Football Blog

2015, Week 3: St. Augustine, Loyola in Rematch Here

Rick : September 5, 2015 10:00 am : Football

How far has coach Richard Sanchez’s program come at St. Augustine?

The Saints get another shot against a major opponent this week, tradition strong Los Angeles Loyola, ranked 24th in the L.A. Times and winner of its first two games, 34-0, and 45-7.

saints logo deuceSt. Augustine is 2-0 and second in  the Union-Tribune poll after an impressive, 48-21 victory over Madison, which followed a 41-3 win over Ramona.

Running back Elijah Preston, a 5-foot, 6-inch, 180-pounder, fires a prolific offense that will again test Loyola’s defense.

St. Augustine helped the Cubs celebrate their first home game since 1949 last season when Preston ran for more than 200 yards in a 42-35 loss.  The Saints had the ball in the final four minutes and in decent field position, but 3 consecutive incomplete passes put them out of business.

Always fielding a solid program, the young men at 32nd and Nutmeg streets in North Park have elevated under Sanchez, winning two San Diego Section titles (I in 2014 and II in 2013) and Sanchez has an overall record of 58-18 since succeeding Jerry Ralph in 2009.

Week 3 poll, after two weeks of games:

# Team (1st place votes) Points W-L Previous
1.  Mission Hills (17) 233 2-0 1
2. St. Augustine (5) 220 2-0 2
3. Helix (2) 194 0-1 3
4. Rancho Bernardo 109 2-0 8
5. Madison 92 1-1 4
6. Oceanside 87 1-1 5
7. Christian 83 2-0 7
8. Eastlake 70 1-1 10
9. Cathedral 68 0-2 7
10. El Camino 54 2-0 NR

NR–Not rated.

Others receiving votes (record & points in parenthesis): Torrey Pines (1-1, 34), Bonita Vista (2-0, 25), Hoover (2-0, 13), San Marcos (1-1, 11), Poway (2-0, 9), Lincoln (2-0, 8), La Costa Canyon (1-1, 8), Mater Dei (2-0, 3), The Bishop’s (2-0, 3), Mt. Carmel (2-0, 2), Grossmont (2-0, 2), Mission Bay (2-0, 1), Santana (2-0, 1).

Media and CIF representatives vote each week: John Maffei (U-T San Diego), Steve Brand, Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Jim Lindgren, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff (U-T San Diego correspondents), Bill Dickens, Chris Davis (East County, Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM), John (Coach) Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak (The Mighty 1090), Rick Willis, Brandon Stone (KUSI-TV), Rick Smith (, Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (, Drew Smith (, Lisa Lane (San Diego Preps Insider), Raymond Brown (, Montell Allen (


Kearny inaugurated its new football field in a 59-19 loss to Santana. Komets home games have been  at nearby Mesa College, which opened in 1964.

Before coach Birt Slater introduced the team’s traditional  “walk” (a pilgrimage in full gear from school to games at Mesa, a distance of several hundred yards),  home fields were at Hoover, Balboa Stadium, or La Jolla, with an occasional contest on campus, on the old field with the encircling track.

That field now is the baseball diamond, while the new football field occupies the former baseball location.

Alumnus Stephen Grooms estimated that the Komets have probably played no more than 40 or 50 games on campus in the school’s 71-season football history.  This would include games when the school was located at what became Montgomery Junior High. The present campus opened in 1955.

Kearny drew its biggest crowds for CIF track meets, which were held there in 1961 and ’62.

The track was notorious for blazing sprint times as runners were aided by significant breezes from the Kearny Mesa.  Birt Slater on more than one occasion remarked that the wind would die down as soon as some planted Eucalyptus trees “got some height and growth.”


Trailing in the third quarter, 35-7, Cathedral battled back behind quarterback Tate Haynes but came up short, 35-33, to L.A. Times 14th-ranked Westlake Village Oaks Christian. Haines’s father is Mike Haynes, former NFL cornerback now in the pro football Hall of Fame.

One of Oaks Christian’s stars is Mike Pittman, whose father by the same name and uncle Wayne were standouts at Mira Mesa. The senior  Mike Pittman  was an 11-season NFL running back out of Fresno State.

David Justice, Jr., whose father hit 307 home runs in his major league baseball career, is St. Augustine’s punter, holder on extra points, and partcipates on other special teams.  The sophomore eventually figures to  be the Saints’ quarterback.


Saints-Madison  drew about 5,000 persons to Mesa College…St. Augustine partisans weekly fill the East bleachers at Mesa…this includes several hundred, milling, socializing students on the rear concourse…that area is known as the “Petting Zoo”…Richard Sanchez was 6-14 as head coach at San diego High in 1998 and ’99…he coached in Northern California for several years…Mission Hills is the only San Diego team in Cal-Hi Sports‘ state top 20…the Grizzlies are 16th….

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1968: El Capitan is Pistol-Packin’ Mad

Rick : September 4, 2015 2:45 pm : Football

Late November in San Diego County produced rain, muddy fields, and fog.

Such expressions by Mother Nature carried the promise of critical fumbles and controversial calls, but not a touchdown that no one saw, accompanied by not one but two reports from the timer’s pistol.

A 29-yard field goal by University’s Steve Johnson gave the Dons a 10-7 halftime lead they improved to a final score of 19-7 against El Capitan in the County Conference semifinals in Aztec Bowl.

Although the fog prevented anyone from witnessing Johnson’s placement, most of those on hand enjoyed the faculty of perceiving sounds.

68CIFlogo0904150001El Capitan principal Russell Savage was one.  Savage heard two starter pistol shots at the end of the first half and announced immediately following the game that the Vaqueros were going to  protest the Dons’ three-point play.

Referee Clarence Burton ruled Johnson’s kick was launched before the half ended.

According to Burton, the unidentified timer, located high above the field in the press box,  told the referee that the first shot sounded after the ball was snapped for the kick.

The second shot, according to the timer, was to let the teams know that the half was over, because in the timer’s words, “the first shot was too faint to be heard throughout the stadium.”

Bill Center of The San Diego Union wrote that no one in the stadium was in position to see the scoreboard clock in the bowl’s South end zone and the kick at the north end.

In fact, Center added, few of the 6,500 on hand witnessed either.

An unidentified panel of three principals ruled against El Capitan the following Monday.

After more than an hour of deliberation, the principals issued a statement:  “Due to inconclusive evidence as to whether or not any time remained, the protest is disallowed.”


The El Capitan principal asked CIF commissioner Don Clarkson that the game be replayed from just before the field goal attempt.  Russell Savage noted the timer could neither see the field or the clock.

Savage also cited the fact that one official had told him that only 15 seconds remained two plays before the kick and that University had only one time out.

Savage also protested that no provision had been made for keeping the time on the field, although “everyone knew it was going to be foggy.”

The principal’s final shot as it were was that the semifinals contest was “handled with complete incompetence.”


Bill Center reported that coaches and administrators were preparing to take several grievances to the  CIF, most notably the  idea of two winners at season’s end.

The second year in which a Metropolitan titlist and a County winner would be declared co-champions was roundly criticized.

So were dates of games (the Metropolitan playoff was on the same night as the San Diego State-Utah State game)  and methods of picking playoff teams (at large squads were being given preference over teams that finished tied for first in a league).

Morse defeated University, 26-21, and Castle Park edged Escondido, 21-14, in the two title games.

Chuck Coover of Morse weighed in on the two-championship controversy.  “We want it and I know Gil (Castle Park coach Warren) wants it.  I don’t know of a coach who doesn’t want one title and one game.”

Castle Park and Morse would meet…in the season-opening game of 1969.


Avery Clark was vital to Morse's playoff march.

All-San Diego Section tackle Avery Clark was vital to Morse’s playoff march.

Birt Slater’s Kearny Komets had to gag on another bitter pill  after being knocked  out of the playoffs for the second successive year.

In 1967 they were on Lincoln’s one-foot line when time ran out in a 7-6 loss.

They led Morse, 19-13, with at least two downs to run out the final 61 seconds in this year’s City Conference final.

On second down from the Komets’ 27-yard line, quarterback Gene Watkins was sacked by Avery Clark, Morse’s 6-foot-3,  215-pound all-San Diego Section tackle, as Watkins attempted to hand off on a risky end-around play.

Clark hit with enough force that Watkins fumbled the ball into the air and Clark intercepted and rumbled to the 10-yard line.

Evilsizor was outstanding in Kearny loss.

Evilsizor was outstanding in Kearny loss.

Rick Halsey’s 10-yard pass to Mike Hawks on the next play etched a 19-19 tie.  Hawks then soccer-styled the winning point after through the heavy fog of Aztec Bowl with seconds remaining.

