2014-15: Playoffs Now Get Serious

Ugly blowouts apparently in the rear view mirror, the San Diego Section basketball playoffs reach the semifinals round this week in the Open and Divisions I-V.

The so-called CIF power ratings, with  their comprehensive reviews of statistics, scores, strength of schedule, etc., raised questions when Vista was accorded an Open Division berth, resulting in Francis Parker and Morse being assigned to Division I.

San Marcos’ strength of schedule  was questioned when he it was granted a No. 3 seed in the Open.

St. Augustine, No. 6, defeated San Marcos,  60-45, and Torrey Pines, No. 1, walloped Vista, No. 8, 68-38.

IT’S WHO YOU PLAY

Torrey Pines was 4-1 in intersectional games and hosted the nationally acclaimed Under-Armour Tournament, which brings teams from throughout the United States.

Vista was 1-5 in out-of-the area competition and participated in a lower level tournament in Westminster.

San Marcos was 5-0 intersectionally and won undistinguished tournaments in Maui, Hawaii, and at Mt. Carmel.

St. Augustine was 4-3 out of the area and was in the lower level West Hills event but also competed in the Under Armour and Santa Margarita tournaments.

The Open semifinals have St. Augustine (23-6) at No. 2 La Costa Canyon (22-6) and No. 4 Army-Navy (24-5) at Torrey Pines (27-2).

Hopefully early-round games involving undeserving, losing teams and  scores of 68-21, 92-29, 77-28, and 71-27 won’t be repeated and, in the future, more weight will be given to the quality of tournaments and intersectional competition.

 

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1956: “Smiley” Was San Diego High Legend

San Diego coach Duane Maley said it best:  “He can run sideways faster than most backs can forward.”

Maley spoke of a favored player,  5-foot, 4-inch, 145-pound halfback Cleveland (Smiley) Jones, who literally carried the 1956 Cavemen.

Jones was the City Prep League player of the year despite missing almost all of two games and parts of others.

San Diego was 6-0 when Jones was healthy, 1-2 when he was sidelined.

OFF TO 3-0 START

In what was supposed to be a major rebuilding season after Jones and teammates won the 1955 Southern California championship and were declared national prep champions, the Cavers won their first three games in impression fashion.

Jones was hurt in the first quarter of the fourth, an upset, 20-12 loss to Hoover.  He played sparingly the following week, a 54-13 win over Mission Bay, and missed much of the 35-21 loss to Downey in the first round of the playoffs.

OFFENSE, DEFENSE, SPECIAL TEAMS

Jones, scoring second touchdown against Lincoln, went on to star at University of Oregon..

Jones, scoring second touchdown against Lincoln, went on to star at University of Oregon..

In between, Jones scored 96 points, with 12 touchdowns and kicked 24 points after.  He also played defense, but was  player of the year because of a 10.8-yard rushing average, 17-yard pass-receiving average, and a stunning 45-yard average on punt returns.

“Jones is a great broken field runner, the greatest I’ve ever coached,” said Maley, who was not given to hyperbole.

Of Jones’s many long runs, the most memorable came in the showdown with Lincoln, playoff berth and tie for the CPL title on the line.

Lincoln scored first to take a 7-0 lead.   Jones juggled the ensuing kickoff and the ball  bounced back to the one-yard line.  The diminutive Caver almost lost his balance, but recovered, and ran 99 yards for a tying touchdown.

Jones scored one other touchdown as San Diego won a thrill-packed game, 26-19, earning a first-round playoff date with Downey at Long Beach Veterans’ Stadium, site of San Diego’s  epic 1955 semifinal  victory over  Anaheim.

PLAYED DOWNEY CLOSE

Jones was hurt in the loss to Downey, the eventual, 13-13 tie co-champion with Anaheim.

The Cavers’ 14-point loss, with Jones out much of the game,  compared well to the Vikings  41-point victory over Beverly Hills and 33-point win over Lancaster Antelope Valley in other playoff games.

Comparatively, Downey defeated Long Beach Wilson, 13-7.  San Diego defeated the Bruins, 21-7, and had three touchdowns called back.

This wasn’t a championship Cavers team, but it might have been had Jones not been sidelined with some untimely injuries.

PLAYED ON AND ON

Jones was on a conference championship team at San Diego Junior College in 1957, was a two-year star at Oregon,  a late roster cut of the NFL Dallas Cowboys, and then starred for the powerful San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot team.

Jones still was playing semipro football at age 38.  Compared to 21st century NFL players, he most closely resembled Darren Sproles, who thrilled San Diego Chargers fans a couple generations later.

