Dick Huddleston scored a unique trifecta.
1—He was a tight end and linebacker on the 1960 Escondido team that won the first San Diego Section football championship.
2–He coached Point Loma to the 1973 San Diego Section baseball title.
3—And he led La Jolla to the 1993 San Diego Section III championship and the best record, 13-0, in school history. The unbeaten season was the second for the Vikings and the first in 58 years.
Lawrence Carr guided the Vikings to a 9-0 season in 1935. Carr also happened to be the principal at San Diego High when the Cavemen were surprised but not upset, 19-13, by Huddleston, a 180-pound lineman, and other similar-sized Cougars.
70 WINS IN EIGHT YEARS
Huddleston’s coaching record ranked among the elite. Although serving as the Vikings mentor for a relatively short eight seasons, 1990-97, Huddleston’s teams compiled a 70-24 record for a .745 winning percentage.
DID HE OR DIDN’T HE? Neighboring Mission Bay, the school that took much of La Jolla’s strong Pacific Beach and Mission Beach enrollment connection when that school opened in 1953, almost blew up the Vikings’ undefeated season.
“I still haven’t heard from anyone close to the play who said the kid ever got into the end zone.” said Mission Bay coach Jerry Surdy. “I would say, without a doubt, it’s the toughest loss I’ve had here at Mission Bay….”
Surdy was visiting with Union-Tribune writer Frank Brady after the Buccaneers’ 8-7 defeat.
This one went down hard, not only because of La Jolla’s Jaime Blake’s having transferred from Mission Bay the previous year after leaving Hoover following a beef with his coaches.
The Buccaneers had committed a dead ball foul as La Jolla kicker Jason Green was lining up to kick a point after following a La Jolla touchdown with 6:33 left in the game that made the score 7-6.
Huddleston, whose team had trailed all afternoon, took a time out and accessed the benefits of the penalty.
The foul moved the ball half the distance to the goal line, to 1 ½ yards. Now Huddleston opted for a two-point try and Blake squirmed toward the goal.
Did he score? Yes, according to the official furthest from the play.
“Hey, we dodged a bullet,” said Huddleston.
With 13 offensive and defensive starters returning and Blake looming as a potentially outstanding successor to 1991’s sensational E.J. Watson, the Vikings felt optimistic when they began this season.
But how far could they come back from a 2-7-1 mark in 1992?
Their opening game said much. La Jolla defeated Santana, 20-17, on a 43-yard touchdown pass play with 3 seconds remaining in the game, after the Sultans had driven 88 yards to take the lead.
The Vikings offered a preview of what to expect in the playoffs when they beat St. Augustine, 35-12, in Week 3. They repeated with a 14-6 win over the Saints as
Blake rushed for 206 yards and a touchdown in the championship.
OTHER SIDE OF COIN
While Surdy ruminated about a victory lost, San Marcos’ Ken Broach declared a 20-16 win over El Camino to be one of the biggest victories of his career.
Quarterback Luke Underwood threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:31 as the Knights rallied from down 16-7.
El Camino’s first loss to San Marcos since 1987 slowed the Wildcats temporarily, but they went on to finish 10-4 with a 24-14 II championship victory over San Pasqual.
HORNETS FOUL OUT
This time the officials’ flags favored Mission Bay in a 21-17 win over Lincoln. The Buccaneers drove 99 yards in the fourth quarter, with the help of three, 15-yard penalties, to knock off the Hive, 21-17.
BIG, BIG MEN
Seventeen Morse players were at least 205 pounds, including five who needed an industrial-sized Toledo when they weighed in at preseason training camp.
The Big 5 pushed the needle from 275 to 330.
Tigers coach John Shacklett weighed 205 and was the second heaviest man on the squad when he turned out for his senior season at Grossmont in 1956.
Reasoned 282-pound David Gates: “Athletes today spend a lot of time in the weight room. Everyone knows muscle is heavier than fat.”
The Tigers’ offensive line averaged a close-to-NFL standard of 286 pounds.
HELP YOURSELF, COACH
Not exactly, but when Morse was vacating the field at Brigham Young-Hawaii, the Torrey Pines squad was entering for its practice. ‘Pines coach Ed Burke had an idea.
Kiddingly (maybe) Burke attempted to persuade some Morse linemen to make a U Turn. “Okay, fellows, over here,” implored Burke. “I’ve got some Torrey Pines shirts for you.”
Pointing to David Gates and others, Burke said, “I’ll take this one, this one…this one”.
Union-Tribune writer Tom Shanahan was on the premises, covering the one-week trip by Morse, which dropped a 29-8 decision to Oahu Kahuku, and Torrey Pines, which defeated Honolulu Punahou, 32-21.
Meanwhile, Marian Catholic topped the Yakota Air Force Base squad, 26-8, in Tokyo. The base team, which plays other U.S. military schools, had won nine consecutive Far East championships.
Early-season ratings can be disastrous.
No. 1 Mt. Carmel fell to No. 9 San Pasqual, 47-7, in Week 2 as the Eagles, paced by Ethan Barkett’s three touchdowns and 117 yards, rushed for 494 yards.
Two weeks later Mt. Carmel defeated Rancho Bernardo, 17-9. Coach Bill Christopher’s surprising Broncos overcame the setback and finished with a 12-1 record, claiming the Division I championship with a 7-3 victory over Poway.
Mt. Carmel up and downed its way to 7-6, but not before shocking No. 1 –ranked Rancho Buena Vista, 45-7, four weeks after its loss to San Pasqual.
San Pasqual, supposedly rebuilding, went 10-3 and all the way to the II finals before losing to El Camino, 24-14.
