1965:  What’s in a Name?

Rio Seco High, a new school in Santee, was introduced last year in anticipation of its opening in time for the 1965 football season.

But students and citizens requested that such name be tabled and leaving the school unnamed until others were offered, according to Harlon Bartlett of the Evening Tribune.                                                                                           

Grossmont School District officials waited and met again later in the year.

On the table were  “Rio Seco”, “Santee”,  “Santana”, and one other.

Santana won.

The Santana Sultan

Santana High’s version of a Sultan.

The school’s title was not intended to pay homage to Carlos Santana, who was 17 and still a few years from making his international mark in rock music.

Or to Pedro Santana, a dictator in Dominica in the mid-19th century.

Nor has there always been agreement on definition of the word.

Some say Santana is a derivative of Santa Ana, which also has been known as the “Devil Wind” and a potentially dangerous force of nature in Southern California.

Others say the Spanish word is meant to describe “holy” or “Saint”.  It also enjoys popular usage in identifying baby boys and girls.

Santana High, by any name, adopted “Sultans” as its purple, gold, and white mascot, and opened on Mast Blvd., in Santee with 1,200 students in four grades this year.

Coach Gordon Teaby guided the team to two wins and six losses.

Forget the record.  Of more import is what took place in the season’s third week.

The Sultans won their  first-ever game, 23-13, defeating their immediate archrival, El Capitan, located in Lakeside 4 1/2 miles and maybe 10 minutes away by automobile.

From that beginning, Santana and El Cap played every year until 2014, when a releaguing took place in the Grossmont Valley League.  El Cap led the series with 31 victories against 16 losses and two ties through 2013.


Teams with losing records didn’t make the playoffs.  Neither did some with winning records, even undefeated.

Only league champions were invited.

Four large school and two small school squads made up the 1965 San Diego Section playoff roster.

Bennie Edens was concerned.

The Point Loma coach wasn’t the first to raise a voice in support of larger postseasons, but he may have been the loudest.

The Bennie did not have 50 or 60 teams in mind, a number that would be routinely reached by the millennium.   Edens just saw another good season possibly go unrewarded.

The Pointers were 6-3 in 1964 and 4-1 for second place in the Western League but came up postseason empty.  This year’s group was unbeaten with two games remaining but could be left out again.

Edens took advantage of a unique forum when he was invited to address the Union-Tribune Quarterback Club at its weekly luncheon in Town and Country Hotel.

Edens wanted more playoff teams.

Edens wanted more playoff teams.

Bennie suggested that each winner from the section’s four major leagues, Eastern, Western, Grossmont, and Metropolitan, and the leagues’ runners-up be slotted into an eight-team bracket.

“It would add one week to the schedule, but it would be worth it,” said Edens.

“Some ties (in the standings) are shaping up…and a good way to resolve the situation would be to have both the first and second-place teams in the playoffs.”

Edens expanded on the subject when interviewed a day later by Wayne Lockwood of The San Diego Union:

“Usually the league finishes are so close that they really aren’t a definite indication of which is the best team,” said Edens.

“Being in the playoffs is important to a school—it creates a lot of pride in the student body—and I’ve never seen a school hurt by going into the playoffs.

“They already take the top two teams in basketball and baseball,” added the longtime peninsula school mentor.

Bennie hadn’t gone all altruistic.  His agenda was obvious.

Two weeks remained in the regular season. Kearny, 2-0-1, was the Western League leader. Clairemont, 2-1, was tied for second with Point Loma, 1-0-2.

Edens’s club could win its last two games, finish with an undefeated league record and overall 6-0-3 but not make the postseason.

That’s because if Kearny won out, the Komets would be 4-0-1 and in the throne room, possessor of the circuit’s only playoff berth.

The question became academic when Clairemont, under first-year coach Leroy Dotson, upset Birt Slater’s Kearny club, 21-20, and opened the door for Point Loma.

Point Loma finished with a 3-0-2 league record, followed by La Jolla, 3-1-1. Kearny, 2-1-2, tied for third with Clairemont, 3-2. Madison, 1-3-1, and Mission Bay, 0-5, brought up the rear.

Don Clarkson, the executive section of the San Diego Section, responded to Edens’ comments.

“The principal purpose of forming the San Diego Section in 1960 was to cut down on the length of the playoffs,” Clarkson told Lockwood.

The genial, old-school Clarkson was following the company line that was uttered by administrators and various school board suits in the late 1950s:  Football season was too long, playoffs were too long, and we don’t have enough say.

The real reason for the departure from the Southern Section was because the small-thinking school honchos and their friends in local business leadership didn’t like the idea of San Diego being “bossed around” by someone in Los Angeles, in this instance Southern Section commissioner J. Kenneth Fagans.

So the locals took the 31 area schools and moved to their own, tiny sand box.

The San Diego Section would go so far as to create one champion from the City and one from the County in 1967-68 in order to keep the postseason at two weeks.

San Diego Section suits finally bowed to sensibility and added a third week in 1969.

Additional playoff divisions eventually became reality and a fourth week came about in 1986, equaling the number of weeks that had been status quo when San Diego schools were in the Southern Section.

By the turn of the century there was playoff frenzy.

Forty-four of the 76 schools playing football got postseason bids.  The number would continue to grow.


Glib Shan Deniston and  dour, less quotable Edens were rival coaches in the San Diego Section finals.

Deniston's Hornets ended season with 10 wins in row.

Deniston’s Hornets ended season with 10 wins in row.

Deniston: “At the start of the season we didn’t think we’d win a game.  After we lost the opener (14-12 to University) we were sure of it.”

Edens:  “This is a real surprise.  We were more or less resigned to a rebuilding season.”

The animated Deniston’s team defeated the reserved Edens’ team, 21-14, before about 12,000 persons in Balboa Stadium.

Point Loma’s conservative and often challenged offense operated behind Bill Settles, a solid quarterback.

Lincoln won its last 10 games, behind a flock of future Division I players, including fullback Humphrey Covington and linebacker James Gunn, bound for USC, and tackle Gregory Allison, headed for Iowa.

“He’s been with me three years and before the Crawford game (in Week 5) I finally decided to let him call all the plays,” Deniston said of quarterback Melvin Jackson. “I told him that way I could blame him if we lost.”

Deniston was kidding, sort of.  “We won, 35-6,” said the coach.  “Of course, I took all the credit.”

Jackson’s favorite target was future pro baseballer Marvin Galliher, who caught 8 touchdown passes.  Galliher manned one receiver position and Phillip Shelley an outstanding, two-way player was the other end.


Point Loma took a 14-0, second-quarter lead against Lincoln on a four-yard run by John Cervinsky and Settles’ only completed pass, a 67-yard touchdown strike to Roger Wagar.

Lincoln  eventually pulled in front in the third quarter as Jackson passed (8x 14 for 154 yards) and ran (10-yard, tying touchdown) the Hornets to victory.


Chris Chambliss, a converted end, rushed for 153 yards in 22 carries as Oceanside defeated San Dieguito, 21-7, before an overflow turnout of 7,500 Simcox Field for the A title.

Chambliss became better known 11 years later, when his home run won the 1976 American League pennant for the New York Yankees.

Crowds of at least 6,500 were on hand in Aztec Bowl (Point Loma, 20, El Cajon Valley 7) and at Balboa Stadium (Lincoln, 19, Esondido 6) in the playoff semifinals.


A Balboa Stadium turnout of 12,242 persons watched stars from San Diego city schools defeat a squad picked from County schools, 19-0, in the 17th annual Breitbard Athletic Foundation College Prep All-Star game.