Jones went on to a long career as an officer in the Orange County Probation Department.

He was known as “Smiley” because his facial bones were such that his countenance is a perpetual pleasant expression or smile.

Cleveland brought a lot of smiles to those who watched him and played with him.

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1956: Then and Now for Hoover’s Engle

A stunning, 2012 victory over archrival San Diego High brought back a flood of memories to Hoover coach Roy Engle.

–That hazy afternoon in Balboa Stadium in 1935 when Engle drove the Cardinals to a fourth-quarter, 7-6 victory over San Diego.

–Engle, the senior ball carrier, gaining the final 25 yards in three carries in the 80-yard drive to the game-tying touchdown.

–The first victory and first points ever scored by Hoover against the big, downtown powerhouse.

Hoover coach Roy Engle plotted season with quarterbacks Dick Verdon, Gary Bailey, and Dave Kusan (from left).

Hoover coach Roy Engle plotted season with quarterbacks Dick Verdon, Gary Bailey, and Dave Kusan (from left).

Engle and his teammates shared a glorious moment in the young school’s history, but Hoover victories in the city rivalry became few and far between.

ONE-SIDED RIVALRY

San Diego held an 18-5 advantage in the series, had not lost to Hoover since 1949, and was a decided favorite in this renewal, played on the Hoover gridiron for the first time.

But the  Cardinals were confident and determined.

The squad met at the home of fullback Denny Berg the night before the game and vowed to reverse years of disappointment.

TARDY COACH

Engle was late getting to the Cardinals gym. He had gotten caught in  El Cajon Blvd., traffic after leaving his college area residence.

The coach couldn’t help but look twice when he entered the football locker room.

“Every player was dressed and taped,” Engle recalled to Jerry Magee of The San Diego Union.

No stragglers. And kickoff still was more than an hour away.

“It’s dangerous to see a team so high, so early,” Engle said.  “I tried to think of a joke.”

The game began with the joke on the Cardinals.

ANOTHER BLOWOUT?

San Diego scored twice in the first 9:03 of the game on plays that began with Hoover in possession.

Bobby Staten picked up an errant Hoover pitchout and raced 20 yards for a touchdown two minutes after kickoff.

Hoover offensive hero Bob Williams went both ways and stopped San Diego's Ezell Singleton.

Hoover offensive hero Bob Williams went both ways and stopped San Diego’s Ezell Singleton.

Ollie Osborne recovered a blocked punt in the end zone.  San Diego suddenly was ahead, 12-0, and seemingly off to the races.

But the Cavemen’s No. 1 threat, halfback Cleveland Jones, sustained a hamstring pull in the first period, returned briefly, but left for good with 19 yards in 4 carries.

Hoover, running its Split-T offense and quarterback options to perfection, began to peck away.

The Cardinals pulled in front, 13-12, near the end of the half on Bailey’s 9-yard run and 17-yard pass to Bob Williams.

Without Jones, the Cavers had only 59 yards total offense.  Berg’s 3-yard run in the fourth quarter clinched the victory, the first by a local team over the Cavers since 1952.

“We had about 2,800, including players and fans, who were all pulling together,” said Engle. “I’ve never seen a group of players put out like our guys did.”

Engle was moved to say the game offered a reason as to why “men go into coaching.”

DIFFERENT 3-0’s

The 2,800 represented the size of the Hoover student body, one of the largest in Southern California.

Virtually all, along with a crowd that reached more than 7,000 persons, jammed the Hoover Stadium, spectators filling both sides of the field and temporary bleachers in each end zone.

Hoover and San Diego each entered the game with a 3-0 record, but San Diego had beaten Long Beach Wilson, 21-7, Point Loma, 40-0, and Arizona power Phoenix Union, 33-6.

The Cardinals had one impressive win, 14-6, at Redlands and victories of 9-6 over Grossmont and 27-12 over Mission Bay.

“Hoover played much better than it had before,” said San Diego coach Duane Maley.   “When a team can have 12 points scored against them as quickly as we scored and can come back, they deserve a lot of credit.”

 THEY SAID IT

“We figure to be real green, but we’ll come along.  We’ve got speed.”—San Diego coach Duane Maley.

(The Cavers, after having 28 players graduate and starters Luther Hayes and David Grayson transferring to Lincoln, leaving only one offensive starter, center Ron Collins, finished 7-2).

Art Buchanan, scoring against Long Beach Wilson, and Cleveland Jones (right) represented San Diego High swiftness.

Art Buchanan, scoring against Long Beach Wilson, and Cleveland Jones (right) represented the swift side of Cavers.

“If George gets hurt, we unpack our tent, put it on the camel and head for the hills”–La Jolla coach Shan Deniston on the prospect of losing halfback George Graham.

(Graham was the second leading scorer in the city with 12 touchdowns, including 6 in the final game).

 “Things have looked bleaker.  We just don’t remember when.  I hope we can beat someone”–St. Augustine coach Tom Carter.

(The Saints won some, lost some, and tied some, for a 2-4-2 record).

“This could be the closest race we’ve ever had.  Anyone of five teams could finish from first to fifth”—Point Loma coach Bennie Edens.

(Point Loma was a well-beaten, tied-for-fourth with Mission Bay with a 1-3 league record and 2-6 overall).

“We’re the youngest, most inexperienced, and the losingest, but we think we’ll have a chance in every game we play.  We’re in the league and we’re not afraid of anybody.”—Mission Bay coach Harry Anderson.

The writer's first daily newspaper byline.  One of many prep correspondents, I was paid $5 to call in results of games.  Actual writing was done by Union staffers.

The writer’s first daily newspaper byline. One of many prep correspondents, I was paid $5 to call in results of games. Actual writing was done by Union staffers.

(The Buccaneers beat Point Loma to finish fourth in the City League and were 2-6 overall).

The whole league will be better balanced, because most teams will be improved, and I don’t think San Diego High will be so strong”—Hoover coach Roy Engle.

(The haves, Hoover and San Diego, still held sway over the have nots).

MAN THE PUMPS

Seven Mission Bay area gasoline stations formed an alliance with the school booster club.

Two cents of every gallon of gas poured on a weekend during football season went to the school fund, benefitting the Reserve Officers Training Corps, school choir, and athletic department.

DAY-NIGHT DOUBLEHEADER

After La Jolla played Mar Vista at Scripps Field in the afternoon, Mission Bay took on El Centro Central later in the evening at the same site.

El Centro defeated the Buccaneers, 20-13, and made another trip to La Jolla later in the season, winning, 25-14.

OH, SUSANNAH!

Susannah Lee, a 16-year-old Ramona High senior, was the only female high school correspondent for The San Diego Union.

Susannah explained  the secret of understanding football to writer Jerry Magee: Study the plays, watch the ball, and take a boy friend along who can explain the game.

“Get a boyfriend who knows football and can sit with you and tell you what they’re doing,” she said.  “I’ve used that system a few games.”

Susannah also is the Ramona High school newspaper social reporter: “In society you have to go and see what people are doing, who is going with whom, etc.  The students don’t turn in the news.”

Ramona coach Glenn Forsythe holds forth with reporter Susannah Lee.

Ramona coach Glenn Forsythe holds forth with reporter Susannah Lee.

Covering football, Susannah contended, is “easy.”

Miss Lee, who lived on a chicken ranch near Ramona, did not aspire to a career in sports writing and planned to attend Woodbury College in Los Angeles and take a secretarial course.

ELEVATOR, WE GOT THE SHAFT

Gary Dunn, passing, and Ron Palermo, catching, teamed on a 46-yard scoring play for the only touchdown in Helix’ 6-0 victory over Chula Vista.

Problem.

Three plays earlier the Spartans were shocked when the head linesman, in charge of downs and markers, signaled a change of possession, ball to Helix.

The switch occurred after Chula Vista’s Jerry Glad was thrown for a 12-yard loss on third down.

Chula Vista was robbed of a fourth down play, although it needed 14 yards for a first down.

Further frustration for Bob Geyer’s South Bay squad: it recovered five Helix fumbles and blocked a punt.

Helix' Bill Earnest ran 100 yards in :09.7 and was one of fastest in Southern California.

Helix’ Bill Earnest ran 100 yards in :09.7 and was one of fastest in Southern California.

THE SEQUEL

Helix didn’t fool around in the Metropolitan League rematch (teams played each other twice in a round-robin schedule).The Highlanders won, 52-6, with their third 50-point outburst of the regular season.

The Scots  also defeated Blythe Palo Verde, 54-0, and rushed for an astounding 407 yards in another 52-6 victory over Grossmont, with scoring plays of 24,8, 85 (Palermo), 32 , 28 (Dunn), 48 (Danny Spinazzola), and 78 (Bill Earnest).

CITY RULES

Helix had 21 touchdown plays of at least 20 yards, 11 of at least 40, averaged 34 points a game in an 8-0 regular season, and was a rare County favorite over Hoover in a first-round playoff that drew about 11,000 to Aztec Bowl.

