1940-41:  Douglas, Wilson Make Coaching Debuts

Two young coaches destined to become legendary in San Diego basketball lore arrived as varsity mentors at the city’s two prep powerhouses.

Rickey Wilson, a former San Diego High player, succeeded Lawrence Carr at Hoover and Merrill Douglas, a transplanted Montanan, took over for Bill Schutte at San Diego High.

The schools  continued to be San Diego’s prime representatives, the Hilltoppers going 15-3 under Douglas and Hoover 10-4 under Wilson, but teams in the Metropolitan and Southern Prep Leagues commanded their shares of attention, although headlines were reserved for the war clouds that loomed in the West and the “The Battle of Britain”, being fought between the British and Germans in the skies above London.

EARLY FINISH

San Diego and Hoover would join a 17-team super conference beginning in 1941-42 as the CIF attempted to separate large schools from small schools.  San Diego, Hoover, and Long Beach Poly, were the only members of the Coast League.

Down to three teams since Santa Ana bailed after the 1935-36 school year and Alhambra after 1938-39, the Coast basketball season was shortened.  The Hilltoppers and Hoover seasons ended this year in late January.  The Metropolitan and Southern Prep were active through the end of February.

New Cardinals mentor Rickey Wilson (right) meets Hoover athletic director John Perry.

CIF commissioner Seth Van Patten often had to hustle to fill playoff brackets.  Some leagues, notably the Metro, at the geographical bottom of the Federation, just didn’t want to be bothered.  Records in the CIF archives showed only a four-team field this year.

Poly won the Coast, taking three out of four from San Diego and Hoover, but the Jackrabbits were beaten in the CIF finals by Glendale Hoover, 23-20.

A spirited, six-game Metropolitan League race ended with Coronado, Escondido, and Grossmont, each 5-1, tying for first place.  Ramona ran the table with a 12-0 record to win its fifth consecutive Southern Prep championship.

Coronado Islanders were Metropolitan League co-champions with Escondido and Grossmont. Front row (from left) James Mealy, Bob Wright, Sevy Molino, Scott Daubin, Dexter Lanois. Back row (from left) Herman Riedlinger, Bob Melton, Jacob Gayle, Willard Matott, Bill Johns, Fritz Sanderman, Bob Thompson.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

It took the San Diego news corps awhile to get it right with Ermer Robinson, the San Diego High star and future Harlem Globetrotter.  He was known as “Irma” Robinson for the first month of this, his junior season.

Martin Payne, the sports editor of The Russ, San Diego High’s weekly newspaper, covered several games for The San Diego Union and was the first to ensure that Robinson was correctly identified, when Payne covered the Hilltoppers’ 25-19 league victory over Long Beach Poly.

DECEMBER FANCY

–Known as the County Interscholastic Tournament, an eight-team event took place with games at San Diego High, Hoover, Municipal Gym, and San Diego State. Grossmont defeated Point Loma, 30-12, for the championship.

–San Diego and Hoover at the same time were in the Huntington Beach Tournament, which also included Coronado. The Islanders opened with a 46-7 victory over Laguna Beach as Bud Ingle scored 20 points.  They were eliminated the next day by Ontario Chaffey, 22-17.

San Diego defeated Hoover, 24-15, for the Huntington Beach title after advancing with wins of 28-20 over defending champ Chaffey and 29-23 over Long Beach Wilson.  Hoover was in the finals after defeating Whittier, 36-26, and Santa Barbara, 20-19.

Junior Ray Boone would finish stellar basketball-baseball career at Hoover, become outstanding major league player and father and grandfather of future major leaguers.

San Diego was forced to give up the Huntington Beach trophy when Bob (Lefty) Felthaus was declared ineligible by the CIF a few days later for having signed a professional baseball contract in 1939, days before his 17th birthday.

Brooklyn Dodgers scout Tom Downey, under heavy criticism from local prep officials, said that he signed Felthaus after the player stopped attending school, his having dropped out of Hoover.  Felthaus became a student again at San Diego and had turned out for basketball.

–“Irma” Robinson scored 10 points as San Diego, playing for the first time without Felthaus, opened the post-Christmas Chino Tournament with a 42-9 win over San Juan Capistrano.  The Hilltoppers buried Huntington Beach, 38-13, but lost to Burbank, 30-20, in the semifinals.  Poly won its second straight title, 34-24, over Burbank.

–St. Augustine lost to St. Mary’s of Phoenix, 36-27 in the Los Angeles Catholic League tournament.  Hoover defeated Grossmont, 11-7, and Point Loma topped Hoover, 26-8, in finals of the San Diego High invitational for Class C and D teams, respectively.

WE’LL PLAY ANYONE ANYTIME

Army-Navy’s 34-33 victory clinched a best, two-of-three series against the Oceanside chapter of the Knights of Pythias.  The cadets were not as fortunate against the so-named Vista Outlaws, who prevailed, 21-15.

OFFENSIVE OUTBURSTS

Ramona’s 59-17 victory over Fallbrook represented the single-game scoring high for the season. The Bulldogs also defeated Julian, 53-26.

Julian’s Bud Farmer had the top individual performance with 24 in a 38-31 victory over Army-Navy and added 22 in a 30-24 win over San Dieguito. Julian’s 51-6 rout of Fallbrook, with Farmer scoring one point, represented the third, 50-plus game in the county.

LATE ADDITION

Hilltoppers coach Merrill Douglas saw Maley as one of the keys to the following season.

San Diego’s season was over but Coach Merrill Douglas enticed Chino to come south a couple weeks a couple weeks later.  Douglas employed only players who would return for the 1941-42 season, opening with a starting lineup of Ermer Robinson, Jim Warner, Ron Maley, Denzil Walden, and Gerald Patrick.

The underclassmen delivered a 32-15 victory but Douglas would never see them play together again.  He would respond to a call from Uncle Sam before the next season and not return until the 1946-47 campaign.

ANYTHING FOR THE TEAM

Hoover’s Willie Steele set a record of 24 feet, ¾ inch, in the broad jump at the Southern Section track finals in Glendale in May, a few months after Steele served as student manager of the varsity basketball squad.  Steele was awarded a letter by coach Rickey Wilson, as was B squad manager Monroe (Bookie) Clark.

Steele, who played class B basketball the season before, went on to win the national collegiate broad jump championship at San Diego State and was the 1948 Olympic gold medalist in the event, with an all-time best of 26 feet, 6 ½ inches.

BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE

St. Augustine principal the Very Rev. W.B. Kirk announced that the Saints had found a home and would join the Southern Prep League in the next school year, after free-lancing and scuffling as an independent since the school opened in 1922.  The agreement was for one year, depending on the circuit’s ability to develop a schedule for eight teams.

Ramona, Julian, Fallbrook, Brown Military, Army-Navy, San Dieguito, and Vista were the other SPL members.  St. Augustine’s games would not count in the standings and the Saints eventually joined the Southland Catholic League of the Los Angeles area in 1945.

SIGNS OF THE TIME

“The Russ” outgoing editor Graham Ostrander (left) makes traditional hand off of keys to student newspaper office at San Diego High.  Accepting is spring semester editor Martin Payne. Event took place during dinner at Hotel San Diego.

The U.S. census for 1940 reported San Diego County’s population at 289,348, including 203,737 in the city.   Other “township” totals: Borrego, 90; El Cajon, 20,160; Encinitas, 4,473; Escondido, 9,487; Fallbrook, 2,308; Jacumba, 1,214; National City, 32,213; Oceanside, 8,191;  Ramona, 3,384, and Vista, 4,091.

San Diego State, which would win the 1941 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship, drew a record 19,256 persons to 17 home games in the 1,800-capacity Men’s Gym.  The largest turnout was 1,713 for Santa Barbara State, although the record was 1,907 for a 1939 game against the Broadway Clowns.

SET SHOTS

The San Diego High gym was packed to the rafters with an estimated 1,900 persons when Hoover upended the Hilltoppers, 32-17…seven days later San Diego won at Hoover, 32-17…Coronado’s Metro League co-championship was achieved despite Coach Hal Niedermeyer’s suspension of Bud Ingle, the Metro’s leading scorer in 1939-40; Bill Hakes, and Al Galpin, early in the season…the three-team Coast’s all-league squad featured San Diego’s Bob (Lefty) Felthaus, Bob Carson, and Jack Maupin…Felthaus’ selection apparently was made on his reputation; he didn’t participate in league play…Hoover’s Rupert Crosthwaite, later well-known in San Diego circles for his ownership of a local sporting goods store, made second team….

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2017 Week 12: It’s Playoff System Controversy Time

CIF boss Jerry Schniepp had a thoughtful response recently to criticism of the San Diego Section playoff formula by writer John Maffei, but even if Schniepp’s assertion that the system implemented this year is the best of several that have been tried, teams like Bonita Vista. 0-11 and counting, continue to get postseason invitations.

Bonita Vista apparently had a stronger “strength of schedule” than 6-4 Brawley or 5-5 Morse, but the Barons were only the most recent example of the “participation trophy” mentality that has been evolving since the CIF first admitted a losing team, coincidentally Bonita Vista, in 1984.

The CIF seemed to even go out of its way to include 0-10 San Marcos in 2006.

Headine announcing San Marcos’ admittance to 2006 playoffs.

Steve Brand, then of The San Diego Union, wrote of the Knights’ inclusion that year:

“Mission Hills dumped San Marcos, 42-0 (in the regular-season-ending game) but the Knights received an unexpected bonus.   They were given a playoff berth.

“Madison and Crawford were out of the postseason because of (combined 11) forfeits, but instead of constructing an eight-team playoff bracket in Division IV, the committee of former coaches, overseen by (commissioner) Dennis Ackerman, opted for a 10-team bracket.”

Of the 11 eligible IV possibilities in 2006, San Marcos was picked over another winless club, Kearny.

“0-10 is 0-10,” Knights coach Desi Herrera admitted to Brand, “but the beauty is we’re starting 0-0 and the playoffs are where we aspire to be.  I want the players to get used to going to the playoffs every year.”

San Marcos was game but bowed in the first round to Coronado, 27-21. Bonita Vista exited last week after a 35-19 loss to Oceanside.

SOLUTIONS, ANYONE?

If not fewer divisions, smaller brackets would make for a more competitive postseason.

That won’t happen. The more the merrier is the financially-enhancing go-to philosophy throughout the state CIF’s 10 sections.

There will be more blowouts this week as the surviving 44 teams from the original 64 reach the quarterfinals in Open, I, II, II, and IV.  D-V teams are in the semifinals. Games should tighten up the following week.

RECORD SETTER

The echoes of Rancho Buena Vista’s thundering herd of the late 1980s were loud and clear on Longhorn Drive last week.  Running back Dorian Richardson brought back memories of Markeith Ross, Scott Garcia, and O.J. Hall, who ran and ran and ran in that era for the Rancho squads of Coach Craig Bell.

Richardson scored 8 touchdowns and rushed for 499 yards in 37 carries in the Longhorns’ 62-43, first-round win over Santana.

The yardage total bettered the section record of 436 by Mt. Carmel’s Ken James in 2009.

Richardson’s record touchdown total would have led the County for the whole season in 1943 and  been runner-up in in 1937 and ’40.

Hoover’s Eddie Crain and San Diego’s Tom Poole each scored 25 points in the abbreviated, wartime, six-game season of 1943. Point Loma’s Paul (Red) Isom had 54 points in 8 games in 1937 and Sweetwater’s Marcus Alonzo had 54 in 8 games in 1940.

Frank Green of Coronado scored 11 touchdowns in one game and a ttoal of 80 points in  a 108-0 win over Sweetwater in 1929.

QUICK KICKS

Despite having a bye, Mission Hills profited from some playoff losses of teams ahead of the Grizzlies, who advanced from 16th to 11th in Cal-Hi Sports’ Top 50…Helix gave ground, dropping to 25th from 24th despite a bye, and Ramona moved from 48th to 44th…The Bishop’s and San Marcos are on the bubble.

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2017: Week 11:  Hats Off!

A doffing of the fedora to the 16, playoff-bound teams that won league championships:

LEAGUE TEAM RECORD PREVIOUS
Avocado Mission Hills 10-0 2013
Central San Diego 10-0 1960*
City University City 9-1 2012
Coastal The Bishop’s 9-0 2016
Eastern Lincoln 8-2 1991+
Grossmont Hills Helix 9-1 2016
Grossmont Valley Granite Hills 8-2 2016
Imperial Valley El Centro Southwest 10-0 2010
Manzanita Calexico Vincent Memorial 8-2 2002#
Metro Mesa Otay Ranch 7-3 NA^
Metro Pacific Montgomery 7-3 NA^^
Metro South Bay Hilltop 6-4 2013
Pacific Maranatha 6-3 2014**
Palomar Ramona 10-0 2013
Valley Valley Center 9-1 2016
Western St. Augustine 7-3 2015++

*Tied for Eastern League championship, 1974.

+Tied for Eastern League championship, 1994.

#Won championship as member of Desert League; tied for Manzanita championship, 2016.

^First championship since school opened in 2004.

^^Tied for Mesa League championship, 1986.

**Tied for championship as member of Ocean League, 2014.

++Won championship as member of Eastern League.

Not included:  Eight-man and Independent squads.

POSTSEASON PEEVISHNESS

Playoff selections have stirred emotions for as long as most people can remember.

In a simpler time, league champions and, sometimes, second-place teams were included.

Then the playoffs began to expand and expand and expand…and expand.

Coaches were drafted to make selections. Complaints of bias and oversight were as common as if the media or school bosses were making the choices.

Then a few years ago came the ratings system, which took into account team performances over a multi-year period.

The ratings are out, replaced this season by a combination of  formulas developed  by Max Preps and Cal Preps.com, two nationally recognized sites recommended by coaches.

Sixty-four of the San Diego Section’s 80-odd teams playing 11-man football have postseason dates on their calendars.

It was inevitable that stinko teams would be included, winless Bonita Vista (0-10), among several others.

“There is no perfect formula to determine the seeds, but I think this is very close to right,” said CIF honcho Jerry Schniepp to writer John Maffei.

Tell that to Brawley (6-4) and Morse (5-5), two schools that were left out, despite long playoff traditions and  success, apparently because they had insufficient strengths of schedules.

MEYER PULLED NO PUNCHES

I like what legendary Herb Meyer said about the playoffs to writer Steve Brand in 1998, after Meyer declined a playoff invitation for his sub-.500 El Camino team:

“If you’re upright and can take a breath you’re in the playoffs these days.  It’s a joke. The playoffs should be a reward for having a good season and I certainly don’t consider 3-6-1 a good season.”

IRONIC

It was such when Valley Center defeated Monte Vista, 51-10, in the regular-season ending game.

The victory was the 214th in Jaguar coach Rob Gilster’s career.  He’s now tied with, you guessed it, Monte Vista’s Ron Hamamoto for seventh place on the all-time list.

TURNAROUNDS

TEAM 2016 2017 COACH
San Diego 2-8 10-0 Charles James
El Centro Central 3-8 9-1 David Pena
Kearny 3-8 8-2 Will Gray
Montgomery 3-7 7-3 Sanjevi Subbiah
Otay Ranch 4-8 7-3 Lance Christensen
Ramona 5-6 10-0 Damon Baldwin
Crawford 3-7 6-4 Mike Wright

QUICK KICKS

The Bishop’s Mozes Mooney has 65 career touchdown receptions, one less than the state record, set in 2000 by Earvin Johnson of L.A. Cathedral and tied last week by Murrieta Valley’s Marquise Spiker…Mooney and Spiker both will  have opportunities for more in the playoffs…Mission Hills moved from 16th to 11th in Cal-Hi Sports’ weekly top 50…Helix climbed to 24th from 29th and Ramona from 50th to 48th…San Marcos is on the bubble,., Mission Hills, on top since Week 3,  finished the regular season No. 1 locally, with voting suspended from now until the end of the postseason….

The Union-Tribune Week 11 poll:

Rank Team 2017 Points Last Week
1. Mission Hills (24) 10-0 276 1
2. Helix (4) 9-1 256 2
3. Ramona 10-0 216 3
4. La Costa Canyon 7-3* 163 7
5. San Marcos 8-2 144 4
6. The Bishop’s 9-0 140 6
7. St. Augustine 7-3 99 9
8. Madison 8-2 88 8
9. Torrey Pines 6-4 82 5
10. Lincoln 8-2 20 NR

Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

*Forfeit loss.

NR: Not Ranked.

Others receiving votes:  Valley Center (9-1, 18 points),  Eastlake (8-2, 12) El Centro Southwest (10-0, 10), San Diego (10-0, 4),  Otay Ranch (7-3, 2), Grossmont (7-3, 1).

Voters (28 sportswriters, sportscasters, officials): John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, Jim Lindren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Paul Rudy, Brandon Stone, Rick Willis, KUSI Chl. 51; Adam Paul, East County Preps.com; Ramon Scott, East County Sports.com; Bodie DeSilva, San Diego Preps.com; Ted Mendenhall, Taylor Quellman, The Mighty 1090; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions; Troy Hirsch, Fox 5 San Diego; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Jerry Schniepp, John LaBeta, Carlton Hoggard, CIF San Diego; Raymond Brown, sdfootball.net; Montell Allen, MBASports-SDFNL Magazine; Bob Petinak,  1360AM; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9FM; Jim Arnaiz, Mike Dolan, John Carroll, CIF Football Tournament Directors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2017 Week 10: Regular Season Undefeated Prizes Await 6

What is it when Grossmont plays Helix?

The Highlanders exercised their annual domination over the Foothillers, 57-3, last week.

Grossmont had scored 157 points in its previous three games, wins of 51-14 over Steele Canyon, 54-26, over Valhalla, and 51-7 over El Capitan.

Those scores matched up well with Helix’ victories of 58-7 against El Capitan and 41-7 over Steele Canyon.

Grossmont hasn‘t beaten Helix since 1992, a span of 20 consecutive losses to its La Mesa neighbor.

What gives?

The Foothillers are not alone.

Helix is to its league opponents, Grossmont  in particular, what San Diego was to those on its schedule in the old City Prep League.

The Highlanders are 35-1 in circuit play since 2010 and 50-4 since 2006.  The Cavers were 52-3-1 versus City League and Eastern League competition from 1950-59.

SIX STILL UNDEFEATED

–Calvin Christian (9-0) can earn its second straight, eight-man, Ocean League title against Foothills Christian (6-2).

The Crusaders, located in Escondido with a student body of about 125, are 26-4 in the last three years under Coach Randy Kreglow, who was 16-23 in his first four seasons.

–El Centro Southwest, 27-6 since 2015 under John Mitosinka, is 9-0 for the first time and will seek its first Imperial Valley League title since 2010 against Calexico.

–Mission Hills (9-0), unquestionably the North County’s leader—111-35-2 since 2006 under Coach Chris Hauser, after Hauser guided the Grizzlies through 1-10 and 4-6 beginnings in 2004 and ’05—can earn a seventh league championship in Hauser’s 13 seasons.

Mission Hills, which survived a tense battle last week and nosed out Torrey Pines, 24-23 (the Falcons scored with 1:01 left but botched the snap on a two-point conversion attempt  and then almost recovered an onside kick), will meet tough San Marcos (8-1), a loser only to Torrey Pines, 38-21, for the Avocado League title and Highway 78 bragging rights.

–Coach Charles James’s San Diego 9-0 squad can claim its first outright league championship since 1960, after sharing the crown in 1964, ’69, and ’74, when the Cavers attempt to keep pace with the 1925, ’55, ’57, and ’58 teams, which also were 9-0  at this juncture.

–The Bishop’s (8-0), which topped Classical, 73-70, to claim its third 70-point explosion in the last two seasons (with 4 more of at least 60 since 2015) will try to improve on its 20-13, all-time series lead against La Jolla Country Day and knock down the Knights’ third Coastal League title in the last 4 seasons.

DREADED ADMINISTRATIVE GLITCH

La Costa Canyon used an ineligible player and it cost the Mavericks a 50-13 win over Mt. Carmel in the second game of the season.  The Mavericks are 7-2 competitively but 6-3 legislatively.

QUICK KICKS

La Jolla (5-4) visits University City (8-1) for the City League championship and Julian and Salton City West Shores, each 5-2, roll in the Citrus League title decider…Mission Hills dropped to 16th and Helix stayed at 29th in the weekly Cal-Hi Sports state top 50…Ramona moved from No. 50 to 48 and San Marcos is on the bubble..Mission Hills has 23 No. 1 votes and Helix picked up 3 for a total of  5  in the Union-Tribune  Week 10 poll:

Rank Team 2017 Points Last Week
1. Mission Hills (23) 9-0 275 1
2. Helix (5) 8-1 257 2
3. Ramona 9-0 213 3
4. San Marcos 8-1 185 4
5. Torrey Pines 7-2 154 5
6. The Bishop’s 8-0 123 6
7. La Costa Canyon 6-3* 115 8
8. Madison 7-2 69 10
9. St. Augustine 6-3 66 9
10. Point Loma 6-3 29 NR

Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

*Forfeit loss.

NR: Not Ranked.

Others receiving votes:  Lincoln (7-2, 22 points),  Valley Center (8-1, 12) El Centro Southwest (9-0, 8), Eastlake (7-2, 6) El Camino (5-4, 6),  San Diego (9-0, 1).

Voters (28 sportswriters, sportscasters, officials): John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, Jim Lindren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Paul Rudy, Brandon Stone, Rick Willis, KUSI Chl. 51; Adam Paul, East County Preps.com; Ramon Scott, East County Sports.com; Bodie DeSilva, San Diego Preps.com; Ted Mendenhall, Taylor Quellman, The Mighty 1090; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions; Troy Hirsch, Fox 5 San Diego; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Jerry Schniepp, John LaBeta, Carlton Hoggard, CIF San Diego; Raymond Brown, sdfootball.net; Montell Allen, MBASports-SDFNL Magazine; Bob Petinak,  1360AM; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9FM; Jim Arnaiz, Mike Dolan, John Carroll, CIF Football Tournament Directors.

 

 

 

 

 

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1949-50: 4th in League, 1st in Southern California

Chula Vista’s basketball history was brief and uninspiring. Two seasons, 12 wins, 18 losses, seventh and fourth-place-tie finishes in the Metropolitan League.

No problem.  The Spartans emerged from the pack to win a Southern California championship this season.

It was a nice accomplishment for the fledgling South Bay power, but not without a few assists, beginning a year before.

  • CIF Commissioner Seth Van Patten asked for some membership feedback when Van Patten posted his CIF newsletter in March, 1949.

Van Patten wanted to add a playoff bracket for small schools.

Big schools had dominated the postseason.  A team generated from a student body of 2,000 often was matched against another with an enrollment of several hundred less.

  • Van Patten must have liked the responses, because a new bracket for the little guys was implemented this year.
  • Point Loma opened a beautiful, 1,800-seat gymnasium on campus. The facility included a balcony on one side, similar to the 1938 vintage layout at Hoover.

The Point Loma gym for years would serve as the site for Harlem Globetrotters games, NBA preseason games, home games for the Pointers…and for the Chula Vista Spartans.

Chula Vista, like most of the area’s teams, did not have its own court.  The Spartans would not move into the Chula Vista Recreation Center until the mid-1950s and into their campus gym until a few years after that.

Major playoffs had been held at one site after the first round of games, lately at Redondo Beach Redondo.

  • With a new division, Van Patten looked for a suitable site for games beyond the opening round.  Aware of the facility in San Diego, Van Patten contacted Darrell Smith, San Diego City Schools’ athletics coordinator.

An agreement was reached between the City Schools and CIF that put in place a bracket of six squads competing over two days at Point Loma.

The teams were Chula Vista, Claremont, Brawley, Beaumont, San Dieguito, and Garden Grove.

  • What was fourth-place Chula Vista doing in the playoffs?

The Spartans, 9-9 overall,  posted a 4-3 league record and tied with Kearny in the Metro, behind triple co-champions La Jolla, Point Loma, and Sweetwater.

Given the Metropolitan circuit’s playoff history, it was not surprising that the three each declined an invitation to participate.

Metro football winners, dating to the league’s beginning in 1933, generally bypassed the postseason.  The latest example was the first-place, 7-1 La Jolla football team in 1948.

Metro basketball champs recently had been more agreeable to participating, so there were some raised eyebrows when the co-champions bailed, leaving the door open for Chula Vista, which was selected over Kearny.

ANOTHER ASSIST

The Spartans caught one more break.  They were seeded into the semifinals, meaning they did not have play twice on Friday, as did Claremont and Garden Grove.

Claremont defeated Beaumont, 47-37, and Garden Grove eliminated San Dieguito, 45-39, in the first round.

Chula Vista, defeated Brawley, 46-27, and Claremont knocked off Garden Grove, 38-33, in the last of four Friday games.

The Spartans, beginning a decade in which they were a class power in football, basketball,  and baseball, winning or competing for several championships, topped Claremont, 39-26 in the finals.

MUSTANGS CORRALED

San Dieguito, a member of the Southern Prep League since the school opened in 1936, rolled with a 14-0 league record and was 24-4 overall but must have felt as if salt was being rubbed into  a wound.

The wound was a 45-39 loss to Garden Grove in the playoff opener.  The salt was the league realignment in San Diego that left the Mustangs in the Southern Prep, which the Encinitans  felt they were outgrowing.

Lanky Graham Grande led 24-win San Dieguito.

Mustangs bosses and fans were upset they were not invited to the Metro, which was reconstructed after Kearny and La Jolla left to join the new City Prep League.

Led by 6-foot, 4-inch Graham Grande, the County’s  probable leading scorer with 423 points and 15.1 average, coach Jack Davidson’s club won league games by scores such as 83-22 (Mountain Empire) and 72-15 (Brown Military).

San Dieguito eventually would get its wish, joining the Metro in 1951 and then becoming part of the new Avocado League in 1954.

TOURNAMENT TRAIL

A record 24 teams, including 16 in the large, Unlimited Division and with St. Augustine an invitee for the first time, the third annual Kiwanis Tournament had a repeat winner as El Monte defeated Pasadena Muir, 44-29, in the finals.

Grossmont’s Phil Embleton tied Bill McColl’s record of 69 points in 4 games, a 17.3 average, but San Dieguito’s Graham Grande had 54 in 3 for 18.0.

San Diego defeated Hoover, 28-18, for fifth place in a disappointing performance by local teams and then surprised by winning the prestigious Western States Tournament at Compton.

The Cavers defeated Los Angeles Cathedral, 44-26, and Santa Monica St. Monica, 42-37, and reached the finals by dealing Ventura its second loss in 21 games, 45-38,  as Dean Davis scored 18 points and Roy Fields 17.

San Diego won the championship, 36-35, over L.A. Mt. Carmel and Davis was the tournament’s most-valuable player, joined by Fields on the all-tournament team. Hoover bowed in the consolation semifinals, 36-35, to Santa Barbara.

Chula Vista reached the consolation semifinals of the Chino Tournament before losing to Chino, 40-39.  The Spartans fell to San Bernardino, 37-23, in the opening game and beat Azusa Citrus, 38-29.

San Diego’s season ended with a 43-34 victory in the morning over Long Beach Jordan and an afternoon, 43-39 loss to Ventura in the Beverly Hills tournament.

IN AND OUTDOORS CAVERS?

Host Pasadena Muir defeated San Diego, 42-26, in an opening weekend game. Not a shocking event, but the result as published had more questions than answers.

The San Diego Union account, probably telephoned in by San Diego coach Merrill Douglas or a student manager, described a  game that was played in an “open-sided gymnasium and it was rainy and frigid.”

A partially enclosed playing area, or was the game outdoors in inclement weather?  There was no follow story in local newspapers.

San Diego completed a 20-8 season with a 6-4 Coast League record and second place finish to Compton.  One of the victories was 32-31 at home against Muir in which the Cavers used a “wheel passing offense” while stalling the last three minutes.

Charlie Powell did not accompany the Cavers to the Western States event after missing practice during the Christmas Holidays and not  part of the San Diego contingent that split a pair of weekend games in the Imperial Valley, beating Brawley, 39-30, and losing to Calexico, 32-26.

The 6-foot, 3-inch, 200-pound Charlie Powell of San Diego rumbled in the paint with Hoover’s George Boop (left) and unidentified Cardinal. San Diego won, 29-21.

HYPERBOLE

“Escondido pulled off one of the most surprising upsets in the history of local prep basketball,” wrote Gardner Morse in The San Diego Union after the Cougars defeated La Jolla, 32-30.  Hardly. The Cougars were 3-4 in league play and La Jolla was 5-2, same as Coronado and Point Loma.

OOPS

Sweetwater’s Pat Tomlinson survived an embarrassing moment against Vista in the Kiwanis Tournament.  Tomlinson scored a wrong-way basket for Vista, but the Red Devils  won, 29-27, in overtime.

ARRIVEDERCI, COAST LEAGUE

San Diego, Hoover, and Grossmont were saying good bye to the historically most prominent circuit in Southern California, joining the new City Prep League after an announcement in early February.

The Cavers had been members since 1923, except for the 1942-45 period of World War II.  Hoover joined in 1937 and Grossmont in 1948.

SET SHOTS

Hoover defeated San Diego, 62-38, in a game between alumni of the schools, proceeds going to financial aid at San Diego State for Cardinals and Cavers varsity players…San Dieguito won by an average score of 61-29  in running the table against Southern Prep League competition…Bill Foy of Army-Navy set a SPL individual record with 28 points in the Warriors 58-40 win over Fallbrook…Jack Goddard had 27 in Vista’s 67-22 triumph over Mountain Empire…three-year veteran Bob (Bama) Shell of St. Augustine had the highest single game scoring total of the season with 31 in a 58-36 victory over Sweetwater at Municipal Gym…season totals weren’t available but Grossmont’s Phil Embleton led Coast League scorers with 150 points in 9 games for a 16.7 average…Coronado passed on the Kiwanis Tournament but was all over the map, schedule-wise, losing to the  “taller and older” U.S.S. Badoeng Strait, 50-36, defeating Naval Air, 53-50, and losing to a Tijuana high school on a court in the Baja California community…Bill Reaves, who would coach La Jolla to a 29-1 record in the 1963-64 season, was a starting guard for the Vikings…future international badminton star and NFL game official Jim Poole was a Point Loma standout….

La Jolla’s Bill Reaves splits Kearny defenders Jim Neihart (left) and David Miramontes.

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2017 Week 9: Musket Time for Helix, Grossmont

Grossmont probably wouldn’t recognize the musket trophy if it defeats Helix this week.

The Foothillers (6-2) and Highlanders (7-1) meet for the 61st time in what is known as the battle of the musket, although there has been only carnage lately.

Helix has won the last 19 meetings, by an average score of 39-10.

Since 2008, the average Helix victory is 51-13. The Foothillers’ last win was 14-11 in 1992.

‘Twas not always thus.

Grossmont was 19-20-2 against its younger rival from 1951-92.

It’s not that Grossmont isn’t one of the better teams in the San Diego Section.  Since alumnus Tom Karlo moved over from Mount Miguel in 2012, the Foothillers are 52-22.

A Helix student, probably named Campbell, donated a long-bore musket weapon favored by Scottish highlanders before the schools met for the first time in 1951.

STILL WINNING

Mission Hills, Ramona, San Diego, El Centro Southwest, and Calvin Christian each 8-0, and 7-0 The Bishop’s are undefeated heading into the regular season’s penultimate games.

This week is particularly significant for coach Damon Baldwin and Ramona.

Defeat Poway and the Bulldogs will be 9-0 for the first time since 1959 and the era of Allen Brown and Melvin White.  They were among the leaders of the Bob McCutcheon-coached 12-0 team that was 23-0 over two seasons.

Wagner kicked them long for Hilltop..

SAY, AREN’T YOU…?

Sweetwater has won 4 of 5 since a 66-0 loss to Lincoln and is recovering from the 1-9 and 2-8 of the last two seasons.

The Red Devils’ coach has a familiar name, if you’re familiar with placekickers.

Bryan Wagner set a San Diego Section record with a 53-yard placement for Hilltop in 1979.  Wagner’s kick now is the eighth longest in section history, bettered by 6 different kickers.

Wagner was in the NFL for nine seasons, but never attempted a field goal.  He was a punter for five different teams, including the San Diego Chargers in 1994.

HEAT WAVE

The hot weather this week reminds of another blast- furnace stretch.  On Sept. 27, 1963, the temperature in San Diego was a record 111 degrees.

The high was 104 the next day and at least 100 when Helix and Hoover kicked off at Hoover at 8 p.m.

Hoover rallied late in the fourth quarter for a 14-13 victory before a crowd of more than 6,000.

QUICK KICKS

Mission Hills stayed at 14th and Helix at 29th in the weekly Cal-Hi Sports state rankings while Ramona got with the program at 50th…San Marcos has “bubble” status….

The Week 9 Union-Tribune poll:

Rank Team 2017 Points Last Week
1. Mission Hills (26) 8-0 278 1
2. Helix (2) 7-1 254 2
3. Ramona 8-0 214 3
4. San Marcos 7-1 162 8
5. Torrey Pines 6-2 151 7
6. The Bishop’s 7-0 111 6
7. Lincoln 7-1 111 9
8. La Costa Canyon 6-2 99 4
9. St. Augustine 5-3 38 10
10. Madison 6-2 35 5

Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

NR: Not Ranked.

Others receiving votes:  Pouint Loma (5-3, 14 points),  El Centro Southwest (8-0, 12) , Valley Center (7-1, 7),  El Camino (4-4, 6), Eastlake (6-2, 6), Otay Ranch (6-2, 3), San Diego (8-0, 2), Carlsbad (4-4, 2), Grossmont (6-2, 1).

Voters (28 sportswriters, sportscasters, officials): John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, Jim Lindren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Paul Rudy, Brandon Stone, Rick Willis, KUSI Chl. 51; Adam Paul, East County Preps.com; Ramon Scott, East County Sports.com; Bodie DeSilva, San Diego Preps.com; Ted Mendenhall, Taylor Quellman, The Mighty 1090; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions; Troy Hirsch, Fox 5 San Diego; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Jerry Schniepp, John LaBeta, Carlton Hoggard, CIF San Diego; Raymond Brown, sdfootball.net; Montell Allen, MBASports-SDFNL Magazine; Bob Petinak,  1360AM; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9FM; Jim Arnaiz, Mike Dolan, John Carroll, CIF Football Tournament Directors.

 

 

 

 

 

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2017:  Tucker, Howard, Lipscomb, Tomlinson

Four outstanding athletes who graced the San Diego sports scene were among those who passed in the past months.

HORACE TUCKER

He was late reporting for football practice at San Diego High in 1952, because Tucker and teammate Floyd Robinson were involved with the American Legion Post 364 baseball team that was runner-up to a Cincinnati squad in the national tournament.

Tucker was baseball-football star.

Tucker’s .452 average led all batters in the event and he won the Louisville slugger award.

A year later Tucker was the Cavers’ leading scorer in football with 6 touchdowns and 4 extra points, his 40-point total setting the pace for 4 others Cavers who scored at least 5 touchdowns in the 7-3 season.

JERRY LIPSCOMB

Mount Miguel didn’t suffer the usual fate of first-year schools in 1957, posting  a 5-3 record and followed with another 5-3 mark in 1958..

Lipscomb was the Matadors’ starting halfback and became an immediate star for the new school.

Lipscomb scored 41 points in 1957 and 52 in 1958, earning all-Metropolitan League honors as a senior and an invitation to play for the San Diego team in the annual Breitbard College Prep game against the all-Los Angeles City squad.

CLAUDELL HOWARD

A three-sport letterman in the era of Ed Buchanan at Kearny, Claudell was one of the top broad jumpers in his class in Southern California.

Howard was the Class C champion in the 1957 finals at Ontario Chaffey with a leap of 21 feet, 6 ½ inches, finished second in Class B in 1958, and also played football and basketball.

BOB TOMLINSON

His 68-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage gave Sweetwater a temporary, 6-0 lead over the powerful San Diego Hilltoppers in 1945.

Tomlinson was the fourth leading scorer in the Victory League with 7 touchdowns in 6 games.  He trailed only behind only the San Diego’s Harry West, Cosimo Cutri, and Joe Adamo, who played nine games.

Tomlinson also was a standout at San Diego State and was the first coach when Hilltop in east Chula Vista broke ground in 1960.

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2017 Week 8: About Cavers, Hamamoto, Gilster, Saints

San Diego continued to impress; coaches moved on leaders in all-time victories, and St. Augustine rebounded.

San Diego improved to 7-0 with a 34-7 over Kearny, which took a 6-0 record into the game, as big, fast Raiden Hunter rushed for 270 yards in 17 carries and scored two touchdowns.

An impressive Central League turnout of about 4,500 persons included a San Diego cheering section that filled the visiting stands.

A win over Patrick Henry this week would send the Cavers to 8-0, a feat accomplished by San Diego teams in 1916, ’25, ‘45, ’47, ’50, ’55, ’57, and ’58. Only the ’16 (12-0) and ’55 clubs (11-0-1) got to the finish line unbeaten.

San Diego has two games remaining after the Patriots, at Crawford and at Coronado.

UP THE LADDER

Monte Vista’s 24-17 win over Santana moved the Monarchs to 4-3 and gave coach Ron Hamamoto his 214th victory, moving Hamamoto past Helix’ Jim Arnaiz into seventh place among San Diego County coaches.

Valley Center’s 37-21 victory against Rancho Buena Vista left the Jaguars with a 6-1 record and was the 213th in Rob Gilster’s career, tying Gilster with Arnaiz for eighth.

Next up for Hamamoto and Gilster is Ed Burke, who won 215 games at San Dieguito and Torrey Pines.  Burke won another 40-plus at King City before coming to the San Diego area.

REVITALIZED

St. Augustine, beaten by Carlsbad, swamped by L.A. Loyola, and pushed around by Helix earlier in the season, knocked Madison from the ranks of the undefeated with a solid, 19-10 victory.

The effort of the Saints’ defense helped overcome the loss of star wideout J.R. Justice, who sustained what may be a season-ending leg injury the previous week.

By winning their second straight and moving to 4-3, the Saints are positioning themselves for the Catholic bragging rights battle with Cathedral in the season’s final regular-season game in three weeks.

QUICK KICKS

Lincoln (6-1) is off to its best start since the Tony Jackson-coached Hornets opened 8-0 in 2000…that Lincoln team finished 11-2, beaten twice by Mission Bay…a win over El Camino this week would give Mission Hills’ Chris Hauser his 150th coaching victory, achieved by 14 others…the Grizzlies also advanced to 14th in the weekly Cal-Hi Sports state rankings while Helix gained a notch to 29th…La Costa dropped out of the top 50 and now has “bubble” status with Ramona, which is 7-0, off to its best start since 2013, and third in the Union-Tribune poll this week.

The Week 8 Union-Tribune poll:

Rank Team 2017 Points Last Week
1. Mission Hills (25) 7-0 277 1
2. Helix (3) 6-1 255 3
3. Ramona 7-0 210 2
4. La Costa Canyon 6-1 159 5
5. Madison 6-1 147 6
6. The Bishop’s 6-0 136 7
7. Torrey Pines 5-2 131 NR
8. San Marcos 6-1 101 4
9. Lincoln 6-1 579 8
10. St. Augustine 4-3 18 NR

Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

NR: Not Ranked.

Others receiving votes:  El Camino (4-3, 16 points),  El Centro Southwest (7-0, 9),  , Valley Center (6-1, 2), Eastlake (5-2, 1), San Diego (7-0, 1), Carlsbad (4-3, 1).

Voters (28 sportswriters, sportscasters, officials): John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, Jim Lindren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Paul Rudy, Brandon Stone, Rick Willis, KUSI Chl. 51; Adam Paul, East County Preps.com; Ramon Scott, East County Sports.com; Bodie DeSilva, San Diego Preps.com; Ted Mendenhall, Taylor Quellman, The Mighty 1090; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions; Troy Hirsch, Fox 5 San Diego; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Jerry Schniepp, John LaBeta, Carlton Hoggard, CIF San Diego; Raymond Brown, sdfootball.net; Montell Allen, MBASports-SDFNL Magazine; Bob Petinak,  1360AM; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9FM; Jim Arnaiz, Mike Dolan, John Carroll, CIF Football Tournament Directors.

 

 

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1948-49: “Little Guys” Hold Sway

City schools Hoover and San Diego usually wielded the sharp end of the stick, but smaller schools, for the second year in as row, stepped up.  Coronado, from the mostly suburban Metropolitan League, and Vista from the rural Southern Prep represented the area in Southern California playoffs.

There was no minor division or small school postseason alignment, in which the Islanders and Panthers, with relatively paltry enrollment numbers, probably would have been included.

You make the postseason, be prepared to play anyone, size of school no matter. One bracket of 16 teams met on successive weeks, two days each, almost all games at Redondo Beach Redondo.

A Small Schools division for the postseason would not be in place until the 1949-50 season, according to CIF historian John Dahlem.

Coronado likely would have enjoyed similar success in a group with more even student body numbers, as did the mid-1950s Islanders, who advanced to the finals two years in a row.

Coronado coach Keith Broaders is surrounded by his starting five of Dick Tulley, Don Davis, Tom Brown, John Kurtz, and Mark Davis (from left).

Thus, when Coronado thumped Inglewood, 46-28, in the first round, John De La Vega’s account for the Los Angeles Times began: “Little Coronado high school, unbeaten champions of the Metropolitan league in San Diego county, furnished the big surprise yesterday….”

The Islanders, coached by Keith Broaders, hammered the Bay League champions but were beaten, 39-29, by Ventura in the second round, closing out a 21-2 season.  Loyola earlier eliminated Vista (14-8), 48-24.

The exiting teams had faced the Southern Section’s premiere squads.

Loyola reached the round of 4 and defeated Coast League champion Compton, 34-33, and Ventura handled Alhambra, 58-41, for the championship.

UNNECESSARY LOSS?

Coronado’s record was listed as 21-1 in Bill Finley’s Evening Tribune High School Record Book 1945-69.

The obvious loss was to Ventura, but research showed that Broaders also scheduled a game in which he reportedly utilized only substitutes and the Islanders were upset by Brown Military, 29-27, in overtime.

Finley’s excellent publication reflected the difficulty finding complete, individual scoring statistics or total won-loss records from newspapers’ coverage in the early years until well into the late 1950s.

COAST NOT CLEAR

The three local teams, Grossmont, San Diego, and Hoover, won six of seven games at home on the opening weekend of Coast League play. The only setback was Grossmont’s 36-35 loss in overtime to Compton.

Three days later Grossmont beat San Diego, 41-40, on Herbie Fennel’s free throw with three seconds remaining before a full house at Grossmont.

The Cardinals and Foothillers soon dropped off the pace, however, and San Diego assumed the lead, taking an 8-1 record into its final game against 6-2 Compton.

The Hilltoppers had edged the Tarbabes, 34-27, early in league play but Compton prevailed in the rematch, 31-29 and then defeated Muir, 50-48, to forge a tie for the title.

WHICH IS WHICH?

One San Diego report declared that Compton and San Diego would flip a coin to determine the champion, but another said the winner of the teams’ first-round meeting in the Beverly Hills Tournament would determine the league’s sole playoff representative.

The Hillers came up flat, losing, 55-33, and closed out a 15-7 season.  Grossmont signed off at 10-8, Hoover at 9-11, and St. Augustine at 11-6.

John Davidson, curator of Junipero Museum in Presidio Park, has bird’s eye view of unusual sight, water in the San Diego River near channel leading to sea.

NO GAME, SNOW!

The dateline said San Diego, not somewhere in northern Minnesota, or numerous other wintry outposts.

Snow had forced postponement of two games.

That is not a misprint.

In the dead of winter a couple high school basketball contests in San Diego County were called off because of the flaky white stuff.

Southern Prep League games sending Brown Military to Mountain Empire in Campo and Vista to Julian could not be played “because of bad traveling conditions,” according to The San Diego Union on Jan. 14, 1949.

Five feet of snow in the higher elevations, the newspaper reported, “silenced rural telephone circuits so completely that the Police Department rushed a mobile radio transmitter to Julian to establish an emergency communications center.”

Down below the 4,000-foot elevation the coastline was hit with storm waves that caused damage to small craft and wreaked havoc on the beaches along U.S. 101.

San Diego rainfall totals were almost two inches above normal.

A view of the San Diego River from the Junipero Serra museum in Presidio Park showed water runoff to the ocean for the first time in three years.

DECEMBER MEDIOCRITY

Eight of the 11 San Diego-area teams in the 23-team, two-division, second annual Kiwanis Tournament were defeated in the first round of the three-day event at San Diego, Hoover, and San Diego State.

Hoover played twice on the first day, defeating Long Beach Poly, 34-31, and then lost to Beverly Hills, 22-18.

San Diego, outed by Long Beach Wilson, 36-33, came back to win the Unlimited Division consolation title, 43-27 over La Jolla.  Chula Vista defeated Oceanside, 23-20, for the Limited Division conso’ crown.

Sweetwater won the Limited Division championship, 40-24, over Brawley.  El Monte trimmed Beverly Hills, 60-40, for the Unlimited title.

San Diego’s Bob McClurg and Eddie Simpson made the all-tournament team.  Simpson scored 42 points in the 4 games.  Jim Loews of El Monte was leading scorer with 56.

MORE EXITS

While the Metropolitan and Southern Prep leagues got ready for league openers, the three Coast League locals went north to Compton College for the annual Western States Tournament.

San Diego topped Alhambra Mark Keppel, 45-37, and then went into the consolation bracket after a 43-37 loss to Los Angeles Mt. Carmel.  Hoover topped Long Beach Poly, 43-41, but lost to Compton, 48-36.

Grossmont fell to Mt. Carmel, 47-37, in the opening round.

The threesome were quickly sent back home from the losers’ bracket.  Long Beach St. Anthony nudged San Diego, 39-38, Long Beach Wilson nipped Hoover, 56-55, and Santa Barbara beat Grossmont, 50-44.

HIGH SCORERS

Alan Logan of Ramona had the highest reported individual scoring total with 30 points in a 40-25 win over Brown Military.  Bob (Bama) Shell scored 28 in St. Augustine’s 47-39 victory over Chula Vista.

Shell scored 23 points and Lou Kuslo 17 as the Saints defeated Los Angeles Cathedral in the Southland Catholic League event.

Shell was denied an opportunity to score more when Long Beach St. Anthony backed out of its own hoop carnival so team members and students could trek to the Los Angeles Coliseum to watch their football team play Santa Barbara for the Southern Section title.

Bob (Bama) Shell and Lou Kuslo (from left) pushed the ball for St. Augustine.

NOTHING, ZIP, NIL, NADA

The timeworn maxim that “they couldn’t hit a bull in the — with a barn door” resonated with those watching a Grossmont junior high tournament middleweight division game.

Coronado shut out Ramona’s Mt. Woodson Mountain Lions, 37-0.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Sixteen-year-old Casey Moffet of Shelby, N.C., drove to the basket, missed a layup, and crashed through a wooden wall in a game against Waco, N.C.

Moffet penetrated the ½-inch plywood (?) barrier and fell 10 feet to the frozen clay surface outside the gym.  He sustained, head, shoulder, and arm injuries.

SET SHOTS

Ivan Robinson scored the winning basket for the San Diego High alumni against the Hilltoppers’ varsity and played the next night for the Alumni against the San Diego Junior College Knights…Vista defeated San Dieguito, 40-30, to gain a tie for the SPL title and then won a playoff, 34-31 over San Dieguito to earn the league’s playoff berth…future Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian was a starting guard for the Pasadena Bullpups…after opening with a victorious Coast League weekend, San Diego stumbled against Point Loma, 30-14, and St. Augustine, 42-33…the Saints won the sixth annual Coronado C  & D tournament, 21-9 over Hoover in the Cees and 18-17 over Coronado in the Dees…

 

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2017 Week 7: Big Week for Komets, Cavers

There was no Week 6 blog, with the attendant rankings from The San Diego Union, because we were celebrating my beautiful bride’s birthday on a seven-day cruise south, along the Mexican Riviera. I had a fat attack, unable to resist the relentless, daily, gastronomic temptations.

There are several interesting games this week, two in particular:  San Diego and Kearny, each 6-0, meet on Kearny’s almost-new, lighted field, with the winner taking a big step toward a Central League championship, although Crawford would have to be heard from, and El Centro Southwest (6-0) plays host to Brawley (4-2) for Imperial Valley bragging rights.

KOMETS-CAVERS

Kearny has pulled ahead, 19-16, in a series that dates to 1950, when San Diego defeated the undermanned Komets, 58-12, but lost star player Charlie Powell for the rest of the season and half of basketball when Powell took a knee to the kidneys in the third quarter, when the Cavers led, 58-0.

Three seasons later the confident, 7-0 Komets played San Diego for the City Prep League championship but were dismissed, 27-0.  Birt Slater was in his first season as an assistant coach to Duane Maley at San Diego.

Coincidentally the unveiling of a plaque this week that will recognize the Kearny gridiron as “Birt Slater Field” salutes the man who left San Diego, made Kearny a dominant program in the ‘sixties and ‘seventies, and changed things with the Cavers.

Slater’s impact at Kearny endures.

Kearny had lost its first nine games against San Diego and faced a good Cavers team in the final regular-season game in 1963. The Larry Shepard-led Slater team shocked the Cavers, 52-14, sending the Komets flying into the playoffs and to their first San Diego Section championship.

Slater didn’t like talking about it but that breakthrough for Kearny may have represented the most satisfying victory of the 134 he amassed from 1959-76.

Slater had been in line for the San Diego job as early as the winter of 1956-57, but his  appointment would be contingent on when Maley retired, but Maley didn’t step down until after the 1959 season.

Birt had  moved on.

EVEN?

The Cavers are off to their best start since Maley’s 1958 club won its first six games.  The level of competition isn’t the same and San Diego shouldn’t be confused with those great Cavers teams of the ‘forties and ‘fifties, but winning has gotten alumni buzzing and students finding a reason to go to games.

Comparative scores seem to indicate a tossup.  Coach Will Gray’s Komets beat Francis Parker, 40-3, and San Diego Southwest, 59-28.  San Diego, under former University City mentor Charles James, defeated Parker, 54-7, and Southwest, 28-7.

DESERT DUSTUP

Brawley and El Centro Southwest joined the San Diego Section in 2000 and Brawley, in keeping with its seniority, has ruled the Eagles’ roost.

The Wildcats are 17-1 against Southwest since 2000.  The average score of the 18 games is 38-8, including 72-8 and 63-0 indignities.  Brawley has won 10 Imperial Valley League titles since the millennium and finished no lower than second in all other seasons.

Coach John Self has picked up the mantel handed down by John Bishop, known as the Desert King during his many years in the Valley, and Bishop had followed the tradition of Bob Farrell, whose ‘fifties Brawley teams were formidable Southern Section small-school operatives.

Southwest’s one victory in the series, 32-27 in 2010, marked the only season the Eagles have won the league championship.

But the school near Interstate 8,  at South 23rd Street and Ocatillo Drive, has won 24 of its last 30 games since 2015 under coach John Mitosinka, while Brawley is 18-10 over the same period.

CALIFORNIA TOP 50

Mission Hills is 16th, Madison 23rd, Helix 30th, and La Costa Canyon 43rd in the weekly Cal-Hi Sports statewide rankings.

San Marcos, 45th last week, dropped out after a quasi-surprising, 38-21 loss to Torrey Pines.  Ramona, 6-0 for the first time since 2013, attained “bubble” status.

The Union-Tribune Week 7 poll :

Rank Team 2017 Points Last Week
1. Mission Hills (23) 6-0 275 1
2. Helix (3) 5-1 240 3
3. Madison (2) 6-0 239 2
4. La Costa Canyon 6-0 191 5
5. Ramona 6-0 153 6
6. The Bishop’s 5-0 122 7
7. Torrey Pines 4-2 92 NR
8. San Marcos 5-1 90 4
9. Lincoln 5-1 56 8
10. Carlsbad 4-2 17 NR

 Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

NR: Not Ranked.

Others receiving votes:  El Camino (3-3, 15 points),  El Centro Southwest (6-0, 5),  Eastlake (4-2, 4), Valley Center (5-1, 4), St. Augustine (3-3, 2), Christian (5-1, 1), Grossmont (4-2, 1), Mira Mesa (5-1, 1).

Voters (28 sportswriters, sportscasters, officials): John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, Jim Lindren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Paul Rudy, Brandon Stone, Rick Willis, KUSI Chl. 51; Adam Paul, East County Preps.com; Ramon Scott, East County Sports.com; Bodie DeSilva, San Diego Preps.com; Ted Mendenhall, Taylor Quellman, The Mighty 1090; Steve Brand, San Diego Hall of Champions; Troy Hirsch, Fox 5 San Diego; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Jerry Schniepp, John LaBeta, Carlton Hoggard, CIF San Diego; Raymond Brown, sdfootball.net; Montell Allen, MBASports-SDFNL Magazine; Bob Petinak,  1360AM; John Kentera, Prep Talent Evaluator; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Mountain Country 107.9FM; Jim Arnaiz, Mike Dolan, John Carroll, CIF Football Tournament Directors.

 

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