2015: Best Track Marks

It’s been a slow year in San Diego Section track and field, although business  picked up a little in the last couple invitationals, Arcadia and Mt. St. Antonio.

Two more weeks of dual meets, plus the annual Escondido Invitational, will take girls and boys competitors into league trials, the first step toward the state meet at Buchanan High in C,ovis, June 3-4.

Cathedral’s Dani Johnson, the Section record holder at :13.88 in the 100 hurdles and  :41.34 in the 300 barriers has missed almost all of the season  with injuries.

It would take a remarkable comeback at this point in the season for Johnson to return to form.  She also also ran a leg for the Dons’ 4×400 relay team that set a Section record of 3:47.63

last year.

San Diego Section marks in the state top 10 in parenthesis and state leaders:


200 :21.7 (10) Agbede Cathedral :20.41 Norman Vista Murrieta
400 :48.47 (10) Shaheed Mt. Carmel :45.51 Norman Vista Murrieta
110HH :14.47 (10) Alvarado Rancho Buena Vista :13.81 Burton LaQuinta
PV 16-4 (3) Brown La Costa Canyon 16-8 Bowler Loomis Del Oro
LJ 23-10 ¾ (5) Battikha St. Augustine 24-9 ½ White Bakersfield Ridgeview
23-7 ¼ (7) DeRoos Tri-City Christian
TJ 47-0 ¼ (8) DeRoos 49-3 1/4 Hicks Bakersfield Liberty
SP 63-0 ¾ (4) Lenford Oceanside 71-7 ¼ Osborn Anaheim Esperanza
57-2 (10) Miller El Camino
DISCUS 194-0 (4) Lenford 204-4 Osborn


800 2:11.29 (10) McCarthy Carlsbad 2:09.35 Durgy Huntington Beach
1600 4:55.66 (4) Brown La Costa Canyon 4:51.26 Bowen Sonoma Academy
100H :14.46 (8) Nealis Valley Center :13.64 Davis Agoura
300H :44.07 (10) Bell Steele Canyon :41.01 Woodward Vacaville
4×400 3:54.12 (10) LaCosta Canyon 3:49.80 Westlake Village Oaks Christian
HJ 5-6 (4T) Snow Carlsbad 5-8 Burke Riverside Poly
Hickey Coronado
Smith Mission Hills
LJ 19-0 ½ (10) Smith 20-6 ¾ Davis Agoura
SP 47-0 (3) Altice Del Norte 53-5 Bruckner San Jose Valley Christian
45-9 ½ (5) Tausaga-Collins Mount Miguel
DISCUS 160-4 (3) Tausaga-Collins 181-1 Bruckner




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1926: John Perry Steps Down From Hilltop Perch

San Diego High represented one of the best football coaching jobs in the state, but was John Perry all in?

Perry ruminated that the 1925 season, which ended in a bitter, 13-6 loss to Covina in the CIF championship game, was too long and a reason his club had let down in the title game.

That apparently was why Perry’s started practice a week later this season and moved the start of practice from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Perry also had been delayed because he was attending a summer school football class in Los Angeles taught by USC coach Howard Jones.


Key Cavers (clockwise from upper left): Bert Ritchey, John Donohue, Eddie Moeller, Tony Mason, Captain Cy West.

Key Cavers (clockwise from upper left): Bert Ritchey, John Donohue, Eddie Moeller, Tony Mason, Captain Cy West (center).

Despite Perry’s seeming detachment, the Cavemen appeared ready to make another strong run.

Superstar halfback Bert Ritchey was back for his third varsity season, joined by tackle Cy West, and several other holdovers from the 10-1 team of the year before.

Players were moving up from coach Gerald (Tex) Oliver’s B team, which defeated Huntington Park, 13-6, for the 1925 Southern California championship.

And there were incoming sophomores from Roosevelt and Memorial, teams which played for the championship of the city junior high league in ’25.


After a 27-0 victory in the opening game against the San Diego State Frosh, the Hilltoppers lost sight of the end zone. They scored three touchdowns and 29 points, total, in seven Coast League contests.

The Cavemen dropped back-to-back road games at Long Beach and Whittier but still finished with a 6-2 record.

Perry’s 52-14-5 achievement in seven seasons would not seem raise any doubt about his future as coach.

But the afternoon San Diego Sun newspaper published a story Nov. 19, 1926, the day before the Hilltoppers’ last home game against South Pasadena, that declared Perry was out as coach:

“A complete rearrangement of the coaching staff at the San Diego high school has taken place, and will go into effect at once, it was made known today.

“John Perry, who heretofore coached varsity football, becomes supervisor of physical training and director of school athletics, but will have no coaching connections with the various teams.

“John Hobbs, assistant grid coach to Perry, and in direct charge of the second team, is now head coach of the Hilltop varsity football team.”

The timing of the no-attribution, no-byline article was curious, with two games remaining on the schedule.  It looked as if Perry was being removed from his position and given a highfalutin title of reduced significance.


San Diego principal Glenn Perkins reacted with a non-denial denial the next day in the scrambling, morning San Diego Union:

“For two years there has been serious consideration of appointing Perry physical education director in charge of all athletics and naming Hobbs mentor of the varsity football squad, but to date that has not been done and it is hardly likely that it will be affected until next fall, if at all,” said Perkins.

Perkins added that “Should the position ‘director physical education’ be created Perry can have it if he chooses and undoubtedly Hobbs will be named varsity football coach.”

Perry responded with a flowery no comment and Hobbs ducked the issue.  “How could I assume control of the varsity football team now when I have called varsity basketball practice for Monday afternoon?” said Hobbs.


The Sun article may have been premature but Perry did step down later and become a P.E. coach and head of the athletics department.  He would stay away from football until starting the program at the new Hoover High in 1930.

The Sun also was correct about the “rearrangement” of the coaching staff.

Hobbs became head football coach and remained in charge of basketball.  Dewey (Mike) Morrow began a legendary career, replacing Perry as baseball coach, and Glenn Broderick took over the track program.

The 1927 Russ yearbook editor's vision of San Diego High coaches (clockwise from top): John Perry, Dewey (Mike) Morrow, John Hobbs, Glenn Broderick.

The 1927 Russ yearbook editor’s vision of San Diego High coaches (clockwise from top): John Perry, Dewey (Mike) Morrow, John Hobbs, Glenn Broderick.