Until Clark’s game-breaking play, the game was a Watkins-Ed Evilsizor show.

The quarterback and his split end collaborated on touchdown pass plays of 43, 20, and 46 yards for a 19-13 lead.  Evilsizor had set up Kearny’s first score ran he ran 18 yards on fourth and eight out of punt formation.


San Diego County population was 1,320,000, increasing by 97 persons a day.

Caltrans district supervisor Jacob Dekema said the freeways weren’t keeping up with the population as he announced groundbreaking for an extension of the I-8 freeway from east of the bridge crossing the San Diego River  west to Nimitz and Sunset Cliffs boulevards.

Dekema,  also said that traffic analyses would be impossible in the metropolitan area “without use of computers”.



The Adams Avenue Bridge over the man-made I-805 canyon between Iowa and Boundary Streets was being replaced. The old structure, with its wooden trestles, conveyed the historic Adams Avenue trolley.


Small schools bosses Tom Gillaspie of Julian and Louis Bitterlin of San Diego Military Academy wanted no part of a releaguing proposal that  pitted their teams against Army-Navy and Ramona, schools with much larger enrollments.

The two principals suggested a two-division Southern League.  This would include a Mountain Division of Borrego Springs, Mountain Empire, Julian, and Rancho del Campo and a Coastal Division of Francis Parker, La Jolla Country Day, Christian, and San Diego Military.

Army-Navy and Ramona would become independents under the Gillaspie-Bitterlin plan.

The CIF disagreed.  Releaguing in 1969 would put Ramona in a Southern Mountain Division and Army-Navy in a Coastal Division.

Ramona and Army-Navy were going to move, because the Palomar League would go on hiatus in 1969, with San Marcos headed for the Avocado and Marian for the Metropolitan.


Orange Glen coach Dick Disney spoke too soon. “Potentially, this team is every bit as good as last year’s.  I’d have to rate our chances as good for a repeat.”

Disney must have overlooked the fact that the Patriots lost 31 of their first 38 players from the 1967 club that was 11-0 and won the County Conference title.

Orange Glen flatted out to a 3-5 record.

Point Loma quarterback Bob Kaye appears nonplussed, but coach Bennie Edens is much the unhappy camper as he talks to assistant coach on field-to-press box telephone. It was that kind of year for the Pointers.

Point Loma quarterback Bob Kaye is worried, but coach Bennie Edens is nonplussed as he talks to an assistant coach in press box.


Point Loma won its first game of the season…twice!

The Pointers, forced to forfeit three victories, bounced back to defeat Crawford, 21-9, for its official first win.

Point Loma, Mission Bay, and La Jolla all were penalized for using residentially ineligible players.

Games between the three Western League schools were declared “no contest.”  The schools also were forced to vacate any nonleague wins from start of the season.

La Jolla saved one victory because it did not use  its ineligible player in a 21-6 victory over Point Loma.


La Jolla coach Gene Edwards stormed away after the Vikings frantic signal for a time out either was not seen, heard, or was too late in an 18-14 loss to University.

La Jolla and Uni had combined for 213 yards in a wild last seven minutes on the Vikings’ rain-soaked, muddy field.  La Jolla was parked on the Dons’ 10-yard line at the final gun and screamed its time out shouts weren’t recognized.


Patrick Henry, 1,732 students strong in two grades, opened its doors and 170 boys turned out for football, eventually pared to 66 for varsity and junior varsity.

Head coach Russ Leslie, an assistant to Roy Engle at Hoover since 1960, had coached at least one all-Eastern League lineman since 1962.

The Patriots played three varsity games, going 1-1-1 and overall were 3-1 with a statistics freak’s dream, 5 ties, against mostly junior varsity competition.

“We’re not deep, but we’ve got some real good football players,” said Leslie.  “If we can play with these small schools now, we should be able to play with anyone next year.”

The coach was prescient.  Henry tied Lincoln and St. Augustine at 5-1 for the Eastern League championship in 1969 and was 6-3 overall.


Crawford was the largest school in the city with 2,932 students in three grades.  Madison was next at 2,700, followed by Kearny at 2,640.

The fourth largest was Horace Mann Junior High, one block from Crawford, where 2,469 students were enrolled.

County schools Mount Miguel (2,571), Helix (2,510), and Oceanside (2,485) had more students than Mann but all had freshmen classes.


…to the kneebone.

Morse’s Joe Kneebone teamed with quarterback Rick Halsey and scored on 60 and 41-yard pass plays in a 41-7 victory over Clairemont


Hoover stopped Lincoln on six plays inside its four-yard line, but Lincoln scored on the seventh.

You can’t blame the Cardinals’ defense if it focused a collective stink eye on the offense.

After recovering a Lincoln fumble on the three-yard line, the Cardinals fumbled on the next play and Lincoln recovered.

Fullback Larry Williams finally scored from the one-yard line and that was all the Hornets got, or needed, in a 6-0 triumph.

Escondido's Joe Reyes applies facemask technique to bring down Castle Park's Ray Sablan in Cougars' 21-14 victory for County Conference championship.

Escondido’s Joe Reyes applies facemask technique to bring down Castle Park’s Ray Sablan in Cougars’ 21-14 victory for County Conference championship.


Bill Walton was about to become a nationally known basketball player at Helix and his older brother, Bruce, 6 foot 5, 270 pounds, was the anchor lineman at Helix…Bruce went on to UCLA and was a fifth-round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys in  1973…Mount Miguel, scoreless in its first three games, outscored, 92-6, in its first four, made a startling recovery, outscoring its last 4 opponents, 135-22, to finish 4-4…Lincoln returned 9 of 11 defensive starters and moved end Melvin Chapman to quarterback, but Jerry Powell had graduated and the Hornets fell to 6-3 after winning the City Conference title in 1967…the Grossmont League’s eighth annual carnival drew an overflow crowd of 12,000 to Aztec Bowl as El Capitan, Santana, Grossmont, and Granite Hills led the East to a 27-0 victory over the West, made up of Helix, Monte Vista, Mount Miguel, and El Cajon Valley…when in doubt give the ball to Jeff Phair, who got the call on 11 successive plays and scored from 9 yards for Hilltop’s first score in a 14-6 win over Clairemont…Lincoln and Los Angeles Locke were “rained out”…Hornets coach Shan Deniston and his team were en route to their final game when Deniston was informed by Locke officials that the field at Gardena High was  a quagmire and that the game should be called…the Hornets collected a forfeit victory, turned around on Interstate 5 and headed home…Coronado would like to forget its 1968 homecoming game…final score, Sweetwater 58, Islanders 0…stone tossing, harassment, and rowdyism at night games had city officials thinking hard again about going to an all-daytime schedule…some games were switched but game lights prevailed….


2015 Week 2: Helix Defeat Unexpected

Rick : August 31, 2015 5:59 pm : Football

Helix still ranks as the No. 12 team in the state by the respected Cal-Hi Sports and dropped from No. 1 to third in the San Diego Section after a surprising (not to unhappy coach Troy Starr), 23-19 loss to Scottsdale Chaparral  of Arizona in one of the “Brothers in Arms” games last week at Cathedral.

Depending partly on  how Chaparral’s season plays out, the Highlanders dug themselves a hole in future state rankings, but they can start making up ground in two weeks against usually tough  Eastlake, which took a 14-13 loss from Whittier La Serna.

Game of the week  is Friday’s St. Augustine (2) tussle against Madison (4) at Mesa College.  The Saints stung Ramona on the road, 41-3, and Madison blew out El Capitan, 44-7.

Mission Hills moved up from second to supplant Helix at the top of the weekly Union-Tribune grid poll.  The Grizzlies beat a middle-of-the-road Los Angeles Crenshaw squad, 38-26.

Cal-Hi Sports‘ preseason top 50 included Helix at 12, Mission Hills, 17, Oceanside, 23, Cathedral, 35, and St. Augustine, 41.

Week 2:

# Team (1st place votes) Points W-L Previous
1.  Mission Hills (20) 234 1-0 2
2. St. Augustine (1) 202 1-0 4
3. Helix (2) 185 0-1 1
4. Madison 156 1-0 6
5. Oceanside 154 1-0 5
6. Torrey Pines 90` 1-0 9
7. Cathedral 84 0-1 3
8. Rancho Bernardo 60 1-0 12
9. Christian 42 1-0 13
10. Eastlake 31 0-1 7

Others receiving votes (points, record & previous ranking in parenthesis):                         El Camino (23, 1-0, 18th), Bonita Vista (1-0, 13, 16th), San Marcos (11, 0-1, 11th), Carlsbad, 8, 0o-1. 10th), Granite Hills (6, 1-0, 21st), Hoover, Grossmont (3 each, 1-0. NR) Poway, Mt. Carmel (2 each, 1-0, NR), The Bishop’s (1, 1-0. 20th), La Costa Canyon, (1, 0-1, 19th).