THE HIP COACH
Shanahan had an interesting read on Rancho Bernardo’s Christopher:
“Bill Christopher, the football coach with the pierced ear and coach of NFL star Ronnie Lott (at Rialto Eisenhower), now has a new identity, coach of Rancho Bernardo, CIF San Diego Division I champion.”
Christopher, who played for Bennie Edens at Point Loma in the late 1960s, promised his team he’d wear an earring if the Broncos won the Palomar League.
Christopher affected the jewelry during the playoffs and, after the title game win over Poway, agreed to continue with the adornment through the team banquet. He was not excited about the prospect.
The issue arose during preseason practice when several players turned out with earrings, to Christopher’s disdain.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE…
Ethan Barkett was an all-San Diego Section running back for coach Mike Dolan’s San Pasqual Eagles.
Thirty years before, Ethan’s father was a starting forward on the San Diego City College basketball team that was runner-up to Fresno City in the State Junior College tournament.
Nick Barkett also was the first San Diego Section basketball player of the year. He led 24-3 Hoover to the 1960-61 championship.
THEY STAND ABOVE
Three South Bay coaches each won his 100th game, bringing to 16 the number of 100-game winners in County history.
Joining the prestigious group were George Ohnessorgen of Chula Vista, Gil Warren of Castle Park, and Gene Alim of Sweetwater.
Steve Brand of the Union-Tribune visited with some of the group’s active members:
“The one-hundredth is a milestone,” said Point Loma’s Bennie Edens (229). “After that you kind of go from victory to victory.”
“I was at about one-twenty when someone brought it to my attention,” said Dick Haines of Vista (127 at Dover, Ohio, and 180 at Vista). “The two-hundredth was no big deal. The three-hundredth, I thought it would never come.”
“To win one-hundred games you need an understanding wife,” said Helix’ Jim Arnaiz (156). “You need good assistant coaches. You need to have good parents and good players, and you need lots of luck.”
“All one-hundred means is you’re getting old,” said Ohnessorgen. “These players weren’t here when I started (in 1982), so our first goal is winning the Metro League and, in the long term, the CIF playoffs.”
ZEIG AND ZAG
Mark Zeigler of the Union-Tribune covered Chula Vista-Sweetwater, the premier, continuous rivalry in the County.
Chula Vista won, 14-12, when Sweetwater missed a two-point conversion attempt with 15 seconds remaining.
“It was,” Zeigler wrote, “the kind of game that embodies high school football, where you can’t find a parking place, where even those who can find a seat stand, where players hold hands in the huddle…”
…and only where the coach promises his players they could shave his head if they won. Ohnessorgen’s hair, soaked from the contents of a water cooler dumped on his head, would be gone by Monday.
ONE FOR THE BOOK
Bonita Vista’s 6-2 victory over Sweetwater, giving the Barons a best-in-school-history 7-0 start, was manufactured by one man.
Bonita’s Scott Shields kicked field goals of 37 and 47 yards before a full house at Sweetwater’s Gail Devers Stadium, then retreated out of the back end of the end zone from punt formation with five seconds remaining, giving the host Red Devils a safety and making for a final score of 6-2.
How often have games ended 6-2?
In the almost 100 years of football in San Diego County there had been 11 other games by that score.
The first teams listed in the table below were the 6-2 winners, except for Monte Vista, which was the 6-2 loser.
|1927||San Diego||=Santa Ana|
|1928||San Diego||St. Augustine|
|1992||Monte Vista||@Oahu Kaneohe James Castle|
“I just made the cuts, put my shoulders down, and executed.” Vista’s 6-foot, 240-pound sophomore Eddie Lologo, to Ed Graney of the Union-Tribune.
Lologo rushed for 165 yards in 28 carries as Vista defeated Rancho Buena Vista, 14-7, in the teams’ annual battle for city bragging rights. Lologo added, “We played our hearts out.”
It gets no better than that.
MADE TO BE BROKEN
Morse’s 1990 state record of 649 points in 14 games was topped by Concord De La Salle, which had 665 in 13.
Chad Davis’ career national passing record of 9,337 yards, achieved at Palm Springs, Torrey Pines, and Mira Mesa, was broken by Newbury Park’s Keith Smith (9,967).
Crawford’s Altie Parker caught 95 passes in 12 games, but was the state runner-up to Newbury Park’s Leodes Van Buren, who caught 101 in 14 games.
MON”DAY” AND NIGHT
For awhile it appeared the preps would be out of luck.
Saturday night, Dec. 11, at Jack Murphy Stadium, was out because the Chargers would have a game on Sunday, Dec. 12.
The stadium manager had been fired in 1983 after Long Beach State and San Diego State had chewed up a rainy field the night before the Chargers were to play the Dallas Cowboys on national television.
Stadium manager Big Bill Wilson worked with CIF honchos to arrive at a Monday, Dec. 13 date.
Combined attendance of 14,395 watched a triple header that began at 1 p.m. and ended about nine hours later.
Castle Park freshman linebacker Zeke Moreno did not pass age-eligibility to play football until near the end of the season…Moreno finally got his chance and had 13 tackles in a playoff loss to El Capitan…Dick Huddleston also was captain of the 1961 Escondido team and played collegiately at Cal Western University…Mission Bay’s 21-17 victory was its first over Lincoln since 1973 and ended a string of six losses in a row to the Hornets…his life would end prematurely in an auto accident after playing for the Los Angeles Raiders, but, for now, there was unlimited promise for St. Augustine’s Darrell Russell, a 6-foot, 5-inch, 280-pound defensive tackle who also was a standout on the Saints’ basketball squad…Rancho Bernardo’s 21-6 win over Monte Vista marked dedication of the Broncos’ stadium…CIF officials ratified in February a long-discussed and ping ponged decision by the Coordinating Committee and Board of Managers to drop the AAA, AA, A designation for football playoffs in favor of I, II, III, and IV….