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Friday's Peninsula football game, to be played at night, is also a reunion for Rolling Hills High School students.

It might look like just another game on the schedule, but Friday night's Bay League football opener between Peninsula and Leuzinger has added element of intrigue: it will be played under lights.

For the second time this century, Peninsula will host a night game.

And the Panthers are looking at this game like any other game on the schedule.

"We're treating this week like every other week of practice, but we know that Friday night is going to be special," senior quarterback Jack Haworth said. "We take every game one week at a time."

But it's not just any other game to the Peninsula High administration, or its principal, Dr. Brett Kuyendall.

While the project has been in the works for over a year, Kuykendall felt the biggest obstacle was managing all of the moving pieces.

"We had to make sure we had the right personnel and the right vendor to have the appropriate equipment," Kuykendall said. "We needed to get the right people in the same room, from the district to the football program, our activities director, site administration and the Lomita Sheriff and RHE/RPV police."

The idea of hosting a night game at Peninsula didn't begin to gain traction, Kuykendall said, until the last few months.

"Things really got serious when the school board got behind it and supported it," Kuykendall said.

In September, the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District board approved Peninsula hosting a night game.

"I was extremely hopeful that it was going to happen, and I immediately started thinking about telling the boys," coach Dave Young said. "When we were able to tell them, their faces lit up. You can only imagine being able to be a part of history."

It will be history, indeed. Peninsula has hosted three previous night games: two under Tony Uruburu and once under Gary Kimbrell.

While Kuykendall would prefer a favorable outcome of the game, his main focus is not only the safety of those involved, but how the night goes.

"I'm hoping its a fun, exciting night for everyone involved," Kuykendall said. "We want everything to run smooth, and that we have a great game that students, faculty and parents can enjoy. We're hoping for the best."

With everything that's gone into Friday's game and making sure it runs well, Kuykendall is hoping to use this year as a springboard to host night games in the future.

"I would love to make this an annual event, but I don't want to make any promises until it goes smoothly. Then we can entertain that discussion," Kuykendall said. "We're going to take it one year at a time."

Young isn't taking this game any differently than a day game at Peninsula. His job is preparing the Panthers for Leuzinger.

"It's just another football game for us, because we play Friday day or night, regardless," Young said. "Leuzinger is a tough opponent to open league with, and they're tough, physical and athletic. We haven't proved we can play with teams like that."

Young and Kuykendall are also viewing Friday as a community event. They will honor Rolling Hills High's 50-year reunion, as part of its "Remember the Titans" annual event, as well as a junior Panther clinic.

"It's a special day for the school and for Titan alumni," Young said. "The buzz around the game has made a buzz around the community, and it's important to have the community and alumni behind us."

Still, Friday's game is just another game on Peninsula's schedule.

"The school is preparing for a celebration of football, but we're not putting any pressure on ourselves. We're just looking to do better every single day."

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