It's called the Battle at the Beach. The winner keeps a surfboard trophy for a year.
It is once again rivalry week and another Redondo Union and Mira Costa football showdown with plenty on the line.
The victor gets sole possession of second place in the Bay League and if Palos Verdes should stumble, a possible share of the title.
Both schools are vying for a higher seed, a guaranteed spot in the CIF-Southern Section Division 6 playoffs and the opportunity for a home game in the first round.
Each team has identical 6-3 records overall and 3-1 in the Bay League.
“Rivalry games always bring something special out of a team, so I expect both teams to come out stronger than we’ve seen yet on Friday,” said Mira Costa senior lineman Hank Dunlap. “We have a lot riding on this game in order to place second in Bay League and because Redondo is in our division our playoff hopes ride on this game as well.”
“Rivalry game against Redondo Union is always a fun one,” said Mira Costa senior Jackson Fischer. “Going to be a good matchup this year and we’re looking forward to the competition. We’re fighting for our spot in the playoffs so the stakes are high this game.”
“A win this week would be amazing to say that we beat Mira Costa,” said Redondo Union senior Drew Wilson.
Both quarterbacks know what is at stake and will be starting in the game for the first time.
“We are excited to play Redondo Union this Friday,” said Mira Costa quarterback Sam Whitney. “We all know how important this game is for our season and we will practice hard all week so we are well prepared as possible for Friday night.”
“Starting in this rivalry is intriguing and I can’t wait to just go out there and try to lead my team to a victory,” said Redondo Union quarterback Daniel Webb.
Mira Costa is coming in on a three-game win streak, including last week’s homecoming victory over Compton Centennial 48-6.
“After a great win at homecoming, our team is confident about the upcoming game against our rival Redondo Union,” said Mira Costa senior Kian Towfighi. “We need to execute consistently throughout the game and stay ready for anything they might throw at us. It’s crucial that we leave everything on the field and make every play count.”
Mira Costa has come together as a team after a difficult first few weeks of the season with all road games.
“Getting a win on homecoming night is always fun and it was a big morale boost for our guys going into this rivalry game against Redondo Union,” Dunlap said.
Redondo Union has won four of its last five games.
“The win last week was key to head into Mira Costa confident and ready to compete and win,” Wilson said.
Mira Costa won last year at Redondo Union, 21-0, which finished 4-7 last year. The Sea Hawks are a much better team this year.
“The team has improved a lot since last season,” Wilson said. “We relied on a lot of juniors last season that are now seniors and have gotten better physically and mentally. This season we also have a better core than we did last year with a lot of passion that was lacking from the core last year.”
Leading the way is Webb at quarterback.
“Daniel is doing great he’s getting the ball out to the correct people at the correct time and he has played very well in the past few weeks,” said Wilson, who is on the receiving end of some of those throws.
Webb will be seeing some friendly faces on the Mira Costa side of the field. He probably will not be the only one from either side encountering that situation.
“I have a couple of friends that I’ve played with in Pop Warner. It’s going to take a total team effort in all three facets of the game to come out with a victory on their home field.”
Dunlap revealed that the Mustangs will be going with black.
“We’ll be wearing our blackout uniforms and we’ll have the student section wearing all black as well to add to the exciting rivalry atmosphere.”
Redondo Union is coming off a come-from-behind win over Peninsula, 17-14.
“We preached getting ourselves back up and having resiliency after a previous week’s disappointing loss (to Palos Verdes); and that’s exactly what our boys did,” said Redondo Union head coach Matt Ballard.
The Sea Hawks were trailing late in the fourth quarter.
“We trailed the Panthers for most of the night, struggling to sustain drives and allowing Peninsula to control the field positions,” Ballard said.
Down 14-10, Redondo Union’s Jacob Nash caused a turnover and teammate Dylan Parkinson recovered the loose ball at the Sea Hawks’ 40-yard line.
The offense took over and converted a fourth down play on the drive and capped it off with a pass from Webb to Markeece Alexander with 1:40 left on the clock.
“Our team showed a lot of resilience in our late fourth quarter comeback victory,” Wilson said. “We made mistakes throughout the game, but we were able to grind out a victory against Peninsula who always play us tough.”
It all comes down to one game for bragging rights.
“Now we are just focused on the biggest game of our season for our rivals,” Wilson said. “We’re trying to get the surfboard back.”
“It’s all hands-on deck, and we’ll need all of Redondo’s support, to take on our cross-town rivals,” Ballard said.