Football Blog

1994: Morse…Hawaii…it Must be August!

Rick : September 21, 2014 1:40 pm : Football

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT’S IN A NAME?                                                   

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

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

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

Press reports soon were again identifying him as Rickey.

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

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


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

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

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

The tide of momentum swung to Helix.


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW DO YOU REALLY FEEL?                              

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

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

Introspection was the theme of the day.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Burke also was the coach at Torrey Pines.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Rowdiness and violence had plagued the series in recent years.

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Leave a response »

2014: Staggs Services Set

Rick : September 20, 2014 1:31 pm : Football

Services for Jeff Staggs will be held at the Immaculate on the University of San Diego campus on Friday, Oct. 3, at 11 a.m.

A celebration of life follows at the San Diego State Hall of Fame center on campus.

A legion of friends remember and mourn Staggs, who passed away at age 70 at his home on Mt. Helix Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014.

He was one of the all-time players to come out of Point Loma High and went on to be a third-round draft choice of the San Diego Chargers and to play eight seasons in the NFL, mostly for the Chargers, from 1967-74.

Staggs became a starting tackle and defensive lineman as a junior at Point Loma and made all-Western League at fullback as a senior in 1961.

Early in that season Pointers coach Bennie Edens had an idea.

He re-positioned Staggs but didn’t want Pointers opponents to know, especially when they were scouting the Pointers and watching their game film.

So Edens instructed that Staggs be given a different jersey and number each week during the season.

What Edens may not have considered was that it was impossible to hide a 235-pounder who could run with the fastest players in the Western League.

Staggs was an all-Pacific Southwest Conference tight end and Junior College All-America on San Diego City College’s 9-1 championship team of 1964.

The Knights, coached by Harry West, overcame a three-touchdown deficit in the second half to defeat Orange Coast College, 28-24, in the Elks Bowl in San Bernardino.

Staggs caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Dan Berry that gave San Diego City a 21-18 lead.

Staggs (second from left) and former San Diego State teammates Houston Ridge, Bobby Howard, and Gary Garrison (from left) were reunited with San Diego Chargers.

Staggs (second from left) and former San Diego State teammates Houston Ridge, Bobby Howard, and Gary Garrison (from left)  were San Diego Chargers teammates when they posed for training camp photo in 1969.

Staggs moved on to Don Coryell’s team at San Diego State and, after his junior season in 1965, was selected as a “future” in the third round of the American Football League draft by the Chargers.

He was one of five Aztec players from the 11-0, 1966 national College Division championship squad that were drafted into the NFL.

Staggs became a starting linebacker as a rookie with the Chargers in 1967.

He was runner-up to Houston’s George Webster in voting for the AFL defensive rookie of the year.

Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis once personally complimented Staggs for his play against the Buffalo Bills’ O.J. Simpson, who at the time was the leading AFL receiver coming out of the back field.

The rangy Staggs covered Simpson on at least eight plays and the Bills’ star caught one pass for eight yards.

Jeff also played for the Los Angeles Rams and St. Louis Cardinals before concluding his career with the Chargers in 1974.

Those who saw Staggs play on four levels of football for more than a decade in San Diego remember him as athletic, tough and pugnacious.

He was not afraid to mix it up.



Leave a response »

2014 Week 4: How Hot? Plus, 3 Locals Gain in State

Rick : September 17, 2014 11:20 am : Football

Fifty-one years ago almost to the week, San Diego football players sweltered.

It was hotter in 1963 than in 2014.

Let’s try that again.

It was hotter in 1963 than in 2014.

Incongruous as its sounds given the recent scorchers, the weather this week was not as warm it was in that long-ago September.

Back then Hoover and Helix, the presumed best teams in the San Diego Section, geared up for an early-season, Friday night battle that figured to set the tone for the playoffs weeks later.

The temperature in San Diego on Thursday, Sept. 27, 1963, was a record-setting 111 degrees, with 6 per cent humidity.

On game day the high was 104.  I worked the sideline at Hoover that night and remember it must have been at least 95 at kickoff.

Hoover’s Rick Shaw drove the Cardinals 77 yards to the winning touchdown with 3:02 to play in a 14-13 game.

Shaw completed only 9 of 23 passes but they went for 228 yards and a touchdown as Shaw outdueled Helix’ Joe Lavage, who hit on 16 of 20 for 187 yards and two touchdowns.


