Eric Sondheimer has been covering high school sports for the Los Angeles Times since 1997 and in Southern California since 1976. Get his latest from the field and follow all our prep sports coverage and analysis here.
It's USC vs. UCLA week in football, and Saturday's clash at the Coliseum is going to test the loyalty of lots of people. There are former high school teammates taking on each other, and alumni from the high schools will be torn.
There's Crenshaw vs. Crenshaw, Gardena Serra vs. Gardena Serra, Loyola vs. Loyola, St. John Bosco vs. St. John Bosco and Long Beach Poly vs. Long Beach Poly, Crespi vs. Crespi. That's what makes the game so fun and interesting.
USC has two Poly graduates playing cornerback in Jack Jones and Iman Marshall. UCLA has Poly grad Colin Samuel playing cornerback and Christian Pabico playing receiver. USC has Crenshaw's Akene Harris at defensive back and UCLA has Mossi Johnson.
UCLA has lots of St. John Bosco players, led by quarterback Josh Rosen. USC has lineman Nico Falah among its group of Bosco players.
Of course, there's the Serra connection for both schools. USC is loaded with Serra grads, from linebacker John Houston to receiver Jalen Greene. UCLA has receiver Jordan Lasley.
Crespi graduate Marvell Tell, a safety at USC, was a high school teammate of UCLA's Jalen Starks (running back) and Marcus Moore (defensive line). They're going to be smiling at each other and maybe offering hugs — after the game.
USC vs. UCLA divides families, teams, even coaches.
Serra's Scott Altenberg, a UCLA grad, always goes through a tough week when USC is playing USC. So will lots of others.