Twenty-four media and CIF representatives vote each week: John Maffei (U-T San Diego), Steve Brand, Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Jim Lindgren, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff (U-T San Diego correspondents), Bill Dickens, Chris Davis (East County, Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM), John (Coach) Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak (The Mighty 1090), Rick Willis, Brandon Stone (KUSI-TV), Rick Smith (, Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (, Drew Smith (, Lisa Lane (San Diego Preps Insider), Raymond Brown (, Chris Smith, Montell Allen (


Lincoln graduate Gary Webb was a proud father watching his linebacker son Deron earn all-Grossmont League honors  35 years ago and Saturday he watched with pride another generation.

Webb’s grandson, Davis Webb, was the starting center for the Scottsdale Chaparral team that beat Helix.

Seated beside Gary was Deron Webb, Gary’s son.  Davis Webb is Deron’s son.

Deron Webb, now a successful Certified Public Accountant in the Phoenix area, was a member of the Helix squad that won the San Diego Section championship in 1980.

A 1980 teammate of Deron’s for coach Jim Arnaiz’ Scots was Jerry Schniepp, future San Diego Section commissioner.



1967:  For Powell, Why Lincoln?

Rick : August 27, 2015 11:08 am : Football

Jerry Powell was 9-0 as the sophomore quarterback on San Diego’s junior varsity but transferred from the school of his family’s athletic greatness to the less traditional Lincoln.

It was a brilliant move.

Powell cleared this traffic jam and scored on 43-yard run against St. Augustine in Metropolitan Conference title game.

Powell cleared this traffic jam and scored on 43-yard run against St. Augustine in title game of Metropolitan Conference, although plaques received by players honored the “CIF Metropolitan League champions.”

Powell went on to a great career as the field leader for coach Shan Deniston’s Hornets, who were 7-2 and 10-1 in Jerry’s two seasons, including a San Diego Section championship in his senior season.

“I was only at San Diego High, because of the legacy of my brothers (Charlie, Art, and Ellsworth),” said Powell.

Powell did not live within San Diego’s attendance district.  The family had moved from Logan Heights to Valencia Park , within walking distance of Lincoln.

Powell was granted permission by school authorities to attend San Diego because he also was enrolled in two college preparatory classes at San Diego City College, across the street from the San Diego High campus.

But when Powell turned out for practice the following spring he was told by coaches the Cavers probably were going  to alternate quarterbacks, Powell, Leonard Simon and Glenn Callan.

A revolving quarterback situation didn’t appeal to the youngster.  “I transferred out of  San Diego and enrolled at Lincoln for the final quarter of my sophomore year,” said Powell.

“All of those guys at Lincoln, I played with in Pop Warner…Melvin Maxwell, Doug Jones, Bebe Franklin, all of them…I’d known them since we were little kids.

Deniston , Powell, and Hornets clicked.

“Horace Tucker (a Caver of Art Powell’s vintage) even talked to me about Lincoln.  Horace’s little brother, David Tucker, was on the team.”

Powell never looked back.

“It was natural for me, especially with coach Deniston.  Shan told me, ‘I’m going to put the ball in your hands.’ Shan was  a very underrated coach, innovative,  always thinking.”

Powell and many of his teammates, including Wally Henry, a 1970s transfer from San Diego to Lincoln, continue to celebrate Deniston, in his mid-nineties as of 2015, and lunch with the coach several times annually.

“He’s still driving his car,” said Powell, smiling  at the thought.  “We’re always telling Shan to pass us some of those secrets to a long life.”

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1967: Jerry Upholds Powell Legend

Rick : August 26, 2015 6:23 pm : Football

Jerry Powell’s performance was typical of one with literally the last name in San Diego prep athletics.

Powell was the youngest of four brothers whose achievements resonated here and in professional ranks over three decades, beginning after World War II, when Charlie Powell first set foot on the San Diego High campus.

Jerry passed for 28 touchdowns, scored 9 touchdowns, kicked or passed for 31 PAT, and scored 85 points.

Jerry passed for 28 touchdowns, scored 9 touchdowns, kicked or passed for 31 PAT, and scored 85 points.

Charlie (football, basketball, track, baseball), Ellsworth (basketball), and Art Powell (football, basketball, track) starred for the Cavemen from 1948-56.

Charlie and Art went on to long careers in pro football and Charlie also was a heavyweight boxing challenger, rising to No. 5 in the ratings.


Jerry burst on the scene at San Diego in 1965, quarterbacking the junior varsity to a 9-0 record, but the youngest Powell transferred to Lincoln before the end of his sophomore year.

San  Diego never recovered and Powell created his own legacy at the school whose birth in 1949 (and Morse’s in 1962) eventually led to San Diego’s athletic decline.

Powell led coach Shan Deniston’s varsity to a 7-2 record in 1966.  One of its wins was 31-20 over Eastern League champion Morse, but upset losses to Hoover and St. Augustine knocked the Hornets out of the playoffs.

Not long after that season San Diego Section administrators made a decision that would have a profound effect on Powell’s senior year.

The bosses found a way to not extend the playoffs but to make them more inclusive.

They decided to anoint two champions.

The San Diego Section board of managers, made up of various administrators, did this by creating a playoff “Metropolitan Conference” of teams from the Eastern, Western, and Grossmont leagues.

A similar “County Conference” of teams from the Metropolitan, Avocado, and Palomar leagues  was put in place.


While the two-conference idea was not popular among prep football followers and purists (the format was for football only; the other major sports followed previous guidelines), coaches and players had an additional championship for which to compete.

The good news was that an “at-large” team from each AA league was going to be invited to the postseason.

Lincoln was a beneficiary, as was Escondido.

The Hornets, who finished second to St. Augustine in the Eastern League and would have been an observer under the pre-1967 playoff setup, won the championship playoff of the Metropolitan Conference.

A longer, more maneuverable, three-week playoff season would come in the future.

Administrators were reacting, slowly.


Lincoln beaten, 20-13, when St. Augustine overcame a fourth-quarter deficit in the teams’ regular-season encounter, was Eastern runner-up but defeated the Saints, 28-0, in the championship rematch.

Lincoln first had to survive a scare against Birt Slater’s typically tough Kearny Komets.

After Chester Wells recovered a Lincoln fumble on the Hornets’ 28-yard line with 2:38 remaining in the game, quarterback Wayne Obereutter pushed Kearny to Lincoln’s one-foot line.

The all-San Diego Section team, row 1: Richard Eckert (71), El Capitan; Darrell Waters (33), Orange Glen; Phillip Covington (51), Lincoln:; Bruce Lecuyer (41), Clairemont; Craig Campbell (42), Kearny. Row 2 (from left): Justin Lanne (19), Clairemont; player-of-the-year Jerry Powell (19), Lincoln, Greg Brown (19), Chula Vista. Row 3: Paul Moyneur (11), Orange Glen; Dennis Sutton (18), Grossmont; Reed Chastang (16), St. Augustine.,

There the Komets expired, out of time outs and not able to run another play.

Obereutter dropped to his knees in frustration on the rain-soaked Balboa Stadium field.


Powell rushed for 124 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown hike, and passed for 136 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown strike to Mike Chapman, and passed or kicked for four points after in Hornets-Saints II.

Powell was San Diego Section player of the year, all-state, and a prep all-America, but he shared Eastern League back-of-the-year honors with St. Augustine quarterback Reed Chastang.

San Diego’s Dale Davis was lineman of the year and one of St. Augustine’s all-leaguers was tackle Dave Gross, years later a four-decade head coach at San Diego section schools.


Orange Glen topped Chula Vista, 16-7, in the County finals as quarterback Paul Moyneur, the Avocado League player of the year, ran for 171 yards in 19 carries and scored on runs of 23 and 32 yards.

A winner-take-all, Lincoln-Orange Glen game would have extended the postseason into three weeks but that was not going to happen.

The 10-1 Hornets would have been favored over the 11-0 Patriots,

Orange Glen rode with UCLA-bound quarterback Paul Moyneur.

but such a pairing would have had the pregame cachet that accompanied the Kearny-Escondido clash in 1963, played before 17,000 in Balboa Stadium.


Escondido High was 68 years older than Orange Glen and had won 242 games, compared with the Patriots’ 16 since they became the city’s second high school in 1963.

But their midseason battle for Avocado League supremacy was billed as the Super Bowl of the North County.

Escondido was coached by the legendary Bob (Chick) Embrey,  Orange Glen by Dick Disney, a standout running back in the early ‘fifties at Point Loma and a former assistant to Embrey at Escondido.

