Football Blog

2014: Charlie Powell, 82, San Diego Legend

Rick : September 1, 2014 12:35 pm : Football

Charlie Powell, the oldest and most renowned member of an iconic  San Diego family, passed away  Labor Day morning at age 82.

Powell was arguably the greatest all-around athlete from this area.

Powell, in 1950 photo, was arguably the greatest all-around athlete from this area.

A resident of  Altadena, Powell was in San Diego for a family function when he became ill on Friday.  He died at Scripps Mercy Hospital.

“He was my big brother and I respected him so much,” said younger brother Jerry. “He was always there for me with an encouraging word, always positive. That’s the kind of man he was.”

The brothers Charlie, Ellsworth, and Art were outstanding athletes at San Diego in the early ‘fifties, and Jerry was a star at Lincoln a decade later.

Charlie was the Southern California player of the year in football in 1950, starred in basketball, held the school track-and-field shot put record for 31 years, and signed as a professional baseball player upon high school graduation in 1951.

His greatest thrill, Powell once said, was when “Duane Maley told me that I would be the only man ever to earn twelve varsity letters at San Diego High.”

Powell did that, lettering all three years in four sports, football, basketball, track, and baseball. Maley was his football coach.

Powell went from one season in the St. Louis Browns’ farm system and signed an NFL contract with the San Francisco 49ers in 1952. He had 10 tackles for loss including quarterback sacks of Bobby Layne against the Detroit Lions in one game his rookie season.

Powell turned to boxing in the mid-fifties and rose to become No. 4 in heavyweight rankings.  He returned to pro football with the Oakland Raiders in 1960.

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2014 Week 1, Con’t: Helix Salvages Some Respect

Rick : August 31, 2014 3:06 pm : Football

Helix beat a good Ventura St. Bonaventure team, 24-20, Saturday night, but Mission Hills was beaten by Timpview of Provo, the No. 3 team in Utah, 42-28.

San Diego Section teams thus finished the first weekend far  in arrears against intersectional teams.

In games involving teams from the city and county, the area was 2-8 in California and 5-11 including Utah, Hawaii, and Arizona.

Included was the carnage of dishearteningly blowout losses of 55-10 for Cathedral against Folsom of the Sac-Joaquin Section and 38-0 for La Costa Canyon by Newport Beach Corona del Mar of the Southern.

Cathedral gets another shot this week, taking on strong Westlake Village Oaks Christian, which lost to Bakersfield, the defending state Division I champion, 34-21.

Helix is back at it against Loomis Del Oro, another Sac-Joaquin Section entry with big biceps, while Oceanside takes on Mission Viejo.

Del Oro, 9-3 in 2013, was beaten by Helix, 35-24, in the state D-II championship in ’11. The Golden Eagles lost a home game to Honolulu Kamehameha, 25-17, in their 2014 opener.

Mission Viejo, 11-1 a year ago, was surprised by Bakersfield Liberty, 18-7.

The UT-San Deigo top 10 will be out in a couple days.  My ballot, cast this morning, was:

1—Helix (1-0).
2—Oceanside (1-0).
3—Mission Hills (0-1).
4—St. Augustine (0-1).
5—Eastlake (0-1).
6—Poway (1-0).
7—Ramona (1-0).
8—El Capitan (1-0).
9—Rancho Bernardo (1-0).
10—Rancho Buena Vista (0-1).


Helix’s victory marked the first time the Highlanders have played a Ventura County team since 1957, when they bused North to Oxnard and went home with a 52-6 loss that became part of a footnote in area football history.

The 1957 season was marked by the Asian Flu epidemic which killed 70,000 Americans and about two million world wide.

Most area teams were forced to cancel games.  Twenty-two of Helix’ 45 players were home with the flu, including seven starters, but coaches and school officials decided to go through with the game.

Read about the effects of the flu in San Diego  in “1957:  Different Kind of Enemy“.

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2014 Week 1: Poway Steps Up, Others Step Down

Rick : August 30, 2014 4:19 pm : Football

I feared for Cathedral and didn’t want to battle I-5 traffic on a Friday night to get to Oceanside, so the veteran blogger took in Rancho Buena Vista at Poway and was impressed.

With the winner and the loser.

