Varsity Times Insider High school sports across the Southland

A possible glimpse of a future USC-UCLA rivalry game will be on display Friday

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider

Fans of USC and UCLA can get pretty emotional. Friendships are frayed whenever the two schools get together for competitions, whether it be playing football or tiddlywinks.

So get ready to see lots of USC and UCLA fans fired up and wearing red and blue shirts, hats and possibly waving signs when Las Vegas Bishop Gorman faces Santa Ana Mater Dei at Santa Ana Stadium on Friday night in a battle of nationally ranked high school football teams.

That’s because each school has a quarterback pledged to USC or UCLA. Junior J.T. Daniels of Mater Dei is headed to USC. Senior Dorian Thompson-Robinson of Bishop Gorman is committed to UCLA.

This could be a sneak peek for college football fans of a future rivalry in Los Angeles.

Thompson-Robinson is just now introducing himself to not only UCLA fans but opposing teams. He was the backup to Gatorade national player of the year Tate Martell. He spent much of his time catching passes from Martell, who went 45-0 as the starting quarterback.

The fact Thompson-Robinson didn’t transfer and waited for his turn deserves respect considering how many quarterbacks abandon schools when told they will be the backup.

“Obviously, it’s a testament to his family, himself and his character,” coach Kenny Sanchez said. “Not everything is given right away. There’s tough situations. Sometimes you have to work for it. Your time will come if you believe in your ability.”

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Thompson-Robinson finally got to make his first start on Friday night against Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha. He accounted for five touchdowns and 284 yards passing in a 35-23 victory, extending’s Bishop Gorman’s winning streak to 55 games.

“I thought he played extremely well against a really good defense,” Sanchez said. “The sky’s the limit for him. He’s a smart kid, a hard worker, has a great arm, good size and mobility. He’s a great football player.”

Daniels, who had 4,849 yards passing last season while completing 75% of his passes, finished with a relatively quiet 179 yards passing and one touchdown in a 31-7 win over La Puente Bishop Amat. The Monarchs are trying to improve their rushing attack and also were missing two top receivers.

The game should be a tremendous early season clash. Mater Dei’s young secondary will learn just how good it might be. Bishop Gorman hasn’t lost to any team from California since the 2010 season when Concord De La Salle beat the Gaels, 28-14.

Wouldn’t it be something if USC’s Clay Helton and UCLA’s Jim Mora happen to drop by and shake hands on the sideline?

But if you don’t bump into Helton or Mora, you will certainly run into USC and UCLA fans. They’ll be trying to act friendly until you turn your back.

Just this weekend, former USC quarterback Matt Barkley sent out a tweet about Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeating Conor McGregor to improve to 50-0.

He also included a photo from the 2011 rivalry game.

The rivalry is all fun and games, unless you’re on the losing team.

Twitter: latsondheimer

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