SAN DIEGO — In direct competition, Mira Mesa's and Chula Vista's football teams don't have much of a tradition, but they certainly have made the most of their limited history.
Tonight at 7:30 at Mira Mesa, the two teams will meet in the 1991 season opener, then wonder for nine weeks if history will repeat itself.
In the two years they've met in preseason games, the City East's Marauders and Metro Conference Spartans have split their meetings on the third Friday night of the season. Chula Vista won 14-0 in 1989 behind quarterback Derek Chapman, and in 1990, two field goals by quarterback/kicker Mike Bovee gave Mira Mesa the 6-0 decision.
Fast forward to playoffs. In a reversal of fortunes, Mira Mesa came back to win its 1989 3-A quarterfinal playoff against Chula Vista, 27-10. But in 1990, Chula Vista trounced the Marauders in another quarterfinal game, 35-6, before losing a squeaker to Morse in the semis.
Mira Mesa Coach Brad Griffith conveniently forgot the score of their last meeting, but remembered it wasn't an affair to remember.
"I know it wasn't even close," he said, but added that a new season brings with it new perspective and more importantly, new personnel. "We both have what I think are good programs. We seem pretty evenly matched, so let's play."
Both team's fielded ground-oriented games last year, the Spartans behind Steve Gomez (1,119 yards in the regular season), Mira Mesa behind Wayne Pittman (1,604). With their departure come the addition of throwing boy-wonder Chad Davis at Mira Mesa--it's his third transfer in as many seasons--and the less-proven John Jeffries at Chula Vista.
Davis' targets hardly are marquee names, but Griffith brought Darryl Owen, Curt Johnson, Mark San Augustin and Mike Pittman--Wayne's younger brother--up from the junior varsity specifically to play catch with Davis.
"We have a corps of good receivers," Griffith said. "Of course if Chad wasn't around, we'd have them grooved into something else."
Griffith assumed Chula Vista, who has Winfield Scott at receiver and LaMar Bailey in the backfield, will come at Mira Mesa with a balance offense.
Whatever the Spartans choose, it will be with the pride Griffith has evidenced in their four meetings.
"(Chula Vista Coach) George (Ohnesorgen) runs a very successful program down there, and you can bet this team doesn't want to be the one that isn't successful."
Saturday's Preseason Classic
What better way to kick off the season than a doubleheader featuring two 2-A and two 3-A teams that have combined to win seven of the last eight San Diego Section championships?
The four coaches spearheading the effort couldn't think of anything. Morse's John Shacklett, Point Loma's Bennie Edens, Rancho Buena Vista's Craig Bell and El Camino's Herb Meyer have more at stake than a football game when their teams take to the field tomorrow night at 5:30 (Point Loma vs. El Camino) and 8 (Morse vs. RBV) at Vista High.
What they hope is the games will put the focus and promote high school football at a level that now is missing.
Shacklett hopes the San Diego High School Sports Assn. will take over the event in the future and lure Southern California powerhouses down to play.
"We'd like to bring a Mater Dei (Santa Ana) or Eisenhower (Rialto) down, but then again, we need a large enough stadium."