Poway, 4-7 in 2013 and stung by the recent loss of two potential sophomore stars, quarterback Tate Martell and receiver Tyjon Lindsay, who moved together to Las Vegas and hooked up with nationally ranked Bishop Gorman, rolled to a 24-0 halftime lead over the Longhorns, then hung on with a late touchdown to win, 30-28.

(Martell and Lindsay meanwhile were 100 miles up the road, leading Gorman to a 48-27 win over Southern Section and Trinity League toughie Anaheim Servite at Cerritos College.

Martel threw for three touchdowns and ran for 130 yards.  Lindsay returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown and caught touchdown passes of 10 and 29 yards).


Rancho coach Paul Gomes, who has led a resurgence at the South Vista campus, was playing with less than a full complement.

“We’ve got fourteen players ineligible for six weeks because of grades, including twelve starters,” said a parent whose son starts for the Longhorns.

But quarterback Malik Taylor, a sturdy, 6-foot, 2-inch, 200-pounder with a live arm, passed for four touchdowns in the second half and had his team in front 28-24 with less than three minutes remaining.


Folsom 55, Cathedral 10.

Newport Beach Corona del Mar 38, La Costa Canyon 0.

Temecula Great Oak 38, Carlsbad 21.

Capistrano Valley Christian 52, Maranatha 0.


Avondale Westview, Arizona, 48, Westview 13.

Francis Parker 22, Honolulu Arthur Radford 20.

Mesa Desert Ridge, Arizona, 23, Eastlake 11.

Torrey Pines 34, Pleasant Grove, Utah, 21.


Best  local matchup saw No. 2 Oceanside defeat No. 5 St. Augustine, 34-28…No. 1 Helix and 4 Mission Hills have intersectional battles tonight, Helix vs. Ventura St. Bonaventure, and Mission Hills vs. Timpview of Provo, Utah…Paul Gomes is in his third season at Rancho Buena Vista, improving from 6-6 in 2011 to 9-4 in 2013…the Broncos were 5-24-1 in their three previous seasons…


2014: Dunnam, Saska Among Those Passing

Rick : August 28, 2014 10:15 am : Football

Farewell, old friend.

Those words were heard over the summer for at least four former San Diego-area football players.

Dunnam was starting guard on 8-2 Cardinals team in 1956.

Dunnam was first-string lineman on 8-2 Cardinals team in 1956.

Doug Dunnam,  75,  was a starting guard on the 1956 City Prep League-champion Hoover team that upset San Diego High, 20-12, before a roaring, record, overflow crowd of  9,000 persons at Hoover.

Dunnam  also was a member of the San Diego team that played the Los Angeles City Section all-star squad in the annual Breitbard College Prep game after his graduation  in 1957.

Hal Krupens, 78, was a standout on Don Giddings’ 1953 Point Loma squad and scored 7 touchdowns and 42 points, plus touchdown runs of 72 and 2 yards as Point Loma routed Hoover in one quarter of play, 14-0, in the annual City Schools’ carnival before 24,000 fans in Balboa Stadium in 1952.

Krupens was head coach at Clairemont from 1986-90 and also coached track at Crawford.

Bill Harvey, 76, quarterbacked Bennie Edens’ first Loma squad in 1955 and was named to the Breitbard Athletic foundation all-City Prep League backfield.

Dave Saska, 68, whose family has owned a popular Mission Beach restaurant since the early 1950s, was a 210-pound all-San Diego Section lineman at El Capitan in 1963.

The Vaqueros upset Hoover, 27-12, in the playoffs and were beaten, 20-6, by Kearny in the finals.

Ron Loneski who coached Lincoln to six section basketball championships and state runners-up in 1988  and ’91, passed away at age 77 in Lawrence, Kansas.

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1993:  Play Ball! Er, Huddle Up!

Rick : August 24, 2014 9:23 am : Football


Bill Seaward (58), Fred Aguon (90), and La Jolla Vikings celebrate championship.

Bill Seaward (58), Fred Aguon (90), and La Jolla Vikings celebrate III championship.

Dick Huddleston scored a unique trifecta.

1—He was a  tight end and linebacker on the 1960 Escondido team that won the first San Diego Section football championship.

