Best friends Bryce Treggs and Kodi Whitfield know all about rivalry games.
The sophomore receivers played at rival Los Angeles high schools before lining up for Cal and Stanford just as their fathers did two decades ago.
Brian Treggs and Bob Whitfield faced off in the Big Game three times from 1989-91. Before that, they were part of the storied Southern California prep rivalry between Carson and Banning high schools.
About 50 family members and friends plan to sit together Saturday in Stanford Stadium for the 116th Big Game to watch the next generation butt heads.
"I wear half red and half blue," said Brian Treggs, who coached both players through Pop Warner football.
Born two weeks apart, Bryce and Kodi have been friends since age 2, when their moms shuttled them around neighborhood parks in strollers.
"From day one, they loved each other like brothers," Whitfield's mom, Euradell White, said.
And fought like brothers.
They spent their childhood playing on the same baseball, basketball and football teams before going separate ways in high school. Bryce chose Bellflower-St. John Bosco and Kodi went to Los Angeles-Loyola. They are traditional parochial school rivals.
"Luckily, we both play receiver," Whitfield said. "If one of us played against each other, it'd get a little more personal."
After outstanding high school careers, the receivers took recruiting trips together to Cal, Northwestern, Notre Dame and UCLA. When Treggs arrived in Berkeley before his friend, he told a recruiter, "OK, it is a package deal with me and Kodi."
But just like high school, the receivers chose different schools that fit their academic aspirations as much as football pursuits.
"If Stanford was giving Kodi a scholarship, he was going there. Kodi didn't have a choice," said his dad, an All-America lineman at Stanford who played 15 years in the NFL.
Like his dad, Kodi Whitfield started out as a lineman, playing for the Carson Colts Pop Warner team. Back then, Kodi was built like big Bob, who played at 6-foot-5, 318 pounds. When the son struggled to stay within the Pop Warner weight limit, the Treggs had Kodi take saunas before weigh-ins, run on a treadmill and watch his calorie intake.
As Whitfield grew into what now is his 6-2, 196-pound frame, he asked to switch to receiver. Brian Treggs converted Kodi into a tight end when he was 12. Within a year he and Bryce were the Colts' primary receivers.
"I was on the left, he was on the right," Bryce said. "We were unstoppable."
Both father and son worked with Whitfield to help him develop his hands and timing. In high school, the players also trained with former USC stars Keyshawn Johnson and Brian Kelly on a 7-on-7 all-star team.
Bob Whitfield, who played mostly for the Atlanta Falcons while his son grew up in Los Angeles, credits the efforts of others.
"You know I can't catch the ball," he said. "I made sure Kodi can do the physical things on the field, like blocking."
Kodi Whitfield is more physical than his 5-11, 180-pound friend at Cal. Last month, Whitfield made a spectacular one-handed catch between two UCLA defenders for his first collegiate touchdown. He has 14 receptions for 162 yards in 10 games in Stanford's run-first system.
Treggs, on the other hand, leads Cal with 76 catches for 713 yards in 11 games. His dad groomed him to be a receiver from age 5. It's the same position Dad played at Cal, where he led Bears in receiving for three years.
"Bryce is faster and a little more savvy," Brian Treggs said in comparing the friends. "But down toward the goal line, Kodi is your guy."
Both players say it was a coincidence they attend the colleges of their fathers although it seemed destined to happen.
"We all try to say we didn't see it coming," Kodi Whitfield said.
But when signing day came, they laughed about their choices, and said, "I'll see you once a year."
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.
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116th Big Game » Cal (1-10, 0-8 Pac-12) at Stanford (8-2, 6-2), 1 p.m., FOX Sports 1
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