Helix is No. 1 again in this week’s UT-San Diego poll, although Oceanside gained a little ground on the Highlanders, idle last week.

Helix’ first place votes dropped from 16 to 14 and Oceanside’s went from 3 to 5.

Hoover, years removed from Roy Engle’s fine teams of the early ‘sixties, has prospered lately under the solid command of coach  Jerry Ralph.

Looking back, Hoover (7-2-1) was upset by El Capitan, 27-12, in the 1963 playoffs.

Helix, losing, 20-0, to Mount  Miguel in the regular-season finale, finished 6-2 and lost the league title to El Cap.

Kearny, shutout by Hoover, 25-0, in the season opener, defeated El Capitan, 20-6, for the championship.


Helix (10), Oceanside (11) and Mission Hills (20) each moved up one spot in the weekly Cal-Hi Sports State Top 25.

The Scots should get tested this week by recovering Cathedral.  The Dons, after a 55-10 blowout loss to Cal-Hi No. 5 Folsom in their opener, have won two in a row.

Oceanside, building a resume for the San Diego Section and beyond postseason, topped a solid Temecula Chaparral squad, 33-0, and visits San Pasqual.

Mission Hills is home to Poway.


The musiical piece of the same name was written in 1994, popularized by Neil Diamond, and essentially was one of hope.

Elijah Preston gives St. Augustine plenty of the latter, but his 295 yards rushing and five touchdowns weren’t quite enough as the Saints dropped a historic intersectional game to Los Angeles Loyola, 42-35.

The Cubs’ first home game since 1949 was a trial run for the school’s anniversary of 150 years in 2015.

St. Augustine was one of the teams to play at Loyola 65 years ago, but school officials, seeking to determine if the Saints were the last team to play a game on  the Los Angeles school’s field, could only determine that all home games were played on campus that year.

Still, it made for a gala night as a packed house of more than 4,000 in temporary bleachers gave Loyola priests an opportunity to guage the feasibility of constructing permanent seats for next season.


Writer Kirk Kenney was alert to stadium sounds.

When Mission Hills kicked short after taking a 30-0 lead over host Bonita Vista with one minute left in the half, the home public address announcer peevishly took note:

“There’s that “Pursuing Victory With Honor” onside kick.”

The Grizzlies actually lightened up in the second half and cruised, 37-0. 


San Marcos, 3-0 for the first time since 1984 and a resident of the top 10, takes on Fallbrook, 3-0 for the first time since 1999.

If the Knights top the Warriors, San Marcos will be in position to make a run at its 7-0 start in ’84.  Coach Ken Broach’s team finished with an 8-3 record.


San Diego Section teams were 10-14 in major intersectional games after losses by St. Augustine, Valley Center (40-30 to Redwood City Sequoia) and Eastlake (17-16 to Los Alamitos) and Mar Vista’s 42-6 win at Santa Cruz Harbor…senior George Caragiannides never had played a down until two weeks ago, but was pressed into service and completed 18 of 31 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns in Grossmont’s 45-27 loss to Ramona…Cathedral scored on two field goals and a safety to defeat Torrey Pines, 8-7….

# Team (1st place votes) W-L Points* Previous
1 Helix (14) 2-0 185 1
2 Oceanside (5) 2-0 176 2
3 Mission Hills 2-1 139 3
4 El Capitan 3-0 105 6
5 Cathedral 2-1 101 5
6 Ramona 3-0 100 7
7 St. Augustine 1-2 73 4
8 Rancho Bernardo 3-0 56 8
9 Carlsbad 1-2 22 NR
10 San Marcos 3-0 21 NR

*Awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
NR: not ranked.
Others receiving votes: Otay Ranch, 14; Sweetwater, 9; Granite Hills, Eastlake, 8 each; Steele Canyon, 7; La Costa Canyon, 6; Christian, 2; Mount Miguel, Fallbrook, 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 (


2014: Calipatria’s Dubious Mark; Helix, ‘Side Move Up

Rick : September 9, 2014 5:01 pm : Football

Calipatria logoBlown out 63-6 and 84-6 in its first two games, Calipatria appears to have given up more points in successive games than any 11-man team in the history of San Diego County and San Diego Section football.

History in this case goes back to 1893, when the first reported game was San Diego High’s 8-0 win over the YMCA and noted in Don King’s outstanding publication “Caver Conquest,” the history of San Diego High sports.

There have been almost 47,000 reported football scores since.

Several 6-man and 8-man football games have topped the 147 points the Hornets surrendered in losses to Silver Valley of Yermo (6-63), near Barstow, and CETY’s of Mexicali, Mexico (6-84).

But research indicates the closest any 11-man team has come is the 129 given up by Crawford to Lincoln (0-69) and Ramona (0-60) in 2008.  Montgomery  allowed 128 in 1970 in losses to Chula Vista (0-65) and San Marcos (0-63).


Impressive performances in the Honor Bowl series last week elevated Helix from 15th to 11th in the weekly Cal-Hi Sports poll and Oceanside from 16th to 12th.  Christian is No. 1 in Division II in the South and El Capitan is third in D-III.

Mission Hills remained 21st in the State top 25.





2014 Week 3: Helix, Oceanside Gain Separation

Rick : September 8, 2014 1:28 pm : Football

Helix had 16 first-place votes and Oceanside the other three as the two big shots from opposite points of the County are beginning to separate from the rest of  the Top 10 in the UT-San Diego poll.

Helix gained only one point to 187 but Oceanside gained 41 to 174, while No. 3 Mission Hills dropped 35 points to 123.  St. Augustine was static with 120 points at No. 4.

A revived Cathedral picked up 28 points for a total of 97 and is No. 5.

Big game this week has St. Augustine at Los Angeles Loyola, which is installing lights, running bus shuttles from Pershing Square, setting up temporary bleachers for 4,000 persons, charging $15 for available parking, and celebrating its first home game since 1949.

Don’t make the trip unless you have a ticket. None will be sold at the gate.

Coincidentally, St. Augustine was the visiting team for a Southland Catholic League  game with Loyola on Oct. 22, 1949.

Whether that game was played at Loyola or at one of the Cubs’ other “home” playing sites is not known,  but it remains as  one of the final games  in the last 65 years on the near-downtown-L.A. campus located at Venice Blvd. and Normandie Avenue.

Other intersectionals send Mar Vista to Santa  Cruz Harbor, Eastlake to Long Beach Veterans’ Stadium to play Los Alamitos, and Oceanside to Temecula Chaparral.

# Team (1st place votes) W-L Points* Previous
1 Helix (16) 2-0 187 1
2 Oceanside (3) 2-0 174 2
3 Mission Hills 1-1 123 3
4 St. Augustine 1-1 120 4
5 Cathedral 1-1 98 7
6 El Capitan 2-0 93 6
7 Ramona 2-0 83 5
8 Rancho Bernardo 2-0 57 9
9 Eastlake 1-1 35 8
10 Mount Miguel 2-0 17 NR

*Awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
NR: not ranked.
Others receiving votes: San Marcos, 14; Carlsbad, 13; La Costa Canyon, Sweetwater, 7 each; Otay Ranch, 6; Westview, 5; Poway, 2; Steele Canyon, 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 (

Leave a response »

2014 Week 2: Madison’s Questionable Choice

Rick : September 7, 2014 2:00 pm : Football

Rick Jackson’s program at Madison took off in 2008.  The Warhawks are 66-9-1 since and success is noted everywhere.

The school, hard by I-805 and Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, has a modern, aluminium stadium that hosted about 4,000 persons Friday night when the opponent was St. Augustine.

Multiple signage points out the Warhawks’ state division championships in 2010 and ’12.

The Madison logo is of NFL quality and stunningly displayed from both sides of the 50-yard line.

14madison0907140001Electric scoreboards at each end of the stadium provide essential game information. At $5, the game program was worth the purchase.

Most important, the Warhawks are led by the seasoned Kareem Coles, a slick, lefthanded quarterback.

And despite a second straight loss, 36-29 to the Saints, Jackson’s team should contend again for a Western League championship.


Madison trailed throughout, at 14-0, and 28-14, but scored with more than four minutes remaining and then successfully converted a two-point conversion to go ahead, 29-28.

Richard Sanchez’s Saints retook the lead with a little more than a minute left in the game.

And that’s when it got interesting.


The Saints opted to “pooch” the kickoff in an attempt to keep the ball away from Shaheed Madyun, who had taken a kickoff 92 yards to the house in the first half.

Andrew Seelert’s kickoff went out of bounds, however, and Madison had a choice:  Take the ball at its 35-yard line or move the Saints back from their 40 and have them re-kick from the 35, hopefully improving the Warhawks’ field position.


Madison chose to have St. Augustine kick again.  Seelert, who had been kicking short of the end zone all night, boomed one that went through the end zone for an automatic touchback.

There was no possible return for Madyun and Madison now took over on its 20 with 1:09 left.

Kareem Coles’ pass was intercepted on second down.

Ball game.


St. Augustine students and boosters overwhelmed the approximate 1,000-seat visiting section at Madison and were forced to standing room on the ramps.

The Saints “travel” as well as anyone in the San Diego Section.


San Diego County teams made a dramatic comeback on the intersectional circuit after some first-week disasters.

Local squads were 3-0 in Honor Bowl games at Oceanside and 4-0 in the major divisions.

Cathedral, trailing, 14-7, at halftime beat regarded Westlake Village Oaks Christian, 28-21. Helix topped Loomis Del Oro, 34-10, and Oceanside handled Mission Viejo, 24-6.

La Costa Canyon rebounded and dispatched Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills, 34-7.

Through two weeks, County schools are 9-13 against  California, Arizona, Utah,  and Hawaii.

The record also includes two lower division losses this week, Army-Navy losing to Temecula Rancho Christian, 36-6, and Santa Fe Christian falling to Santa Barbara Bishop Diego, 20-16.


That a team outscored an opponent, 84-6, as did CETY’s of Mexicali, Mexico, against Calipatria?

San Diego in 1916 crushed Orange, 84-6.

Calipatria has surrendered 152 points in its first two games.


The day after had to be miserable for Tracy McNair.

The Morse coach watched his team seemingly clinch a 12-9 victory with 15.4 seconds left in the game.

But on the next play Scripps Ranch backup quarterback  Kyle Mullen combined with receiver Jay Numanlia-zone on a 65-yard touchdown  pass play with 2.1 remaining and the Falcons escaped with a 16-12 victory.


Jackson, who became head coach in 2005, was 24-18 in his first three seasons at Madison and that included an 0-10 disaster in 2006…Jackson’s  overall record is 90-29-1…Madison’s enrollment is about 1,200 for four grades…at one point in the ‘seventies Madison was second only to Patrick Henry…the Warhawks counted more than 3,800 students for three grades in 1972-73…they’re 41 miles apart and don’t see each other very often…when San Marcos defeated host Chula Vista, 41-34, it marked the teams’ first meeting since 1995… Rancho Bernardo, 2-19 in 2012 and ’13, and 7-25 since ’11,  is 2-0 for the first time since ’10 and has scored 73 points in two games….

Leave a response »

1954 San Diego-Santa Monica game Film

Rick : September 4, 2014 8:00 pm : Football

Dr. Tebb Kusserow, an all Southern California lineman at Santa Monica High in 1960, is involved with the Samohi Archival Project and provided this rare footage of a Southern Section playoff in 1954 between San Diego High (dark uniforms) and Santa Monica at Corsair field on the Santa Monica College campus.

Led by future NFL quarterback Lee Grosscup, Santa Monica defeated San Diego, 14-13, and moved on to the semifinals of the postseason in search of their third consecutive championship. The Vikings were eliminated the next week  by Glendale Hoover.

Many of the losing Cavers came back the following season to win the championship, but they were a year away in 1954.

This video has many plays in the game, on a field heavy and wet from recent  rain.


2014: Helix 15th in State Top 25

Rick : September 3, 2014 8:21 am : Football

A come-from-behind-win against a ranked team from the Southern Section resulted in coach Troy Starr’s Helix Highlanders landing 15th in Cal-Hi Sports‘  State Top 25 this week.

Oceanside is 16th, Mission Hills 21st, and St. Augustine is “On the Bubble”.  El Capitan is third in Southern California in Division III, and Christian third in D-IV.

The Highlanders, trailing, 20-17, scored on Curtis Holmes’ two-yard run with less than two minutes remaining  to defeat No. 18 Ventura St. Bonaventure, 24-20, in an Honor Bowl game at Oceanside.honor-bowl

Helix, which was 22nd in Cal-Hi Sports’ preseason rankings, stayed grounded, rushing 50 times for 316 yards.

Oceanside, 21st in the preseason rankings, defeated St. Augustine, 34-28.