2–He coached Point Loma to the 1973 San Diego Section baseball title.

3—And he led La Jolla to the 1993 San Diego Section III championship and the best record, 13-0, in school history. The unbeaten season was the second for the Vikings and the first in 58 years.

Lawrence Carr guided the Vikings to a 9-0 season in 1935. Carr also happened to be the principal at San Diego High when the Cavemen were surprised but not upset, 19-13, by Huddleston, a 180-pound lineman, and other similar-sized Cougars.

Huddleston had vrsatile background as football playe and football and baseball coach.

Huddleston had versatile background as football player and football and baseball coach.


Huddleston’s coaching record ranked among the elite. Although serving as the Vikings mentor for a relatively short eight seasons, 1990-97, Huddleston’s teams compiled a 70-24 record for a .745 winning percentage.

DID HE OR DIDN’T HE?                                 Neighboring Mission Bay, the school that took much of La Jolla’s strong Pacific Beach and Mission Beach enrollment connection when that school opened in 1953, almost blew up the Vikings’ undefeated season.

“I still haven’t heard from anyone close to the play who said the kid ever got into the end zone.” said Mission Bay coach Jerry Surdy.   “I would say, without a doubt, it’s the toughest loss I’ve had here at Mission Bay….”

Surdy was visiting with Union-Tribune writer Frank Brady after the Buccaneers’ 8-7 defeat.

This one went down hard, not only because of La Jolla’s Jaime Blake’s having transferred from Mission Bay the previous year after leaving Hoover following a beef with his coaches.


The Buccaneers had committed a dead ball foul as La Jolla kicker Jason Green was lining up to kick a point after following a La Jolla touchdown with 6:33 left in the game that made the score 7-6.

Huddleston, whose team had trailed all afternoon, took a time out and accessed the benefits of the penalty.

The foul moved the ball half the distance to the goal line, to 1 ½ yards.  Now Huddleston opted for a two-point try and Blake squirmed toward the goal.

Did he score?  Yes, according to the official furthest from the play.

“Hey, we dodged a bullet,” said Huddleston.


With 13 offensive and defensive starters returning and Blake looming as a potentially outstanding successor to 1991’s sensational E.J. Watson, the Vikings felt optimistic when they began this season.

Blake gave Vikings solid running game,.

Blake gave Vikings solid running game,.

But how far could they come back from a 2-7-1 mark in 1992?

Their opening game said much. La Jolla defeated Santana, 20-17, on a 43-yard touchdown pass play with 3 seconds remaining in the game, after the Sultans had driven 88 yards to take the lead.

The Vikings offered a preview of what to expect in the playoffs when they beat St. Augustine, 35-12, in Week 3.  They repeated with a 14-6 win over the Saints as
Blake rushed for 206 yards and a touchdown in the championship.


While Surdy ruminated about a victory lost, San Marcos’ Ken Broach declared a 20-16 win over El Camino to be one of the biggest victories of his career.

Quarterback Luke Underwood threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:31 as the Knights rallied from down 16-7.

El Camino’s first loss to San Marcos since 1987 slowed the Wildcats temporarily, but they went on to finish 10-4 with a 24-14 II championship victory over San Pasqual.


This time the officials’ flags favored Mission Bay in a 21-17 win over Lincoln.  The Buccaneers drove 99 yards in the fourth quarter, with the help of three, 15-yard penalties, to knock off the Hive, 21-17.


Seventeen Morse players were at least 205 pounds, including five who needed an industrial-sized Toledo when they weighed in at preseason training camp.

The Big 5 pushed the needle from 275 to 330.

Tigers coach John Shacklett weighed 205 and was the second heaviest man on the squad when he turned out for his senior season at Grossmont in 1956.

Reasoned 282-pound David Gates: “Athletes today spend a lot of time in the weight room. Everyone knows muscle is heavier than fat.”

The Tigers’ offensive line averaged a close-to-NFL standard of 286 pounds.


Not exactly, but when Morse was vacating the field at Brigham Young-Hawaii, the Torrey Pines squad was entering for its practice. ‘Pines coach Ed Burke had an idea.

Kiddingly (maybe) Burke attempted to persuade some Morse linemen to make a U Turn. “Okay, fellows, over here,” implored Burke.  “I’ve got some Torrey Pines shirts for you.”

