1994: Morse…Hawaii…it Must be August!

The gentle breezes of Waikiki were calling San Diego Section football teams.

Morse coach John Shacklett, who first brought his club to the Hawaiian Islands in 1985, led a vanguard of four local squads, there to play in the annual Shawn Akina Classic.

Shawn was a University of Utah football player who passed away suddenly at age 19.  His old brother, Skip, honored Shawn by conceiving the football series.

Hawaiian teams began play two weeks before school started in San Diego.

Getting to Hawaii meant relentless fund-raising during the year and mid-August practices for locals.

The CIF eventually ruled against the early games after he 1999 season, saying the participating San Diego squads were forced to begin football practice too early, weeks before the start of the school year.

But the experience created a lifetime of memories for all involved, and the game results, while important, were not the most important part of the trip.

Kamehameha defeated Mount Miguel, 17-0.  Farrington blanked Bonita Vista, 12-0.  Punahou whipped Morse, 36-22, and University topped Damien, 10-0.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?                                                   

Patrick Henry’s Errick Williams was known as Rickey when he scored 25 touchdowns and 150 points as a junior.  This season started with Williams answering to his given name, for awhile.

Williams went on to University of Texas and played 12 seasons in NFL, always wearing trademark No. 34.

Williams went on to University of Texas and played 12 seasons in NFL, always wearing trademark No. 34.

Press reports soon were again identifying him as Rickey.

However he wished to be called made no difference in Williams’s performance on the field.

Runner-up to the 154 points scored by Marlin Carey of Mt. Carmel a year ago, Williams let no one get close this season, leading the Section with 156 points.


Williams gained 244 yards in 19 carries and scored twice on 60-yard runs, but Helix scored 21 points in the final 3:33 to win, 28-13, in the season opener.

Despite his heroics, it was a frustrating evening for Williams.

Williams’ second score put Henry ahead, 13-7.  The next time the Patriots got the ball they went three downs and out and Williams did not get a carry.

The tide of momentum swung to Helix.


Williams maneuvered with a calf bruise throughout the playoffs, but managed 110 yards in 28 carries in a 21-17, semifinal win over Rancho Buena Vista.

The Patriots were handcuffed, 13-0, by Morse in the Division I final and Williams was held to 48 yards in 12 carries.

“It was sore more than in past games,” said Williams.  “It hurt when anybody fell on it, especially big David (Gates, the 285-pound Morse lineman).”


Christian coach Dave Beezer told Chris Ello of the Union-Tribune that he had approved the printing of “Christian High School Back to Back CIF champions” T shirts.

Jorge Araujo raises football after two-point con version in championship game.

Jorge Araujo raises football after two-point conversion in championship game.

The shirts were produced days before Christian went out and won the IV championship, 28-7 over La Jolla Country Day.

“Hey, we live by faith,” explained the 24-year-old Beezer.


Twenty-one area football players made NFL opening day rosters or hooked on with teams after being released or were inactive:

Name Position NFL Team College High School
Eric Allen Cornerback Philadelphia Arizona State Point Loma
Marcus Allen Running Back Kansas City USC Lincoln
Matt Brock Defensive End Green Bay Oregon University City
Brad Daluiso Kicker N.Y. Giants UCLA Valhalla
Charles Dimry Cornerback Tampa Bay UNLV Oceanside
Robert Griffith Safety Minnesota San Diego State Mount Miguel
Ron Hall Tight End Detroit Hawaii San Pasqual
Clifford Hicks Cornerback N.Y. Giants Oregon Kearny
Keith Kartz Center Denver California San Dieguito
Lincoln Kennedy Tackle Atlanta Washington Morse
John Lynch Safety Tampa Bay Stanford Torrey Pines
Lenny McGill Cornerback Green Bay Arizona State Orange Glen
Dan Saleamua Nose Guard Kansas City Arizona State Sweetwater
Sean Salisbury Quarterback Minnesota USC Orange Glen
Darnay Scott Wide Receiver Cincinnati San Diego State Kearny
Junior Seau Linebacker San Diego USC Oceanside
Will Tate Wide Receiver Arizona San Diego State Southwest
Jay Taylor Cornerback Kansas City San Jose State St. Augustine
Rich Tylski Center New England Utah State Madison
Tommy Vardell Fullback Cleveland Stanford Granite Hills
Bryan Wagner Punter San Diego Cal State-Northridge Hilltop


It was San Diego Chargers kicker Toni Fritsch, in his fractured English, who once spoke of how he was not affected by the pressure of critical field goal attempts.

Fritsch’s deathless words also resonated with St. Augustine’s Craig Meathe.