Despite the loss to Whittier, the Cavers still were in the Coast League title hunt when they went to Long Beach, where a controversial play prompted Perry to protest the game.

Principal Glenn Perkins a day later would say there would be no protest.

Trailing, 3-0, Perry told referee Arthur Badenoch, the head coach at Inglewood, that San Diego end Schoettler was going to “hide out” near the Cavers’ sideline on the play following the third-quarter kickoff.

The stratagem worked, John Donohue teaming with Schoettler on a 65-yard scoring pass play.

Uh oh!  Penalty flag.

Badenoch had noticed a Long Beach player offside on the kickoff, according to press reports.  The referee asked San Diego captain Eddie Moeller if the Hilltoppers wanted the penalty or the ball.

Moeller took the ball.  San Diego lined up and Donohue and Schoettler combined to apparently put the visitors in front, 6-3.

Badenoch nullified the play.  The whistle had not been blown to begin play after the referee and Moeller, the San Diego captain, had discussed options.


Twenty-five years later, at a San Diego homecoming, Perry had a different recollection.

“It worked okay, for (Schoettler) caught the ball and scored in spite of the fact that he was detected by Long Beach,” Perry told George Herrick of the Evening Tribune.

“However,” Perry added, “our enthusiasm was dampened when the umpire announced Long Beach had called time out.  It was the only time in my 31 years of coaching that I ever protested a game.”

The coach recalled that the Cavers tried the play again, but a Long Beach defender deflected the pass into the hands of a teammate, who ran 50 yards for a score in Poly’s 10-0 victory.


Two weeks into practice, the Cavers’ stock went up when quarterback Jimmy Meeks and end Laurie Hall transferred in from Hollywood High and were reported to have moved into San Diego’s enrollment district.

Meeks had set a national record of :15.1 in the 120-yard high hurdles, finished second in the 220 lows, and anchored the Sheiks to a national record of 1:29.9 in the 880-yard relay at the state meet in Palo Alto the previous spring.


Meeks entered the opening game in the second quarter but was benched in the second half after he was penalized for “slugging” a San Diego State player.

Days later it was learned that Meeks and Hall had been bounced at Hollywood because they violated a state interscholastic rule by becoming members of a school fraternity.

Santa Ana, which filed a protest in 1925, claiming that Hilltopper Russ Saunders had boxed professionally, alerted Coast League bosses.

“We shall place our cards on the table and let league officials act,” said principal Perkins, who thought the rule was unfair and wasn’t sure it would hold up in a court of law.

Meeks and Hall were out.


Tex Oliver, the ex-Hilltop B coach and track mentor, now was head coach at Santa Ana. The Saints still were unhappy about another protest apparently submitted by San Diego.

Santa Ana wanted Harvey Durkee reinstated. Durkee had played in a practice game in 1925 after not having completed a semester of attendance following a transfer from Huntington Beach.

The few minutes in the ’25 game was declared a full season by the Coast League after Durkee left school, then returned in February, 1926, and completed a full semester thinking he’d be eligible in the Fall.

Durkee and Santa Ana officials were told the player was out of eligibility.  Perry also claimed that Durkee transferred without changing his home address and therefore would be ineligible for a full year.


Perry’s last game as coach and Oliver’s first against his former boss was a 9-7 success in overtime for the visiting Cavers, but there were no huzzahs from the San Diego media.

Wrote Charles Savage of the Union:

“…Oliver’s speedy Saints team reversed the San Diegans dizzy; battered their way through the heavy San Diego line for 15 first downs, and worked the ball within the shadows of the visitors’ goal five times only to lose the ball on fumbles.”

Savage  ended with this zinger:

“The San  Diegans didn’t display any more fighting spirit here today than they have at any time this season.  In fact, their showing could not have been much worse.  And San Diego has displayed some poor football this season.”

A Southern California championship in 1922, two Coast League titles in the league’s four years, and a .768 winning percentage since 1920 apparently were not enough.

Perry couldn’t be blamed for taking a step back.


The Pantages and The San Diego Sun newspaper invited members of the football teams of San Diego High, St. Augustine, and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot to a showing of “One Minute To Play.”

The silent movie (talkies still were a few years away) starred Harold (Red) Grange, the all-America halfback from the University of Illinois who had signed with the NFL Chicago Bears.

Grange, playing the role of “Red Wade”, shook off an injury, came into the game with one minute to play, and scored the winning touchdown.

When not punching each others, Coronado officials studied artist concept of bridge from San Diego to island. The bridge was an idea whose time had not come.

When not punching each other, Coronado officials studied artist’s concept of bridge from San Diego to transbay island. The bridge was an idea whose time had not come.


Politics in Coronado, the sleepy community across San Diego Bay, made for angry bedfellows.

The city auditor decked the city manager, twice, in a fist fight outside City Hall and then dropped the manager again a few days later in the street in front of the building after tempers flared during a contentious meeting of the town’s honchos.

All members of the fire and police departments either were fired by the Coronado board of trustees or resigned.  The fistic proficient city auditor, was fired and the city recorder resigned.

A new city Marshal was appointed and said gentleman along with a trustee was sued for $25,000 for assault after expelling an angry attorney from the meeting.

The attorney, struggling with the two officials, claimed to have strained  ligaments in his shoulder.

Typical of the Keystone Cops-like events was the firing in the morning of a police boss, who was reinstated in the afternoon…and then immediately resigned.


Captain Bert Rojas (lower left) and coach Cy Walton (inset) led Mountain Empire's first football team.

Captain Bert Rojas (lower left) and coach Cy Walton (inset) led Mountain Empire’s first football team.

