Both West (0-2) and Kimball (0-1) are looking for their first wins, as are first-year coaches Chris Myers from West and Charles Spikes from Kimball.
Spikes said crosstown matches always ramp up the intensity on the field.
“You can throw records out the window when you’re playing against your rival like that,” Spikes said. “I know we’re going to get their best effort.”
Spikes said his team, which totaled 105 yards passing and 155 yards rushing against Patterson High last week, missed opportunities to complete its drives in the second half.
“We started out fast against Patterson and then they finished the game and we didn’t,” Spikes said.
Myers said that the two losses, 57-19 at Beyer on Aug. 30 and 48-7 to Liberty on Sept. 6, reminded West players that they need to be tougher to win games.
He said the offensive line must protect its quarterbacks better if West is to improve on the 172 yards it’s averaged this year.
“I told the boys, ‘I’m done talking about you guys being young. You’ve got two varsity games under your belt,’” Myers said. “We have some returning veterans, some seniors, who need to step up their game.”
Adding to the intensity of the crosstown rivalry is the history between the coaches. Myers and Spikes are former teammates from Tracy High’s 1990 Bulldog team.
The Bulldogs went 6-4 that year under coach Wayne Schneider. Spikes was a senior tight end and linebacker and Myers was a junior left tackle.
“Everything in Tracy is two degrees of separation,” Spikes said. “Most of the people here, you mention a name and you know them and there’s a connection. Here, it’s one degree of separation.”
Myers said that even though he and Spikes haven’t coached the same teams — Myers coached freshman football at West while Spikes was an assistant varsity coach at West — he feels he knows what to expect from his former teammate.
“I think we’re both equally competitive in a friendly way,” Myers said. “It adds a little more meaning to the meaning that already exists.”
Bulldog teammates have faced off against each other as coaches before. Former West High coach Steve Lopez and former Tracy coach Manuel Costa both played for the 1967 Bulldogs and coached opposing sides when Tracy and West started playing crosstown games in 1996.
This year’s crosstown games also include Tracy at Kimball on Sept. 20 and West at Tracy on Sept. 27.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.