The campus is only a couple of blocks from the Pacific Ocean, ensuring that even after a hot September afteroon, by kickoff a cool salt air breeze will waft across the field throughout the night. Something else that has become as predictable as the tide is that the Pirates will trot out a new big-time receiver to take the place of the previous year's star.
The lastest model is Marcus Montgomery, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior. He has succeeded Jose Perez, who was bound for San Diego State before he changed directions and signed a minor league baseball contract. Perez learned under William Buchanon, now a sophomore cornerback at USC.
But even when Buchanon and Perez were dominanting San Diego defensive backs, there were whispers that a young kid named Montgomery might be the best of three. Now that Montgomery is the Pirates' go-to guy, here's how he opened his senior year Friday in a 26-23 win over Rancho Buena Vista in the Simcox salty breeze.
First possession: Catches a pass along the right sideline, cuts back across the middle of the field, smartly waits for a block from tight end Derek Moffat and outruns the RBV's secondary down the left side for a 47-yard touchdown.
Second possesion: Catches a slant at midfield and again makes the RBV secondary appear as if its running in sand to complete a 46-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
Third possession: Goes up and over the RBV defenders to pull in a 48-yard pass, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by Miguel Gonzales three plays later.
"It's kind of fun to be a senior now," Montgomery said. "The thing I remember about William is he was always burning people. Jose could catch the ball (in traffic) and then it was amazing what he would do with the ball after the catch."
Montgomery finished with five catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns while also playing free safety.
"Marcus made some big-time plays," head coach John Carroll said. "One thing we've worked with him this year is to get him to be more explosive off the line of scrimmage."
Montgomery says early recruiting interest has come from Colorado, UCLA, Oregon State and San Diego State.
So who's on deck among Oceanside receivers? Well, there's Roberto Wallace, a promising 6-4, 190-pound junior who is still learning the game after arriving last winter from Panama. Or Louis Hall, a 6-1, 170-pound junior. But their time is a year away. This season belongs to Marcus Montgomery.
VISTA FORFEITS WIN
San Diego Section schools like to boast of wins over Southern Section powers, but Vista's win two weeks ago over La Puente Bishop Amat has been reveresed to a loss by forfeit. Vista athletic director Pat Moramarco said a mistake was made in calculating a summer grade for a backup player who saw playing time in the Panthers' 17-7 win on Sept. 5.
Steel Canyon now has a senior class after opening with just freshmen in the 2000-01 school year, and the Cougars finally have a win to show for their experience. The Spring Valley school upset West Hills 36-22 behind 192 yards rushing and two touchdowns by Tommy Long.
THIS WEEK'S FIVE-PACK
Oceanside (1-0) at Monte Vista (1-1) -- Monte Vista has a chance to end the Pirates' 12-game winning streak, but Oceanside has too much offense.
Vista (0-1) at Helix (2-0) -- Words were exchanged by coaches after the Panthers' ended Helix's winning streak last year. Look for Vista's defense to be the difference.
El Camino (0-1) at Morse (0-2) -- El Camino coach Herb Meyer, retiring at the end of his 45th season, can take notess from retired Morse coach John Shacklett, in his first year away from the sidelines after 32 seasons, on what to do with his time. But Meyer's team will have the answers on the field.
Mission Bay (1-0) at Madison (1-0) -- In a battle of running backs, Mission Bay's Arian Foster (321 yards last week) vs. Madison's Travis Gibbs (221 yards last week), it will be decided by Mission Bay's superior overall talent.
La Costa Canyon (2-0) at San Pasqual (1-0) -- La Costa Canyon has a chance to prove its 2-0 start is a matter of solid football and not just Kansas State-inspired scheduling. No romp this time, but the Mavericks should beat a traditional San Diego power for a third straight win.
Editor's Note: Tom Shanahan has been writing about high school sports in San Diego for 25 years. He worked for 18 years with the San Diego Union-Tribune, but is now pursuing other interests, including free-lance writing.