This wasn’t the expected route of Duane Maley’s farewell tour.
San Diego High was 0-2 for the first time in 46 years.
Maley also was steaming at The San Diego Union sportswriter Jerry Magee and Maley’s boss, principal Lawrence Carr, was steaming at Maley.
Blunt and outspoken, Maley didn’t realize that reporter Magee was going to write exactly what Maley said when discussing the Cavemen’s preseason prospects.
“We’re small, we’re slow, and we’re stupid,” said Maley, words that in future years would have gotten him fired.
Political correctness was not part of the landscape in 1959. Maley got a sharp rebuke from his principal and the coach and Magee didn’t speak again until very late in the season.
Magee, who came to The Union in 1956, was an excellent reporter who covered the preps more comprehensively than any writer before or after he left the high school beat.
Magee became the lead reporter of the new San Diego sports franchise, the Chargers, in 1961, and was one of the country’s most respected football writers and columnists for the next 40 years.
POLY NOT ONLY BEACH TEAM TO BEAT CAVERS
Maley had lined up a rugged schedule for his final season as coach. He would go into administration in 1960, partly because San Diego was dropping out of the Southern Section and forming its own alliance.
Maley liked playing those tough teams from the North and he got all he asked for after penciling in Long Beach Wilson, Long Beach Poly, and Las Vegas in the first three games.
The Cavers were upset at Wilson, 14-12, and beaten, 13-0, in Balboa Stadium by the Poly team which numbered many of the same players which knocked out San Diego, 26-18, in the quarterfinals of the playoffs in 1958.
After surrendering 456 yards to Poly in ’58, the Hillmen held the Jackrabbits to 262, but Willie Martin ran 64 yards for one touchdown and returned a kickoff 88 for another.
Led by tackle Mike Giers, Long Beach defenders made 15 tackles for losses of 94 yards and Giers sacked San Diego quarterback Steve Simon six times for 57 yards.
A 26-13 victory in Nevada got the Cavers rolling. They routed Lincoln 32-0 with 369 rushing yards and seemed on the verge. But St. Augustine, shut out, 51-0, in 1958, pulled off a 12-12 tie.
San Diego’s starting quarterback, the improving Simon, was ejected after inadvertently kicking a St. Augustine player Simon had attempted to hurdle on an out-of-bounds play in the first half.
Maley raged on the San Diego sideline at Simon’s disqualification and for almost an hour after the game.
The Cavers’ 2-2-1 record represented their poorest after five games since a 2-3 start in 1938, but they closed out Maley’s career with a remarkable run of six consecutive victories in which they averaged 45 points a game and gave up only 46.
There would be no opportunity to meet Poly in the playoffs.
As a presumed accommodation to the departing San Diego schools, some of which had complained of long seasons, CIF Southern Section commissioner Ken Fagans announced that there would be two groups of AAA playoff teams.
A three-week, eight-team bracket would be in use only one year. The playoffs would return to a four-week, 16-team bracket in 1960, said Fagans.
Poly was aligned in the Northern Division and San Diego in the Southern.
San Diego dispatched a good Chula Vista team, 34-14, in the first round after being seeded fourth, behind Monrovia, Santa Ana, and Redlands. The seedings had been made weeks earlier, as San Diego was just reaching its stride.
Santa Ana, the semifinals opponent, would be the measure by which the Hillers would determine how far they’d come in the second half of the season.
The Saints were 10-0 and averaging 35 points a game.
With H.D. Murphy, Richard (Prime) McClendon, and Richard Hutchison running in the manner of some outstanding predecessors, the Hillers overcame 12 penalties for 90 yards and rushed for 335 yards in a 26-6 victory.
Murphy gained 119 yards in 14 attempts, McClendon 106 in 11, and Hutchison, in his first start, had 58 in 12.
Santa Ana scored with 20 seconds remaining after many in the Santa Ana Bowl capacity crowd of 9,000 had departed.
SCOUTING? AND FOR WHOM?
Monrovia, coached by Mike Giddings, would be the Cavers’ opponent in the finals at Balboa Stadium.
The 26-year-old Giddings was the nephew of Don Giddings, the former Point Loma High coach who had become the school’s principal, and Ed Giddings, a San Diego attorney. Ed and Don played at San Diego in the 1920s and ‘thirties.
The Giddingses and Pointers coach Bennie Edens were in Santa Ana for the Cavers’ game.
Maley’s camp suspected that the Point Loma group was scouting San Diego for Monrovia. “Oh, no,” Edens said with a straight face when questioned by Paul Cour of the Evening Tribune. “We just wanted to see the ball game.”
Giddings had a coaching record of 29-0, including 11-0 in his first season as the Wildcats’ varsity mentor. He also had been undefeated in two seasons of guiding the B squad.
“We feel this: San Diego comes the closest to being the same type team we are,” Giddings told Jerry Magee. “We combine a quick line and fast backs and so does San Diego.”
“And we see no reason to stop now,” Giddings said, discussing his undefeated record.
John Kovac, after scouting the Wildcats with San Diego football aide Jerry Dahms and ex-Coronado star Stew Worden the previous week (Monrovia’s 14-6 win over Redlands before 15,000 at Mt. San Antonio Junior College), made an interesting remark.
“I know (Monrovia) is very perturbed because they’re not going to be playing Long Beach Poly,” Kovac told Magee. The Wildcats apparently were unhappy that they were playing the allegedly lesser San Diego squad.
The Jackrabbits were in the Northern Division finals against Hawthorne.
LET THE CARNAGE BEGIN
Jerry Magee’s lead succinctly described Duane Maley’s last game:
“San Diego High’s precisionists last night offered a stunning testimonial to Duane Maley’s coaching career by overwhelming unbeaten Monrovia, 53-0, in Balboa Stadium.”
San Diego players and supporters in the crowd of 11,000 carried Maley to midfield for the postgame handshake.
Giddings afterward remarked to Paul Cour, “I’ll be back in this town someday.”
Murphy scored three touchdowns on 81- and two-yard runs, and on a 79-yard kickoff return, and ran seven times for 127 of San Diego’s 369 rushing yards.
Simon scored three touchdowns (4, 15, and 64-yard runs) and had 119 yards in 7 attempts and passed for one touchdown and had another called back by penalty.
Hutchison had 60 yards in 12 carries, and McClendon 30 in six, not including a 15-yard point-after-touchdown run.
Had San Diego reached a point where it might have beaten Long Beach Poly in a return match, which would have been possible under the old playoff format?
The Cavers could only wonder.
Maley’s 12-season career record was 97-19-3 (.828)…Murphy averaged 9.6 yards a carry and scored 21 touchdowns…McClendon averaged 9.3…Simon, who didn’t play enough to letter behind Ezell Singleton in 1958, overcame early-season jitters and passed for 15 touchdowns…San Diego’s defense was led by Oliver McKinney, Phil Cooper, Willie Bolton, Charlie Dykstra, and Tom Meshack…Larry Wohlford was a standout center…Hutchison got his chance to start in the playoffs after Emile Wright ran afoul of the law and was suspended…Charlie Popa was named to replace Maley as head coach the week after the Monrovia playoff…Maley moved on to vice principal and principal positions in the City Schools…Maley’s son, Dennis, was an all-Eastern League running back and a tough defender in 1964 and later played at the University of Arizona before signing a professional baseball contract…Giddings never was “back in this town someday” with a football team…he moved on to became head coach at Glendale Junior College and defeated San Diego J.C., which numbered several ex-Cavers, 7-6, in the opening game of the 1960 season….