The undefeated, 6-0 new school, 4 ½ miles away on the city’s East side, played its home games at Escondido High and were taking on the tradition-strong Cougars, 5-1.

Bill Center of The San Diego Union reported a turnout of 12,000 persons as Orange Glen defeated the Cougars, 14-7.

“We played Escondido before 11,500 in a stadium that seats 8,500,” said Disney, who claimed that he “looked around to send in a play one time and there was a 45-year-old lady sitting on the bench.”

Orange Glen defeated Chula Vista before 8,000 persons at Aztec Bowl.


Bob Breitbard’s annual College Prep All-Star game, a fixture on the sports calendar for 19 summers, passed into history after Grossmont’s Brian Sipe led the County all-stars to a surprising, 13-7 win over the City.

Sipe, 1966 San Diego Section co-player of the year with Hoover’s John Morstad, completed 13 of 26 passes for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns as the County evened the series at 2 wins apiece.

Sipe was brilliant performer on prep, collegiate, and pro levels, playing 13 years in NFLand earning league most-valuable-player honors for Cleveland Browns in 1980.

Sipe was brilliant performer on prep, collegiate, and pro levels, playing 10 years in NFL and earning league most-valuable-player honors for Cleveland Browns in 1980.

A crowd of 9,721 first announced at Balboa Stadium by Breitbard officials, was amended to 7,477.

The game had come under criticism from junior college coaches in 1966.  The coaches  did not like the event date (usually late August) and were fearful of injuries to players who would be reporting within a week.

Bob McInerney, the Breitbard Foundation’s executive director, was defensive when addressing questions from the media and seemed to challenge  anyone to come up with a better solution.

The popular game made its debut in 1949 and hewed to a format of all-Southern California against all-Los Angeles City through 1955.

The game became San Diego County versus L.A. City in 1956, and finally went to the San Diego City-County format in 1964.

Insurance costs for liability and some occasional rowdyism at the teams’ training camps, Marine Corps Recruit Depot and Naval Training Center, were two of Breitbard’s reasons for bailing.


University left the  suburban Avocado League for the urban Western circuit and found that the cost of living had gone up, taxes were higher, and real estate more expensive.

The Dons were 40-17-4 since 1960 as members of the Southern Prep or Avocado leagues but fell to 2-5-1 this season, the poorest record in coach Bull Trometter’s 13 seasons.

Trometter sensed a long season when, trailing Lincoln only 13-0 after three quarters in the season opener, the Dons fell apart as the Hornets erupted for 26 fourth-quarter points in a 39-0 victory.


Marian  Jan Chapman coach, declared that “when we tied San Marcos, 20-20, we proved to ourselves that we can play with anyone in the Palomar League.”

The Crusaders finished 5-3-1 and had 17 returning lettermen but would finish only 4-4 in 1968 and lose to perennially powerful San Marcos, 27-6.

Monte Vista was walking proud at the start of the season, having won four consecutive Grossmont League games at the end of the 1966 campaign, ending a streak of 34 consecutive league losses; the school opened in 1961 and the Monarchs never had won a league game.

The success of 1966 meant nothing.  The Spring Valley school was 0-6-1 in Grossmont play.

Chula Vista earned playoff berth behind blocking of Blair Weurding and running of Frank En do (32). Weurding's brother was Evening Tribune writer Bill Weurding.

Chula Vista earned a playoff berth behind blocking of Blair Weurding, brother of Evening Tribune writer Bill;  running of Frank Endo (32) and leadership of quarterback Henry Sintay.


Bonita Vista, adding an 11th grade in its second year, played a varsity schedule in its first attempt at football.

Schools that did not have a complement of grades 10, 11, 12, often tried playing a combined junior varsity-varsity slate, or all JV except for 1 or 2 majors.

The Barons fielded a varsity without any seniors. As expected, coach Wayne Whitby’s youngsters looked and felt as if they’d run a gauntlet of baseball bats.

Things looked fairly promising after a 19-10 loss to Calexico in the opening game, which was followed by a 40-7 victory over Wildomar Elsinore.

Reality set in.

The Barons dropped their next game, 47-0, to Brawley and gave up 287 points in their last 7, limping to the finish line with a 1-8 mark.


Carroll feared some fields' conditions.

Carroll feared some fields’ conditions.

Barren, unlevel, cement-like fields at Mount Miguel, Monte Vista, Helix, Escondido, and La Jolla were cited by coaches.

“It worries me to just to be on one of those fields,” said Grossmont’s Pat Carroll.

“There’s  a lack of grass, uneven surfaces, and overwork,” said another Grossmont League coach who didn’t want his name in the newspaper.

The coach pointed out that the situation at Mount Miguel resulted from “ten weeks of drills, varsity and JV games, and Pop Warner activity.  Then the field was patch-worked (with) dead clumps of sod.”

Granite Hills’ Jim Symington pointed out the danger of sprinkler heads.  “They’re two to three inches above the ground,” he said.  “Those are really dangerous.”

The solution would be more fields and artificial surfaces in the future.


Gil Warren was named head coach at Castle Park and Dave Lay at Sweetwater, pairing as rivals two former San Diego State teammates.

Lay, a tackle from Grossmont High, and Warren, a wingback-defensive back out of Sweetwater, were on Don Coryell’s first Aztecs team in 1961.

Each coached 11 years at his respective school.  Warren had a record of 87 wins, 23 losses, and three ties for a .783 winning percentage and was 7-3-1 against Sweetwater.

Lay was 82-30-4 (.724) and, including another head coaching stint at Orange Glen, compiled a career mark of 101-35-5 (.734) in 13 seasons.

Warren’s 28-year record at Castle Park (he returned, from 1992-98 ), San Diego Southwest, and Olympian, was 218-88-5 (.709).

Lay liked to run the ball.  Sweetwater rushed for 525 yards in Lay’s first victory, 34-7 over La Jolla.

Ex-San Diego preps at USC included (front from left) Bob Weedn, Mission Bay; Bill Jaroncyk, Orange Glen; James Gunn, Lincoln, and Jim Snow, San Diego. Back, from left, Dick Allmon, La Jolla; Ralph (Chip) Oliver, Hoover; Jim Melillo, Sweetwater, and Richard Obereutter, Kearny.

Former San Diego athletes on USC’s 1967 national championship squad included (front from left) Bob Weedn, Mission Bay; Bill Jaroncyk, Orange Glen; Jimmy Gunn, Lincoln, and Jim Snow, San Diego. Back, from left, Dick Allmon, La Jolla; Ralph (Chip) Oliver, Hoover; Jim Melillo, Sweetwater, and Richard Obereutter, Kearny.

QUICK KICKS—St. Augustine’s 32-6 win over Hoover gave the Saints their first Eastern League title and first league championship in the 42 years the school had been playing football…for most of that time the Saints played an independent schedule…several Lincoln players went on to play college football and safety Doug Jones had a seven-season  career in the NFL…Jones was  Kansas City’s sixth-round draft choice in 1973 out of Northridge State and played for three teams…Oceanside’s 19-game Avocado League winning streak ended with a 14-0 loss to Orange Glen…the Pirates also were stunned in the season opener, losing, 38-20, to El Capitan as the Vaqueros’ 150-pound workhorse, Fred Hight, rushed for 285 yards in 41 carries and scored 4 touchdowns…Hight also averaged 12 yards on three pass receptions…the eight teams in the playoffs had a combined, 59-9-3 record:  St. Augustine,  9-0,  Orange Glen,  9-0, Lincoln, 8-1, Kearny, 6-1-2,  Escondido, 7-2, Grossmont, 7-1, and Chula Vista, 6-3, and an Marcos, 7-1-1…future all-pro cornerback Willie Buchanon was an all-Avocado League end at Oceanside…all-league tackle Pete Shmock of San Dieguito held the County shot put record at 64 feet, 11 inches, for several years, was best man at the wedding of  University of Oregon teammate Dan Fouts,  and earned international status when he qualified for the 1980 Olympics…his lifetime best was  69-3…more often than not, Shmock’s name was misspelled Schmock in the media…George Hoagland announced his decision to retire after Madison’s seventh straight loss…the Warhawks were 18-35-1 under Hoagland, the school’s first coach who started the program at Madison in 1963 after years at San Diego High… “I can’t stand to get beat,” said Hoagland…”I came from the school of winners and I can’t be anything else.”….

Player-of-year Paul Moyneur (not pictured) was on all-Avocado League team with Willie Buchanon (second row, right) and Pete Shmock (bottom row, second from left), among others.

Player-of-year Paul Moyneur (not pictured) was on all-Avocado League team with Willie Buchanon (second row, right) and Pete Shmock (bottom row, second from left), among others.