Although he was in and out of games and hampered by a back injury all season, Bert Ritchey was second-team all-Southern California, perhaps a nod from the media selectors who chose Ritchey for a third-team spot despite Bert’s leading Southern California with 25 touchdowns in 1925…captain and tackle  Cy West also earned second-team honors…Perry talked about scheduling a game for Christmas or New Year’s Day with Phoenix Union…this would have been at least three weeks after the season ended and did not happen…Mountain Empire had 12 males on campus in Buckman Springs, 20 miles east of El Cajon…11 were on the football team and the other was the coach, Cy Walton…378 Alhambra supporters made reservations on the steamship S.S. Ruth Alexander out of Los Angeles and arrived the morning of the Moors’ game with San Diego…Alhambra was coached by Charlie Church, who would briefly be the Hilltoppers’ boss in 1928…word from the North was that Church was scrimmaging his charges two hours a day and had taken the team on a two-week trip to the High Sierras in the summer…Point Loma and Mountain Empire, which opened in 1925, joined the County League as varsity members and Oceanside, fielding its first  squad, made for an eight-team circuit..Escondido, 4-4 under first-year coach Amner Petty, posted its first nonlosing season since 1919 and its first league victory since 1921…Sweetwater was 7-0 in County play but dropped a 13-2 decision in the first round of the playoffs at El Centro Central….

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1923: Writer Takes Shots at San Diego Coach

John Perry was 29-10-2 with a winning percentage of .738 in four seasons as San Diego High coach.

But that wasn’t good enough for one sportswriter on San Diego’s largest daily newspaper.

A crushing midseason, 26-0 loss to Long Beach Poly was followed by a disinterested, 13-0 victory over Coast League doormat Whittier.

“The wreck of the Hesperus didn’t have a thing on the disaster of the Cavemen,” wrote Alan McGrew of the Poly game, taking a page from Greek mythology.

McGrew, no Damon Runyan, was The San Diego Union beat man covering the Cavemen and regularly found fault with Perry’s stewardship, very unusual for the era.

The young San Diego High graduate was especially peevish in his account of the Whittier contest:

“…the team had no fight and players seemed to take the ‘I don’t care attitude.’  Coach John Perry seemed to be as bad as any of the players.”

McGrew said the starting backfield “was like four moving dead men.”

“Coach John Perry should receive a good part of the responsibility for the poor showing,” McGrew continued. “Since the Long Beach game he has lacked enthusiasm just as much as many of the players.”

McGrew thought the Cavers should turn in their uniforms if “the high schoolers intend to finish the season in the same miserable manner they played yesterday.”


Principal Glenn Perkins and Perry scheduled a postseason game for charity against the Phoenix Coyotes, billed as champions of Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Texas.

More than 8,000 persons saw the game but no score in San Diego-Phoenix meeting.

More than 8,000 persons saw the game but no score in San Diego-Phoenix meeting.

William Richardson, the California governor, was going to attend and a large crowd was expected, proceeds going to the football fund at the Hilltop and to buy 50 uniforms for members of the band.

There would be a three-week layoff between the Whittier and Phoenix tussles, so Perry called John Nichols, his former Coronado coaching colleague, and booked a home contest against Nichols’ Oxnard squad.

The Yellowjackets reportedly had posted a 7-0 record, but the competition was against teams from small, neighboring Ventura County farming communities.


McGrew went on the offensive again.

“Although it has been the general impression that the Oxnard Union High would be ‘pickings’ for the local high school eleven, the San Diego coach claims the northern squad will give the Hilltops plenty to worry about.”

McGrew had gotten to the point of sometimes not even referring to Perry by name.


“Perry has been inclined to blame sportswriters for his troubles.  First he did not want them to praise the work of his team, declaring that praise was bad for the players.

“Then he did not want the work of the team to be harshly criticized.  That, too, he thought was very bad.  Just what (Perry) wanted was hard to figure out.”

McGrew added that the Cavers would have been better served in 1920 had they hired a coach who had college playing experience, which Perry didn’t.

“At any rate the fact remains that all San Diego High can claim under Perry’s coaching this year is the championship of San Diego County (the Cacers defeated Sweetwater, 33-8).”


Oxnard “looked like a kindergarten squad opposing eleven giants,” wrote McGrew.

The Yellowjackets were on the trampled end of a 77-0 San Diego stampede, highlighted by 11 successful points after touchdown and three touchdowns by probably the smallest varsity player in school history.

Firpo (Shorty) Bethauser, 4-feet, 4 inches, 116 pounds, if you believe the tape measure and scale, scored three touchdowns and was joined in the end zone by six other teammates.

On this day, the writer couldn’t criticize Perry’s coaching or the play of the team:

“Oxnard had no business being on the same field with the Hilltoppers, but this should not take credit away from the high schoolers. With (Coney) Galindo again calling signals. the team oozed with pep, fight, and aggressiveness.”

The season ended with a 0-0 tie against Phoenix, but despite the scoreless result, the teams’ combined 24 punts, and 120 yards in penalties, McGrew declared that “the crowd was lifted by thrilling plays and many long gains.”


Up from Calipatria in the Imperial Valley, out of the University of Montana, came Ladimir Mashin the new athletic coach at Grossmont.

Mashin was better known as”Jack”, an easy cognomen for a man who was easy to know and respect.

Mashin would coach all teams and soldier through the Great Depression and World War II.

Mashin watches over his first team.

Mashin watches over his first team.

He retired from football as the winningest coach in County history after 25 seasons and a 9-1-1 campaign in 1947.

Mashin concentrated on track and field and tutored some of the finest dual meet and invitational teams in Southern California, turning out Grossmont distance runners and weight throwers who ranked among the best in the country.

Grossmont would be 4-5 this season, but championships were on the horizon.

Mashin had 17 winning seasons and finished football with a career record of 125-66-19, a .640 winning percentage.  The Foothillers won or tied 24 games in a row from 1932-34.


John Perry and principal Glenn Perkins attended a meeting the first of September in Santa Ana, where San Diego High became a member of the Tri-County League.

Other schools were Long Beach Poly, Pasadena and Whittier from Los Angeles County and Orange County entries Fullerton and Santa Ana.

A couple weeks later the CIF announced that the alignment would be known as the Coast League and, with exception of the 1941-45 period, the Coast would be San Diego’s home until the San Diego City Prep League was formed in 1950.

San Diego and Poly, which first played against each other in 1910, would be enduring members of the so-called “T.N.T. League”.

The other  schools came and went and newcomers replaced them,  but the  circuit always was respected as being as strong as any in the state.

The Hilltoppers had been members of a Coast League alignment with Poly, Pasadena, Santa Monica, and Whittier in the 1920-21 school year, but, while participating in most sports, they were an independent in football.


General admission to all Coast League games was .50.  All funds derived from advance sales were to go to the school selling the tickets.  Expenses of the games were to be deducted before there was a split of gate receipts.

