Football Blog

2014 Week 8: Oceanside Faces Tough Final 4

Rick : October 14, 2014 4:54 pm : Football

Can anyone topple No. 1 Oceanside?

We’ll just stick with the regular season for now.

The Pirates’ last 4 opponents have a combined 16-8 won-loss record.

On paper, no  other team in the UT-San Diego weekly top 10 (see below) has a  more difficult month ahead except No. 9 El Camino and No. 4 El Capitan, whose final 4 opponents also are 16-8.

No. 2 Cathedral would appear to have the best opportunity to move up, with a final three that has posted a combined 8-6 mark.

Not so quick.  Two of Cathedral’s last three are Lincoln (4-2) and Catholic rival St. Augustine, which seems better than its 2-4 record.

Of course, it’s all on paper.  Anything can happen now that league play is on in earnest.

Oceanside begins its stretch run this week with an Avocado West opener against 4-2 Torrey Pines.

These are not the Falcons of the Ed Burke era, but  Torrey won its last 3 games by an average score of 33-12, and they played it close in losses to Mission Hills (17-21) and Cathedral (7-8).

The table lists the remaining opponents for this week’s Top 10:

=League. @Away.

Team Opponents Combined
1 Oceanside (6-0) =Torrey Pines, =Carlsbad, =@La Costa Canyon, =@El Camino 16-8
2 Cathedral (6-1) =Lincoln, =@St. Augustine, =@Mira Mesa 8-6
3 Helix (5-1) =@Mount Miguel, =Valhalla, =Grossmont, =@El Capitan 16-9
4 El Capitan (6-0) =Valhalla, =Steele Canyon, =@Mount Miguel, =Helix 16-8
5 Mission Hills (4-2) =Rancho Buena Vista, =Del Norte, =@Vista, =@San Marcos 13-11
6 San Marcos (6-0) =Del Norte, =@Vista, =San Pasqual, =Mission Hills 10-14
7 Ramona (5-1) =Westview, =@Poway, =@Rancho Bernardo, Carlsbad 9-15
8 Eastlake (3-3) =@Chula Vista, =Bonita Vista, =@Olympian, =Otay Ranch 11-15
9 El Camino (5-1) Vista, =Torrey Pines, =@Carlsbad, =Oceanside 16-8
10 Christian Hilltop, =@Clairemont, =@University City, Santa Fe Christian

Poll result after Week 7:

# Team (1st place votes) W-L Points* Previous
1 Oceanside (19) 6-0 190 1
2 Cathedral 6-1 159 2
3 Helix 5-1 148 4
4 El Capitan 6-0 127 5
5 Mission Hills 4-2 120 2
6 San Marcos 6-0 83 6
7 Ramona 5-1 69 9T
8 Eastlake 3-3 42 9T
9 El Camino 5-1 31 NR
10 Christian 6-0 20 NR

*Awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

Others receiving votes:   Sweetwater, 18;  Steele Canyon, 12; La Costa Canyon, 8; Point Loma, 5; Granite Hills, St. Augustine,  The Bishop’s, 2, each. Rancho Bernardo, 1.

Nineteen sportswriters, sportscasters, and CIF representatives from throughout San Diego County vote in the weekly poll: John Maffei, Kirk Kenney, UT-San Diego; Terry Monahan, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff (UT-San Diego correspondents); Bill Dickens (; Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions); John Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak, (The Mighty 1090); Jerry Schniepp (CIF San Diego Section); Rick Willis, Brandon Stone, (KUSI-TV); Bruce Ward (San Diego City Schools); Rick Smith (; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM); Bodie DeSilva (; Drew Smith (

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1952: 3 Too Much For Chula Vista

Rick : October 13, 2014 2:50 pm : Football

“We couldn’t convince ourselves that this team was as good as the Sweetwater and Oceanside teams we defeated.”

Such was the lament of Chula Vista coach Chet DeVore, whose Spartans’ season ended with a 19-0 loss to Laguna Beach in a CIF lower division, Southern Group semifinal playoff.

The small crowd of about 2,500 at Coronado’s Cutler Field was deflating enough, but the weary Spartans also lost 6 fumbles and their edge.

Chula Vista’s first blush with success since the school opened five years before had resulted in a Metropolitan League championship.

But Laguna Beach was the third consecutive opponent in a pressure-packed trilogy.

The Spartans didn’t have much left after a dramatic victory against Sweetwater and game-of-the-year win over Oceanside.


Oceanside assistant coach Swede Krcmar helps C.R. Roberts with clean jersey after Chula Vista defenders had torn the shirt with which Roberts began the game.

Oceanside assistant coach Swede Krcmar helps C.R. Roberts with clean jersey after Chula Vista defenders had torn the shirt with which Roberts began the game.