:incoln's Doug Jones went on to NFL.

Lincoln’s Doug Jones went on to substantial career in NFL.

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2015, Week 1: It’s Helix and Mission Hills

Rick : August 22, 2015 3:20 pm : Football

Helix received 19 first-place votes and Mission Hills 3 in the first, 2015  Union-Tribune football poll.

The Highlanders open their season at 2 p.m. Saturday at Cathedral against Arizona’s Scottsdale Chaparral in one of the annual “Comrade in Arms” games, while Mission Hills takes on visiting Los Angeles Crenshaw Friday at 7.

Game of the week is Friday night at 7:30, when Rancho Santa Margarita, ranked 13th in the Los Angeles Times, visits Cathedral.

Other interesting intersectionals include Carlsbad versus Phoenix Brophy Prep Saturday at 7:30  at Cathedral; Christian at Brawley Friday at 7:00, and Phoenix Desert Vista  at La Costa Canyon Friday at 7.

Most appealing matchup of preseason Top 10 teams has El Capitan and Madison meeting at Cathedral Friday at 5.

Week 1:

# Team (1st place votes) Points ’14 W-L Previous
1.  Helix (19) 217 10-3 3
2. Mission Hills (3) 198 9-3 4
3. Cathedral 150 10-2 5
4. St. Augustine 134 8-5 6
5. Oceanside 101 14-1 1
6. Madison 84 9-4 9
7. Eastlake 77 7-4 10
8. El Capitan 51 14-1 2
9. Torrey Pines 43 6-5 15
10. Carlsbad 39 5-6 NR

Others receiving votes (points, 2014 record & ranking in parenthesis):                               San Marcos (27, 10-2, 12th), Rancho Bernardo (22, 10-3, 7th), Christian, 18, 13-1, 8th), Ramona, 13, 8-3, 13th), Steele Canyon (10, 7-4, NR), Bonita Vista (5, 5-6, NR), Valhalla (5, 4-7, NR), El Camino (4, 7-6, 16th), La Costa Canyon (4, 7-6, NR), The Bishop’s (3, 13-0, 11th), Granite Hills (1, 9-4, NR).

Twenty-two media and CIF representatives vote each week: John Maffei (U-T San Diego), Steve Brand, Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Jim Lindgren, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff (U-T San Diego correspondents), Bill Dickens, Chris Davis (East County, Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM), John (Coach) Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak (The Mighty 1090), Rick Willis, Brandon Stone (KUSI-TV), Rick Smith (, Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (, Drew Smith (, Lisa Lane (San Diego Preps Insider).


# Team (1st place votes) W-L Points Previous
1 Oceanside (19) 13-0 190 1
2 El Capitan 13-0 160 3
3 Helix 10-3 150 5
4 Mission Hills 9-3 118 4
5 Cathedral 10-2 107 2
6 St. Augustine 8-5 84 NR
7 Rancho Bernardo 10-3 64 7
8 Christian 13-0 64 8
9 Madison 9-4 43 NR
10 Eastlake 7-4 27 6


David Justice, Jr., is a sophomore quarterback at St. Augustine and the son of the former major league outfielder of the same name who hit 305 home runs in a 14-season career.

Cathedral quarterback Tate Haynes is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Haynes, who intercepted 46 passes in his 14-season NFL career.

Scripps Ranch quarterback Zach Podraza is the son of Tim Podraza, veteran NFL game official


Hoover was featured in Fuel, a magazine dedicated to high school football. Coach Jerry Ralph and two of his players were selected for  the magazine cover.

Ralph was interviewed for an article that described a cooperative effort with school faculty. The idea was to improve Cardinals players academics and ensure their eligibility.

The Cardinals are 25-11 in Ralph’s three seasons and he is one of 41 coaches in the San Diego Section who have won at least 100 games.  Ralph is 121-68-2 for a .636 winning percentage in 16 seasons at four schools.

Hoover’s opening game Friday is against Ron Hamamoto’s Monte Vista’s Monarchs. Hamamoto is the leading active San Diego Section coach with 201 victories.

Ralph's Hoover program goes national.

Ralph’s Hoover program goes national.

—Bobby Hatchett replaced Brandon Hawkins as coach at San Ysidro as preseason training was beginning…Hawkins stepped in as head coach for Terry Tucker in Week 3 of 2014…former NFL linebacker Na’il Diggs is an assistant coach at Point Loma… Diggs, a ninth-round draft choice out of Ohio State by the Green Bay Packers in 2000, finished a 12-season, 170-game career with the San Diego Chargers in 2011…the field at La Jolla is under repair and the Vikings will play their home games at the new Mission Bay layout, some 60 seasons after Mission Bay began playing  its home games at La Jolla…Kearny returns home to a new stadium…Crawford will be on the road as the football field and the baseball diamond exchange places…


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2015: Lots of Coaching Changes

Rick : August 21, 2015 3:45 pm : Football

Seeking  head job?  Apply here.

At least 18 football vacancies have been filled in the San Diego Section as 96 schools await the first week of action Aug. 28-29.

The 18th newcomer will be Darryel Neal of Salton City West Shores, which is back in the Citrus League, in which it was a member from 1998-2007 before moving to the Southern Section.

Calvary Christian Vista either is closing or not fielding a team.

New coaches and those they succeeded:

Name School Replaces ’14 Record
Nehemiah Bronson Army-Navy Fran Fanene 1-9
Sean Johnson Calexico Joe Bielma 2-9
David Wong Calexico Vincent Memorial Daniel Galvez 10-2
Brennan Petree Calipatria David Shaw 1-9
Daryl Butterfield Chula Vista Drew Westling 2-8
Parris Piscona El Cajon Valley Norm Whitehead 3-9
John Mitosinka El Centro Southwest Joe Connor 4-7
D.J. Walcott Francis Parker John Morrison 6-6
Will Gray Kearny Kenny Nears 0-10
Bernard Vann Mountain Empire Bill Dobson 5-5
Dave Rodriguez Oceanside John Carroll 14-1
Darryel Neal Salton City West Shores David Guillen 0-8
Charles James San Diego Knengi Martin 1-9
Paco Silva San Diego Southwest Frank Paredes 0-10
Bobby Hatchett San Ysidro Brandon Hawkins 3-7
Sergio Diaz Serra Brian Basteyns 2-8
Rali Schwartz The Rock Scotty James 3-6
Edward Wean Warner Charlie Cheek 4-5




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1966: Shallow Playoff Pool, As Usual

Rick : August 14, 2015 9:28 am : Football

San Diego Section bosses, unlike their successors 40 years later, were determined to keep the playoffs short and sweet and the season’s length to their liking.

The administrators came up with a format that was surprisingly agreed to by St. Augustine and the  11 city schools and created an odd regular-season conclusion this year.

The final week’s schedule, described by some in the media as the “lame duck card,” offered no title-deciding or playoff-qualifying contests.  All Eastern and Western league action was nonleague.

The two city circuits had completed league play a week early.

Games and opponents for the final slate of games were shuffled to allow for a “private playoff” between Morse, champion of the Eastern League, and Western League winner Point Loma.

This was possible when San Diego and Mission Bay, Morse’s and Point Loma’s regularly-scheduled opponents, were switched and San Diego played Mission Bay.

The Cavers-Buccaneers contest freed the Tigers and Pointers for their postseason “play-in” game.

The playoff format was complete after Point Loma defeated Morse, 21-14, to gain the round of four the following week, assuring a postseason run of no more than two weeks.

Harlon Bartlett of the Evening Tribune came out swinging in September, writing that the 12 Eastern and Western League members “fell victim of the hoodwink before the first missed block.

“It all happened last winter when city administrators allowed (or were forced by) the SD-CIF council to allocate one playoff berth to the finest football flesh in the CIF,” said Bartlett.

Bartlett meant that the talent in the Eastern and Western leagues was superior to that of the other major alliances in the County and that the two city entities had agreed to a ridiculous proposal.

“That (Eastern or Western) team then will join with the Metro (Chula Vista),  Grossmont (Helix), and Avocado (Oceanside) champions to form the usual, four-team field,” Bartlett continued.

Commissioner Don Clarkson (center) has to "step in" and "separate" Point Loma's Bennie Edens (left) and Helix' Warren Vinton before teams met in San Diego Section championship. Not really. Just another photo op.

Commissioner Don Clarkson (center) has to “step in” and “separate” Point Loma’s Bennie Edens (left) and Helix’ Warren Vinton before teams met in San Diego Section championship. Principals, and photographer, weren’t serious.

The Avocado League, designated as small school since it was formed in 1953, became the fifth major loop this season.  This could have thrown a wrench into the council’s desire to begin the postseason with only four teams.