Perpetual trophies would be offered in all sports with each school annually contributing $25 to the bauble fund.

Officers of the league were Harry J. Moore of Long Beach (also state CIF representative), president; R. O’Mara, Pasadena, vice president, and H.A. Hammond, Santa Ana, secretary and treasurer.


Coach Herb Hoskins’ Red Devils competed in the shadow of San Diego for years, but, despite a 33-8 loss to the Hilltop team in the season opener, won the County League with a 6-0 record, compiled a 7-3 mark overall, and earned a Southern California playoff bid.

San Diego captain Ed Giddings affected gas-mask style face guard with nose attachment for the Cavemen's first game against Sweetwater. No record of whether Giddings continued wearing piece in subsequent action.

San Diego captain Ed Giddings affected gas-mask style face guard with nose attachment for first game against Sweetwater. No record of whether he continued wearing piece in subsequent action.

Sweetwater upset Orange, 7-0, in a quarterfinals game but were beaten, 27-7, by Long Beach Poly in the semifinals.

Sweetwater often was a San Diego opponent in the first game, but Hoskins and Perry dickered over financial terms this year.

Perry, as coach of the home team, offered a $100 guatantee to the Red and Gray-colored squad from National City.  Hoskins wanted a 50-50 share of the gate receipts.

“I can get a Northern team to come to San Diego for as much as Sweetwater wants,” said Perry.  “My club’s as good as any Northern club,” countered Hoskins.

The game was played but no result of the bargaining was published.


Ages of San Diego High players were from 15 (Phil Winnek) to 20 (Coney Galindo, John Fox, and Howard Williams).  Al Schevings was 21 when he graduated in June, 1923.

Galindo, Fox, and Williams would have another year of eligibility in 1924.  Rules eventually would change, such that a youngster could not be 19 years of age before Sept. 1 of his senior year.


End Barkham Garner of Sweetwater was on  the all-Southern California first team.  End Jim MacPherson of San Diego and center Otis of Sweetwater were on the second team.


Neal Anderson, auto mobile editor of The San Diego Union, embarked on a unique trip.  Anderson, riding in a Nash Touring car, covered the 572 miles of San Diego County roads and highways in 18 hours, leaving the Nash showroom floor at the Shaw agency at midnight and arriving back at 6 p.m that day.


San Diego’s Ed (Carburetor) Caballero intercepted 5 passes in one game and threw  five interceptions in another…Whittier’s joining the league allowed San  Diego to fill an open date late in the season…San Diego’s trip to Stanford not only was disappointing  but long…the team took the train to Los Angeles and then boarded the Lark for the 470-mile overnight ride to San Francisco…the Cavemen, who played on the dirt surface of City Stadium, complained of the slippery, grass gridiron on the Palo Alto campus, resulting in numerous fumbles and a reported nine first-half injuries…the Cavers hit the rails again for an early-morning ride to an afternoon game in Fullerton…San Diego road games usually were of two days’ duration…Hal Fitzpatrick,  Al Schevings, Eddie Ruffa, and Bob Perry, members of San Diego’s 1922 championship squad, were on the San Diego State varsity…the Montezuma Mesa school numbered only 160 boys in the entire enrollment…Schevings left and later was on the squad at USC…a midweek Sweetwater game with Fleet Air was called off because rules restricted the airmen from leaving their base on North Island….

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2015-16: Foothills 3rd, Cathedral 14th

There were no state championships, but it was a solid season in San Diego Section  basketball.

Foothills Christian, behind McDonald’s all-star T.J. Leaf, was third in the state in Cal-Hi Sports‘ final boys Top 40 rankings.

Cathedral ranked 14th and St. Augustine 23rd.

The 2015-16 finish showed marked improvement  over the 2014-15 Cal-Hi rankings, in which St. Augustine was 23rd, Torrey Pines 24th, and Foothills Christian 36th.

Foothills gained  currency when it defeated Santa Ana Mater Dei, 50-44, in the Southern California quarterfinals before bowing to Chino Hills, 82-62.

Chino Hills (35-0) won the state championship and is national champion, according to all major polls.

Foothills lost its first game to the San Bernardino County squad in December, 106-86, but came closer than any California school when it dropped an 85-83 decision to the Huskies in January.

A basket by Leaf had put the Knights ahead, 83-82, with 13.3 seconds remaining.

3 IN TOP 20

Mission Hills was seventh in the girls, followed by La Jolla Country Day at No. 10 and Bishop at No. 19.

La Jolla Country Day was 15th and Mission Hills 30th in the final 2014-15 rankings.

The last state champions were in St. Augustine boys and Horizon girls in 2013-14.


A highlight of next season is expected to be The Bishop’s Destiny Littleton’s pursuit of the state career scoring record.

Littleton averaged 35.7 and scored 1,178 points this season, giving her a three-season total of 2,934.  San Diego’s Charde Houston set the California record with 3,837 from 2000 to 2004.


Cathedral rose as high as 10th in the Cal-Hi poll after an 82-80, overtime win against Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, but fell following a 72-56, semifinals loss to Torrance Bishop Montgomery…St. Augustine was 17th before dropping a 68-55,  semifinals game at Encino Crespi…Charde Houston played four seasons at Connecticut and is in her ninth WNBA season as a member of the New York Mercury…despite the CIF’s desired “competitive equity,” the Southern Section dominated the  regionals…the San Diego, Los Angeles, and Central  came up short, as all 12 boys and girls division winners were from the Southern Section….

How Cal-Hi Sports viewed San Diego Section squads:


Top 40 Foothills Christian 25-5 3
Cathedral 21-7 14
St. Augustine 24-8 23
Torrey Pines 26-5 37
I St. Augustine 8
Torrey Pines 15
II Mission Bay 21-9 17
Army-Navy 21-11 19
III Kearny 31-4 9
IV El Camino 29-7 4
*Grossmont 23-8
*San Marcos 22-8
V Bonita Vista 21-13 12
*Mission Vista 16-13


Top 20 Mission Hills 29-4 7
La Jolla Country Day 24-6 10
The Bishop’s 25-8 19
I The Bishop’s 6
Torrey Pines 22-9 15
II Mount Miguel 21-12 17
III Eastlake 26-7 13
*Horizon 19-13
IV *La Costa Canyon 23-10
V Grossmont 25-6 13
*Escondido Adventist 23-5

*Honorable Mention.

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1920: Welcome, Grossmont!

A new school or one recycled?

Grossmont High opened this year, located on what was known as the Riverview campus in Lakeside.

It would be two years before the school moved to the top of the Grossmont Summit, overlooking the El Cajon Valley, where it sits today.

But was Grossmont really a new school in 1920?

On the school’s 90th anniversary in 2010, “The Fountain of Hope” was remembered in a campus publication:

“The class of 1916 donated a drinking fountain made of granite from a local quarry and inscribed “Class of 1916” to the old El Cajon Valley Union High School.”

Grossmont's fountain has long history.

Grossmont’s fountain has long history.

The El Cajon Valley High we know today didn’t open  until  1955, when it drew much of the student population from Grossmont, which had been home to students from as far east as Pine Valley, 25 miles away.

The early-century El Cajon Valley High is not even a footnote in local prep sports history, but a team with the designation “El Cajon” played games against San Diego High in 1902, 1904, and 1907.

According to Don King, San Diego High historian and author of Caver Conquest, the 1904 game was against the El Cajon Town team.  The ensuing contests were noted as being against the town’s high school.


Grossmont’s first graduating class numbered 37 students.  There were 11 faculty members with an enrollment of about 150 in four grades.

The athletic teams didn’t become known as the Foothllers until 1921, but Grossmont fielded a team this season, under coach J. Howard Becker, and didn’t score a point in four games against schools that became their County League rivals.

One of those opponents was Sweetwater, an emerging South County school Grossmont would play every season through 1960 except 1941 and ’52.


Army-Navy had a 5-0 record.  San Diego High (4-1) had just been run off Burcham Field, beaten, 51-0, by the 5-0 Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits.

Did Army-Navy have a chance?


New coach John Perry addressed a school assembly the day before the Hilltoppers would meet coach Paul Jones’ Cadets.

San Diego stalwarts (clockwise from upper left): John Hunter, Howard Williams, Lawrence Hall, Roy Richert, coach John Perry, and Richard Knowles.

San Diego stalwarts (clockwise from upper left): John Hunter, Howard Williams, Lawrence Hall, Roy Richert, coach John Perry, and Richard Knowles.

Perry said no team in the United States could beat San Diego by the score Long Beach had mustered and that was by a fluke, which the writer of the story did not reveal and which begged the question, how could a 51-point loss be determined “by a fluke”.

“Furthermore,” said Perry, “San Diego is still in the running (for the Southern California championship) and with the addition of new forms of offensive and defensive playing, which the team has adopted since the defeat at the hands of the Northern city, we expect to take a little revenge on the innocent Army-Navy men.”

The Hilltoppers rained 19 touchdowns on their sadly outmanned opponents.

Although a touchdown by Army-Navy’s Brick Crowell tied the game, 7-7, the score was 26-7 after one quarter, 75-7 following a 49-point second quarter, and 103-7 after three.

The final count was 130-7.

Did Perry run up the score?

His squad numbered only 24 with just a handful of reserves. The teams played 15-minute quarters and rules of the day meant that Army-Navy kicked off after each touchdown.

San Diego’s John Hunter scored 7 touchdowns and added 15 points after for 57 points.  Nine other Cavemen scored touchdowns.

The only team in state history to score more points in one game was Santa Rosa in a 141-0 victory over St. Helena in 1924.

To prevent such runaways CIF sections eventually installed “mercy’ rules and running clocks, usually when one team was ahead by 40-45 points.

Hunter’s point total was bettered in San Diego County only by the 80 points Frank (Toady) Greene scored in a 108-0 victory over Sweetwater in 1929.


The CIF, established in 1913, increasingly found its desired role of friendly, neighborhood cop to 90-plus schools devolving into that of a high school vice principal in charge of discipline.

The Cavemen’s game at Long Beach triggered a major dispute between the governing body and one of its members.

While 8,000 mostly Jackrabbits faithful (about 300 San Diego supporters made the 4-hour trip north) cheered as their team punctuated the victory with 28 fourth-quarter points, Poly officials received a telegram inviting the team to play Englewood High of Chicago.

Football game photography was evolving but still a work in progress.. Union cameraman captured action in San Diego's 56-3 victory over Loyola College of Los Angeles.

Football game photography was  a work in progress. Union cameraman captured action in San Diego’s 56-3 victory over Loyola College of Los Angeles.

The ambitious Chicago squad wanted to play the coast school for what Englewood officials described as a national championship game on Christmas Day.  Poly bosses immediately wired back that they accepted.


CIF secretary Seth Van Patten told Poly administrator Harry J. Moore, that Long Beach was required to compete in the 10-team Southern California playoffs and in a possible state title contest.

According to CIF rules, teams were supposed to turn in their gear once they completed play in Southern California or on the state level.

Despite the shellacking, San Diego was a likely semifinals opponent for Long Beach, if the teams won earlier playoffs.

The CIF determined postseason invitations were for schools that had at least three wins over “representative” opponents.


San Diego had qualified for the postseason invitation after victories over Los Angeles Franklin, Fullerton, and Orange.

The Cavers defeated Van Nuys, 81-0, in a quarterfinals contest on the same day that Poly advanced with a 55-0 victory over Los Angeles Poly.

John Perry wanted no part of a second game in Long Beach.  Principal Harry Wise told the CIF that San Diego would play the game only at a neutral site, preferably at Pomona, a good distance from the Jackrabbits’ base.

After defeating L.A. Poly, Long Beach gave the CIF the figurative middle finger salute and pulled out of the remainder of postseason.

The scrambling CIF then gave San Diego a day’s notice that it would play in the semifinals against L.A. Poly, despite the Mechanics 0-55 score against Long Beach.

San Diego led most of the game after John Hunter’s 25-yard field goal, but the Mechanics scored a touchdown in the last five minutes to win, 7-3.

L.A. Poly’s reward was a berth in  the finals, in which it lost to Santa Monica, 49-0.


The game with Englewood never was played, but Long Beach accepted another challenge from the high school in Everett, Washington.

The Everett Seagulls defeated the Jackrabbits, 28-7. .


