The anticipation has been building for the sporting event of the year. It is in North County this weekend, with people traveling far and wide to attend this unique competition that draws only the best.
The Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar?
It’s the Beach Bowl that tops some lists, and you do know that Torrey Pines and La Costa Canyon are squaring off on Friday night, right?
“I’ll be there,” John Kentera, an-ex Torrey Pines player, said.
Both teams arrive with marks of 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the Avocado League in this regular-season finale. The visiting Mavericks are ranked No. 7 in San Diego County with the Falcons at No. 5.
These friendly foes are battling for playoff seeds, possibly second place and of course, the Golden Surfboard.
LCC art teacher Ron Lenc’s students produced this surfing masterpiece 12 years ago. Jerry Trust, a retired LCC science teacher, donated the board. The artwork on it symbolizes the San Dieguito Union High School District and this football contest that dates to the mid-1970s.
“Of all the rivalry games, this one is up there with the best of them,” said John Maffei, a longtime San Diego Union Tribune prep writer. “This will be a good game.’’
Its roots plunge to when Torrey Pines was sketch marks on a drawing board. Back when San Dieguito Academy was known as San Dieguito High and it had a football team.
When Torrey Pines opened in 1974, Kentera was roaming its halls. Actually for the first couple of months the students shared the San Dieguito campus, with the Mustangs going in the morning and Falcons in the afternoon.
Torrey Pines used the football field, just not the lockers which were full with Mustangs gear.
“We would get on a bus and go get dressed at Earl Warren Middle School in Solana Beach,” Kentera said. “Then after practice go back to Earl Warren to and bus back home. We got back about 9 every night.”
But no night was like that first night, when Torrey Pines played San Dieguito. A close-knit community was now on the opposite sides of the football and you bet it was unique.
“It was because we were friends and we had all played with these guys,” said Kentera, who’s with John Boggs sports agency. “Not only football, but every other sport because we were all one community.
“Encinitas, Cardiff, Leucadia and Solana Beach guys all hung out together. Del Mar was kind of down by itself.”
After LCC opened in 1996 and San Dieguito ended its football program, the Mavericks took up the torch for the northern-most campus.
When Kentera thinks of that first game he rubs his left knee.
“I come back on the sidelines in 1974 and my knee is bloody and I couldn’t figure out why,” Kentera said.
A rival had left his cleats exposed on his shoe. A no-no now, but back then …
“I got three little holes in my knee,” Kentera said. “He had just the screws sticking out of his shoes.”
Then came that big boot to TP’s pride. The haymaker still stings from the 41-20 shellacking.
“With about two minutes left they threw a bomb for a touchdown,” Kentera said. “That didn’t go over too well.”
There’s never too many rivalry games and this week shows Torrey Pines-La Costa, San Marcos-Mission Hills and El Camino-Oceanside.
There’s little doubt which side Kentera will be on. It’ll be Torrey Pines, but if he squints just right, he might spot San Dieguito on the opposite sideline.
Contact Jay Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow him @jparis_sports
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly.