The 2014 high school football season kicks off Friday, Aug. 29, with a diverse slate of non-league games. Here is a snapshot preview of games featuring local prep squads.
Kick-off is 7 p.m. for all games.
Castle Park at Hilltop
The schools, separated by just 2.1 miles, renew their west side rivalry. Hilltop kicked off last year with a 37-7 win at Castle Park; the Trojans, picked to win the 2014 Metro-Pacific League title, are looking to reverse that his year. Hilltop is the defending Metro-South Bay League champion.
Desert Ridge (Mesa, Ariz.) at Eastlake
The Titans, making their debut under new head coach Lee Price, will honor members of the school’s history-making 2009 San Diego Section Division I championship team during a special halftime ceremony. Expected to attend is alumni and current NFL Arizona Cardinals player Tony Jefferson.
Eastlake is coming off a 10-2 season in 2013 in which the Titans advanced to the section’s inaugural Open Division semifinals; Desert advanced to the semifinals of Arizona’s Division I state playoffs.
Steele Canyon at Chula Vista
Drew Westling makes his head coaching debut with the host Spartans, who feature a battle-tested group of 40 seniors.
Santa Fe Christian at Sweetwater
The host Red Devils kick off a new season after winning last year’s Division IV section championship. Will another CIF title be in the wings? This might be Sweetwater’s toughest game of the season.
Valley Center at Mar Vista
The host Mariners hope to establish a foundation with a young team.
Escondido Charter at San Ysidro
The Cougars kick off the season with the first of four consecutive home games.
Santana at Southwest
Both teams finished 1-9 in 2013. Someone will be 1-0 to start the season.
Also on tap
Other games: Bonita Vista at Vista, Olympian at Mt. Carmel, Otay Ranch at Valhalla, Mater Dei Catholic vs. Kearny at Balboa Stadium, Cardenas Federal Prep (Tijuana, Mex.) at Montgomery.
MAXPREPS PRESEASON RANKINGS
1. Cathedral Catholic Dons
2. Mission Hills Grizzlies
3. Oceanside Pirates
4. Helix Highlanders
5. St. Augustine Saints
6. Eastlake Titans
7. San Pasqual Golden Eagles
8. Ramona Bulldogs
9. El Capitan Vaqueros
10. Carlsbad Lancers
11. Rancho Buena Vista Longhorns
12. Torrey Pines Falcons
13. Grossmont Foothillers
14. La Costa Canyon Mavericks
15. Mission Bay Buccaneers
16. Steele Canyon Cougars
17. San Marcos Knights
18. Mt. Miguel Matadors