The CIF announced that Poly was being “kicked out”.  Not suspended, but “kicked out,” no longer in the federation.

The punishment didn’t last long.  The Jackrabbits were back in the fold for basketball season.

But the bumbling CIF wasn’t so easy on the San Diego High baseball team, which defeated Cleveland East Tech in a two-game, “national championship series” the following spring.

The baseball Cavemen were hit with a judgment in the 1921-22 school year, barred from playing against high school teams for one season and suspended from the Southern California playoffs.

Pfeffercorn, holding boxing trophy, was football referee until retiring in 1925.

Pfeffercorn, holding boxing trophy, was prominent San Diego sportsman.


Local banking executive and football referee Mouney Cassar Pfeffercorn convened a meeting at the First National for representatives from the high schools and service football teams.

“There are many football officials here but almost everyone has a different interpretation of a rule,” said Pfeffercorn, who noted that problems were cited by out-of-town teams, which complained that local flag throwers incorrectly interpreted some rules.

Born in Austria in 1883 and a naturalized American citizen in 1908, Pfeffercorn was active on many sporting fronts in San Diego in the first half of the 20th century.

Officiating pay generally was $10 for referee and $7.50 each for umpire and linesman.  A fourth official, on request, received $5.


Robert Clark and Justin Bennett of San Diego will be out of the Franklin game “unless they can dig up more credits”, reported The San Diego Union, The article also reported that  “Howard Williams, Chalmers McKenzie, and Harold (Hobbs) Adams also are reported  behind in their studies and will  not play Saturday.”


Six weeks into the school year, San Diego High listed 2,370 students, making it one of the largest high schools in the country, according to the Evening Tribune.

City elementary schools reported enrollment of 9,000, although daily attendance was at least 1,000 fewer.  “An appeal is made to the parents of the city to make the attendance of every child as punctual and regular as possible,” said a City Schools statement.


Football was king but not the only sport at the Grey Castle.  A class of beginners in swimming started, a chess club was in competition, and tennis was popular. Girls interscholastic basketball was due to begin.


Team captain Lawrence Hall sustained a broken nose before the opening of practice when he dived off the high board at a plunge in Del Mar and struck the bottom of the pool.

Hall was recuperating when he engaged in a medicine ball exercise with a teammate a week later and the ball struck Hall in the face.

Hall sustained a second “busted beezer” and was on  the sidelines for another three weeks.


A 21-7 loss to Sweetwater was the first for Coronado against County League competition since a 47-0 defeat by Escondido in 1914.  The Islanders had won 16 in  a row and not been scored on by their suburban competition.


Guard Gordon Thompson and back John Hunter of San Diego made the all-Southern California second team,  Poly’s Jim Lawson was player of the year.


Missing the Van Nuys playoff with wrist and shoulder injuries cost John Hunter a shot at Byron (Pesky) Sprott’s school record of 156 points in one season, set in 1916…Hunter played only eight games but had 18 touchdowns, 24 points after, and a field goal for 135 points…Seth Van Patten, a former baseball coach at Escondido, was elected CIF Secretary…John Perry’s idea of giving his San Diego players a respite from the humdrum of practice was a 2 ½-mile “dogtrot” to and from the nearby Golden Hill Playground…Perry admonished his gridders before the Long Beach trip to “play hard but not dirty  and do not bet on the game”…San Diego’s 81-0 playoff win over Van Nuys was called in the fourth quarter because of darkness….


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1970-2016: Walton or Leaf, Take Your Pick

Bill Walton was 33-0 in his senior season at Helix.  T.J. Leaf was 25-5 at Foothills Christian.

Walton’s Helix team dominated the San Diego Section, but the Highlanders’ 70-56 victory over Chula Vista in the AA finals in 1970 marked the end of season. Southern California playoffs were reserved only for Southern Section squads.

Leaf’s Foothills Christian team, benefiting from the modern CIF, competed beyond the San Diego Section playoffs, most recently reaching the Southern California regional semifinals.

Walton was a 6-foot, 11-inch center who played with his back to the basket, and scored and played defense with equal abandon.

Leaf is a 6-10 power forward with a wider range of offense but did not command defense as did Walton.

If pro basketball is the correct measuring stick, basketball has evolved and improved to a point in the San Diego area that we now can claim many NBA or international players.

Before Walton you could count the number of NBA players from San Diego on one hand plus two or three fingers.

Leaf put Foothills Christian on national radar.

Leaf put Foothills Christian on national radar.

Leaf is moving on to UCLA, where Walton won two national collegiate championships and NBA titles with the Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics.

Leaf is a longshot to match Walton’s  post-high school achievements but that will not diminish the mark he made at Foothills Christian.  T.J. finished his career second to his brother, Troy, as the San Diego’s Section’s career scoring leader.

Leaf was at the wheel as the small El Cajon school traveled with the big shots, playing a national schedule against teams in California and the U.S.

Thirteen of the Knights’ 30 games were against opponents outside the San Diego Section, including three against Chino Hills, the No. 1 team in the country, and another against nationally ranked Waterloo Sacred Heart of Connecticut.

Walton seldom ventured beyond the County, but his performance in December, 1969, at the prestigious Covina Tournament got him on the national stage.

Helix defeated Rancho Cucamonga Alta Loma, 90-35, Montebello, 72-48, El Monte Arroyo, 92-57, Long Beach Millikan, 71-49, and Pasadena, 110-68.

Millikan went on to win the major Southern Section championship.

Against the playoff-bound Pasadena Bullpups, Walton scored 50 points, had 34 rebounds, and made Sports Illustrated and its Faces in the Crowd feature.

Walton was head and shoulders above the crowd.

Walton was head and shoulders above the crowd.

The Highlanders averaged 88.2 points a game, went past 100 six times and topped 90 on 10 other occasions.  Walton scored 964 points and averaged 29.2, but he is remembered as much for his unselfish play and dominating defense.

Foothills Christian won by an average score of 71-52, had games of 97 and 96 points and bettered 80 in eight other contests.

Leaf scored 852 points and averaged 28.4 points, shot 68 per cent on field goal attempts and made 29 three-point baskets with an average of 39 per cent from behind the arc.

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2015-16: All San Diego Section Squads Eliminated

It was five and out for the San Diego Section in the Southern California regional semifinals last night.