“I don’t know what will happen after this year,” said CIF commissioner Don Clarkson.  “I know the senior high principals requested a change be made for next year.  The only answer to this thing probably is releaguing or expanding the playoffs.”


By adding league runners-up (Bennie Edens’s suggestion in 1965), the following second place teams would be in the postseason this year:  University (8-1), Grossmont (7-1), Kearny (6-3) and either Hoover (6-2-1) or St. Augustine (4-4).

Not exactly a flood of mediocrity and adding only one week to the season.

Other teams that finished lower than second place, such as Lincoln (7-2). Carlsbad (7-2), Granite Hills (6-2),  and La Jolla (6-3) would have been on the outside, looking in.


The game had school pride ramifications.

By winning, Mission Bay would finish with a  4-4 record, its first nonlosing campaign since 1958.

By winning, San Diego High would avoid its worst season since the Hilltoppers first teed it up in 1891.

Staring at a possible 0-9 finish, the Cavers faced the ignominy of being less than the 0-6-2 club of 1961, the 0-5-1 of ’08, and the 0-3-1 of ’00.

Quarterback Leonard Simon, whose brother Steve was the signal caller in San Diego’s last championship run  in 1959, passed 47 yards to Howard Johnson for one score and three yards to Howard Chase for another in the fourth quarter as the Cavemen rallied to a 19-14 victory.

Perhaps just as memorable, a dustup started on the last play of the game and erupted into what observers described as a “wild melee”.

Order was restored and San Diego stayed out of the history book.


Investors may be doing that today, in the 21st century, listening to Ray Lucia, heard on San Diego air waves, offering financial advice.

Ray also was a good investment for the Poway Titans. The 5-foot, 8-inch, 140-pounder, set a school record with six touchdown passes in a 38-12 victory over Coronado.


Helix’ Warren Vinton, on  his playoff opponent’s offensive specialty unit:  “We’re a little worried about Point Loma’s ‘Dirty Dogs’, but (defensive coach) Bill White has come up with a ‘rabies defense’….”

Bennie Edens on returning 21 lettermen from the 1965 team that went to the San Diego Section finals:  “We had a good year, so we lettered everybody.”

Hoover’s Roy Engle on his reluctance to talk about injuries:  “After all, there are 500 mothers of Hoover High kids who won’t let their sons play football.”

Edens, on some assertive ball carrying by John Cervinsky in a 25-6 playoff win over Oceanside:  “He ran like a Tiger, and I don’t mean a Morse Tiger.”

Point Loma quarterback Bill Gable, after the Pointers rushed for 337 yards against Oceanside:  “I didn’t think they were very good.”

San Diego’s Joe Duke:  “If I had all of the players at San Diego, Lincoln, and Morse, I’d have a pretty good club.”


San Diego’s most painful loss was quarterback Jerry Powell, the last in a long line of great athletes from the same family.

Powell transferred to Lincoln as a junior and led the Hornets to a 7-2 record after guiding the Cavemen’s junior varsity to an undefeated season in 1965.


Morstad evoked Hoover memories.

Morstad had Hockervillers thinking of historic Hoover runners.

Hoover’s John Morstad, the County’s third leading scorer with 16 touchdowns and 4 PAT for 100 points, was being compared to previous Cardinals standouts.

“John Adams was a lot bigger (215 pounds) and could run over people,” said Morstad’s coach, Roy Engle, “but I don’t think Adams had the mobility Morstad has or John’s ability to score from anywhere on the field.”

Morstad, 6 feet, 175, also had a 50-yard average on 6 kickoff returns.

Hoover's Roy Engle, joined at Union-Tribune football luncheon by San Diego Chargers' Bob Petrich and Gary Garrison (from left), coached team to 6-2-1 record but watched playoffs from sidelines.

Hoover’s Roy Engle, joined at Union-Tribune football luncheon by San Diego Chargers’ Bob Petrich and Gary Garrison (from left), gave props to halfback John Morstad.

Adams scored 108 points in 1954 and generally was considered the school’s all-time best, along with George Stephenson (1951).  Bob Miller set the school record with 126 points in 1947.

Engle tied for the County lead with 57 points when he led Hoover to a 7-1-1 record in 1935.


St. Augustine, playing football since 1924, and University, playing football since 1957, met in the first game between the San Diego Section’s largest Catholic institutions.

Uni had been trying to get on the Saints’ schedule since Robert (Bull) Trometter became the Dons’ head coach in 1960.

As writer Jim Lindgren pointed out, “It turned out to be a case of dreadfully poor timing for the Nutmeg Street gang.”

Dunning arm also led to a major league pitching career.

Steve Dunning’s arm also led to a major league pitching career.

Uni Quarterback Steve Dunning passed for two touchdowns in the first six minutes and the Dons’ defense allowed only two first downs as the school located across Linda Vista Road from the University of San Diego scored a shocking, 30-7 victory.

As far as timing  was concerned, it was a down year (4-4) for St. Augustine and an up year (8-1) for Uni.

Dunning was the number two selection in the 1970 amateur baseball draft, picked  by the Cleveland Indians out of Stanford University.  Dunning became the  second player in draft history to bypass the minor leagues and go directly to the majors.

Dunning pitched seven seasons for five teams and held the distinction of hitting a grand slam home run off the Oakland A’s Diego Segui in 1971. The feat was not duplicated by another pitcher until the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez turned the trick in 2008.

A star running back on Dunning’s University team was Mike Carey, destined to  become one of the NFL’s most respected game referees.


City schools’ superintendent Ralph Dailard imposed an embargo on night football.  All games of Oct. 8 were played in the afternoon at the suggestion of police chief Wesley Sharp.

Sharp described a postgame beef at Morse after the Tigers’ game with Point Loma on Sept. 30 as “a near riot” and complained that he didn’t have enough patrolmen available to handle possible problems involving night football games every Friday.

Sharp was criticized publicly by one parent who said, “If police do not have the manpower to handle disturbances, then there should be a priority in developing the police budget.”

Parent Louise Dyer added that  it was”extremely unfortunate” that police at the outset did not make it clear that students were not involved in the disturbance.”

An investigation showed that  three students were involved and were expelled from school.

The school board, with Dailard pushing, lifted the ban after one week.

Sharp, who came in for criticism throughout the process, said he was “sorry the board of education did not agree with my recommendation.  We will continue to police the games to the best of our ability.”

CIF commissioner Don Clarkson estimated that city schools lost about $7,000 in revenue by going from night to day.


Coaches engage in  glowing adjectives.

Pick a season.  Pick a coach.   “Best I’ve ever seen,” is popular.   So is “best we’ve  ever had.”

Bennie Edens was more specific when he declared lineman Bill Alexander “the best pulling tackle I’ve ever had.”

Joe Duke was more general, boasting that the Cavemen had “more backfield speed than I’ve ever had.”

Helix’ Warren Vinton called Mark Brown “the best all-around running back we’ve ever had.”


Harry Elliott  played centerfield for the pennant-winning, Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres in 1954.  Elliott had 224 base hits and his .350 average led the league.

Elliott joined the St. Louis Cardinals  and made the team in 1955 as an extra outfielder and pinch hitter.  He returned to the Padres for the 1956 season and retired after playing for Chattanooga in the Southern Association in 1958.

Elliott used his college degree and began a long teaching career at El Cajon Valley High. He was named the Braves’ baseball coach in 1960, but answered the call from principal John Cornelius when football coach Ed Foster left after the 1965 season.

Elliott (second from left) played two seasons with St. Louis Cardinals. He's shownm here in Cardinals' 10955 training camp photo with (from left) Bill Virdon, Rip Repulski, Wally Moon, and Stan Musial.

The St. Louis Cardinals’ outfield in 1956 spring training included (from left), Bill Virdon, Harry Elliott, Rip Repulski, Wally Moon, and Stan Musial.

Elliott, who played football at the University of Minnesota in the 1940s for the legendary Bernie Bierman, wore two hats for three seasons, one for baseball and and other for football,

Elliott’s first football team this season was 0-9 after returning one letterman and losing the other two from the 6-2-1 team of  ’65.

Elliott was able to devote all his time to baseball after posting a 3-21 record in three seasons in football.


Escondido’s Bob Embrey rushed for 79 yards in 13 carries and scored a touchdown in the Cougars’ 26-7 win over Coronado.  Beaming on the sideline was his father, head coach Bob (Chick) Embrey.

Morse end Ernie Mallory’s dad played an important role in San Diego’s prep basketball history.  Ernie Mallory, Sr., was the top player on the 1935-36 San Diego High team that won the Southern California major division championship, the only such title ever won by a local school.