Breitbard queen and Morse graduate Marcia Woods and Hoover's John Stephenson of City squad helped in publicize the game.

Breitbard queen and Morse graduate Marcia Woods and Hoover’s John Stephenson of City squad helped publicize the game.

The City, coached by Robert (Bull) Trometter of University High, outgained the suburban team, 335-149, and recorded a second consecutive shutout.

The Breitbard game’s format from 1949-54 matched Southern California stars against players from the Los Angeles City Section.  It was L.A. City versus San Diego from 1955-63.


Escondido had Dan Hustead, the player of the year and author of 20 touchdowns, but the Cougars couldn’t get past Lincoln.

“I don’t know how we do it,” said Escondido coach Bob (Chick) Embrey.
“We’ve been in the playoffs four years (out of six) and have drawn the best team in the first round every time.”

The champion Cougars defeated San Diego, 19-13, in 1960, beat Hoover, 28-26, in 1962, and lost to champion Kearny, 27-14 in 1963.


Grossmont’s 1932-34, 23-game winning streak and 24-game unbeaten run was on the line.

Kearny came into the season with 21 straight wins and was a heavy favorite to repeat its Western League and San Diego Section titles.

With quarterback Billy Bolden, the 1964 Section player of the year, and halfback Bobby Johnson on hand plus a healthy list of lettermen, the Komets of coach Birt Slater seemed potentially dynastic.

But Johnson sustained a serious ankle injury in a 25-0 victory over Grossmont that pushed Kearny’s record to 23 straight.  He missed three games including the two most important.

The Komets led Morse, 13-0, the following week before the Tigers scored two touchdowns in the final nine minutes for a 13-13 tie.

Shelley and Lincoln defense stopped Komets and Ty Youngs (28).

Shelley and Lincoln defense stopped Komets and Ty Youngs (28).

Kearny still could tie Grossmont’s 24-game mark but was beaten, 21-12, by Lincoln the next week. The Komets fumbled on the first play of the game and Phillip Shelley policed the ball and ran 25 yards for a touchdown.

Another tie and two more losses short-circuited the potential dynasty.


*Grossmont’s 20-12 win over Helix was its first since 1959 against the Foothillers’ younger, neighborhood brother and eliminated the Highlanders’ from contention.

Helix had won or tied for the title in all four years of the Grossmont League.

*Football continued to be a stranger to Monte Vista, which had not won a league game since it opened in 1961 with the streak now at 31 games.

The Monarchs had ended a 15-game nonleague stretch by defeating Mission Bay, 13-0, in the season opener.

*El Cajon Valley’s 7-0 win over Helix was the Scots’ first loss at home since a 19-0 blanking by Grossmont in the 1959 opener.  Helix was 21-0-2 at home since and 9-0-1 all-time vs. Valley.


For Hilltop’s Ward Lannom it will be his five-touchdown performance in a 53-20 victory over Vista.

Lannom scored on runs of 16, 61, and 6 yards, on a 13-yard pass from Mike Filson, and on a 90-yard kickoff return.  He also ran for a point after.

Lannom would rather forget his final game.  He was ejected after a sideline scuffle in the Lancers’ 35-6 loss to Castle Park.


Granite Hills opened Valley Stadium, a lighted facility on campus.  The stadium drive was led by Dr. George Brown, the Hoover star of the late 1930s, and all-America lineman at Navy, and later standout at San Diego State.

Brown’s son, George III, was a strapping 200-pound sophomore who would become one of the state’s leading shot putters in track and field and played on Don Coryell’s San Diego State squads.

Vintage coaches John Perry, Jack Mashin, and Bill Bailey (from left) visited the Evening Tribune newsroom to introduce 1965 football recordbook.

Vintage coaches John Perry, Jack Mashin, and Bill Bailey (from left) visited  Evening Tribune newsroom to introduce 1965 football record book.

QUICK KICKS—With a big hand from Bud Maloney of The San Diego Union I attempted to research and  log the score of every high school game in San Diego County from the beginning in 1895…my newspaper, the Evening Tribune, published the book…Nick Uglesich, 22-13-4 in four seasons at Sweetwater, resigned to become head coach at Anaheim Western (future golfer Tiger Woods’s alma mater years later)…the Red Devils won two Western League titles under Uglesich, who was taking assistant coach Don George to Western…before Sweetwater, Uglesich was at Huntington Beach…Matt Maslowski, a future Los Angeles Rams receiver from tiny University of San Diego, was out for football at Mission Bay…Gerry Spitler quit at Mission Bay after five games to become a  “teacher on special assignment” at San Diego High…Ken Bailey coached the Buccaneers in the final three games…rare coaching candor by Mount Miguel’s Perry Miller, whose team outrushed San Diego, 207-70, in a 14-6 victory:  “It could easily have been 35-0”…Hoover lineman Alan (Zeus) Dwyer went on to renown as a professional wrestler and was an owner of South Mission Beach’s famed “Beachcomber” watering hole…University, the defending San Diego Section A champion, was a 20-0 winner over Thermal Coachella, defending Southern Section A champion…Mountain Empire of the Southern Section was eliminated by Claremont-Webb, 34-27, in the first round of the small schools postseason…Morse followed Granite Hills when lights were delivered to its campus facility….

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2015: Bill Van Leeuwen, Star on Aztecs’ Defense

Bill Van Leeuwen, a standout defensive lineman during some of the most successful years of the coach Don Coryell era at San Diego State, passed away June 10 in Wickenburg, Arizona.
Van Leeuwen, 66, was an undersized, cat-quick tackle in a 4-3 defensive alignment on the 1968 and ’69 Aztec teams that posted a combined record of 20-0-1.
Van Leeuwen concluded his four-season collegiate career having never been in a losing game.
A graduate of Anaheim Loara High, Van Leeuwen was a standout on Fullerton College squads in 1966 and ’67 that  were 21-0-1.
For the last seven years, “Coach Van,” as he was known, was a volunteer assistant coach for the Wickenburg High Wranglers.

“He was one of a handful of Division I defensive tackles that played at 205 pounds,” said teammate Del Pifer.  “Small man, big heart.”
“Bill Van Leeuwen was a great friend and teammate,” said Fred Dryer, who played defensive end on the ’68-69 teams before going on to a 14-year career in the NFL.  “He was an inspiration to me and to his many friends.  It truly is a sad day.”
No services were held.  A memorial is planned.


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2015: San Diegans Close With a Rush

Five bests in the state meet, nine in the season’s final two weeks and some competitive  efforts in the finals at Clovis Buchanan High allowed area tracksters to finish on a strong note. Weak in the flat races as compared to the rest of the state more »

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2015: Gail Devers, Meet Dani Johnson

CLOVIS–Dani Johnson of Cathedral set two San Diego Section records and was part of another as area athletes qualified in 20 boys and girls events last night in trials of the 100th anniversary state track meet at Buchanan High.

Including double advancers Jordan Miller, Charles Lemford, and Suzie Acolatse, the section totaled 22 qualifiers for tonight’s finals.

Johnson, rousing memories of Sweetwater icon and Olympic gold medalist Gail Devers, had the sixth fastest 100 hurdles time, 13.86, led all runners at :41.34 in the 300 hurdles and ran a leg for Cathderal’s 4×400 relay squad that qualified fourth in  3:47.63.

Johnson bettered her record in the short race and topped the :41.67 that teammate and Dons relay anchor Hannah Labrie-Smith ran in 2014.

The 4×400 Dons broke one of the oldest records in the books, Morse’s 3:49.12 in 1996.