Pointing to David Gates and others, Burke said, “I’ll take this one, this one…this one”.

Union-Tribune writer Tom Shanahan was on the premises, covering the one-week trip by Morse, which dropped a 29-8 decision to Oahu Kahuku, and Torrey Pines, which defeated Honolulu Punahou, 32-21.

Meanwhile, Marian Catholic topped the Yakota Air Force Base squad, 26-8, in Tokyo.  The base team, which plays other U.S. military schools, had won nine consecutive Far East championships.


Early-season ratings can be disastrous.

No. 1 Mt. Carmel fell to No.  9 San Pasqual, 47-7, in Week 2 as the Eagles, paced by Ethan Barkett’s three touchdowns and 117 yards, rushed for 494 yards.

Two weeks later Mt. Carmel defeated Rancho Bernardo, 17-9. Coach Bill Christopher’s surprising Broncos overcame the setback and finished with a 12-1 record, claiming the Division I championship with a 7-3 victory over Poway.

Mt. Carmel up and downed its way to 7-6, but not before shocking No. 1 –ranked Rancho Buena Vista, 45-7, four weeks after its loss to San Pasqual.

San Pasqual, supposedly rebuilding, went 10-3 and all the way to the II finals before losing to El Camino, 24-14.


Shanahan  had an interesting read on Rancho Bernardo’s Christopher:

“Bill Christopher, the football coach with the pierced ear and coach of NFL star Ronnie Lott (at Rialto Eisenhower), now has a new identity, coach of Rancho Bernardo, CIF San Diego Division I champion.”

Christopher, who played for Bennie Edens at Point Loma in the late 1960s, promised his team he’d wear an earring if the Broncos won the Palomar League.

Christopher affected the jewelry during the playoffs and, after the title game win over Poway, agreed to continue with  the adornment through the team banquet. He was not excited about the prospect.

The issue arose during preseason practice when several players turned out with earrings, to Christopher’s disdain.

Patrick Henry junior Rickey Williams, who went on to long career in NFL, was third-leading scorer in County with 150 points.

Patrick Henry junior Rickey Williams, who went on to long career in NFL, was third-leading scorer in County with 150 points.


Ethan Barkett was an all-San Diego Section running back for coach Mike Dolan’s San Pasqual Eagles.

Thirty years before, Ethan’s father was a starting forward on the San Diego City College basketball team that was runner-up to Fresno City in the State Junior College tournament.

Nick Barkett also was the first San Diego Section basketball player of the year.  He led 24-3 Hoover to the 1960-61 championship.


Three South Bay coaches each won his 100th game, bringing to 16 the number of 100-game winners in County history.

Joining the prestigious group were George Ohnessorgen of Chula Vista, Gil Warren of Castle Park, and Gene Alim of Sweetwater.

Steve Brand of the Union-Tribune visited with some of the  group’s active members:

“The one-hundredth is a milestone,” said Point Loma’s Bennie Edens (229).  “After that you kind of go from victory to victory.”

“I was at about one-twenty when someone brought it to my attention,” said Dick Haines of Vista (127 at Dover, Ohio, and 180 at Vista). “The two-hundredth was no big deal.  The three-hundredth, I thought it would never come.”

“To win one-hundred games you need an understanding wife,” said Helix’ Jim Arnaiz  (156).  “You need good assistant coaches.  You need to have good parents and good players, and you need lots of luck.”

“All one-hundred means is you’re getting old,” said Ohnessorgen.  “These players weren’t here when I started (in 1982), so our first goal is winning the Metro League and, in the long term, the CIF playoffs.”


Mark Zeigler of the Union-Tribune covered Chula Vista-Sweetwater, the premier, continuous rivalry in the County.

Chula Vista won, 14-12, when Sweetwater missed a two-point conversion attempt with 15 seconds remaining.

“It was,” Zeigler wrote, “the kind of game that embodies high school football, where you can’t find a parking place, where even those who can find a seat stand, where players hold hands in the huddle…”

…and only where the coach promises his players they could shave his head if they won. Ohnessorgen’s hair, soaked from the contents of a water cooler dumped on his head, would be gone by Monday.


Shields scored all eight points, for both teams.

