This upcoming season, the Leland High School football team will travel near to the college where famous alumnus Pat Tillman played.
The Chargers will face host Liberty-Peoria, Az. on Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. Next year, the Lions will travel to San Jose to play Leland, Chargers coach Mike Ward said.
Ward said that he started looking in September for a home-and-home series out of the area starting this season, and Lions coach Mark Smith contacted him in October.
“Mark Smith researched us, saw we were Pat Tillman’s alma mater,” said Ward.
Liberty was 11-2 last season and reached the semifinals of the Arizona Interscholastic Association 5A conference state football playoffs.
“This is a great test for us. They have a fantastic program year-in and year-out,” said Ward, who also said that the trip “is just a real cool experience” for the Leland players, coaches, program, parents and school.
Leland was also 11-2 last year and it reached the Central Coast Section Division IV playoff championship game after earning a co-Blossom Valley Athletic League Santa Teresa title in the regular season. Besides 24 seniors on the roster, the Chargers had the Santa Teresa Division Junior of the Year (Kyle Anderson) and Sophomore of the Year (Carson Yates). Anderson rushed for 2,005 yards and 21 touchdowns, and Yates threw for 1,541 yards, 16 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He also rushed for 581 yards and 13 touchdowns.