Acolatse was second in the 100 in :11.68 and third in the 200 in  :23.87.

Miller improved his long jump almost a foot to 24-1/2 for second  and was fourth at 47-1/34 in the triple jump.  Lemford finished third in the discus at 183 and sixth in the shot put at 57-10 ¼.


Qualifiers: Oceanside, 4; La Costa Canyon, Coronado, Rancho Buena Vista, Patrick Henry, 1 each.

100—Brock (West Hills Chaminade), 10.47.  Others:  Kendrick (Morse), 10.85. Sourapas (Parker), 11.09.

200—Norman (Vista Murrieta), 20.99.  Others: Sourapas (Parker), 22.01; Kendrick (Morse), 22.13; Hill (Cathedral), 22.46.

400—Norman (Vista Murrieta), 47.05. Others: Shaheed (Mt. Carmel), 48.54;  Jones (The Bishop’s), 49.68.

800—Cortes (Temecula Great Oak), 1:52.19.  Others: Waters (Mission Hills), 1:55.59;  DeLong (Mt. Carmel), 1:57.07; Chinn (Poway), 1:59.16.

1600—Walker (Fair Oaks Del Campo), 4:13.78; 10. Merder (La Costa Canyon), 4:15.83; 12. Armes (Coronado), 4:17.07. Other: Siegler (University City), 4:20.34.

110HH—Collins (Carson), 13.97.  8. Alvarado (Rancho Buena Vista), 14.41. Others:  Banks (El Camino), 14.89; Walcott (Morse), 15.26.

300IH—Meech (San Juan Hills), 37.21. Others: Grundling (Oceanside), 39.01;  Marcus (Calvin Christian), 39.17; Corona (Southwest), 40.76.

4×100 R—West Hills Chaminade, 40.87.  Others: Helix, 42.18;  Rancho Bernardo, 42.45.  Oceanside, DQ, lane violation.

4×400 R—L.B. Wilson, 3:14.02. Others: Rancho Buena Vista, 3:19.30. Del Norte, 3:21.30; Mt. Carmel, 3:22.41.

HJ—Ten qualified at 6-8.  Others: Morris (Steele Canyon), 6-6; Bennett (La Costa Canyon) NH ; Rokach (Rancho Bernardo), NH.

PV—Nine cleared 15-2, including 3. Zawadski (Patrick Henry).  Others:  Others: Brown (La Costa Canyon), 14-8;  Reynolds (Rancho Bernardo), 14-2.

LJ—Sousa (Kingsburg), 24-2 ½. 2. Miller (Oceanside), 24-1/2.  Other: Batthika (St. Augustine), 21-4; DeRoos  (Tri City Christian), 21-0 ¼.

TJ—Brooks (Kingsburg), 47-5¾; 4. Miller (Oceanside), 47-1 3/4. Others: Batthika (St. Augustine), 45-1; DeRoos (Tri City Christian), 44-6.

SP—Katnik (Bellflower St. John Bosco), 71-5 ¾. 6. Lemford (Oceanside),  57-10.  Others: DeMarco (Torrey Pines), 52-1;  Miller (El Camino), 51-6.

DISCUS—Tyler (Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos), 186-2.  3. Lemford (Oceanside), 183-0. Others: Ena (Vista), 161-5; Anderson (Ramona), 158-05.


Qualifiers: Cathedral, 3; Mission Hills, Rancho Bernardo, Carlsbad, 2 each; Canyon Crest, Valhalla, Mount Miguel, 1 each.

100—Francis (Oxnard Rio Mesa), 11.52;  2. Acolatse (Mission Hills), 11.68. 9.  Patterson (Rancho Bernardo), 11.99. Other:  Lidrazzah (Eastlake), 12.25.

200—3. Acolatse (Mission Hills), 23.87. Others: Patterson (Rancho Bernardo), 24.28.  Mason (Carlsbad), 24.81.

400—Waller (Clovis Buchanan ), 53.78.  Others: Mongiovi (West Hills), 56.45 ; Frank (Morse), 57.35; Scott (Westview), 57.76.

800—Hill (Etiwanda), 2:08.06.  3. Akins (Rancho Bernardo), 2:09.20.  6.  McCarthy (Carlsbad), 2:09.64;  Other: Robertson (LJ), 2:11.83.

1600—Collins (Temecula Great Oak), 4:47.26. 11. Bernd (Canyon Crest), 4:56.28.  Others: Abrahamson (La Costa Canyon), 5:15.87; Laurenzana (San Pasqual), 5:17.11.

100H—Graham (Corona Roosevelt), 13.45. 6. Johnson (Cathedral), 13.86 (Section No. 1 all-time, betters 14.12 by Johnson, 5/23/15). Others: Nealis (Valley Center), 14.81; Molter (Valhalla), 15.46.

300H—Johnson (Cathedral), 41.34 (Section No. 1 all-time, betters 41.67 by Hannah Labrie-Smith, Cath., 2014). 8.  Molter (Valhalla), 42.54. Other: Bell (Steele Canyon), 45.01.

4×100 R—Westlake Village Oaks Christian, 45.75.  Others: Cathedral Catholic, 47.91; Rancho Bernardo, 48.41; Torrey Pines, 48.76.

4×1600 R—4. Cathedral Catholic, 3:47.63 (Section No. 1 all-time, betters 3:49.12, Morse, 1996).  Others: Poway. 3:54.21; Rancho Bernardo, DQ, lane violation.

HJ–Beattie (Ventura Buena) led seven at 5-6.  8T, Snow (Carlsbad), 5-4.

PV—Eight cleared 12-2. Others: Wagenvald (Calvin Christian), 11-8; Chandler (Torrey Pines), NH.  Myers (Poway), NH.

LJ—Corrin (Studio City Harvard), 20-9; Others:  Noiseaux (Eastlake), 16-8 ¾; Harvey (Granite Hills), 16-8 ½; Iwanowicz (Torrey Pines), 15-10.

TJ—Davis (Agoura), 40-08. 14. Harvey (Granite Hills), 37-6 ¾; Galloway (Cathedral), 36-10 ½; Noiseaux (Eastlake), 36-1 ¾.

SP—Bruckner, Corona Roosevelt, 49-11 ½.  5. Tausaga (Mount Miguel), 44-11 3/4. Others: Mohammed (Imperial), 39-2 ¾; Jackson (Castle Park), 34-7 ½.

DISCUS—Mader (Newbury Park), 154-2.  Others: Sola (Morse), 124-0; Drummond (San Marcos), 122-6.



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2015: Morton, Gehring, Sam Edwards

Lance Morton, Rich Gehring, and Sam Edwards are among former San Diego prep athletes who  recently passed away.

Morton, 81,  a founder of the Brigantine Restaurant chain, was a second team all-City Prep League  end on the 1951 Point Loma squad that finished with a 6-2 record, losing only to San Diego, 15-6, and La Jolla, 21-14, teams that tied for CPL championship.

Morton also was a standout in track and field and held the Pointers record in the shot put for several years at 51 feet, 3 1/4 inches.

Rich Gehring, 80, had bests of :15 in the 120-yard high hurdles and :20 in the 180 lows and was a double winner for Escondido in the 1953 Metropolitan League track finals.

The 6-foot, 5-inch Gehring also was an important member of the 1955-56 San Diego State basketball squad that advanced to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship tournament in Kansas City.

Gehring later was head track coach at Sweetwater High and Southwestern College.

Sam Edwards, 74,  was an end and defensive end on the 1958 San Diego High team that posted a 10-1 record, scored 457 points, and was one of the premier teams in Southern California.

Edwards, all-City  on defense for a team that allowed 57 points in 11 games, caught 4 of quarterback Ezell Singleton’s 28 touchdown passes and was one of nine Cavers who scored at least four touchdowns.

Edwards (right) and San Diego High teammates dominated on defense as well as offense.

Edwards (right) and San Diego High teammates dominated on defense as well as offense.

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2015: Marks, Weather Terrific in San Diego Section Track Finals

The stars shone in the afternoon yesterday as two meet records fell and seasonal bests were set or tied in 19 boys and girls events in the 55th San Diego Section track and field championships.

Perfect weather at the pristine Mt. Carmel facility made it a great day for the athletes and the aficionado.

It’s on to the state meet Friday and Saturday at Buchanan High in  Clovis. There are no predictions of individual champions, but there should be many medals for the taking.

The area improved slightly against statewide competition (see table below), even with two major casualties.

Mount Miguel weight champion Laulauga Tausaga, third in the state at 156 feet, 7 inches, fouled out in the discus.  Tausaga rallied strongly with a 48-3 1/2 shot put, putting her second in the state, and setting a  meet record.

Cathedral’s Hanna Labrie-Smith was far in front and seemingly headed for a sub 42-second performance on the 300 hurdles when she began having trouble with her number of steps between hurdles as the field came out of the curve.

Labrie-Smith tried to compensate as she struggled down the stretch but crashed into the final barrier and went unplaced.

Dani Johnson, Labrie-Smith’s younger teammate, doubled in the hurdles, edging Valhalla’s Leah Molter in the 100 barriers, :13.991 to :13.99.6 (officially :14.00 for each) and logging :42.14 in the 300s.

Molter, coming strong late in the season with better marks almost every week, backed up Johnson with a :42.55 for second in the 300.

Labrie-Smith rallied with a :55.5 anchor as Cathedral came home in 3:49.54 for a meet record in the 4×100 relay.  The Dons appear capable of slashing more time off that mark.

Others who got people’s attention:

St. Augustine junior Tanner Batthika, long jumped 24-2 to move  to fourth in the state;

Oceanside’s Jordan Miller triple jumped from seventh to fourth with a 48-4 effort.

Jordan’s teammate, Charles Lenford, improved almost 12 feet to leap from ninth to third in the discus at 191-7.

Lenford and Miller pushed Oceanside to the team title. The Pirates outscored Morse, 83-49.

Nia Akins of Rancho Bernardo ran the fifth all-time fastest 800 in San Diego, winning in 2:09.07 and moving to second in the state.  The Broncos won the Girls’ team title with 69 1/2 points.  Steele Canyon, third in the boys with 47, was topsecond with 54.

State events in which San Diego athletes are in Top 10:


100 Acolatse (4) Mission Hills :11.46w :11.24w Francis Oxnard Rio Mesa
200 Acolatse (7) :23.69 :22.68w Williams Westlake Village Oaks Christian
 800 Akins (2) Rancho Bernardo 2:09.07 2:08.44 Smith Clovis North
100 Hurdles Johnson (10T) Cathedral :14.00w :13.21 Graham Corona Eleanor Roosevelt
Molter (10T) Valhalla :14.00w
300H Johnson (3) :42.14 :41.10 Woodward Vacaville
Molter (8) :42.55
Labrie-Smith (9)* Cathedral :42.62
Shot Put Tausaga (2) Mount Miguel 48-3 1/2 53-5 ½ Bruckner San Jose Valley Christian
Discus Tausaga (4)* 156-7 182-8 Bruckner
4×400 Relay Cathedral (9) 3:49.54 3:44.76 Corona Eleanor Roosevelt


Shot Put Lenford (4) Oceanside 61-8 71-11 ½ Katnik Bellflower San John Bosco
Discus Lenford (3) 191-7 194-8 McMorris Santa Ana Mater Dei
Pole Vault Zawadski (8T) Patrick Henry 15-7 16-3 ¼ Laut El Dorado Hills Oak Ridge
High Jump Morris Steel Canyon 6-9 7-0 Burke Lemoore
Long Jump Batthika (4) St. Augustine 24-2 24-10 ½ Vann Oxnard Rio Mesa
Triple Jump Jordan Miller (4) Oceanside 48-4 49-9 ¾ Huggins Kingsburg

*Did not qualify for state meet.

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1934: The Brothers Nettles

Their story could have been inspiration for “The Grapes of Wrath,” because Bill Nettles and younger twin Wayne lived the life of John Steinbeck’s poor and displaced.

Teenagers caught in the poverty of Oklahoma’s depression-era Dust Bowl,  the boys had visions of a better life.

They decided to head west.

They had just turned 16.

The twins hopped a freight train near Claremore, Okla., while their mom, the widow Pearl, wasn’t looking.

Armed with a roll of salami and a long loaf of bread, Bill and Wayne rode the rails that followed the route of the highway U.S. 66.

Trouble loomed when the twins became separated during a stop near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Wayne was looking for food when he was discovered by a railroad “bull”, one of the feared security guards that were hired by the railway to make sure the only riders were those who paid.

Wayne was forced to return home.  He caught another freight and soon was reunited with his brother. Bill had made his way to relatives in Flinn Springs.


The Nettles’ cousins, Ernie and Joe, lived in Flinn Springs, a tiny, unincorporated community east of El Cajon and west of Alpine.

That’s where the boys found a home and a promising future.

They soon would enter high school.  The closest was Grossmont, about 11 miles away.

It was August, 1932.

The Foothillers of coach Jack Mashin were enjoying the most successful era in school history, posting a record of 35-5-2 from 1931-35 that included a streak of 23 wins and one tie.

(“We have a wide-awake club, a bunch of boys who take advantage of every break,” explained Mashin).

Bill Nettles played end and Wayne was the center.

Bill and Wayne Nettles aren't identified but they're in this photo of Grossmont's combined varsity and junior varsity squads.

Bill (top row, middle) and Wayne Nettles (unidentified)  were part of Grossmont’s combined varsity and junior varsity squads for this photo.

Mashin’s squad was assured its second straight 9-0 season when Bill outjumped three Coronado defenders to catch Ben Reynolds’ pass for a touchdown on fourth down and 18 to give Grossmont a 7-0 victory.

The win wrapped up another Metropolitan League championship and Bill Nettles was one of the leading scorers in the County with 8 touchdowns and one PAT for 49 points.

Pearl Nettles’ sons had made a name for themselves and then moved on to Glendale Junior College.  They closed out their collegiate careers in 1938 as members of San Diego State’s Southern California Conference champion.


The brothers bore such striking resemblance to each other that Bill once mistook himself for Wayne.

For a game at Fresno State, Bill was part of the first group of players traveling.  Wayne was to come with another group the next day.

When Bill entered his hotel room, he faced a full-length mirror.  “What are you doing here, Wayne?” said a stunned Bill as Bill looked at his own image.


It was their offspring that forged a family legacy.

Bill’s son, John, was an all-San Diego Section end at St. Augustine in 1961.

John’s younger brother, Tom, was a basketball star at Hoover, earned a letter as a javelin thrower at San Diego CC, and caught 68 passes for the 1968 San Diego State football team.

Tom Nettles was drafted by the NFL Kansas City Chiefs and played in the 1975 U.S. Open golf championship.

Wayne Nettles’ son, Graig, was an all-Southern California selection in basketball at San Diego High and is best known for a 22-season major league baseball career, including 11 with the New York Yankees and three with the San Diego Padres.

Graig was one of the key players in the Padres’ drive to their first National League pennant in 1984.

Jim Nettles, Graig’s younger brother, played basketball and baseball at Crawford High and six seasons in major league baseball.


San Diego’s Ambrose Schindler, the leading scorer among major schools with 15 touchdowns and 90 points, was the Southern California player of the year.

The only other area athlete from a major school to match Schindler’s football honor was San Diego’s Charlie Powell in 1950.

Schindler broke long runs and ran with toughness.

No records for total yardage exist, but Schindler ran inside and outside.  In a 13-7 victory over visiting Pomona the product of San Diego’s Mission Hills community and Roosevelt Junior High rushed for 301 yards in 28 carries.


The Cavers were 16-3-2 in Schindler’s last two seasons but the Cavemen couldn’t get past Long Beach Poly this year, losing 20-13, on the road, finishing second in the Coast League, and out of the playoffs.

Years later Schindler, who went on to star at USC, returned to the scene of his high school glory.

Schindler annually worked San Diego Chargers games in Balboa Stadium as a member of the American Football League officiating staff.


Nelson Fisher of The San Diego Sun broke the news that Hilltoppers coach Hobbs Adams was leaving to accept a line coach position at USC, his alma mater.

Adams had just been elected head of the San Diego County Football Officials’ Association at that group’s season-ending awards banquet at Plata Real in the U.S. Grant Hotel.

Adams told Fisher that “I haven’t heard anything official yet, but I’ve always had a somewhat hidden desire to get back there with (USC coach Howard) Jones.”

Adams was 41-11-3 in six seasons with the Cavemen and took the 1933 team to the Southern California finals.

The former Hilltoppers player and San Diego native was 2-4 against arch-rival Long Beach Poly, all of the losses close and all almost impossible to swallow.


Early speculation on Adams’s successor centered around Bert Heiser, coach at Chaffey Junior College in Ontario, and Leo Callan, a Hilltoppers alum who was head coach at the University of Idaho and a former USC all-America.

San Diego principal John Aseltine stayed at home, elevating Glenn Broderick, who was on staff and had served as head track coach and Class B football coach.


An announcement by Hobbs Adams late in the season revealed that Schindler had been accepted at the Naval Academy and would enroll after his midterm graduation in February, 1935.

Schindler would play for coach Tom Hamilton, a former Navy all-America who had connections in San Diego and had just finished his first year as the Midshipmen’s coach with an 8-1 record.

Schindler never made it to Navy.  He changed his mind.  Perhaps it was coincidental with Adams’ change of address, but Schindler landed at USC.

It was a good move for Adams and Schindler and for Howard Jones.  Played on USC’s Rose Bowl-winning squads in 1939 and ’40 and was most-valuable player in the 1940 Chicago
All-Star game against the NFL champion Green Bay Packers.

Schindler was a 13th-round selection of the Packers and the 119th player in the 1940 draft but opted for coaching on the high school and junior college levels.


Hoover was in its fifth year and ambitious.

The East San Diego school had dropped out of the City Prep League after the 1932 season and, as an independent, sought a stronger schedule and more recognition.

John Perry (lower right) and two coaches were given demonstration by starting backfield of (from left) Jim Fitzpatrick, Roy Engle, Morris Siraton, and Larry Daley.

John Perry (lower right) and two coaches were given demonstration by starting backfield of (from left) Jim Fitzpatrick, Roy Engle, Morris Siraton, and Larry Daley.

A game with San Diego High, first earned in 1933, was only part of the plan.

The Cardinals celebrated the opening of their turfed, 4,000-seat stadium this year.  With financial help from the school faculty (encouraged/pushed by principal Floyd Johnson), Hoover was the first area high school to also have lights.

La Jolla and Coronado followed Hoover later in the decade.  Balboa Stadium wouldn’t become illuminated until 1939.  Navy Field, to become known as Sports Field, had lights in 1930 but was essentially void of seating.


Cardinals coach John Perry continued to upgrade his team’s schedule, but a road game at Santa Barbara was a disaster, after the Cardinals had shut out their first five opponents.

A 41-7 loss, in which the Cardinals scored only on a blocked kick recovered in the end zone and were outgained, 461 yards to 117, began with a daunting logistical challenge.

The game at Santa Barbara’s Peabody Stadium was about 220 miles from the Hoover campus, where 25 players plus supernumeraries caravanned in automobiles on Sunday evening.

The players spent the night at the YMCA in downtown Los Angeles and were joined by coaches John Perry and Bill Bailey the following morning for the ride to the stadium on the Dons’ campus.


The Cardinals arrived a couple hours before the Armistice Day kickoff for a matchup that San Diego sportswriters had determined as being “pretty even.”

According to “The Punter,” a nom de plume used by the prep writer of The San Diego Sun, “It was all Biff McLaughlin’s fault.”

McLaughlin passed for two touchdowns and ran for one as the Dons took a 21-0 lead in the game’s first seven minutes.

According to The Punter, McLaughlin was going to quit school the next year to sign a Pacific Coast League baseball contract.

The Santa “Barbarians” were made up of players “19 to 20 years old and none of them weigh less than 190 pounds,” wrote The Punter.

Hoover’s day was not over.  The team would arrive back on campus late in the evening, so the players could attend classes Tuesday morning.


Hoover had another tough opponent scheduled four nights later against Los Angeles Loyola. The loss to Santa Barbara, leaving the Redbirds with a 5-1 record, had apparently eliminated them from playoff consideration.

A rainy week in San Diego prompted a weird response from Loyola officials.  They canceled the game, 24 hours before kickoff, allegedly declaring they did not want to soil their new uniforms on a muddy field.

Speculation was that the Cubs were locks to make the playoffs and didn’t want to risk a possible road loss.

Floyd Johnson was outraged.

The Hoover principal had a sympathetic ear from CIF bossman Seth Van Patten, who ordered Loyola to play the game the following week.

Oh, and while we’re at it, we’ll make this a first-round playoff, said Van Patton.

The Cardinals were assuaged.  They got the game and the promise of a solid financial return and they also were in the postseason.

The Cubs spoiled the evening, defeating Hoover, 14-7.

The Cardinals dropped a 14-0 decision to San Diego the following week in the second annual Elks Charity game and flattened out to a final, 5-3 record  as San Diego rushed for 283 yards to  125 and Schindler scored on a 52-yard run.

Schindler (below) was too much for Morris  (Moose) Siraton  and Hoover Cardinals.

Schindler (below) was too much for Morris (Moose) Siraton and Hoover Cardinals.

But Hoover was getting closer to the Hilltoppers and it justifiably looked with confidence to the 1935 season.


Hoover scored all its points in the first eight minutes of a 15-0 win over Point Loma.  The Cardinals blocked two punts in the first quarter, Bob Summers covering one of blocks in the end zone for an apparent touchdown.

The jubilant Summers hurried to the Hoover bench, but the whistle had not blown.  Point Loma covered the ball for a safety.


Army-Navy’s Harry DeVenny hit an Oceanside receiver so hard that the Pirates’ receiver fumbled and then punched DeVenny.

Referee Glenn Broderick ejected the Oceanside offender at which point Pirates coach Bob Carpenter, either upset with the player or referee Broderick, pulled his entire team from the field.

Two seconds remained in the half.

After much cajoling, Carpenter finally agreed to send out his third and fourth stringers for the second half, which was limited to five minute quarters.

Army-Navy’s scored all of its points in the first quarter of the 17-0 victory, twice on blocked kicks and once on a bad Oceanside snap from center that resulted in safety.

