You can't improve unless you're facing tough teams, and that's the strategy of a group of City Section schools going up against challenging Southern Section opponents.
From Garfield taking on Alemany to Sylmar facing Crespi to Narbonne playing Long Beach Poly, City Section schools are not shying away from tough opening games. Birmngham has to play Newbury Park.
Crenshaw is traveling to the San Diego area to face Mission Hills.
City Section coaches get to find out about weaknesses and learn how their players will compete against top opponents.
Sylmar Coach John Brazil is developing strategy for how his team will deal with Crespi's two UCLA-bound recruits, running back Jalen Starks and defensive lineman Marcus Moore.
"We're going to have to get everybody on him," Brazil said of tackling Starks. "We'll try to keep Marcus off balance."
Sylmar has its own weapons in quarterback Clarence Williams and running back Marcus Gandy, but a young offensive line means the Spartans will probably be a lot better later in the season.
Garfield prepared for Alemany's speed by taking on Crenshaw in a scrimmage last week. The Bulldogs have experience in facing Southern Section schools, having played San Clemente, Edison and St. Bonaventure in recent years.
Crenshaw always plays a formidable opponent early in the season in the hope the team will learn lessons.
Birmingham has loaded up on Southern Section teams for nonleague games, including Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, Chaminade and Oaks Christian.
Don't just grade the City Section schools on wins and losses. Look to see what kind of lessons learned come out of the games.