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SAN DIEGO — Steele Canyon High School will kick off the school football season this Friday with a tough game against Eastlake High School.

“It’s exciting, it’s always exciting; and we are at home. I love playing a big-time team like Eastlake,” Coach Scott Longerbone said. “Coach Mcfadden does a great job year in and year out. They win a lot of football games. They were 10-2 last year, so when we both had the opportunity to play each other again we went ahead and scheduled it.”

New year, new team — but the Steele Canyon Cougars clearly remember their state championship run in 2017.

Defensive seniors Chance Johnson and Cameron Ewert played on that team as sophomores. “We’re definitely trying to get the feeling back from that 2017 season and trying to execute and be prepared for that kind of run,” Johnson said.

“Experiencing that level at such a young age showed me that’s the standard. Every year we’re trying to get back to that year. Every off-season we’ve been grinding for that,” Ewert said.

Steele Canyon’s defense is a bit more mature than its offense, with nine players returning. When it comes to their quarterback, a starter has not been chosen. Neither Johnson nor Ewert have ever thrown a football in a varsity game.

“They’re both super smart football players. They’ve been playing football their whole lives, so I don’t doubt their ability. It’s just, how are they going to handle the pressure of it?” Longerbone said. “We haven’t picked who it’s going to be yet. Whichever one it is, I think they’re going to be fine.”

Elia Kirisimasi and Jeremy Mendz-Gal have both impressed Johnson.

“I’m excited. I saw their 7-on-7 seasons and they really did well, so I’m hoping that will translate to the football field. But they’re both doing really good, and the competition is super heavy.”

“Any given Friday, man — you show up to play football and good things can happen for you,” Longerbone said.

The Cougars hope to see plenty of good things Friday night.