To some of the players, Friday's Palos Verdes-Peninsula football clash will be just another game on the schedule.

"We are focusing on improving as a team and not letting who we're playing affect us," PV quarterback Jake Jellison said.

Friday's game, which kicks off at 3 p.m. at Peninsula High, also marks Peninsula's Senior Day. And Panther quarterback Jack Haworth feels it's important to keep emotions at bay in such a big game.

"There are many emotions that come with a rivalry game," Haworth said. "It's most important for us as a team to not let the excitement overcompensate our play."

It's no secret that the Battle of the Hill means something more to not only those partaking in the game, but those cheering for their respective sides.

Winners of five of its last six games, PV (7-2, 4-0) has secured at least a share of its 9th consecutive Bay League title, and has its sights set on the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.

Peninsula (3-6, 2-2) is looking to return to the CIF-SS playoffs, this year in division 10. In 2018, Peninsula advanced to the CIF-SS Division 11 title game, falling to Western, 49-21.

A win Friday would boost the Panthers playoff chances after last week's heartbreaking 17-14 loss at Redondo.

Saying PV has had a hold on the rivalry is an understatement. The Sea Kings have won nine of the last 10 meetings.

Despite its past success against Peninsula, Jellison knows how important the week leading up to the game is.

"The biggest key to winning Friday's game is having a good week of practice," Jellison said. "If we do that, we have a good shot."

PV is led by its ground game and a staunch defense. The Sea Kings rushing attack has racked up more than 1,300 yards, including 460 from Jake Wilson and 375 from Ryan Wilson. Dominic Ciolino has added 310, and the trio has combined for nine TDs.

As a unit, PV's defense has racked up 25 QB sacks, 12 interceptions and recovered eight fumbles. Since giving up 55 points to Culver City, PV has allowed 11 points in four league games.

Peninsula coach Dave Young knows the biggest area of focus leading up to Friday's game, for the Panthers, is emulating PV's style of play.

"We need to be able to stay up to their physicality," Young said. "We also need to compete on both sides of the ball, and special teams."

Young noted the last time Peninsula faced a team as physical was during its Sept. 6 56-20 loss to Culver City.

"Culver City was very physical, and we know that PV plays a different brand of football. We need to prepare for 4 quarters of physically demanding football," Young said.

While Young is four years removed from coaching at PV, Peninsula does have one familiar face on its roster: tailback/defensive back Ricardo Punsalan.

Punsalan transferred to Peninsula following the 2018 season, noting he wanted to attend the same school and play with his younger brother, James.

But the familiarity is of no concern to Jellison, who played with Punsalan on the Palos Verdes Grizzlies Pop Warner Team.

"I'm not focused on that at all," Jellison said. "I played with him for a few years in Pop Warner and in high school, but I do not see that as a factor in this game."

Peninsula isn't putting a victory over PV in its thoughts, but the Panthers know what a win on Friday would mean for its program. Peninsula has not beaten PV since 2008.

"Winning would be a big accomplishment, and pivotal for us as a program," Young said. "We are still growing and gaining strength, and it would give us great momentum going into the off season."

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