Most of the road-weary locals were in their ball games at halftime but faded thereafter, memories of terrific seasons and bus rides of up to 150 miles ahead as they made their way home.

Foothills Christian (25-5) trailed, 37-30, after 16 minutes against Chino Hills but, despite 36 points from T.J. Leaf, was a well-beaten, 82-62, before a standing room only crowd of 2,800 persons at Colony High in Ontario.

Cathedral (21-7)  lagged only 46-42 in the third quarter before Torrance Bishop Montgomery began raining three-point baskets and pulled away to a 72-56 victory at El Camino College in Torrance.

El Camino (29-7) was in a 31-31 deadlock at halftime at Calabasas Viewpoint but couldn’t keep up  and was eliminated, 73-57.

St. Augustine (24-8) was outscored, 15-4, at  Encino Crespi Carmelite in  the first quarter but manfully battled back to trail only 41-39 after three.   That was the Saints’ final gesture.  They  collapsed in the fourth quarter and exited with a 68-55 loss.

The Mission Hills girls (29-4), lagging, 40-26, at the half and 55-41 at the three-quarter juncture, closed out with a 79-59 loss to West Hills Chaminade.

With apologies to the late Don Meredith of ABC’s Monday Night Football, turn out the lights, the party’s over.


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2015-16: Five Remain in South Regional Playoffs

The few, the proud….

Five teams from the San Diego Section still are in the hunt as the Southern California regional playoffs reach the semifinals round tomorrow.

+Foothills Christian (25-4) will try to stop the No. 1 team in the country when it challenges Chino Hills (31-0) at Colony High in Ontario, a “neutral” site 11 miles and 20 minutes from the Huskies’ campus.

Chino Hills defeated the Knights, 106-86, in December and 85-83 in January on other neutral layouts.

The Huskies ran the Knights off the floor in the first game, taking a 22-5 lead in the first three minutes and roaring to a 40-13, first-quarter lead.

That Foothills outscored its opponent, 73-66, over the last three quarters was virtually unnoticed because the Knights never got closer than 18 points, at 87-69, early in the fourth quarter.


Foothills has a shot, if only because of the ancient shibboleth that declares it is very difficult for one team to beat another three times in a row in the same season.

Knights coach Brad Leaf adjusted after the first game and the Knights actually led late in the game. Can Leaf, his superstar, 6-foot, 10-inch son, T.J., and the El Cajon team pull off the upset?

Guess:  Chino Hills 88, Foothills Christian 78.

+Seven seed Cathedral’s 83-80, Open Division, overtime victory at No. 2 Chatsworth Sierra Canyon was the stunner of the regional tournament and elevated the  Dons (21-6)  into another tough road battle against No. 3 Torrance Bishop Montgomery (27-2) at nearby El Camino College.

The Knights 72-58, overtime conqueror of Los Angeles Westchester, in the quarterfinals, lost to Chino Hills, 71-67, on Jan. 30, and to Sierra Canyon, 78-69, in the Southern Section playoffs.

Inspired Cathedral must keep 6-11 Brandon McCoy out of foul trouble.  He sat for 12 minutes in the first half at Sierra Canyon but still finished with 23 points.

Guess: Bishop Montgomery 64, Cathedral 61.

+No. 12 St. Augustine (24-7) is the lowest surviving seed in Division I and visits No. 1 Encino Crespi Carmelite (30-4).

The teams have played against one common opponent.

Crespi beat Bellflower St. John Bosco, 59-25, on Dec. 21, and St. Augustine topped ‘Bosco, 62-52, on Jan. 5.

St. Augustine last gained the regional finals in 2013 when Trey Kell, Brynton Lamar and company came from 11 points behind in the fourth quarter to top West Hills Chaminade, 61-57.


An important contributor to the Saints’ victory in that game at Colony High was freshman Eric Monroe, inserted into the lineup by coach Mike Haupt in the fourth quarter.

Monroe’s ball-handling coolness under pressure was significant and has been a benchmark of his play for four years.  Monroe is the Saints’ handyman, the one to whom they turn to get the ball up court and position the offense.

The 6-foot, 3-inch senior was particularly effective last week when Eastvale Roosevelt took a 22-13 lead and had the Saints on their heels before St. Augustine rallied to a 54-52 victory before an overflow crowd at Daugherty Gymnasium.

Monroe and his senior counterpart, Martin Tombe, who hit two, big three-point shots in the fourth quarter, again will carry the Saints’ hopes against the favored San Fernando Valley squad.

Guess:  Crespi 66, St. Augustine 60.

+El Camino is thriving in D-IV, having routed Rancho Mirage, 90-66, and upsetting No. 1 seed Pomona Diamond Ranch, 63-58, after surviving a 30-point fourth quarter by the host Panthers.

The eight-seed Wildcats (29-6) now travel to Calabasas to take on the five-seed, 28-6 Viewpoint Panthers, who have victories over Kern County Taft Union, 77-37, and 76-69 over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

El Camino, coached by former Army-Navy boss Tom Tarantino,  has rallied after losing to Kearny, 66-43, in the San Diego Section D-I finals.

The Wildcats have their best chance of getting past the semifinals since the Millenium-era teams coached by Ray Johnson annually were the San Diego Section’s best.

Guess:  El Camino 59, Viewpoint 55.

+The four-seed Mission Hills (29-3) girls draw the No. 1 seed and host West Hills Chaminade (28-4).

The Grizzlies advanced with a 49-45 victory over Los Angeles Windward.  Chaminade defeated Los Angeles Palisades, 79-67.

Guess: Chaminade 62, Mission Hills 50.




11 Grossmont 50, @3 Gardena Serra 65.


9 Bonita Vista 56, @1 Santa Maria St. Joseph 97.

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2015-16: Cathedral, Foothills Beat Favorites on Road

Greater challenges lie ahead, but San Diego Section teams in the Southern California regional playoffs were successful in three of four Open Division quarterfinals games last night.

+The Foothills Christian Knights stunned Mater Dei, dealing the Monarchs their first loss at home in 10 years, 50-46, and moving on to Tuesday’s semifinals and a third shot at Chino Hills, the nation’s No. 1 team.

The 31-0 Huskies defeated Foothills, 106-86, and 85-83, earlier in the season and  their Open quarterfinals, 103-71 victory over Reedley Immanuel tied Chino Hills with the 1995-96 San Francisco Balboa Buccaneers for a state-record, eighteen 100-point games.