Shields scored all eight points, for both teams..

Bonita Vista’s 6-2 victory over Sweetwater, giving the Barons a best-in-school-history 7-0 start, was manufactured by one man.

Bonita’s Scott Shields kicked field goals of 37 and 47 yards before a full house at Sweetwater’s Gail Devers Stadium, then retreated out of the back end of the end zone from punt formation with five seconds remaining, giving the host Red Devils a safety and making for a final score of 6-2.

How often have games ended 6-2?

In the almost 100 years of football in San Diego County there had been 11 other games by that score.

The first teams listed in the table below were the 6-2 winners, except for Monte Vista, which was the 6-2 loser.

Year Team Opponent
1927 San Diego =Santa Ana
1928 San Diego St. Augustine
1934 Escondido =Grossmont
1946 Fallbrook =Ramona
1949 Grossmont Sweetwater
1952 San Dieguito Hemet
1959 Coronado =Oceanside
1967 Grossmont =Mount Miguel
1979 Clairemont Mira Mesa
1985 San Marcos =@Oceanside
1992 Monte Vista @Oahu Kaneohe James Castle

=League game.


“I just made the cuts, put my shoulders down, and executed.” Vista’s 6-foot, 240-pound sophomore Eddie Lologo, to Ed Graney of the Union-Tribune.

Lologo rushed for 165 yards in 28 carries as Vista defeated Rancho Buena Vista, 14-7, in the teams’ annual battle for city bragging rights. Lologo added, “We played our hearts out.”

It gets no better than that.


Morse’s 1990 state record of 649 points in 14 games was topped by Concord De La Salle, which had 665 in 13.

Chad Davis’ career national passing record of 9,337 yards, achieved at Palm Springs, Torrey Pines, and Mira Mesa, was broken by Newbury Park’s Keith Smith (9,967).

Crawford’s Altie Parker caught 95 passes in 12 games, but was the state runner-up to Newbury Park’s Leodes Van Buren, who caught 101 in 14 games.


For awhile it appeared the preps would be out of luck.

Saturday night, Dec. 11, at Jack Murphy Stadium, was out because the Chargers would have a game on Sunday, Dec. 12.

The stadium manager had been fired in 1983 after Long Beach State and San Diego State had chewed up a rainy field the night before the Chargers were to play the Dallas Cowboys on national television.

Stadium manager Big Bill Wilson worked with CIF honchos to arrive at a Monday, Dec. 13 date.

Combined attendance of 14,395 watched a triple header that began at 1 p.m. and ended about nine hours later.


Castle Park freshman linebacker Zeke Moreno did not pass age-eligibility to play football until near the end of the season…Moreno finally got his chance and had 13 tackles in a playoff loss to El Capitan…Dick Huddleston also was captain of the 1961 Escondido team and played collegiately at Cal Western University…Mission Bay’s 21-17 victory was its first over Lincoln since 1973 and ended a string of six losses in a row to the Hornets…his life would end prematurely in an auto accident after playing for the Los Angeles Raiders, but, for now,  there was unlimited promise for St. Augustine’s Darrell Russell, a 6-foot, 5-inch, 280-pound defensive tackle who also was a standout on the Saints’ basketball squad…Rancho Bernardo’s 21-6 win over Monte Vista marked dedication of the Broncos’ stadium…CIF officials ratified in February a long-discussed and ping ponged decision by the Coordinating Committee and Board of Managers to drop the AAA, AA, A designation for football playoffs in favor of I, II, III, and IV….


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1930: Off (As in Remove) The ‘Vine!

Rick : August 16, 2014 1:53 pm : Football

Now wait just a grape-pickin’ minute!

Students at Escondido High were up in arms.

They did not like the term Grape Pickers or its use to describe the school’s athletic teams, although the wine-making fruit held agricultural sway in the area and the city had hosted a Grape Day Festival since 1908.

The students believed a more masculine mascot was appropriate.

They voted to adopt the cougar, which had been known  for centuries to prowl the mountain ranges  near the valley community.


The school also made a request of sports writers and other members of the media to refrain from referring to Grape Pickers in print or over the radio.

Perhaps coincidentally, football at the second oldest school in the County finally was earning some respect.