C.R. Roberts, a 180-pound Oceanside running back, had scored 181 points, led the Pirates to an 8-0 record, and created a loud buzz around Southern California prep circles.

Years later Chet DeVore would clear the dinner table and gather his sons John and James.  DeVore would place a bottle of catsup here, a salt shaker there, until he had 11 “players” in a defensive alignment.

DeVore would use the items to show his sons how Chula Vista defensed Roberts on a rainy night in the North County community before an estimated 6,500 fans.

Roberts scored once on a 17-yard run, but was met by a flock of defenders wherever he went.  Chula Vista won, 28-7.

DeVore figured the best way to stop Roberts’ sweeps would be to overload the weakside on defense, short-circuit Roberts’ blockers, and stack Oceanside’s run game.

Defensive end Bruce Cornwall was a hero in this defense, as Cornwall was left to almost singlehandedly patrol the strongside should the Pirates come in his direction.

Junior Bob Neely was the offensive and defensive star for the Spartans, scoring on runs of 18 and 2 yards, and intercepting 4 passes.

“Make no mistake, that boy is great,” DeVore said of Roberts.  “Neither myself nor my boys were disappointed.  He was all he was said to be.”

Chula Vista’s season would end with its own disappointment, but many Spartans would be back for another run in 1953.

Winning Spartans hoisted hero Neeley.

Winning Spartans hoisted hero Neeley.

So would Roberts, joined this year by Spartans defender Don Cameron on the all-Southern California small schools first team.

Roberts also was player of the year.


Coach Barney Newlee’s Red Devils, scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take a 13-7 lead into the last play of the game at Chula Vista.

Spartans quarterback Lavon Baker was tackled for a loss at the Red Devils’ 39-yard line and Sweetwater players and fans began celebrating as the final gun sounded.

Penalty flag.

The game could not end on a defensive foul.


Sweetwater was penalized 15 yards for roughing the passer.  Chula Vista was given another play and DeVore dug into his mental playbook.

Ray Speitel took a handoff from Baker on an end around play, then lofted a lefthanded 24-yard pass, to Baker no less.

Baker caught the wobbly spiral in the end zone for a game-tying touchdown.  Bob Wilson toed an extra point and Chula Vista escaped, 14-13.

Lavon Baker’s protectors included Chula Vista line stalwarts Fred Barnes, Don Cameron, and Fred White (from left).

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2014 Week 7: Oceanside, Carroll On Move

Rick : October 13, 2014 7:06 am : Football

Carroll has Pirates rolling again.

Carroll has Pirates rolling again.

The opponents and the milestones continue to pass for John Carroll and his Oceanside Pirates.

The 42-16 victory over Mission Hills left the Pirates with a 6-0 record and within shouting distance of an unbeaten, 10-0 regular season.

Herb Meyer doesn’t hear shouts or footsteps, but Carroll’s 240th career victory moved the Oceanside coach past Point Loma’s Bennie Edens for No. 2 all-time in San Diego County.

Meyer, who coached 45 seasons at Oceanside and El Camino (1959-2003), will continue to hold sway for at least more several years with 339 wins.

Carroll, in his 26th season, became head coach at Oceanside in 1989, thirteen years after Meyer left to begin the El Camino program.

Meanwhile, Cathedral’s Sean Doyle solidified his No. 14 position with the 151st victory of his career and Christian’s Matt Oliver went by Eastlake’s John McFadden into 28th with Oliver’s 121st win.

11 OR 8?

I saw the Mountain Empire-Army-Navy  score and did a double take, so I emailed Redhawks coach  Bill Dobson.

I asked Dobson if the Redhawks and Army-Navy had a personnel shortage and  were forced to drop  from 11-man to an 8-man game last week.

There were 11 on each side, Dobson emailed me back this morning.

“The points were being scored about as fast as the wind blows during a Santa Ana out here,” said Dobson.  “Both teams were banging their heads on the scoreboard.”

Mountain EmireMountain Empire’s 66-58 victory represents the second highest combined point total for any 11-man game involving San Diego County teams.

The highest combined score is 137.  San Diego had 130 of those points against Army-Navy in 1920.

Mountain Empire went with its running game, rushing 62 times for 619 yards and a 10-yard average.  The Redhawks were 0-2 passing.

Senior Josh Lee earned a day off, rushing 32 times for 381 yards, 6 touchdowns, and three, two-point conversions. Lee’s running mate, senior Jacob Wilson had 217 yards rushing, two touchdowns and  two, two-point conversions.