The Saints’ senior kicked three field goals, including the overtime winner, in a 23-20 playoff victory over Lincoln.

Meathe silenced grumbling Saints parents, who were unhappy when coach Joe Medina sent Meathe out to attempt a 44-yard field goal on a windy day at Lincoln and with the Saints trailing, 20-6.

Meathe converted that attempt, then cranked a 47-yarder with a tailwind that tied the score at 20 with 1:21 left in the game.

Meathe’s 26-yard placement during the California Tiebreaker came after St. Augustine had shut down Lincoln in four attempts from the 10-yard line.

“The field goal, however many yards it was, to tie the game was the most pressure,” said Meathe.  “I knew if I didn’t make that one we wouldn’t get another chance.”

La Jolla eliminated St. Augustine, 30-18, the following week as Meathe, who also punted and lined up at wide receiver and defensive  back, was taken to a hospital at halftime after hyperventilating.


A 34-0 loss to University in the III finals was bad enough for La Jolla, but the departure from Jack Murphy Stadium was worse.

A bus driver, one player, two team  managers, and a ball boy were hospitalized with minor injuries after the bus in which in which they were riding was rear-ended by the team’s second bus.

The buses were preparing to exit Friar’s Road and turn onto the I-15 Southbound on-ramp.

“The driver of the (second) bus was trying to avoid a Uni cheer bus that had some girls hanging out the windows,” said La Jolla coach Dick Huddleston. “I think he got distracted and hit our bus.”

Huddleston was riding in the first vehicle.  He said the driver was hospitalized with whiplash and the others had shoulder and back bruises, and whiplash.

“It was the end of a brutal day,” summed up Huddleston.  “We were just glad to get back home.”

La Jolla was 4-0 against Uni dating to 1989, but the Dons of coach Ron Hamamoto forced three, first-quarter fumbles that quarterback Mike Cavanaugh converted into touchdown runs of 4, 4, and 11 yards.

Uni scored all its points in the first half and Hamamoto fulfilled a promise made to the team after their opening-game victory over Damien.

Hamamoto promised his team that if they reached Jack Murphy Stadium he would wear the same Hawaiian shirt that he donned at Aloha Stadium.

HOW DO YOU REALLY FEEL?                              

Escondido’s 20-7 loss to Orange Glen was the Cougars’ 10th in a row to its city rival, prompting this post mortem:

“I did a crummy job coaching my team,” Escondido coach Tom Everest  told writer Ed Graney. “It’s my fault.  Period.  The kids played how I coached them.”

Introspection was the theme of the day.

Said Orange Glen coach Rob Gilster, who won for the first time after nine consecutive losses and a 1-9 campaign in 1993:

“We needed to win, but this just makes it more special,” Gilster told Graney.  “Last year was miserable.  I lost control of my team.

“We had too many guys wanting to be the superstar, too many ‘me’ guys,” said Gilster.

Fast forward.  Orange Glen improved to 5-5-1 and made the playoffs.  Escondido went from 5-6 to 7-4-1 and got to the postseason quarterfinals.


It had been so long since Castle Park played in a CIF championship game that the Trojans may have asked for directions to Jack Murphy Stadium.

After eliminating El Camino, 14-7, in the semifinals, Castle coach Gil Warren said, “The last time we played, the stadium wasn’t there.”

“It was in 1968 and we played in Balboa Stadium,” said Warren.

The coach was a year off.  The then-named San Diego Stadium opened in 1967, but the high schools still used the smaller, more compact venue next to San Diego High.


Castle Park’s 24-21 win over Torrey Pines in the II final reminded of a meeting during the summer.

Trojans coach Gil Warren was going to install the wing T offense and sought the counsel of Ed Burke, a guru of that alignment.

Burke also was the coach at Torrey Pines.

Cesar Perez' 27-yard field in fourth quarter beat Torrey Pines and sent Castle Park to finals in Jack Murphy Stadium.

Cesar Perez’ 27-yard field in fourth quarter beat Torrey Pines and sent Castle Park to finals in Jack Murphy Stadium.

Burke was asked after the championship game loss if he regretted tutoring Warren.  “I love Gil,” said the veteran mentor.  “I’d do it tomorrow.”

Warren was especially proud of his team, which took a difficult path to the title and 12-2 finish.

The Trojans’ three final playoff games took them through a gauntlet of Carlsbad, El Camino, and Torrey Pines, all from the powerful Avocado League.

“We kept winning and kept having to play another tough team from the same league,” said Warren.  “I’d hate to have  to do that every year.”