Oceanside’s 9-0 regular season represented the Pirates’ most successful since the 6-0 team in the war-shortened 1943 campaign…Helix,  9-1, enjoyed its best year since the 8-1’s of 1956 and ’61… Grossmont’s 7-1 was the best since a 9-1-1 record in 1947…San Marcos’ 340 points were divided by 17 players…the Knights defeated Marian, 47-13, for the  Class A championship…San Marcos had a scare during the season when it pulled out a 7-0 victory over the same team…The San Diego Union  student correspondent Anthony Cunningham kicked an extra point as the San Miguel School tied La Jolla Country Day, 13-13,  and won the Southern League championship…Hoover and Kearny opened against each other for the fourth successive season, the Cardinals winning, 26-24…Mission Bay had dropped 15 consecutive Western League games since 1963 and 14 in a row overall before Gary Myron passed five yards to Matt Maslowski on the last play of the game for a 20-19 win over La Jolla…Mar Vista tied Chula Vista, 7-7, on a spectacular, 82-yard, tackle-eligible play…Mario Alcantar passed 15 yards to to 200-pound Bill Homer, who lumbered 67 yards for the Mariners’ touchdown…Point Loma had its “Dirty Dogs” on offense, but defense was the Pointers’ game…Roger Wagar stopped Crawford possessions with 4 interceptions and Glenn Killingbeck ran 73 yards with a fifth  in the 14-6 victory over the Colts…Granite Hills’ 40-7 win over El Cajon Valley was its first over big brother…the Eagles’ campus, which opened in 1960, is located at 1719 E. Madison Avenue in El Cajon…the Braves’ home, opened in 1955, is at 1035  E. Madison, a separation of 1.8 miles….

Point Loma quarterback Bill Gable gained 21 yards on this play as Pointers ran away for 25-6 victory over Oceanside and defenders Sandy Heath (left) and Bill McMoore.

Point Loma quarterback Bill Gable gained 21 yards on this play as Pointers ran away for 25-6 victory over Oceanside and defenders Sandy Heath (left) and Bill McMoore.





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2015: Yetta, Ray Brokaw, Early Western League Standouts

Rick : August 6, 2015 4:57 pm : Football

Winning Pointers, back row from left:  Larry Moore, Mike Dolphin, Dick Walden, Doug Lawrence.  Front: Winston Yetta, Don Sadas, reading newspaper account, and coach Hilbert Crosthwaite.

Yetta (front row, left) enjoyed reading news account of Point Loma championship with Don Sada and coach Hilbert Crosthwaite.  Looking on in back are Larry Moore, Mike Dolphin, Dick Walden, and Doug Lawrence.

Winston Yetta, who led Point Loma to a Southern California basketball championship in 1959-60, and Ray Brokaw, a member of Birt Slater’s first two teams at Kearny, have passed away.

Yetta, a three-sport performer—football, basketball, and baseball—was the catalyst in the Pointers’ surprising, five-game title run in the CIF Southern Section AA division.

Point guard in coach Hilbert Crosthwaite’s weaving, pass-first offense, Yetta scored 22 points as the Pointers defeated San Marino, 52-36, in the finals at Los Angeles State to finish the season with a 17-10 record.

Brokaw and his twin brother, Jay, were two-way linemen on Slater’s 5-4, 1959 squad that won the first championship of the Western League, upsetting Point Loma, 12-7, and earning a berth in the Southern Section playoffs.

Ray is 32 in front row, next to Jay (34) lon the Kearny's 1959 Western League championship team.

Ray is 32 in front row, next to Jay (29) on the Kearny’s 1959 Western League championship team.

The twins also were important contributors to the 1960 team that posted a 5-3 record.

The Brokaws were part of an eclectic group.

The 1960 team included all-league end Bob Mosley, who was a founding member of the band Moby Grape, and television newsman Harold (Red) Greene, reportedly the inspiration for the character played by Will Farrell in the movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.


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2015: Hamamoto Lone Active 200-game Winner

Rick : August 3, 2015 10:33 am : Football

Ten active coaches are among the 41 who have won at least 100 games in the San Diego Section as teams  begin practice this week in advance of opening games Aug. 28.

Ron Hamamoto, 201-127-4 in 30 years at University, Rancho Bernardo, Lincoln, and Monte Vista, ranks eighth on the all-time list, 12 victories ahead of Rob Gilster, 189-117-5 at Orange Glen and Valley Center, 47 behind leader John Carroll, who retired at Oceanside after the 2014 season.

A 12-win season would tie Hamamoto with Jim Arnaiz, No. 7 all time with a 213-77-11 record in 27 campaigns at Helix.

At least two more could reach 100 wins this year. Damian Gonzalez is 92-77-3 in 14 seasons at Army-Navy and Poway, and Paul Gomes is 91-75-7 in 12 seasons at Escondido and Rancho Buena Vista.

Others moving up but still seasons away are Vista’s Dan Williams, 73-54-2 in 11 seasons, and Helix’ Troy Starr, 72-16-1 in six, and El Capitan’s Ron Burner, 70-44-2 in 10.

Damon Baldwin is 69-43-1 in 10 seasons at Ramona, Brian Hay 69-84 in 15 at El Centro Southwest, Hilltop, Mar Vista, and Sweetwater, and Tom Karlo 68-43-2 in 11 at Mount Miguel and Grossmont.

Go here for the complete “Coach 100 Club“, or click the Football menu item and then Coach 100 Club.

Please email with corrections or additions.

The active leaders:

Name School Record Pct. Rank/Years
Ron Hamamoto (1) Monte Vista 201-127-4 .611 8/30
Ron Gilster (2) Valley Center 189-117-5 .616 11/26
Willie Matson (3) Mission Bay 170-123-6 .573 12/26
Sean Doyle Cathedral 155-79 .662 14/19
Gary Blevins Mira Mesa 132-97-4 .575 20/21
Matt Oliver Christian 128-56-3 .693 26/16
Chris Hauser (4) Mission Hills 124-57-2 .680 28/15
Jerry Ralph (5) Hoover 121-68-2 .636 30/16
Mike  Hastings Point Loma 120-77-4 .607 33/17
Rick Jackson Madison 100-31-1 .761 40/11

1) Hamamoto also was at University, Rancho Bernardo, and Lincoln.                                                                                                                   2) Gilster also was  at Orange Glen.                                                                                                                                                                           3) Matson also was at Kearny, Hoover, and University City.                                                                                                                                     4) Hauser also was at Vista.                                                                                                                                                                                         5) Ralph also was at Santana, St. Augustine, and Del Norte.  

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36 Responses to Football Blog

  1. John Carter says:

    I just read about this website from this morning’s paper in Nick’s column, what a great find! I played on Kearny’s 1973 undefeated CIF Champioship team, and our 1973-74 basketball team was undefeated and CIF champions as well. I’ve always wondered if there has ever been a year where both football and basketball teams were undefeated and champions in San Diego County history? Thank you for all your work with high school sports history over the years!

    • Rick says:

      I thanked Nick. And I thank you. I don’t think there have been undefeated football and basketball teams at the same school.
      It’s just too tough a double. Undefeated football teams are more common. I’ll do some research.

  2. Buzz Ponce says:

    Interesting overview on St. Augustine for this upcoming season. Frank Buncom IV, however, is a cornerback, not a linebacker. His grandfather, as I know you are aware, was the original number 55 for the San Diego Chargers and is in the team’s Hall of Fame. Very interestingly, the other iconic number 55 for the Chargers — Junior Seau — has a nephew on St. Augustine’s team that also plays linebacker. Quinn Seau and Buncom IV have roots that parallel the greats in Chargers history. You can read a chapter on Buncom IV and Quinn Seau’s similarities in my book, “Finding Frank: Full Circle in a Life Cut Short.”

    • Rick says:

      I missed on Buncom IV’s position, but I don’t think he’s a cornerback. He’s more of a “monster” in that he’s all over the field, almost a strong safety. I’ve heard of your book. I also interviewed Frank Buncom, Jr., after Chargers games when I was a sports writer at the Evening Tribune. Nice man. Tragic ending.

  3. holly bryant says:

    1978 — Dan Henson was the coach at Christian
    2007 — Grossmont was 2-1 for 2nd place (West Hills was 3-0)

    • Rick says:

      Thank you for the info on Christian’s coach in 1978.. I could not find coaching listings for some schools in late seventies, as the CIF San Diego office does not have directories for those years. I also corrected the Grossmont-West Hills standings. For some reason the 5 teams in the Grossmont North played only three league games instead of four, so there’s no round-robin format.