Even in eight-man games, the point total has been bettered only 12 times:

Year Winner Loser Score
2008 St. Joseph Lutheran @Grossmont College 96-74 (170)
2011 Classical Capistrano Valley Christian 82-67 (149)
2004 Borrego Springs San Diego Jewish 92-52 (144)
1984 Lutheran Midway Baptist 90-46 (136)
2008 Christian Life Lutheran 84-52 (136)
2000 Santa Fe Christian Army-Navy 77-55 (132)
2008 Christian Life St. Joseph 83-48 (131)
2009 Christian Life St. Joseph 74-56 (130)
1994 Midway Baptist Salton City West Shores 76-50 (126)
1994 Midway Baptist Borrego Springs 86-40 (126)
2013 San Pasqual Academy Wildomar California Lutheran 64-62 (126)
2007 Maranatha Rancho Mirage Maywood-Palm Valley 66-58 (124)


A field goal and length of the field interception for a touchdown gave El Camino a 9-5 victory over La Costa Canyon, which scored on a safety and field goal.

There had been one other 9-5 game involving a San Diego County team.  San Diego defeated Pasadena by that score in 1906.

The 9-5 score of 1906 was representative of the era.  From 1897-1912 touchdowns counted as five points.  From 1904-09, field goals counted as four points.

It seems safe to say the Hilltoppers scored a touchdown and field goal and Pasadena scored a touchdown.


Steele Canyon crashed in a 42-0 loss to Helix, leaving nine teams with spotless records: 

Team Record Best Start Year
Borrego Springs 7-0 7-0 2014
El Capitan 6-0 11-0 2006
Calexico Vincent Memorial 6-0 9-0 2002
Christian 6-0 9-0 2008
Oceanside 6-0 14-0 2009
Orange Glen 6-0 12-0 1988
San Marcos 6-0 9-0 1966
Sweetwater 6-0 13-0 1983
The Bishop’s 6-0 14-0 2010


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1952: No, No, Not Again!

Rick : October 9, 2014 6:24 pm : Football

The dreaded coin toss was back.

The flip of a silver dollar had elevated La Jolla into the Southern California playoffs after a first-place tie with San Diego in 1951.

The ubiquitous toss was facilatated by a similar coin,

Ubiquitous coin controlled playoff destinies.

Now, with a week remaining in the regular season and La Jolla and San Diego again headed for a tie for the City Prep League title, school honchos faced a storm of criticism.

“Flip For Playoff Berth Under Fire”, screamed a headline at the top of the first sports page in the Evening Tribune on Nov. 18, 1952, as teams prepared for the final week of play.

Only one team from the City Prep League would be invited to the 10-team Upper Division, Central Group playoffs.

The idea of a legislative tie-breaker, again, was roundly booed.  A simple solution would have been to choose the winner of the teams’ regular-season game.


Trouble loomed after San Diego defeated La Jolla, 23-6, but lost to Point Loma, 14-12, while La Jolla defeated Point Loma, 26-6.

Point Loma became a non-factor, upset by Helix, 26-7, and out of contention.

It was not all football at La Jolla for Dick Greenfield (left) and Art Luppino, hanging out with coeds Margaret Foster and Peggy Boyd, from left.

It was not all football at La Jolla for Dick Greenfield (left) and Art Luppino, hanging out with coeds Margaret Foster and Peggy Boyd, from left.

San Diego and La Jolla each finished with a 5-1 record, after the Vikings had beaten Kearny, 28-0, and San Diego whipped Hoover, 26-6.

The postgame drama took place in La Jolla coach Walt Harvey’s office in the Vikings’ gymnasium.

To the particular disgust of San Diego coach Duane Maley, La Jolla won the coin flip again.  The Cavemen had a two-season league record of 10-2 and were 14-3 overall but with nothing to show.


The seven City Prep League principals voted in June to invoke the coin flip option, going against themselves, as it turned out.

Writer Gene Earl of The San  Diego Union revealed that in a spring meeting the reps unanimously voted, 7-0, in favor of tossing the toss.

“The official vote, however, was ignored in the group’s next meeting,” Earl wrote. “Faced with such an issue once, 99 out of 100 leagues would have worked to eliminate such future decisions, but the ball was fumbled.”


San Diego was a sad winner after its usual victory over Hoover.

The coin toss news created  a bitter climax for the Cavers, who were in their best form of the season.

Finley ran long distance for Cavers.

Finley ran long distance for Cavers.

Ardell Finley gained 179 yards in 9 carries and broke a 96-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as the Hillers hammered the Cardinals with 300 yards rushing in 36 attempts.

Jerry Brucker of the Evening Tribune added a bummer when he wrote that “maybe San Diegans have outgrown their interest in scholastic sports.”

Brucker estimated an attendance of 7,500 for the game, which would have been the lowest in the history of the rivalry that began in 1933.

There had been only 8,000 on hand in the World War II season of 1942.