But as San Diego and Lincoln learned, you can’t score if you don’t have the ball.

With Gary Bailey marshaling the Cardinals’ grinding, split-T attack and showing more flair as an option quarterback, the Cardinals ran 60 plays to the Highlanders’ 31 and built a fourth-quarter lead of 21-7.

Helix was playing catch up with Hoover all night, as Cardinals' Bobby Ball gained 15 yards before tackle by Highlanders' Wayne Voight.  Hoover's 64 is Doug Dunnam.

Helix played catch up with Hoover all night, as Cardinals’ Bobby Ball gained 15 yards before tackle by Highlanders’ Wayne Voight. Hoover’s 64 is Doug Dunnam.

Hoover’s 21-13 victory sent the Cardinals to La Palma Stadium in Anaheim and the Redbirds’ ball control worked again, for awhile.

The Cardinals scored first, ran more plays, and led Anaheim at the half, 7-6, but the Colonists with Mickey Flynn leading the way, ran away to a 34-7, quarterfinals playoff victory.

Hoover did not compare offensively to Anaheim.

The Cardinals’ Bobby Ball had rushed for 437 yards in 93 carries for a 4.6-yard average and Denny Berg averaged 4.1 and gained 393 on 84 carries.

Anaheim’s Joe Avitia had 874 yards and a 5.7 average and Mickey Flynn, used sparingly, had scored 17 touchdowns and was averaging 10 yards a carry.

Hoover had scored 170 points in nine games, Anaheim 347 in 10.

WHAT’S THE TIME?

With 5:50 to play in the first quarter of a 21-0 win over Sweetwater, Helix’ Ron Palermo ran 6 yards to a touchdown.

With 5:50 remaining in the second quarter, Helix quarterback Bob Schultz passed 45 yards to Bill Earnest for a touchdown.

SAINTS COME MARCHING IN

St. Augustine’s long battle to find a home in one of San Diego County’s prep leagues was coming to an end.

Saints coach Tom Carter had reason to see through his gloomy season forecast and point to the Saints' future in City Prep League with  center Dick Hammes (left) and quarterback Tom Valverde.

Saints coach Tom Carter had reason to see through his gloomy season forecast and point to the Saints’ future in City Prep League with center Dick Hammes (left) and quarterback Tom Valverde.

They would have a league in the 1957-58 school year but not before clearing a few more hurdles.

  • Southern Section bosses in September approved the Saints for membership in the Metropolitan League beginning in the next school year.
  • City Prep League honchos, who annually blocked St. Augustine’s bid for membership, made a U Turn and extended an invitation.

Principals of the 21 San Diego County schools attended a meeting in November at the Civic Center, where the Saints’ invitation was the only decision resolved during a four-hour session on releaguing.

  • City Prep League coaches disagreed with their releaguing bosses and voted against the Saints, pointing out that La Jolla and Kearny, whose games did not count this year, would be joining the circuit with Crawford, making for nine members, an unwieldy number.
  • The Southern Section releaguing committee, virtually rubber stamped the vote by the San Diego principals, voting unanimously to place St. Augustine in the City Prep League and removing the Saints from Metro League consideration.
  • The Saints still would need the approval of the Southern Section’s executive council, but commissioner J. Kenneth Fagans said the releaguing group’s vote was “tantamount to approval.”
  • Fagans noted that Crawford would not be playing a varsity schedule in football in 1957 and that “releaguing is on a year-to-year basis. If further changes are needed later on, we’ll make them.”
  • The Saints officially were placed in the City League by the Southern Section executive committee at its final meeting in December.

DIVIDED LOYALTY?

San Diego vice principal Bill Bailey, who coached the Cavemen to a 34-7 record from 1943-47, had a dilemma.

Bailey’s son, Gary, was Hoover’s quarterback.

Six-year-old Gary Bailey observes as his father, San Diego coach Bill Bailey, reads a 1945 telegram which stated that the Cavers were the No. 1-ranked team in the country.  Eleven years later the Baileys were on different sides.

Six-year-old Gary Bailey observes as his father, San Diego coach Bill Bailey, reads a  telegram in 1945 which stated that the Cavers were the No. 1-ranked team in the country. Eleven years later the Baileys were on different sides.

Bailey and his wife deferred questions about who they were supporting, but it’s suspected they wanted Gary to have a terrific game and that maybe the teams could tie.

Mrs. Bailey would not commit to which side from which she would watch and Bill said only that he wished for a spot on the 50-yard line, “right in the middle of the field.”

