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PHOTOS: BYU Football Team Practices at Helix Charter High School

The Cougars will take on the San Diego State Aztecs in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 20, at Qualcomm Stadium.

Brigham Young University coaches led players through a two-hour practice Monday morning at Helix Charter High School in preparation for the Poinsettia Bowl. Both the starting and backup quarterbacks took part in the practice in La Mesa. Practice will continue Tuesday. Among local players for BYU are Oceanside High's Russell Tialavea, and two from Murrieta—Vista Murrieta High School's Tyler Beck and Murrieta Valley High's Skyler Ridley.*

BYU chose to practice at Helix based on an existing relationship with Scotties head coach Troy Starr. According to athletic director Damon Chase, Starr has in the past spoken at some of the university's football clinics, and BYU contacted Helix when they learned they would be playing their bowl game in San Diego.

BYU and SDSU players later visited SeaWorld. The players got to interact with dolphins, feed sea lions and ride the park's manta ray-themed roller coaster.
On Tuesday, the teams are scheduled to visit the San Diego Zoo. Select players and coaches will also attend a reception for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.   

On Tuesday evening, bands and cheerleaders for both schools will perform
in the Gaslamp Quarter. On Wednesday, they'll have lunch aboard the
Midway Museum.

The Brigham Young team arrived in San Diego on Sunday via plane, bus and
car, according to Kenny Cox of Brigham Young's Athletic Communications
office. The team was welcomed at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel by members of the Poinsettia Bowl's organizing committee, the Red Coats, a mariachi band, hotel staff and relatives and friends, he said.   

The San Diego State team received a similar greeting Sunday afternoon in
front of the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. San Diego State will be playing in a bowl game for a school-record third consecutive year. This will be the 11th time the Aztecs have played in a bowl game and the seventh since moving to the Division I level before the 1969 season.   

Brigham Young will be playing in its eighth consecutive bowl game and
31st overall, including 11 appearances in San Diego's Holiday Bowl.

—City News Service contributed to this report.


*Editor's note: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong school for Skyler Ridley.

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