La Jolla did not disappoint.  The Vikings nudged El Monte and its 220-pound-average offensive line, 7-6, in its first playoff, then battled South Pasadena on the road before bowing, 13-6, in the semifinals.

The Vikings would not be competitive for a playoff berth for another decade.

The opening of Mission Bay in 1953 re-zoned  enrollment boundaries and cut off La Jolla’s talent stream from Pacific Beach and Mission Beach.

Walt Harvey left La Jolla the following school year and moved across town to begin shaping the program at the new Lincoln High.


Southern Prep League champion Fallbrook was dethroned after self-reporting a CIF Southern Section violation.

The Warriors forfeited two league games and three nonleague contests after coach Carlin Coffman learned that fullback Eddie Mojado had been playing Sunday baseball for the Pala Indian Reservation team.

Fallbrook's end-of-season saga told in headlines...

Fallbrook’s end-of-season saga told in headlines…

CIF rules state that athletes cannot participate in more than one organized sport at the same time.  Even if the second sport is not part of an interscholastic program.

(There was precedent, as in 1933, when San Diego forfeited every game in  a 19-3 baseball season after it was discovered that Cavers Chet and Swede Smith had played under assumed names in a meaningless game the previous summer in Imperial Valley).


Fallbrook victories over Mountain Empire and Army-Navy were vacated, leaving the Warriors with a 2-2 record and second place behind Army-Navy.

But league representatives  dissed Army-Navy’s Cadets and notified the Southern Section that Fallbrook would be the league’s playoff representative.

Fallbrook then made a U turn.

CIF SS commissioner Bill Russell was “quite surprised” when Evening Tribune sportswriter Mel Zikes called Russell to inform him that he had received word from Fallbrook principal John Brinegar that the Coffman-coached eleven was bailing from the playoffs. the playoffs, then out.

…in the playoffs, then out.

Russell thought it odd that the school official would go to the media before alerting Russell’s office and before the commissioner could pass the news along to Chula Vista and Laguna Beach.

Fallbrook was scheduled for a first-round bye in the Southern Group (small schools) tournament and would have met the winner of Chula Vista-Laguna Beach.


Principal Brinegar gave Zikes a lengthy explanation, citing injuries, scholastic deficiencies, and that some players had dropped out of school.

Fallbrook also was left with only “four players in the backfield this morning and only two of them were starters.”

If one thought bossman Brinegar  went out of his way to explain why the Warriors were bolting the postseason or that the school had an anti-playoff agenda, consider that after the regular season a year later, the Warriors declined a playoff berth again.

Coach Garrett Arbelbide said that decision was made by the school before the season began.


Not a new Mercury, but Helix liked its Merk.

Merk raised Helix' hopes.

Headed  for USC, Merk led Helix.

With Ernie Merk at the wheel, Helix’ emerged as the most improved team in  City Prep League.

The Highlanders, 1-7 in their inaugural 1951 season, improved to 4-4-1, tripled their scoring total, and knocked favored Point Loma out of the City Prep League race.


Merk scored 74 points, second to the 187 of Oceanside’s C.R. Roberts, and was the CPL player of the year.  The USC-bound senior was joined on the all-Southern California second team by Arizona-bound Art Luppino and Oregon State-bound Dick Corrick of La Jolla.

Helix tackle Carlos Fackrell earned first team all-CIF honors, Grossmont end Karl Grassl second team, and San Diego center Eddie Boyle third team.  Honorable mention went to San Diego end Tom Cofield, La Jolla tackle Chuck Smith, Hoover center Jack Argent, and San Diego back Ardell Finley.

Player of Year was Santa Monica quarterback Ronnie Knox.

Another first-team selection was end Ron Wheatcroft of South Pasadena, who starred at California and was prominent in San Diego business circles for many years.

Boyle anchored Cavemen's lines.

Boyle anchored Cavemen’s lines.

C.R. Roberts was the lower division player of the year.


A total of 368 candidates turned out for the first day of practice at  seven city high schools, but that figure shrunk in comparison to  the estimated 1,300 band members, cheerleaders, and flag corps that entertained before the 14th annual carnival.

This season’s event was dedicated to Edward Taylor, the San Diego High vice principal who conceived the extravaganza in 1939.

A last minute emergency resulted in Frank Rustich’s replacing Biff Gardner as game referee. Gardner rushed to his wife‘s side after she was in an auto accident near San Clemente.

A crowd estimated at 24,000 saw the three West teams of Point Loma, Grossmont, and San Diego defeat the East’s Hoover, Kearny, and La Jolla, 14-7.

Point Loma outscored Hoover, 14-0, in the second period as Hal Krupens scored on runs of 72 and 2 yards and Manuel Ventura added two, point-after placements.

Kirby Woods’ six-yard pass to Robert Meals provided the East with its touchdown.

For the first time, city teams had a played a complete game before the carnival, thanks to the way the calendar fell.

Point Loma's Krupens, on 73-yard touchdown run against Kearny, also ran for long TD in City League carnival.

Point Loma’s Krupens, on 73-yard touchdown run against Kearny, also ran for long TD in carnival.


Listed in the Evening Tribune as one of 11 returning lettermen for Oceanside was single-wing quarterback “Herb Meyers”.

Herb Meyer, same guy, minus the “s”, became Oceanside’s head coach seven years later, embarking on a Hall of Fame career which ended 44 years and 338 victories later.


–St. Augustine’s Hank Zumstein scored on a 77-yard run in the Saints’ 19-7 loss to  Coronado.  Nothing to get overly excited about,  but the feat was reported in The San Diego Union the next day as being accomplished by Hank “Sunstin”.

There are several possible reasons as to why Zumstein’s named was botched:

–The game was at Coronado and probably was called in by a student from the host school not familiar with the visiting team’s names.

–Newspaper sports departments are filled with activity and noise on Friday nights during the school year.  The reporter taking the call may have been hard of hearing, causing the  misspelled name.

–Third and most often the reason, the man answering  one of the sports desk telephones probably spent his lunch hour across the street from the newspaper’s office at the “Press Room”, a notorious watering hole of the era.

Chances are the staffer was not of a clear mind when he returned.


Mrs. Mary Nettles, a decade later, knew the frustration of the Zumstein family and other proud parents, whose offspring names were routinely butchered in newspaper accounts.

Mrs. Nettles’ son Graig alternately was identified as Craig, Greg, Gregg, and even Gary during his days as a San Diego High basketball and baseball star.


A newcomer to the La Jolla High squad asked coach Walt Harvey for jersey number 57.  Harvey wondered why.  Players usually request more popular numerals, such as 7, 11, 13, etc.

Linebacker Dick Thorson (left) is weighed by quarterback and co-captain Dick Corrick as defensive back Steve Gray kibitzes before La Jolla met South Pasadena.

The coach checked his roster sheet.  The newcomer’s name was John Hinds.

You know, Heinz “57 Varieties”.


San Diego coach Duane Maley’s six running backs were aligned, not just by their ability to dodge tacklers and go the distance.

Ermon Johnson wore jersey number 18, Garnett Adams 19, Floyd Robinson 20, Horace Tucker 21, Ardell Finley 22, and Carl Osborne 23.


Seven San Diego Cavers were late  reporting for football.

Tucker was batting star in national baseball tournament.

Tucker was batting star in national baseball tournament.

The group was with the Fighting Bob Post 364 of San Diego that was in Denver for the American Legion national baseball tournament, where they were runners-up to a team from Cincinnati.

Floyd Robinson, who played nine seasons in the major leagues,  and Horace Tucker were among the late-arriving baseballers.

Tucker won the American Legion Louisville Slugger award with a tournament average of .452.


Mel Zikes of the Evening Tribune predicted Oceanside would beat Chula Vista by 3 touchdowns and outscore Laguna Beach by 20 points. Chula Vista won by 21 and Laguna Beach by 20.


DiTomaso played for and was head coach of St. Augustine.

DiTomaso played for and was head coach of St. Augustine.

Joe DiTomaso was a starting lineman for coach John Finan at St. Augustine and later coached the Saints  to a 12-0 record and the San Diego Section championship in 1970…Vista, 4-5-1 in ’51, took a step up from Southern Prep to the Metropolitan and was 5-4…plans to open the new Helix Stadium during the season did not materialize, as the facility was not enclosed…the Highlanders played home games at Aztec Bowl…Grossmont’s Ed Reed and Bob Baker were diagnosed with polio but recovered…after a 19-0 loss to Inglewood, San Diego had stunningly not scored a point in 63 minutes of play, including the carnival in which the Cavemen were tied by La Jolla, 0-0…they broke the drought 2:40 into the first quarter when Ardell Finley ran 65 yards for a score in a 13-6 win over L.A Roosevelt…the Metropolitan League was 10-3-2 in intersectionals… Karl Grassl caught 7 passes for 4 touchdowns in Grossmont’s 34-25 loss at Phoenix St. Mary’s in the Foothillers’ final game….




2014: Oceanside Gains With Cal-Hi Sports

Rick : October 8, 2014 9:42 am : Football

Rest not only can cure what ails you but can help in the rankings.

Oceanside and Mission Hills, idle last week as they ramped up for this week’s battle of the Highway 78 corridor, each was elevated in Cal-Hi Sports’ weekly State Top 25.

Oceanside moved from eighth to seventh and was positioned at fifth in the South Division I ratings.

Mission Hills went from 13th to 11th.  Cathedral and Helix more or less enjoyed “On the Bubble” status.

El Capitan ranks first in DIII South and Christian is first in DIV South.

Cal-Hi’s First 20:

Team Record Section Last
1. Bellflower St. John Bosco 4-1 Southern 1
2. Concord De La Salle 6-0 North Coast 2
 3. Santa Ana Mater Dei 5-0 Southern 3
 4. Folsom 6-0 Sac-Joaquin 4
 5. Mission Hills Alemany 5-0 Southern 5
6. Corona Centennial 3-2 Southern 7
 7. Oceanside 5-0 San Diego 8
 8. Anaheim Servite 3-2 Southern 10
 9. San Juan Capistrano JSerra 5-0 Southern 11
 10. Long Beach Poly 5-1 Southern 12
 11. Mission Hills 4-1 San Diego 13
 12. Orange Lutheran 4-1 Southern 14
 13. Sacramento Grant 5-0 Sac-Joaquin 15
 14. West Hills Chaminade 5-1 Southern 6
 15. Fresno Edison 5-0 Central 18
 16. Bakersfield 4-1 Central 20
 17. Santa Margarita 4-1 Southern 17
 18. Westlake 3-2 Southern 16
 19. Pleasanton Foothill 5-0 North Coast 21
 20. Encino Crespi 5-0 Southern 23

Although this week’s matchup is nonleague, the game has season-long implications.

The Avocado West Pirates are hoping for high seeds in San Diego Section and Southern California postseason events.

A loss will severely damage Oceanside’s chances and a loss will essentially end any postseason hope beyond the San Diego Section for Mission Hills.

Clear the Decks.

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2014 Week 6: And Now There Are 10

Rick : October 5, 2014 7:47 pm : Football

With a nod to the beginning of league play next week, seven of the top 10 teams in the weekly UT-San Diego poll this week took the night off.

Through Week 6, ten teams still are undefeated, compared with seven a year ago.

The 2014 unbeatens:

Team Record Best* Year
Borrego Springs 6-0 5-0 2006
El Capitan 6-0 11-0 2006
Calexico Vincent Memorial 5-0 9-0 2002
Christian 5-0 9-0 2008
Oceanside 5-0 14-0 2009
Orange Glen 6-0 12-0 1988
San Marcos 5-0 9-0 1966
Steele Canyon 5-0 3-0 2010
Sweetwater 5-0 13-0 1983
The Bishop’s 5-0 14-0 2010

*Wins in a row from start of season.

Borrego Springs’ forfeit victory over Warner this week assured the Rams of their 11th winning season in the 48 since they teed it up for the first time in 1967.

A 6-0 record represents very rarefied air. Borrego’s overall record is 125-249-8, a .338 “winning” percentage.


Cathedral got past tough Eastlake, 17-14, on Tim Semenza’s 37-yard field goal as the game ended…Mission Bay scored than half of its 62 points with a 34-point first quarter against San Diego…Madison was ahead of Mira Mesa, 42-0, after 17 seconds had elapsed in the second quarter…El Camino’s fourth straight victory, 38-6 over San Pasqual, is the Wildcats’ most in a row since a Herb Meyer club won five straight in 2001…Orange Glen clinched its first winning season since 1988 with its 41-20 victory over El Cajon Valley…

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2014 Week 6: El Capitan Off The Back Burner

Rick : October 1, 2014 2:36 pm : Football

Coach Ron Burner has El Capitan on a fast track, but will its wheels hold up?

El Cap has thrived under Burner.

El Cap has thrived under Burner.

The Vaqueros have started 5-0 twice, in 1967 under  Joe Till, and in 1973, with Joe Rockhold as boss.

They can become 5-0 this week, but a 5-0 visitor, Granite Hills, stands in the way, as do Steele Canyon (5-0), Helix (4-1), Grossmont and Mount Miguel (each 3-2)  and Valhalla (2-2), upcoming opponents with a combined record of 22-7.

El Capitan has  gotten an endorsement from Cal-Hi Sports, which elevated the Burners  to No. 1 in Southern California Division III, a lofty position helped in part last week by Cathedral’s 42-28 win over then-undefeated Newbury Park.

Christian (5-0) is No. 1 in Southern California D-IV, but hasn’t cracked the San Diego Top 10. The Vaqueros are fifth in the local voting,

Burner, who for many years operated a sheet-metal business in nearby Santee, has guided the Lakeside entry to a 61-43-2 record since 2005.

Oceanside and Mission Hills, which will meet Oct. 10 at Oceanside, each has a bye this week.

Oceanside  moved  to No. 8 in Cal-Hi Sports‘ Top 25 and Mission Hills is 13th. Comebacking Cathedral (4-1) now has “On the Bubble” status, an upgrade from the abyss of its 55-10, opening-game loss to Folsom.

Helix and St. Augustine (2-3) also are on the bubble.

The UT-San Diego poll after games of Week 5:

# Team (1st place votes) W-L Points* Previous
1 Oceanside (19) 5-0 190 1
2 Mission Hills 4-1 159 2
3 Cathedral 4-1 154 3
4 Helix 4-1 137 4
5 El Capitan 4-0 128 5
6 San Marcos 5-0 61 8
7 La Costa Canyon 4-1 60 9
7 Eastlake 3-2 60 10
9 Steele Canyon 5-0 35 NR
10 Ramona 4-1 33 6

*Awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
NR: not ranked.
Others receiving votes:  Granite Hills, 14; Sweetwater, 12;  Christian, 9; St. Augustine, 4; Point Loma, 3; Carlsbad, 1.

Nineteen sportswriters, sportscasters, and CIF representatives from throughout San Diego County vote in the weekly poll:
John Maffei, Kirk Kenney, UT-San Diego;
Terry Monahan, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff (UT-San Diego correspondents);
Bill Dickens (;
Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions);
John Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak, (The Mighty 1090);
Jerry Schniepp (CIF San Diego Section);
Rick Willis, Brandon Stone, (KUSI-TV);
Bruce Ward (San Diego City Schools);
Rick Smith (;
Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM);
Bodie DeSilva (;
Drew Smith (


2014 Week 7: State Postseason Could be Reward

Rick : September 29, 2014 4:38 pm : Football

Mission Hills at Oceanside this week brings together the top  teams in the UT-San Diego poll and coaches with a combined 358 victories in their careers.

Oceanside’s John Carroll (239), generally acclaimed major domo of San Diego Section mentors, holds a 7-2-1 record against Chris Hauser (119), but the Mission Hills coach is 2-1-1 against Carroll since 2011, including decisive, 30-6 and 36-14 victories in 2013, the latter earning the Grizzlies their first San Diego Section championship.

Each team harbors hopes of winning berths in the state playoffs.  They won’t be considered for the oft-confusing slate of the Open Division but the winner should merit strong consideration for Division I, as long as it continues to post blowout victories.

Mission Hills earned a D-I opportunity in 2013 but bowed to eventual champion Bakersfield, 35-28. The 4-1 Grizzlies have lost only to Utah’s Provo Timpview, which is 6-0 and had a full game under its belt when San Marcos school opened the season against the Thunderbirds.

Oceanside (5-0) did its due diligence with a schedule more difficult than the Grizzlies’, defeating St. Augustine and intersectional opponents Mission Viejo and Temecula Chaparral, but those three teams have a combined record of only 7-10.

With strong media backing from John Maffei of UT-San Diego, it’s easy to give an edge to Oceanside.  We’ll do that, but the edge is very thin.

Both teams should be ready, each chilling with byes last week.  Meanwhile, focus is shifting to Cathedral as it continues to rehabilitate.

The third-ranked Dons ventured 165 miles north to top undefeated Newbury Park, 42-28, two weeks ago and knocked off Eastlake, 17-14, for its fifth straight win last week.

Results of  voting after Week 6:

# Team (1st place votes) W-L Points* Previous
1 Oceanside (19) 5-0 190 1
2 Mission Hills 4-1 160 2
3 Cathedral 5-1 150 3
4 Helix 4-1 139 4
5 El Capitan 5-0 113 5
6 San Marcos 5-0 72 6
7 La Costa Canyon 4-1 61 7T
8 Steele Canyon 5-0 54 9
9 Ramona 4-1 43 10
10 Eastlake 3-3 27 7T

*Awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

Others receiving votes:   Sweetwater, 16;  Christian, 11; El Camino, 3; Granite Hills, 2; St. Augustine,  Point Loma, The Bishop’s,  Carlsbad, 1 each.

Nineteen sportswriters, sportscasters, and CIF representatives from throughout San Diego County vote in the weekly poll: John Maffei, Kirk Kenney, UT-San Diego; Terry Monahan, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff (UT-San Diego correspondents); Bill Dickens (; Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions); John Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak, (The Mighty 1090); Jerry Schniepp (CIF San Diego Section); Rick Willis, Brandon Stone, (KUSI-TV); Bruce Ward (San Diego City Schools); Rick Smith (; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM); Bodie DeSilva (; Drew Smith (

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2014 Week 5: Introducing Knengi!

Rick : September 27, 2014 12:30 pm : Football

As the first woman coach in San Diego County history and believed to be the second in California, Knengi Martin’s advice was simple.