Schindler and tackle-captain-kicker R.C. Moore were Cavemen's representatives on all-Southern California teams.

Schindler and tackle-captain-kicker R.C. Moore were Cavemen’s representatives on all-Southern California teams.


Schindler was the only first-team, all-Southern California choice.  Tackle R.C. Moore of San Diego made second team.  End Cozen of Oceanside was on the third team.  Hoover nemesis Harry (Biff) McLaughlin of Santa Barbara was second team.


The bus taking Coronado footballers to their game at Grossmont was moving along El Cajon Avenue when the driver noticed an oncoming car weaving in and out of traffic.

The bus suddenly veered to avoid the car and ran off the road, sheering a telephone pole, and coming to rest near the intersection of College Avenue and El Cajon Avenue.

All passengers were shaken but okay.  Grossmont officials then sent a bus to pick up the Islanders.


Two burglars, apparently well into the sauce, gained entry to the Fox Theater at Seventh Avenue and B Street, at 2 a.m. and forced the night custodian to take them to the office safe.

John Thompson convinced the inebriated crooks that he didn’t know the safe combination.  The pair staggered out of the theater with no money but took an evening dress used by Miss Dixie Barnes, theater hostess.


Banning and Beaumont, Riverside County schools, started an annual battle for the “Stage Coach Wheel”.  In the more contemporary 21st century, the game is known as the”War of the Wheel.”



Mashin coached another undefeated squad.

Mashin coached another undefeated squad.

San Diego was unsuccessful in scheduling a post season game in Nevada against the Las Vegas Wildcats…as writer Nelson Fisher said, “It would give the Hilltoppers a pleasant trip and a chance to see Boulder Dam”…the Cavemen also were unable to get a game with Inglewood, which upset San Diego in the 1933 Southern California finals…San  Diego’s itinerary to its game at Phoenix Union:  Buses left school at 7 .am., lunch in Yuma, Arizona, arrived in Phoenix at 6 p.m. and practiced at 8…proceeds from the Hoover-San Diego Elks Charity Game provided grocery baskets for San Diego families…attendance for the San Diego-Hoover game was 12,000 double the turnout for Santa Ana-San Diego…Army-Navy’s all-Metropolitan League halfback Norm Montapert was all-City at Los Angeles Belmont in 1933…a pool of 38 officials worked 96 San Diego County games…Grossmont’s Jack Mashin sent prospective members of his 1935 squad to a game with the Green Valley Falls Civilian Conservation Corps team at the end of the season…La Jolla students and townsmen wanted to see more of coach Lawrence Carr’s Vikings, who had enjoyed a 6-1-1 season, best in school history…Carr prevailed on San Diego coach Hobbs Adams  to bring his junior varsity to La Jolla for a season-ending game…La Jolla won, 34-0….

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2015: San Diegans in State Track Top 10 (4)

If the state track meet were  tomorrow, instead of in two weeks, San Diego Section girls would have a chance to win possibly three events.  The boys, none.

In one of the most disappointing seasons in several years, San Diego girls are represented in seven of the 16 events in the state’s top 10 and the boys in five.

It’s been a woman’s world this year.

Suzie Acolatse of Mission Hills is a contender in the 100 and 200 meters and Cathedral’s Hana Labrie-Smith has run as fast in the 300 hurdles as the season’s state leader.

Acolatse’s wind-aided :11.46 100 and legal :23.69 rank third in the state.  Her 200 is sixth in the nation and fourth all-time in San Diego.  She negotiated the 200 time in Saturday’s San Diego Section trials at Mt. Carmel, where Acolatse also logged a legal :11.53 to move to No. 4 all time in San Diego.

Labrie-Smith is fourth in the state at :42.62 in the long hurdles, but ran :41.97 in 2014 which matches the 2015-leading performance by Jasmyne Graham of Corona Eleanor Roosevelt.

Several other girls also could contend for medals, including Cathedral’s Dani Johnson, who set a San Diego Section record of :14.12 in the 100 hurdles in the section trials but ran :13.81 and :13.99 with wind in her two state meet races in 2014.

The allowable wind limit is 2.04 meters, or, in old parlance, 4.447 miles an hour.


Most impressive among the boys has been Oceanside junior Charles Lenford, third in the state shot put at 61 feet, 8 inches, and ninth in the discus at 180-10.  The  shot put will be loaded, headed by the 71-11 1/2 of Bellflower St. John Bosco’s Matt Katnik, but Ledford seeming has not hit his ceiling.

Lenford teached 50 feet as a sophomore and qualified for the state finals with a 166-4 effort in the trials discus and was 12th in the finals at 155-7.

Lenford started this  season with a 54-10 3/4 effort in an indoor state meet in Clovis and has gradually gone up the ladder.  His 61-8 is 16th all-time in San Diego.


How will Oceanside fare with coach John Carroll taking retirement?

It’s a long way to the fall, but the Pirates did not fare well in the recent San Juan Hills “Gunslinger” passing tournament against top Northern squads.

Oceanside was outscored by St. John Bosco, 52-6, Huntington Beach Edison, 42-2, Westlake Village Oaks Christian, 30-12, Santa Ana Mater Dei, 48-6, and San Juan Hills, 12-6.

Teams play 7 players against 7 players, with only passing plays.

San Diegans in state Top 10  as of Sunday, May 24:


100 Acolatse (3) Mission Hills :11.46w :11.38w Williams Westlake Village Oaks Christian
200 Acolatse (3) Mission Hills :23.69 :22.68w Williams
800 Akins (9) Rancho Bernardo 2:11.1 2:08.44 Smith Clovis North
300H Labrie-Smith (4) Cathedral :42.62 :41.97 Graham Corona Roosevelt
Molter (8) Valhalla :42.91
4×400 Relay Cathedral Catholic (9) 3:51.55 3:46.24 Corona Roosevelt
Shot Put Laulauga Tausaga (5) Mount Miguel 46-1 50-2 1/4 Bruckner San Jose Valley
Discus Tausaga (3) 156-7 182-8 Bruckner

Shot Put Lenford (3) Oceanside 61-8 71-11 1/2 Katnik Bellflower St. John Bosco
Discus Lenford (9) 180-10 194-8 McMorris Santa Ana Mater Dei
Long Jump Tanner Battikha (5) St. Augustine 23-8 3/4 24-10 1/2 Vann Oxnard Rio Mesa
Triple Jump Miller (7) Oceanside 47-7 3/4 49-3 Smith Moraga St. Mary's College High
Pole Vault Zawadski (7T) Patrick Henry 15-7 16-3 1/4 Lauf El Dorado Hills Oak Ridge

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2015: Morrison, Dobson Also Step Down

John Carroll’s retirement from Oceanside earlier this year has been followed by the departure of two other, successful, veteran San Diego Section coaches.

John Morrison, who took his 18 Francis Parker teams to 18 playoff berths, and Bill Dobson, whose 2011 team tied a Mountain Empire record for most wins in a season, also are leaving.

Other changes so far, according to John Maffei of UT-San Diego, include University City’s Charles James moving to San Diego, Patrick Coleman taking over at Del Norte, Will Gray at Kearny, and Rone Torres at Calvary Christian San Diego in Chula Vista.

Additional appointments have Roger Engle and Mikel Moran serving as co-coaches at Scripps Ranch and former Scripps Ranch coach Sergio Diaz becoming the new boss at Serra, where Brian Basteyns exited after 11 seasons.  Nehemiah Brunson is new at Army-Navy.

Morrison ranks 15th among San Diego Section coaches with 146 victories and his .686 winning percentage, is 16th among those with at least 100 victories (see link on website home page).


Morrison took over at Parker in 1997 and built the program into one of the finest among California’s smaller schools (500 or less enrollment).

The Lancers won five league titles, 3 San Diego Section championships and made eight San Diego Section championship game appearances.

Parker lost an epic battle, 44-40, to Modesto Christian in the state small schools title game in 2009.

Dobson was 29-16 (.644) in five seasons at Mountain Empire.  The Redhawks were 9-2 in 2011, tying a school record for victories set by the 1983 squad.

The Pine Valley school, which opened in 1925 in Campo, earned one Manzanita League co-championship and was 5-0 in the “Battle for the Nest”.

A perpetual trophy goes to the winner of the annual Laguna Mountains bragging rights game between the Redhawks and Julian Eagles.

Diaz was 41-47-1 from 2002-09 at Scripps Ranch, but had a 34-25 record in his last five seasons.


Joe Cardona, a long snapper at Navy who attended Granite Hills, was selected in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft by the New England Patriots. Cardona was the only player chosen from the San Diego Section.


Brian Basteyns’ record at Serra from 2005-14 was 49-67-1 but included four league championships and a 9-3 record in 2012…D.J. Walcott has been serving as interim coach at Francis Parker…Dave Rodriguez, a former Oceanside player and assistant coach, replaced Carroll, who retired with 248 victories, second most in the San Diego Section to Herb Meyer’s 339…Charles James was 11-12 in two seasons at University City…Engle was Scripps Ranch’s first baseball coach and is the son of Roy Engle, who starred as a player at Hoover in the 1930s and was the Cardinals’ head coach from 1955-77…Calvary Christian Vista is said to be closing….

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1964: Bull Durham…er, Trometter!

Retired after an honored career in the Marine Corps, Robert E. (Bull) Trometter took a high school job.

Trometter could employ a figurative steel fist in the Marines (head coach at the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot in 1947-48, at Camp Pendleton in 1949, and at MCRD from 1953-59, his teams posted a combined 87-7 record),  but Trometter also would need a velvet glove on the prep level at University of San Diego High.

The man used both, with aplomb.

Trometter took over the second year school with no tradition and less-than-adequate facilities in 1960 and went to playoffs, finishing 3-4.  He was 4-3 in 1961, then 5-2-1, and 6-2-1 in succeeding seasons.

Year 5 started badly against the strongest schedule in school history.

Trometter and his young men, clockwise from left:  John silva, Bob Beckman, Roger Leonard, Stan Stree, Rick Costigan, and Charlie Duke, who scored three touchdowns in 40-0 win over Carlsbad.

Trometter and his young men, clockwise from left: John silva, Bob Beckman, Roger Leonard, Stan Stree, Rick Costigan, and Charlie Duke, who scored three touchdowns in 40-0 win over Carlsbad.

The Linda Vista school dropped a 19-13, opening game to Lincoln and then was run off the field in a 39-0 rout by Morse.

“If you’re going to play football, you might as well play good teams,” Trometter told Harlon Bartlett of the Evening Tribune.  “I don’t know how much harm or good it’s done; it remains to be seen.”


Trometter then got to the meat of his message.  “I know one thing, this is the first time a team has quit on me.

“I don’t think my kids know how to tackle.  We started knocking heads yesterday and we’ll keep at it all week until I find out who wants to play.  If we’ve got enough players left, we’ll play.  If not, we’ll forfeit.”

Uni lost its next game, 14-12, to Madison, then won its last seven, including a 40-0 destruction of Carlsbad in the Class A finals.

Trometter explained the Dons’ success after an Avocado League-clinching, 34-0 win over Vista. “We put in a boom series,” said Trometter.  “The Boom Series is when you block people.”

Trometter also begged off a trip to the showers from his exulting players.  “I have only one  suit,” he pleaded.

Uni’s success would have an impact in the future.  The Dons would move from Class A to AA in 1965.


How difficult is this?

About  60 teams annually make the San Diego Section playoffs in the 21st century, selected and seeded efficiently (if not agreeably) almost as soon  as the final whistle is heard in the regular season.

Granted, computers ensure a fast, handy set of brackets.

But go back 50-odd years  and to a cantankerous Eastern League as it tried to determine one playoff spot out of a field of two.

That’s two, as in this should be easy.

San Diego and Lincoln tied for first place in the Eastern League, each with a 4-1 record.  Lincoln lost to Crawford, 25-7, while San Diego defeated Crawford, 21-19.

However, Lincoln  edged San Diego, 14-12.

Solution seems fairly simple.

Lincoln won the head-to-head, so it was the logical choice.

But the Hornets’ selection wasn’t made until the next evening, 24 hours later, after a 13-0 victory over St. Augustine had clinched a share of the Lincoln’s first title since it began playing in 1954.


By comparison, the Grossmont League resolved its playoff question less than two hours after Helix and Granite Hills came to the finish line with 4-1-1 records and in a tie for first.

Bob Divine, Monte Vista’s vice principal and retired Helix basketball coach, conducted a telephonic poll among the six other league representatives and got the issue settled in Helix’ favor.

But the Eastern League was slow to respond.

No reason was given for the delay, but that circuit long had a quasi fratricidal history, dating to 1950, when city schools broke from the Coast League and formed the City Prep.

There was no love lost.

News accounts seemed more attuned to the quick and professional response by the Grossmont group.


Lincoln eventually would be aligned in the AA  first (semifinals) round against Kearny, the Western League champion and defending San Diego Section titlist.

Helix got Castle Park, a second-year Metropolitan League school that had improved from 1-7-1 to 6-2-1.

San Diego High was unhappy, believing it was the league’s strongest entry.

The Cavemen closed strongly with 4 straight wins and their 7-2 record was the best since 1959.

San Diego suggested that open voting in lieu of a telephonic poll would eliminate politics and perceived bias.


Kearny coach Birt Slater got involved.

“I’m unhappy with the whole situation,” said Slater.  “You’d think there’d be a better way to run an election.  I called fifteen people Sunday and couldn’t find anyone who knew anything.”

Slater was miffed because he had summoned assistant coaches to his residence in Lemon Grove to plot a game plan.

Instead, the Kearny staff was forced to game plan for two teams, said Slater, wasting valuable time.

“Most of the schools were represented at the Lincoln-Saints game; they could have voted then,” the Kearny coach scoffed.  The head coach, however, sprung for the cold cuts, chips, and sodas.

A parting shot by Slater and echoed by most interested others was why would the CIF have a first round pairing of city versus city and country versus county?  Why not the other way around?

The CIF generally was tone deaf to anything other than the establishment of rules and the prosecution of violations.


Kearny actually improved on the 10-1 record of the powerful 1963 club, defeating Castle Park, 34-19 in the finals and extending its winning streak to 21 games.

Kearny returned just 2 starters, all-Western League lineman Dan Fulkerson, end Frank Oberreuter, and only seven lettermen.

“I knew this would be a good team some day, but at the start of the season I thought it was a year away,” said Slater.


The Komets thrived on a rushing attack that was unrelenting and varied.

Fullback Jim Townsend (he became known as Jamie Townsend in college at San Jose State) had 801 yards, averaged 6.7 yards, and scored 80 points.

Junior Bobby Johnson, leadoff man on the Komets’ 880-yard relay team that ran 1:27.5 and was third in the 1964 state meet, averaged 7.2 yards for 102 carries and scored 50 points.

Quarterback Bolden and fullback Townsend represented two-thirds of Kerarny's ground-chewing backfield.