Fifth-seeded Foothills (25-4) reversed a 61-53 loss to No. 4 Mater Dei (27-5) five weeks ago, benefitting from the Monarchs 5-for-25 shooting on three-point attempts and closing down low to outrebound their hosts, 34-18.

T.J. Leaf led the winners with 21 points, blocked three shots, and brought down 16 rebounds.

The Knights trailed only at 2-0 and tenaciously kept the Monarchs at a distance in the second half  in the hosts’ big arena game environment of scoring table dasher boards, jumbotron, and almost 2,500 raucous fans.

The Foothills-Chino game will be at Colony High in Ontario Tuesday night at 7.

+Seventh-seeded Cathedral defeated No. 2 Chatsworth Sierra Canyon in overtime, 83-80, in arguably the major boys upset of the postseason.

According to Max Preps, Cathedral was ranked 31st in the state and 156th nationally.  Sierra Canyon was fourth in California and ninth in the country.  Cathedral stood 17th in the state, according to Cal-Hi Sports, while Sierra was fourth.

Complicating the Dons’ bid was the absence 6-11 Brandon McCoy, who was on the bench in foul trouble for all but four minutes of the first half.  Mc Coy, who scored 23 points, led a Dons comeback that had the visitors in front, 73-65, late in the fourth quarter.

Sierra Canyon tied the score at 73 to force the overtime but Cathedral raced to an 83-73 advantage in the extra session and held on.

Cathedral (21-6) now faces the 3 seed, Torrance Bishop Montgomery (27-2), which overcame Los Angeles Westchester, 72-58, in overtime and outscored Sierra Canyon, 78-69, two weeks ago in the Southern Section playoffs.

The fourth-seed Mission Hills girls (29-3) defeated No. 5 Los Angeles Price, 49-45, and get No. 1-ranked West Hills Chaminade in the San Fernando Valley suburb on Tuesday.

Mission Hills is ranked sixth and Chaminade fourth in the Cal-Hi Sports ratings, but the Eagles are second in California and fourth in the country as seen by Max Preps, which ranks the Grizzlies 23rd in California and 99th in the country.

The only Open Division losers from the San Diego Section were the  La Jolla Country Day girls, beaten, 46-39, by host Long Beach Poly.


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2015-16: Kearny, St. Augustine Pull Big Road Wins

Despite being seeded in the nether regions of the Southern California regional playoffs, No. 15 Kearny and No. 12 St. Augustine scored significant road victories last night, while most other San Diego Section squads, including all 13 girls’ teams in action, were stowing their gear today.

Kearny (31-3) overcame a 53-47, fourth-quarter deficit to upset No. 2-ranked and host Huntington Beach Edison, 65-58, in Division III.

Martin Tombe’s three-point basket with 21 seconds remaining lifted St. Augustine (23-7) past No. 5 Corona Centennial, 60-59, after the Saints trailed, 42-29, in the third quarter and were down, 59-57, in the final minute.

Following Tombe’s field goal, the Huskies called timeouts at :21, :17, and :11, and never got in position for an offensive thrust.

Coach Mike Haupt’s Saints defenders frustrated the hosts to the point that the game ended with the ball being tipped  into the back court.

Centennial made 22 trips to the free-throw line and converted 10.  Tombe made 3 of St. Augustine’s 5 attempts.


Tombe’s  27 points were complemented by Eric (Vaughn) Monroe’s 15. The four-year varsity veterans were members of the 2012-13, Trey Kell-led Saints, who won the state D-III title.

St. Augustine gets a home game Saturday evening, possibly at a venue other than its 600-seat  Daugherty Gymnasium, against lower seed (13) Eastvale Eleanor Roosevelt (23-8), a 56-55, double-0vertime winner over No. 4 Los Angeles Fairfax.

Kearny has another daunting challenge. The Komets will travel almost 150 miles north through routinely brutal Los Angeles traffic to take on the 7 seed, 25-7 Calabasas Coyotes, who ushered out No. 10 Fresno Roosevelt, 55-52.

St. Augustine and Eleanor Roosevelt faced one common opponent. The Mustangs  were 1-2 against Corona Centennial, winning, 56-55, and losing, 73-61, and 83-55.  The latter was in a Southern Section playoff consolation game.

Meanwhile, there was total devastation in the San Diego Section Girls’ brackets, low-lighted by No. 1-ranked The Bishop’s 57-52 loss to visiting Westlake Village Oaks Christian.




No. 9 Torrey Pines 50, @Inglewood 66.


No. 11 Mission Bay 58,  @No. 6 Rancho Santa Margarita 73.  No. 12, Army-Navy 62, @Orange Lutheran 63. No. 13 Poway 58, @No. 4 Los Alamitos 67.


No. 11 La Jolla Country Day 48, @No. 6 LaVerne Bonita 52.


No. 8 El Camino 90, No. 9 Rancho Mirage 66. No. 13 San Marcos 61, @No. 4 Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 69.


No. 9, Bonita Vista 59, @No. 8 Capistrano Valley Christian 46.  No. 11 Mission Vista 52, @No. 6 Saddleback Valley Christian 53.  No. 14 O’Farrell 46, @No. 3 Temecula Rancho Christian 84.



No. 10 Santa Barbara 69, No. 7 Torrey Pines 60.


No. 9 La Cresenta Crescenta Valley 57, No. 8 Mount Miguel 55. No. 10 Manhattan Beach Mira Costa 61, No. 7  Westview 54,    No. 13 Serra 34, @No. 4  Anaheim Fairmont Prep 56.


No. 10 Lake Elsinore Lakeside 47, No. 7 Eastlake 38.  No. 14 Horizon 61, @No. 3 Norco 64.  .


No. 9 L.A. Notre Dame Academy 66, No. 8 Poway 51. No. 10 La Costa Canyon 45, @7 Newport Beach Corona del Mar 54.  No. 12, Imperial 34, @L.B. St. Anthony 68.


No. 9 Mira Mesa 35, @No. 8 Sun Valley Village Christian 64. No. 10 Escondido Adventist 34, @No. 7 Cypress Oxford Academy 39.  No. 12, Grossmont 43, @L.A. Price 53.


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