  4. Absolutely awesome site. I just discovered it by accident right now. Love it. I am 2nd generation born, raised, played and coached in the South Bay of San Diego. I have always loved the CIF-SDS history. I’ll be spending a lot of time (I already have spent a lot) surfing this site.
    Thank you,

    Justin J. Schaeffer
    Resource Teacher
    Head Football Coach
    Murrieta Mesa High School
    (951) 677-0568 ext. 6421

    GO RAMS!!!!!
    Character, integrity and hard work breed opportunity.
    see us at

    • Rick says:

      Thanks for the very kind words, coach, and for subscribing. We have an article going today on three San Diego Section championship games yesterday.

  5. Bob Dexter says:

    I thought it might have been a misprint. Thanks, Rick for checking -still an impressive offensive show by La Jolla.

    • Rick says:

      Impressive indeed, Bob. The 63 points is a La Jolla record for one game, surpassing a romp in which it whacked Kearny, 61-20, in 2002. Last week’s win also ties a 57-0 rout of Coronado in 1990 for largest point differential. Adding to that, back in the heyday of Dan Berry and Butch Taylor the Vikings beat San Dieguito, 57-7 in 1961,. Those are the three highest scores in school history. La Jolla has been punishing U. City for years, including 56-7 in 2012.

  6. Bob Dexter says:

    I saw a score from last Friday. There were no details just the line score. At the end of 3 quarters La Jolla and University City were tied 0-0. The final was La Jolla 63, University City 6. High school quarters I believe are 12 minutes. How did La Jolla score 9 touchdowns in 12 minutes? (9 one play drives?) Does anyone have details on this game?

    • Rick says:

      I wondered about that, too, but a check with Jesse Kearney at UT-San Diego revealed that the actual score by quarters was La Jolla, 19-20-10-14–63 and U. City, 6-0-0-0–6. Sixty-three points in one quarter? That’s 9 touchdowns and 9 PAT attempts and 3 PAT in 12 minutes I suppose anything’s possible. Perhaps it’s happened in 8-man or 6-man. Thanks for writing, Bob.

  7. Jasen Boyens says:

    Orange Glen has gone the way of Sweetwater, Morse, Lincoln; victims of changing demographics over time. For OG it all started to fall apart when Valley Center HS opened, and the Patriots lost all those corn-fed farm boys! So many good players came out of VC, as evidenced by Rob Gilster’s sustained success with the Jaguars. Orange Glen was also victimized by the Escondido School District, whose board members were largely Escondido HS alums – implementation of a free-for-all transfer policy within the district, intended to bolster the Cougars’ fortunes. Despite the courageous Early family’s laudable decision to keep Andy and Austin home at OG, in hopes of bolstering Patriot fortunes, the football program remains decrepit. Dick Disney was a great man whose impact on many lives, including my own, continues through the decades.

    • Rick says:

      Jasen, very interesting comments. You could add several other city schools to that mix. Orange Glen did have it going. I think there have been 3 or 4 NFL players, Salisbury, Lenny McGill, I think, and maybe a couple others.

  8. BoyensJC says:


    Thought you might find this photo [ed: of the OG QB club] interesting;

    We had some pretty good quarterbacks come through Orange Glen for a spell there in the late 70’s through the early 1990’s. Lead by Salisbury, of course, but Doug Disney (and his older brother, Rick), Jon Mitchell, and Cree Morris were all San Diego CIF.

    • Rick says:

      What’s happened with Orange Glen football? Patriots had it going back then. I remember Dick Dinesy as an all-star at Point Loma, then later as an assistant for Chick Embrey at Escondido before he opened O.G. Last I heard Sean Salkisbury was in radio in Chicago. Thanks for writing.

      • Buzz Ponce says:

        Dick Disney also was the first varsity football coach at San Marcos High School when it opened in 1961, following his stint at Escondido HS with Chick Embrey. He was at San Marcos (which was then in the Escondido Union HS District) until Orange Glen launched in 1962-63. He was an incredible coach, and an incredible person. After his retirement at OG, he was elected to the Escondido Union HS District Board of Trustees where he served until his death in 1997.
        RIP, Coach Disney.

      • Rick says:

        I met Disney when he assisted Chick with the 1960 team that won the first San Diego section championship. I always wondered how he got to Escondido, considering he was a big name in high school in the city at Point Loma. thanks for writing, Buzz.

  9. Bob Dexter says:

    Rick, Thank you for the kind comments. Coach Leslie was definitely the right man to get our program going. That 1971 season was a lot of fun!

  10. Bob Dexter says:


    Regarding your article on the best defenses in history, the 1971 Patrick Henry Patriots went 11-1 outscoring the opposition 267-53 an average of 4.4 points. We had 5 shutouts and never allowed more than 8 points in any one game. We lost to Grossmont 8-7 in the championship game but it was a great season.

    I became aware of your great website from Henrik.

    • Rick says:

      Bob: The writer posed a question involving only “championship” teams. I researched from that angle but should have taken it further and included all teams. A one-point loss to Grossmont doesn’t dim the luster of that 1971 Patrick Henry club. Coach Russ Leslie got the new school up and running very quickly. The Patriots reached the San Diego Section finals in their third varsity season and were in the finals three times from 1971-74.

  11. malcolm pusey says:

    Great info. But I would like read tidbits for every season. How about a list of the greatest players (by position), teams and coaches of all time?
    I am just trying to help.

    • Rick says:

      Malcolm, great idea. I have been thinking somewhat along those lines. I guess I would start with Charlie Powell at one of the ends although he played fullback one year at San Diego High. Jack Mashin and Duane Maley would be near the top of my coaches’ list, but I’m first concentrating on the yearly reviews and the yearly scoring leaders. Are you related to Duane Pusey, 13-foot pole vaulter at Grossmont in 1949?

  12. Rick says:

    Mark: I’m not familiar with Jimmy Anderson. Ernie Zampese’s son, Ken, is on the Bengals staff and graduated from University High. I think Dante Scarnecchia played at Cal Western, later USIU.
    I see Lenny arevalo at breakfast every Thursday, so tell me his story and I’ll surprise him. Were you with Shacklett and Mendoza at Morse?

    • Mark Monroe says:

      Len’s story is set in 1973 the first year Jimmy Anderson was hired to teach at Morse and coach the defensive line for Shack. While the two of them were out for a jog around the neighborhood Jim asked Len “where do you see yourself in 10 years” Len replied “here @ Morse, I like what I am doing, why where are you gonna be?” Jim says ” I am going to be coaching in the NFL” and he still is as one of the longest tenured assistant coaches in the NFL. Coach Anderson is the innovative mind behind the warm up Morse would do before and after games known as “Tiger Jays” A tradition that has lasted from 1974 to 2011. Len can tell you the story about Dante. Bob, Len and I recently had lunch with Coach Anderson and Len told that story. Yes I had the pleasure of working with Coach Shack, Mendoza and Arevalo at Morse for 24 years. It was kind of weird working there since I graduated in 1971 and knew them as my idols. Thanks for the reply, Coach Monroe.

  13. Mark Monroe says:

    Wow great job! I worked at Morse for 24 years and have a story Len Arevalo likes to tell about Cincinnati running back coach Jimmy Anderson and New England line coach Dante Scarnecchia. Interested?

  14. Todd Tobias says:

    Great stuff, Rick! I will be reading daily. I bet I’ll find some good crossover stuff for potential AFL stories!

  15. John Walker says:

    Will you be adding a section for All-CIF and All-League players. The reason I’m asking is because I was a 2nd team All Eastern League linebacker for Patrick Henry in 1984 and I lost the newspaper clipping.

    • Rick says:

      John: I’m trying to get these narratives written for each year, plus finding scoring leaders for every year. In time I hope to get to the “all” teams. Thanks for writing.

  16. Albert Oliver says:

    Hi Rick. I played in the 1961 Lincoln/ Saints game losing 13 to 6 to Lincoln.
    Your parents Doug & Jane knew mine Al & Virginia Oliver ( Both Dads in the fishing industry).
    Just wanted to say hi.
    Still live in San Diego..( El Cajon).
    Al Oliver…12/07/2012

    • Rick says:

      Al: Good to hear from you. I see Ron Cota and John Nettles often. I think that was the game in which John made a one-handed catch. Willie Shaw and Vernus Ragsdale combined for about 225 yards rushing in that game.

  17. Richard Houk says:

    Just discovered your wonderful site (thanks to Don Norcross). It is wonderful to see a comprehensive listing of San Diego County’s proud history. I was a part of the 1965 San Dieguito Mustangs and noticed that you may have the wrong score entered for the San Dieguito/Poway game. I believe San Dieguito won, 19-14. It is entered correctly on San Dieguito’s record but not Poway’s. Thank you for putting all of this together!

    • Rick says:

      Richard: The score has been corrected. Game played Sept. 24, 1965. I’ll come up with the scoring summary and send. Thanks for commenting.

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