SIGNS OF THE TIME

Mount Miguel in Spring Valley was scheduled to open in 1957, as was Crawford in East San Diego.  El Capitan would open in Lakeside and Hilltop in Chula Vista in 1959.

The City Schools also announced plans for a second new high school when a 44-acre plot was purchased for $92,000 in Clairemont.

By 1959, Clairemont would greet students at its campus one block west of Clairemont Blvd., on Ute Street.  The school mascot appropriately would be named Chieftains.

SHAN’S WORLD

Shan Deniston, who took over as La Jolla coach after seven seasons as an assistant coach at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, had been a catcher for the Portland Beavers in the Pacific Coast League.

An arm injury ended the St. Louis Browns farmhand’s career, but Deniston managed Browns farm teams at Mayfield, Kentucky; Belleville, Illinois; Pittsburg, Kansas, and Olean, New York.

ALL-SAN DIEGO BOWS

The annual Breitbard Athletic Foundation College Prep All-Star game changed format.

From 1949-55, the game matched the Los Angeles City Section all-stars against an all-Southern California team.

The opponents this year were Los Angeles and a San Diego County squad.

The Los Angeles team scored a 19-0 victory before a crowd of about 10,000 at Aztec Bowl.

COACH SPEAK

Escondido dressed 41 players compared to 21 for Vista when the undefeated teams met in an important Avocado League game.

“We respect them in spite of their numbers,” said Cougars coach Chuck Embrey.

Embrey wasn’t blowing smoke.

Escondido finally put the Panthers away, 16-13, on Chuck Wood’s field goal from the 20-yard line with 2:22 remaining.

Baranski (55) kicks point after against Point Loma and made rare field goal in game against Grossmont.

Baranski (55) kicks point after against Point Loma and made rare field goal in game against Grossmont.

FIELD GOAL MANIA

Wood’s placement was the second of the season by an area kicker.  Hoover’s Walt Baranski toed a field goal from the nine-yard line to beat Grossmont, 9-6, earlier in the year.

Baranski’s field goal was the first in the County since Army-Navy’s Jim Salisbury booted one in 1948.

Field goals were so infrequent that newspaper correspondents often confused the distance, reporting the attempt from the line of scrimmage and not from point of the kick.

LET GEORGE DO IT

56graham0224150001La Jolla’s George Graham scored six touchdowns, ran for an extra point, and passed for another point after in his final game, a 37-0 victory over Fallbrook.

Graham’s 37 points were the most since San Dieguito’s Ralph Swaim scored 6 touchdowns and 36 points in a 1944 game.

QUICK KICKS

Helix tackle Roy Bottini was a first team, all-Southern California selection and San Diego center Ron Collins made the second team…Anaheim and Downey played to a 13-13 tie in the Southern Section finals before a record crowd of 41,383…San Diego had 3 touchdowns called back in a 21-7 victory over L.B. Wilson, which scored with 10 seconds left in the game, when the Cavers had only 10 men on the field…La Jolla, 16 players strong , defeated Mar Vista, 13-7, to end a 15-game losing streak… the Vikings’ last victory was 7-0 over Rosemead in the 1954 season opener…Coronado coach Roger Rigdon declared that of the 200 boys enrolled in school, 100 reported for football…a City Schools carnival crowd of 16,000 saw the West team of Lincoln, San Diego, and Kearny defeat an East contingent of Hoover, Point Loma, Mission Bay, and La Jolla, 32-6…Lincoln beat Mission Bay, 14-6, and tied Hoover, 0-0, in two quarters of play…San Diego slapped Point Loma, 12-0…the Metro Carnival was an 8-6 win for Helix, El Cajon, and Sweetwater over Chula Vista, Mar Vista, and Grossmont….

Center Ron Collins, with quarterback Dave Conger, was only returning offensive starter for San Diego Cavemen.

Center Ron Collins, with quarterback Dave Conger, was only returning offensive starter for San Diego Cavemen.

Bennie Edens coached the handoff better than he demonstrated for quarterbacks Doug Minton, Roger Soares, and Ray Hermans (kneeling, from left) and Jerry Booth.

Bennie Edens demonstrated the handoff for quarterbacks Doug Minton, Roger Soares, and Ray Hermans (from left), and Jerry Booth (standing).

Sweetwater center Joe Wolf could snap ball to George McElvain, Larry Martin, and Jimmy King (from left).

Sweetwater center Joe Wolf could snap ball to George McElvain, Larry Martin, and Jimmy King (from left).

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2015: Ron Dargo, Ace of Crawford Staff

Ron Dargo, 69, who pitched Crawford High to the 1962 San Diego Section baseball championship, passed away recently at his home in Spring Valley.

Dargo, a lefthander, and  John Allison, who pitched from the right side, led a late-season Colts playoff push after they finished second to San Diego in the Eastern League race.

The Colts, who finished with a 19-6 record, defeated lefty Dave Varvel and El Capitan, 9-0, as Dargo completed a seven-inning shutout in the championship game at Westgate Park, home of the Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres.

Dargo hurled one of Crawford’s two other postseason victories.  He  surrendered three runs in the first inning in the first playoff against Helix but pitched shutout, two-hit ball the rest of the way and beat the Highlanders and their ace, George Sherrod, 4-3.

Dargo went on to pitch for coach Ed Sanclemente at San Diego City College and Mesa College and for Lyle Olsen at San Diego State. He led the Aztecs with 95 innings pitched, 12 starts, and 8 victories in 1967.

“Ron had a good fastball and curve, was a very good hitter, and  a great teammate, remembered Tom Whelan, who was Dargo’s  catcher at Crawford and at San Diego State.

Following college, Dargo embarked on a long military career.  He retired as a U.S. Navy Commander and became active in the local sports fishing industry.

 

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2014-15: Poll Virtually Unchanged

The sluggish UT-San Diego poll showed no change in the first six positions from last week with  minor juggling after that, most notable being St. Augustine’s rising from 10th to seventh.

Meanwhile, there continues to be an absence of San Diego Section teams in the Cal-Hi Sports state top 20.

Torrey Pines, Foothills Christian, La Costa Canyon, and San Marcos have “On the Bubble” status.

UT-San Diego poll #8:

# Team (1st place votes) W-L Points* Previous
1 Torrey Pines (8) 23-2 107 1
2 Foothills Christian (3) 17-7** 100 2
3 La Costa Canyon 17-6 85 3
4 San Marcos 22-1 79 4
5 Army-Navy 20-4 60 5
6 El Camino 19-4 55 6
7 St. Augustine 19-6 30 10
8 Mission Bay 17-2 28 7
9 Morse 19-5 25 9
10 Francis Parker 14-6 36 8

*Awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.  **Includes two forfeits.

Others receiving votes: Cathedral (13-7), 11; Escondido (15-7), 5; Kearny (18-7), 2.

Eleven San Diego County sportswriters and broadcasters, and a CIF San Diego Section representative vote each week. The panel includes John Maffei and Kirk Kenney (UT-San Diego), Terry Monahan (UT-San Diego correspondent), Bill Dickens (eastcountysports.com), Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions), John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (sandiegopreps.com), Aaron Burgin (fulltimeshoops.com), Rick Willis (KUSI Chl. 51), Rick Smith (partletonsports.com), Drew Willis (sdcoastalsports.com).

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2015: Billy Casper’s Mark as Chula Vista Student

Billy Casper, who passed away recently at age 83, was not only a Hall of Fame golfer as a professional but  also made his mark as a student  at Chula Vista High.

Casper was runner-up as a sophomore, champion as a junior, and runner-up as a senior in the CIF Southern Section golf championships from 1948-50.

Casper won the individual title in 1949  by shooting a 73 and winning in a sudden death playoff at Montebello Country Club.

Casper was named as one of the CIF Southern Section’s 100 greatest athletes when the organization celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013.

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1972:  Usurped By…Basketball?

Several Eastern League schools found themselves locked out of playing sites by, get this, the San Diego Conquistadors of the American Basketball Association.

The preps, in keeping with years of tradition, thought Aztec Bowl was reserved for them for games Oct. 13, 20, and 27.

Trouble was those were  the same nights the Q’s were playing at Peterson Gym.

Hoover, Patrick Henry, Crawford, Morse, and St. Augustine were out of luck.

Since Peterson Gym and Aztec Bowl share the same parking lot, San Diego State officials declared they would not allow prep football and pro basketball games to be held simultaneously.

The basketball Q’s were a few steps ahead of the apparently somnambulant city schools and made arrangements first.  Grossmont College also snared dates for home games at Aztec Bowl.

“Everybody thought somebody was taking care of the contracts, but nobody did,” said a San Diego State spokesman.

San Diego Section commissioner Don Clarkson was blamed for the scheduling lapse.

Scheduling was Clarkson’s responsibility when he also held the post of Supervisor of Secondary athletics for the City Schools.

Clarkson said that he had retired from the supervising gig and that he had notified schools that they would have to make their own arrangements for playing facilities.

