who can help his struggling program, both on and off the field.
The Cavers, who have less than 30 players on their varsity football roster, don't get a lot of respect and Williams is glad to see his team getting some positive recognition for a change.
"I've never been around a female football player before," said Williams, who has spent most of his career coaching college football. "She is really contributing, and, more importantly, she is going to help our program because she is a class act."
Williams said Labovitz is part of a new emphasis he is putting on special teams. The special teams were, well, special in last Friday's season opener, blocking a punt, scoring on a 90-yard kickoff return by Brandon Scales and allowing no return yardage on six punts.
"I've been high on her because I'm high on special teams," Williams said. "I don't care if you're a boy, a girl, green, purple or whatever. If you can help us on special teams, we will find you a spot."
Williams also said there have been no problems with players accepting her. Labovitz, who is not on the kickoff team, still participates in tackling drills in practice and receives no special treatment, except a separate locker room.
"When we scrimmaged Mar Vista, one of the players said, 'All right, a girl came out,' " Labovitz said. "It makes you feel good when somebody from the other team is supportive. All the players (at San Diego) have been supportive. I go through all the drills and stuff, it's pretty cool.
"I've hit people and knocked them down, but I don't like to do that because I'm afraid that they will try to get me back somehow."
Last year, Lincoln opened its season with a 71-0 victory over San Francisco Wilson. The game, played in San Diego, was to be the first of a home-and-home series between the teams, with Lincoln slated to open its 1987 season in San Francisco.
Saturday, Lincoln traveled to the Bay Area and opened the season with an 82-0 victory. Afterward, Vic Player, Lincoln's coach, wasn't too happy. He had expected Wilson to be tougher this time.
"Their coach (Tony Bishop) assured me that his team would be better this season," Player said. "But I think they were worse prepared this year than last year. We had tried to get out of playing them again, but he forced us to honor the contract and said his team would be better."
Obviously, they weren't. Lincoln led, 28-0, midway through the first quarter and the second half was played with a running clock.
"It was a shame," Player said. "We could have scored 100 points."
Torrey Pines and San Pasqual each debuted home stadiums last week.
Torrey Pines, which formerly played its home games at San Dieguito, beat Carlsbad, 25-0, Saturday, playing at Torrey Pines' new stadium.
"I don't think people know what it's like to go that long without playing a home game," said Torrey Pines Coach Rik Haines. He estimated Saturday's crowd at 4,500.
San Pasqual, which played its home games at Orange Glen and Escondido, lost to Poway, 19-14, in the final minutes Friday night. San Pasqual had gone 15 years without a home field.
But having a home field will take some getting used to for Coach Mike Dolan.
"It felt like we were playing an away game because it was a strange sideline," Dolan said. "It was kind of neat not having to get on a bus and go somewhere for a game, though."
In his 17 years of coaching (at San Marcos, Ramona and San Pasqual), Dolan has never had a home field. San Marcos built a stadium in 1977, just after Dolan left for San Pasqual.