Taft and Birmingham used to dominate in the West Valley League, with the likes of Steve Smith and Malcolm Smith and Dennis Keyes and Milton Knox. Their annual matchups produced some memorable games.
Now the two schools are set to play on Thursday night at Birmingham to decide the league championship. Both have recovered from rocky starts to be playing their best ball of the season.
Taft (5-3, 3-0) won its fourth consecutive game on Friday night, holding off El Camino Real, 28-21, when Dalton Oronoz made a tackle at the two-yard line on the game's final play to preserve the victory.
Birmingham (3-5, 3-0) defeated Chatsworth, 36-26. Junior running back Sterling Salguero had his fourth consecutive game of rushing for more than 100 yards.
"It's a championship game," Taft Coach Deron Braswell said. "Both teams are playing pretty well. It will be a fun game."