Quarterback Bolden and fullback Townsend represented two-thirds of Kerarny’s ground-chewing backfield.

The apple of Slater’s eye was junior quarterback Billy Bolden, who averaged 5.1 yards for 99 attempts and had a 52 per cent completion average and 738 yards passing. Bolden’s emergence was such that he was  San Diego section player of the year.

Lincoln had no chance, bowing 26-7, as Townsend rushed for 89 yards in 18 carries, Johnson 70 in 14, and Bolden 39 in 8 as all three scored touchdowns before a crowd of 7,000 in Balboa Stadium.

Kearny was outgained, 316-298, and outdowned, 19-11, by Castle Park,  but Bolden and Johnson scored 5 touchdowns between them and the Komets raced to leads of 20-6, 26-12, and 34-13.


Johnson, scoring on runs of 83 and 51 yards, and Bolden accounted for all but 66 of Kearny’s total yardage.

Castle Park was the most surprising team in the County, riding out of the South Bay on the passing arm of 5-foot, 7-inch, Billy Miller, who was intercepted three times by Kearny but was a tough and fearless leader of the emerging Trojans.

Castle Park shocked Helix, 26-20, in the first round as Miller threw for touchdowns of 71, 45, 37, and 52 yards after winning the Metropolitan League in a showdown with Sweetwater before an overflow crowd of 5,000 at the Red Devils’ Hudgins Field.

Three points after touchdown were the difference in the Trojans’ 21-19 victory.  The winning conversions came on a seven-yard halfback pass from Doug Grace to Art Gawf after a penalty, on a Gawf plunge, and on an another pass, Grace to Tommy Bullis.

Grace also passed for 25 yards and a touchdown to Gawf.


Point Loma manfully battled Kearny to a 13-13 tie entering the fourth quarter, despite losing its best player, fullback Greg Slough, controversially ejected for fighting in the first half.

Slough took long road to NFL.

Slough took long road to NFL.

Two Kearny touchdowns, the last a 38-yard scramble by Bolden with 34 seconds left, delivered a 26-13 victory.

This was not the last heard from Slough.

After playing at San Diego City College, Slough enlisted in the Army and did battle in Viet Nam, then returned to school, started at linebacker at USC and was drafted in the sixth round in 1971 by the Oakland Raiders of the NFL.

Slough left football after a third seasons with the L.A. Rams and one with the World Football League Hawaiians.


San Miguel School coach Mervin Houston declined a small schools playoff bid against Carlsbad after the Knights had posted a 6-3 record that included a 12-7 win over a Mountain Empire team that qualified for the Southern Section small schools playoffs.

“We are just too small to compete with Carlsbad,” said Houston, who also cited a litany of bumps and bruises to his squad of 15 players. “We could probably stay with Carlsbad for 10 minutes.


The 16th annual College Prep All-star game now featured San Diego City vs. San Diego County.

From 1949-55, the game matched Southern California all-stars versus all-Los Angeles City. The contest was all-Los Angeles vs. all-San Diego from 1956-63.

Before the game, which the City won, 20-0 before 11,218 persons in Aztec Bowl, a moment of silence was observed for F.W. (Bill) Whitney, the executive director of the sponsoring Breitbard Athletic Foundation since its inception in 1946.

Bull Trometter (right)  also was member of City  coaching staff in annual Breitbard College Prep game.  Mission Bay's Gerry Spitler (left)  was on staff headed by Gene Edwards of La Jolla.

Bull Trometter (right) also was member of City coaching staff in annual Breitbard College Prep game. Mission Bay’s Gerry Spitler (left) was on staff headed by Gene Edwards of La Jolla.

Whitney, who served as game managing director since 1949, passed three weeks before this year’s game.

The San Diego businessman, who was a volunteer foundation employee (he received a token payment of  $100 a month), also served for many years as San Diego’s only voting representative on the Helms Athletic Foundation all-Southern California selection committee.

The Southern California squad had a record of 5-2 against the L.A. City entries.  All-Los Angeles held a 5-3 edge on all-San Diego.


Olander was a big name for a decade in the East County foothills.

Grossmont’s Roger Olander was one of the leading pole vaulters in the nation in 1958,  with a career best of 13 feet, 5 ¾ inches, before the revolution of technology in the pole vault.

Olander was the County's fastest, in football in the fall, and in track in the spring.

Olander, running against Castle Park in playoffs,  was the County’s fastest, in football and track.

Rick Olander cleared 14 feet, 7 inches, 10 years later at Helix.

In between Roger and Rick was Byron, who set records at Helix with a :09.6 100-yard dash and :21.4 220 in 1965.

Byron also was a standout on  coach Warren Vinton’s 6-2-1 football Highlanders, who were  surprised in the playoff semifinals, 26-20, by Castle Park.

Olander scored 12 touchdowns, had a 10-yard rushing average and was the most dangerous open-field runner in the County.


Don Henson, 25-37-6 in six seasons at Kearny and Clairemont, stepped down as head coach.

“I guess the nervousness and tension caught up with me,” said Henson, a former University of Arizona player who was an assistant at Hoover, 1953-55, head coach at Kearny, 1956-58, and started the Clairemont program in 1959.

The Chieftains were 6-4 in Henson’s only winning season in 1962, led by the Western League’s player of the year, Bill Casey, who quarterbacked the Chiefs into the San Diego Section finals before they bowed to Escondido, 28-14.

Madison's Brandt Crocker gets ride from  teammates after kicking field goal to defeat San diego.

Madison’s Brandt Crocker gets ride from teammates after kicking field goal to defeat San diego.


Madison players rushed the field after Brandt Crocker’s 20-yard field goal with six seconds seemingly clinched a 3-0 victory over San Diego.

But the Warhawks were reported to have unconventionally tried an onside kick and San Diego took over on  its 40-yard line with time for one play.

Quarterback Michael Marrs dropped back to pass, but was cornered.  Marr pitched to halfback Dennis Maley, who drilled a spiral downfield to Alex Dantzler.

Dantzler had two blockers in front of him when he caught the ball, but one  was an ineligible receiver.  Penalty, game over.


Sweetwater’s Jim Finnerty  jogged the memories of longtime National Citians.

Finnerty’s father, Ralph, was a standout athlete and member of  the 1930 Sweetwater squad. Jim’s twin uncles, Lyle and Leon, starred on the 6-1-1 team of 1934 and Lyle was the County’s leading scorer with 73 points.

Jim more than honored the Finnerty name.  He set a school record with his 15th touchdown pass and was a standout in basketball and baseball.


El Cajon Valley won the Grossmont League junior varsity title with a 20-19 win over Helix in the final game…the loss snapped a Highlanders JV winning streak at 47 games…that is not a typo… Crawford sophomore Bob Petretta ran 20 yards for a touchdown on his first career carry…Coronado improved its all-time series record to 26-16-4 with a 41-20 victory over Escondido and snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Cougars, dating to 1955…the Islanders first played Escondido in 1914, the year the transbay school opened…Hoover and Kearny had to move their season opener to Hoover from Westgate Park, because the baseball Padres were in the Pacific Coast League playoffs…Mountain Empire’s 6-1 regular season record was the best in school history, but the Redskins made an early exit from the Southern Section small schools playoffs, ushered out by Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World, 48-12….

College prep game County head coach Chick Embrey  of Escondido was flanked by Oceanside's Herb Meyer (left) and Bill Green of Escondido.

College prep game County head coach Chick Embrey of Escondido was flanked by Oceanside’s Herb Meyer (left) and Bill Green of Escondido.

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