Eastern League athletic  directors were contacted but claimed they never received such notification.

Nearby College area homeowners long had complained about traffic, vandalism,and other problems involving events at the venues.

After some scrambling and  finger pointing the schools  found alternate sites.

WHO WON FIGHT?

Sweetwater and Castle Park rolled in the dirt in a South Bay imbroglio that matched coaches who were close friends and college teammates.

Lay and Warren were old friends.

Lay and Warren played together.

That Dave Lay’s Red Devils defeated Gil Warren’s Trojans, 20-14, almost was forgotten in the frenzy of a mini riot.

As Castle quarterback Don Bohnstein moved his team toward a game-leading touchdown in the fourth quarter, another of several skirmishes that earlier had taken place in the stands spilled onto the track surrounding the Castle Park gridiron.

Will Watson of The San Diego Union estimated that as many as 200 persons were involved and that they almost reached the end zone to which the Trojans were marching.

COPS ARE COMING!

Police were summoned and 13 squad cars and a helicopter responded, including three Highway Patrol vehicles and a police van.

Watson reported that the mob got closer to the end zone than the Trojans, who reached the eight-yard line before Bohnstein was sacked for a 13-yard loss.

The Red Devils’ Leroy Brown acquired a nickname and knocked out the Trojans with touchdown runs of 10, 38, and 70 yards.

“BAD, BAD LEROY BROWN”

 “…the baddest man in the whole damn town…badder than old King Kong, and meaner than a junkyard dog…” Continue reading

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2014-15: Torrey Pines Keeps Winning

The world is Torrey Pines’ oyster, for now.

Coach John Olive’s Falcons completed an 8-0 January and have a 10-game winning streak as they visit Rancho Bernardo tonight.

The 21-2 Falcons have six remaining regular-season games against teams with a combined record of 61-65.

None of those  opponents, Rancho Bernardo, twice (11-9), Mt. Carmel (12-10), Poway (13-9), Westview (8-14), and Canyon crest (6-14), will  be favored.

The Falcons had  December losses of 64-47 to Brooklyn Jefferson and 51-49 to El Camino. The Del Mar school has a 46.30 power rating in Division I, with El Camino (17-4)  at 46.24 and San Marcos (20-1) at 46.14.

Win out and Torrey Pines should claim a No. 1 seed.

There are no San Diego teams in Cal-Hi Sports’ state top 20  this week.  The Falcons are 24th as selected by Max Preps.

UT-San Diego poll #7:

# Team (1st place votes) W-L Points* Previous
1 Torrey Pines (8) 21-2 107 1
2 Foothills Christian (3) 15-7* 99 2
3 La Costa Canyon 15-6 84 3
4 San Marcos 20-1 81 4
5 Army-Navy 18-4 56 5
6 El Camino 17-4 54 6
7 Mission Bay 16-1 37 7
8 Francis Parker 14-5 36 8
9 Morse 18-5 26 9
10 St. Augustine 17-6 17 `0

*Awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.  *Includes two forfeits.

Others receiving votes: Cathedral (12-7), 6; Escondido (13-7), 2; The Bishop’s (13-6), Grossmont (17-3), 1 each.

Eleven San Diego County sportswriters and broadcasters, and a CIF San Diego Section representative vote each week. The panel includes John Maffei and Kirk Kenney (UT-San Diego), Terry Monahan (UT-San Diego correspondent), Bill Dickens (eastcountysports.com), Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions), John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (sandiegopreps.com), Aaron Burgin (fulltimeshoops.com), Rick Willis (KUSI Chl. 51), Rick Smith (partletonsports.com), Drew Willis (sdcoastalsports.com).

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2014-15: Give Morse Some Respect

Where have I gone wrong?

I voted for Morse as No. 5 in the UT-San Diego basketball poll this week.

I assigned No. 10 to Army-Navy.

The poll of 11 voters released today shows Army-Navy No. 5 and Morse No. 9.  No change from last week for either team.

Morse defeated Riverside John North, 96-88, in double overtime and Serra, 81-70, last week.

Army-Navy beat Francis Parker, 63-54, and lost to Foothills Christian, 76-59.

North has an 18-1 record and Serra is 13-7.  Francis Parker is 12-5 and Foothills Christian 16-5 on the floor but 14-7 because of two forfeits.

Army-Navy is 17-3  and Morse 18-4, although the Tigers’ record had been a mystery since the coach or student manager waited weeks before reporting several scores to the San Diego Section..

Morse’s schedule includes an 81-70 loss to Los Angeles Cathedral, the ninth-ranked team in the state.