Mission Hills, 12th in the preseason, fell nine places after falling to Timpview of Provo, Utah, which outscored the Grizzlies, 14-0, in the fourth quarter of a 42-28 victory.

More Honor Bowl games are scheduled this week at Oceanside. Helix takes on Loomis Del Oro and Oceanside meets Mission Viejo.

Other games find Mission Hills playing host to Torrey Pines, St. Augustine visiting Madison, Mater Dei going to El Capitan, and West Hills at Christian.

Leave a response »

2014: 1956 Game Film, Visit With Hoover’s Baranski

Rick : September 2, 2014 9:28 am : Football

Thanks to Hoover  alumnus and  school historian Chuck Hansen, we were able to  acquire footage of Hoover’s celebrated football victory over San Diego in 1956, plus a 1992 televised interview with the late Walt Baranski, a star on that Cardinals team.

Baranski, who was slowed by  a progressive, crippling disease and  passed away at age 69 in 2008, was a three-sport standout at Hoover and played end and placekicked for the team that upset San Diego and went on to win the City Prep League championship.

Baranski was a starting guard on two Hoover basketball teams that were a combined 47-9, a young member of the 1954 American Legion Post 6 championship squad, a starting third baseman on the Hoover club that reached the 1957 Southern California finals, and played baseball and basketball at the University of Oregon.

The game film reflects the technology of the day, but has been preserved by Mr. Hansen and is a memorable moment in school history.

No turnout in the 80-plus seasons of Hoover football  ever approached the estimated 7,000 which overflowed the Cardinals’ stadium on the night they came from a 12-0 deficit to defeat arch-rival San Diego, 20-12.

Baranski, No. 84,  played end and was on offense and defense for Hoover, kicked off, and kicked points after touchdowns in the memorable game.

The video is 9 minutes, 48 seconds.  It does not include the entire game film.  San Diego scored when Bobby Staten ran 20 yards with a recovered fumble and on a blocked punt recovered in the end zone.

Hoover’s touchdowns were scored by Bob Williams, quarterback Gary Bailey, and fullback Denny Berg.

Search “1956: Then and Now for Hoover’s Engle” and “1956: “Smiley Was San Diego High Legend” for a review of the County’s 1956 football season.

Leave a response »

2014 Week 2: Highlanders Command Poll

Rick : September 1, 2014 7:57 pm : Football
Three more big intersectional battles loom for San Diego Section teams at Oceanside this week, testing Helix’s and Oceanside’s standing in the weekly UT-San Diego poll.

The second week of Honor Bowl games at Oceanside will match No. 1 Helix and Loomis Del Oro and No. 2 Oceanside and Mission Viejo on Friday.  Cathedral will meet Westlake Village Oaks Christian on Saturday at Oceanside.

Other Honor Bowl games at Oceanside on Saturday bring together Orange Lutheran and Corona Centennial and Gardena Serra and Bellevue, Washington.

Difficult intersectionals also await La Costa Canyon, against visiting Trabuco Hills, and Santa Fe Christian, which will play host to Santa Barbara Bishop Diego.

Helix’ 24-20 victory over Ventura St. Bonaventure resulted in the Highlanders earning 15 of the 19 first-place votes in the weekly voting.  Oceanside received the other 4.

# Team (1st place votes) W-L Points* Previous
1 Helix (15) 1-0 186 1
2 Oceanside (4) 1-0 133 4
3 Mission Hills 0-1 158 3
4 St. Augustine 0-1 128 5
5 Ramona 1-0 84 8
6 El Capitan 1-0 83 10
7 Cathedral 0-1 69 3
8 Eastlake 0-1 41 6
9 Rancho Bernardo 1-0 39 NR
10 Poway 1-0 20 NR

*Awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
NR: not ranked.
Others receiving votes: San Marcos, 14; Carlsbad, 13; La Costa Canyon, 12; Grossmont, 10; Madison, 6; Granite Hills, Olympian, 4 each; La Jolla, Rancho Buena Vista, Mount Miguel, Sweetwater, Steele Canyon, 3 each; Otay Ranch, Mira Mesa, 2 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 office);
Rick Willis, Brandon Stone, (KUSI-TV);
Bruce Ward (San Diego City Schools);
Rick Smith (;
Steve (Biff) Dolan and Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM);
Bodie DeSilva (;
Drew Smith (

Leave a response »
« Page 1 ... 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 ... 35, »

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *