2014 Week 11: Revenge of the Cardinals

What a difference 70 years makes.

Jerry Ralph’s speedy, competitive Hoover Cardinals took a 63-0 halftime lead and then called off the jam, activated the running clock, and ran out the game against former arch rival San Diego.

The 63-point victory gave Hoover the City League championship and its first outright league title since Roy Engle’s 1963 club won the Eastern League championship by defeating San Diego, 20-7, on the final Friday night of the regular season.

Hoover’s 8-2 record tied the Cardinals for the fourth most victories in school history, matched by the 1956 (8-2) and 1986 (8-4) teams, and bettered only by the 10-2 of Willie Matson’s 1999 squad, Mike Wright’s 9-3 team of 2006, and Ralph’s 9-3 in 2013.

San Diego  fell on hard times years ago, but this latest, mercy killing is payback for the dwindling few Cardinals faithful who were around when the Cavemen destroyed the Redbirds, 72-0, in 1944.

Over the decades Hoover was on the receiving end of other San Diego blowouts, such as 48-7 (1946), 53-13 (1959), 56-7 (1969), 50-13 (1980), and 66-6 (2002).

League championships have been few and far between in the 85 seasons of Hoover football.  For years the school was known for outstanding basketball and baseball programs.

Hoover opened in 1930 and won titles in an early incarnation of the City League in 1931 and ’32.

The 1935 team, with Engle as its star runner, was 7-1-1 and won the Bay League championship.  That team’s .833 winning percentage has been equaled once, by the 10-2 of Matson’s Harbor League runner-up 15 years ago.

Ralph is ascending among the career leaders.

With a 23-10 record since 20-12 at Hoover, Ralph’s overall mark in 16 seasons at Santana, St. Augustine, Del Norte, and Hoover  is 119-67-2 for a .638 percentage, eighth highest among active San Diego Section mentors.

Winning at Hoover:

1931 City 3-0 1 5-3
1932 City 3-0 1 6-3
1935 Bay 5-0-1 1 7-1-1
1943 Victory 5-0-1 1 5-0-1
1956 City Prep 3-0-1 1 8-2
1962 Eastern 4-0-1 1 7-2
1963 Eastern 4-0-1 1 7-2-1
1986 Central 4-1 1T 8-4
2006 Western 4-1 1T 9-3
2014 City 4-0 1 Still competing.
The 1943 Cardinals, Hoover's lone, undefeated squad. Head coach Raleigh Holt (left) was assisted by Bob Breitbard (dark top, second row).  Stars included Eddie Crain (31), Jim Morgan (25), Frank mith (40).

The 1943 Cardinals, Hoover’s lone, undefeated squad. Head coach Raleigh Holt (left) was assisted by Bob Breitbard (dark top, second row). Stars included Eddie Crain (31), Freddie Espy (25), Frank Smith (40).


The computer spoke.

There was no outrage, just a few raised eyebrows when San Diego Section commissioner Jerry Schniepp announced pairings for the five divisions of postseason playoffs.

Winning a league championship does not have the cachet of the past.

El Capitan won a head-to-head battle with Helix, 24-17, for the Grossmont League Hills title this week, but was consigned to the top seed in Division II, while the Highlanders were the third seed in the Open.

With top clubs getting Open Division berths, the D-I bracket is beyond weak.  Point Loma (8-2), Madison and Steele Canyon, each 7-3, are the only winning teams of 12.

Open Division teams get first-round byes this week, then the bracket of eight clubs will battle for the Section championship and a possible invitation to the state playoffs.


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