The Tigers also have losses of 69-53 to Burbank Bellarmine-Jefferson, 59-45 to Beverly Hills, and 62-55 to Francis Parker.

Army-Navy’s two additional defeats were to St. Augustine, 60-43, and to La Costa Canyon, 59-45.

Morse’s loss to Parker was in December.   Army-Navy beat Parker last week.

The CIF’s “power ratings”  lists El Camino (a 54-46 loser to Army-Navy and which has played a mostly local schedule) as the top team in Division 1, with Army-Navy fourth, and Morse 10th.

I give Morse a slight edge, based on strength of schedule, over the Carlsbad boarding school and El Camino.

I give Army-Navy an edge in perceived North county brain lock by some poll voting members.

But maybe it’s me with brain lock.

UT-San Diego poll #6:

# Team (1st place votes) W-L Points* Previous
1 Torrey Pines (7) 19-2 104 3
2 Foothills Christian (4) 14-7* 102 T1
3 La Costa Canyon 13-6 83 T1
4 San Marcos 18-1 79 4
5 Army-Navy 17-3 59 5
6 El Camino 15-4 54 6
7 Mission Bay 15-1 38 8
8 Francis Parker 12-5 28 10
9 Morse 18-4 26 9
10 St. Augustine 16-5 24 7

*Awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. NR–Not ranked. *Includes two forfeits.

Others receiving votes: Vista,  (17-4), 5; Kearny, (14-6), 3;  Escondido (11-7), 2.

Eleven San Diego County sportswriters and broadcasters, and a CIF San Diego Section representative vote each week. The panel includes John Maffei and Kirk Kenney (UT-San Diego), Terry Monahan (UT-San Diego correspondent), Bill Dickens (eastcountysports.com), Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions), John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (sandiegopreps.com), Aaron Burgin (fulltimeshoops.com), Rick Willis (KUSI Chl. 51), Rick Smith (partletonsports.com), Drew Willis (sdcoastalsports.com).

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1998: Helix’s Outstanding Stretch Drive

Helix’ run to the San Diego Section Division II title represented what may have been the finest coaching job in Jim Arnaiz’s 27-season career.

The Highlanders were an indistinct 4-2-3  when they began their run.

1–They improved to 5-2-3 and clinched second place in the Grossmont South with a 27-7 victory over Granite Hills, the victim of Arnaiz’ 200th career win.

2–The Highlanders won their first playoff game but not before they trailed by 13 points in the first half and withstood a 328-yard, 3-touchdown passing performance by Scripps Ranch’s Corey Kroviak.

Jason (Moving) Van bailed out the Scots in the 29-26 triumph with second-half touchdown runs of 12, 4, and 79 yards.

“Number 201 was not easy,” said Arnaiz, “but we’re not worried about how many wins coach Arnaiz has anymore.  Right now we’re on a mission, a mission to get to the Q (Qualcomm Stadium, site of the finals)”

3–Helix improved to 7-2-3 in the  quarterfinals with a 27-24, double overtime  win over tough Monte Vista, which had beaten the Highlanders, 15-7 in the regular season.

Arnaiz made a risky but defining decision in the second overtime.  Go for  tying field goal on fourth down or go for the victory.

The coach let his players make the call and Van pounded in the winning touchdown from the four-yard line.

“It’s what they (his players) wanted to do,” said Arnaiz, adding that “you could  play overtime all night against those guys.”

After a regulation-game tie of 14-14, the teams traded touchdowns, necessitating a second overtime.  Monte Vista went ahead, 24-21, kicking a field goal after coming up short on fourth down at the 2.

“I had to get it in,” said Van of his game-winner.  “That was all I was thinking.  I just had to get it in.”

4-5–The road appeared to get a little easier but still ahead were hard-fought, successive victories of 14-7 over Castle Park in the semifinals and 19-7  over Chula Vista in the  championship as  Van ran the Highlanders to the title.

Van was mobbed by family and teammates after 264-yard, 3-touchdown night.

Van was mobbed by family and teammates after 264-yard, 3-touchdown night.

The 9-2-3 record was not close to being the best but maybe it represented the most satisfying in Arnaiz’ career.

“We started the season as a medium-ranked team in San Diego County,” said Arnaiz.  “We followed our mantra of “good, better, best”, and sure enough we got better each week.”

“Jason Van was a solid running back for us and our quarterback was a good athlete.  We had a good defense and our kicking game was solid.”

Arnaiz, not one for hyperbole, could have been revealing the DNA of one of his typical Helix squads.

2-8 AND PROUD OF IT

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