“Whatever stereotypes might be out there, break through them and follow your passion,” she said.

The jovial Martin, who replaced Doug Packwood at San Diego High, spoke with Don Norcross of UT-San Diego:

“My real hope is it allows other people to pursue theiur dreams,” said Knengi,” pronounced with a silent K.

Martin, 30,  has played women’s semifinal football for a decade and was serving as San Diego’s junior varsity coach.

Although the result of her first game was a 44-0 loss to University City, Martin said, “They played their hardest.  They gave it their best shot.  I’d go to war with these guys any day.”

According to Mark Tennis of Cal-Hi Sports, one other lady has been a head coach in the state.

Pauline Foster coached Corning High, located in Tehama County, about 170 miles Northeast of San Francisco, for two games in 1942.

Pauline Rugh coached Salinas, Pennsylvania, in 1943.  Natalie Randolph was 16-26 in four seasons at McKinley High in Washington, D.C., from 2010-13, and Amy Arnold has headed the 8-Man program at Arete Prep in Gilbert, Arizona, since 2008.

Britney Garner was appointed head coach at Pickett County in Byrdsville, Tennessee, in the middle of this season, although published reports question whether she actually coaches or serves in an administrative capacity.


Oceanside’s 42-10 victory over Rancho Buena Vista was the 239th in John Carroll’s 26-season career.  He’ll tie Bennie Edens of Point Loma for second all time with his next win, which doesn’t figure to come easily.

The Pirates meet Mission Hills next and the Grizzlies’ Chris Hauser will be seeking his 120th victory, a total Christian’s Matt Oliver attained this week in a 49-10 victory over Mission Bay.

Oliver is the 30th in  County history to reach 120, tying the retired John McFadden of Eastlake.

Monte Vista’s Ron Hamamoto is at 198 victories.  He could become the eighth to reach 200.


Steele Canyon is 5-0 for the first time in the school’s 12-year history, after a 3-8 in 2013…David Savage rushed for 159 yards in Imperial’s 21-14 victory over Chula Vista…Savage had one carry for minus 3 yards combined in the season’s first four games….

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2014: Cut Christian Some Slack?

Rick : September 23, 2014 5:49 am : Football

Christian can’t get no respect.

Pardon the double negative, but maybe the UT-San Diego poll voters should train an eye on the Patriots of El Cajon.  Me included.

The Patriots are 4-0 and the No. 1-ranked Division IV team in Southern California, according to Cal-Hi Sports.

Should coach Matt Oliver’s club be ranked in the Top 10? It was 12-1 and won the D-IV championship in 2013 .  Its only loss was 24-21 to Mission Bay, the Patriots’ opponent this week.


Tradition and family run deep at Christian.

Quarterback David Jeremiah, the leader of this year’s team, is the nephew of  Dan Jeremiah, who quarterbacked Christian to D-IV titles in 1993, ’94, and ’95.

Dan’s older brother and David’s father (also named David) played at Christian in the late ‘eighties.

Another David, last name Beezer, is the athletic director at Christian and was the 23-year-old coach of the Patriots when they won in ’93.

Beezer was 30-9 in three seasons, with three titles.

Results of the voting after Week 4:

# Team (1st place votes) W-L Points* Previous
1 Oceanside (19) 4-0 190 2
2 Mission Hills 3-0 156 3
3 Cathedral 3-1 144 5
4 Helix 3-1 131 1
5 El Capitan 4-0 112 4
6 Ramona 4-0 98 6
7 St. Augustine 2-2 84 7
8 San Marcos 4-0 42 10
9 La Costa Canyon 3-1 33 NR
10 Eastlake 2-2 17 NR

*Awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
NR: not ranked.
Others receiving votes: Steele Canyon, 15; Granite Hills, 11; Sweetwater, 9;  Christian, 3; Rancho Bernardo, 2.

Nineteen sportswriters, sportscasters, and CIF representatives from throughout San Diego County vote in the weekly poll:
John Maffei, Kirk Kenney, UT-San Diego;
Terry Monahan, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff (UT-San Diego correspondents);
Bill Dickens (;
Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions);
John Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak, (The Mighty 1090);
Jerry Schniepp (CIF San Diego Section);
Rick Willis, Brandon Stone, (KUSI-TV);
Bruce Ward (San Diego City Schools);
Rick Smith (;
Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM);
Bodie DeSilva (;
Drew Smith (

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37 Responses to Football Blog

  1. Billy Ervin says:

    Nothing about that 1979 Morse High Tigers break away backfield QB Keith Magee.
    RB Dino Babers, RB Billy Ervin, FB mark Kennedy, who made the Tribune athlete
    of the week……1978* 79 Tigers finished 11-1 and is not recognized……how can I find my

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. Todd Tobias says:

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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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