Warren coached at Castle Park from 1967-77 and won a section title in 1968.  He was an assistant coach at Southwestern College from 1978-91 and returned to guide the Trojans in 1992.

Castle Park’s championship was the first by a South Bay school since 1984.


Ninth graders were eligible to play football again in the Grossmont League, after a 15-year hiatus.

Proposition 13, a property tax measure in 1978, created budget cuts in many California school districts, resulting in some extracurricular activities, such as freshmen  sports programs, were cut.

The Grossmont School District superintendent approved the reintroduction of freshmen football for the 1994 season.

Supt. Jo Ann Smith pointed out that high school drop-out rates were on the rise and she was open to any suggestions that might help keep kids in school.


San Diego was 5-0 for the first time since 1958 and its 7-5 record represented the most wins in a season since the 1969 club went 8-3-1 and tied for the San Diego Section championship.

In a strange dynamic, San Diego and Morse, though members of the Eastern League, did not play.  They weren’t even scheduled.

The Cavers refused to play Morse, according to a coach with knowledge of the situation.

Rowdiness and violence had plagued the series in recent years.

The Eastern League’s six-game schedule would be completed only by Patrick Henry, Mira Mesa, Serra, Kearny, and Point Loma.

Patrick Henry defeated Morse, 20-17, and finished with a 5-1 record.  Morse was 4-1, followed by Point Loma (4-2), Mira Mesa (3-3), San Diego (2-3), Serra (2-4), and Kearny (0-6).

The skewed schedule did not have a material effect on the standings.  Of the seven Eastern League squads, only Kearny and Serra did not go to the postseason.

Morse evened the score with Patrick Henry, scoring a 13-0 victory in the D-I finals.


Eastlake won its opener at Hoover, 28-7, giving coach Alan Duke a 2-0 record against the school from which he graduated in 1961.

Eastlake’s first-ever game and Duke’s first as a head coach was a 21-0 victory over the Cardinals in the 1993 opener.


“We play the ‘run and shoot’ and if our guys are reading the right coverages, running their patterns to set things up, then all they have to do is play catch.”–West Hills coach Steve Sutton to Jim Geschke of the UnionTribune after the Wolfpack’s Brian Halsey passed for 316 yards and five touchdowns in a 55-36 win over Crawford.

West Hills scored 358 points in a 7-5 season and bowed out of the playoff quarterfinals, all guns blazing.  They came up short against University, 60-42.


“They not only hit me hard, they hit me often.”–Sore, bruised Marty Graham, after grinding for 148 yards in 27 carries in  Helix’ 20-17, Grossmont League victory over Granite Hills.

Other than a 70-yard touchdown on a draw play, real estate was not easy to come by.  Graham had 78 yards in his other 26 attempts.

The win over the Eagles paved the way to a 4-0 league record in a season in which the Scots were 11-1, losing to Torrey Pines, 21-14, in the AA semifinals.


“Carlsbad didn’t get to be 7-0 with mirrors; our defensive front played a great game.”–El Camino coach Herb Meyer, after the Wildcats defeated the Lancers, 21-6.

Bleachers were filled an hour before kickoff and more than 4,000 were on hand, including USC coach John  Robinson, who stood behind the stadium fence, which was lined 3 and 4 rows deep with spectators.


"Hip hip, hooray!" is cheer of Oceanside's Division II champions.

“Hip hip, hooray!” is cheer of Oceanside’s Division II champions.

La Jolla’s winning streak was at 21 before a 21-16 loss to Lincoln, which had recovered from a 60-0 loss to Morse four weeks earlier…future San Diego State and San Diego Chargers coach Don Coryell was head coach at Honolulu Farrington in 1952 and an assistant at Punahou in 1951…Sweetwater listed Malia Fanua, a 6-foot-1, 300-pound,  freshman as a starting defensive lineman…Scripps Ranch linebacker Gary Johnson is son of the former Charger known as “Big Hands”…Tom Barnett, 50-46-2, as Kearny head coach from 1977-86…returned this season, succeeding Willie Matson…Las Vegas Cimarron Memorial’s Chester Lanczewski hammered a 45-yard field with 10 seconds remaining to send visiting Sweetwater home with a 16-13 loss…the Red Devils beat Las Vegas Chaparral, 7-6, the week before…Corona Christian and Salton City West Shores, members of the Southern Section, competed in the Citrus League, an 8-man circuit that also included Borrego Springs and Midway Baptist…the Corona team had trouble finding games in 1993, its first season…Carlsbad improved from 2-8 to 8-2-1 under first-year headman Bob McAllister, a former assistant at Vista…

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