The Cougars, paced by future major league baseballer Pete Coscarart; Tom Lusardi, and Ed Goddard, posted a 9-2 record although beaten, 20-6,  by El Centro Central in  the Southern California lower division championship game.

Along the way coach Harry Wexler’s North County squad tied with Coronado and Grossmont for the Southern Prep League championship.

Escondido defeated Grossmont, 31-0, and Grossmont topped Coronado, 12-7, but Coronado upset the Cougars, 20-6.

The teams were 3-1 in final standings and followed an interesting path from there.

A three-hour meeting of representatives from the three schools was held Monday, Nov. 12, at the Stanley Andrews store in San Diego.

Harry Wexler (inset) is flanked by Escondido stars Ed Goddard, left and Pete Coscarart, sixth from left, in second row).

Harry Wexler (inset) is flanked by Escondido stars Ed Goddard, left, and Pete Coscarart, sixth from left, in second row).

Hosting the session was area football official and sporting goods purveyor O.W. (Junior) Todd.  Wexler, Coronado’s Amos Schaefer, and Grossmont’s Jack Mashin were in attendance.

A league rule stipulated that a playoff would have to be played Tuesday, No. 13, or Friday, Nov. 15.

In the scrambling, seemingly haphazard manner in which the CIF Southern Section selected playoff teams, it appeared that two clubs from the Southern League were eligible for the postseason.

According to The San Diego Union, Schaefer said he’d play, only if Grossmont agreed to enter the playoffs.

Mashin bailed, citing a number of injuries that depleted his squad and would preclude a game the next day.

Mashin and Schaefer finally conceded the championship to Escondido and cited curious logic:

Ed Goddard attempts tackle on Coronado's Jimmy Blaisdell, who helped Islanders upset Escondido.

Ed Goddard attempts tackle on Coronado’s Jimmy Blaisdell, who helped Islanders upset Escondido.

Grossmont had beaten Coronado the previous Friday and even if Coronado would defeat Escondido again, the Islanders’ loss to Grossmont would overshadow a win over Escondido.

That’s the way it was reported in The San Diego Sun.


The Cougars routed Orange County champion Orange, 52-0, that Friday in a game that was not reported as a playoff.

The first playoff apparently was against Point Loma, which represented the new City League.

Escondido moved on with a 13-6 victory over the Pointers. Next up was Banning, the Riverside County champion, and the Cougars sent the Broncos home, 46-0.

The win over Banning set up a second match with El Centro Central, beaten, 6-0, by the Cougars early in the season.

Maybe it was the long postseason, but even a partisan home crowd couldn’t help the Cougars, who dropped a 20-6 decision to the team from Imperial Valley.

THE WEXLER WAY                                                                    

Coach Harry Wexler brought the Escondido program out of the depths in which it resided for most of the previous 30 years. His teams posted a 57-32-11 record over 11 seasons from 1928-37.

Escondido’s record under five coaches from 1920 until Wexler was hired was 10-41-5. Local merchants, so taken with the Cougars’ success, closed their stores in order to see the game with rival Oceanside.

Wexler’s .624 winning percentage  is bettered at Escondido only by the standard of the legendary Bob (Chick) Embrey, who was 144-66-4 (.682).  Paul Gomes was 59-37-7 (.607) from 2001-09.


Did Wexler, a Washington State Cougar in his undergraduate days, have something to say about the change in nicknames?

School officials said Wexler did not suggest or have anything to do with the switch.

Wexler undoubtedly had something to say about Goddard’s future.

The sophomore fullback went on to an all-America career at Washington State and was the second player taken in the 1937 NFL draft.

A Los Angeles Times reporter was so taken with Goddard’s running in a victory over USC that he coined Goddard the “Escondido Express.”


There had been a handful of San Diego-area preps who had played professionally, notably Russ Saunders of San Diego High with the 1931 Green Bay Packers, but Goddard was the first to be drafted in the NFL.

Goddard played two seasons, 1937 and, ’38,  with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cleveland Rams and went into teaching and coaching.  He was an assistant coach on the 1950 Fullerton High staff. The Indians upset San Diego, 20-19, in the playoffs.


Eddie Dowling and Cinema signs of the time featured Eddie Dowling and Betty Compson fanning the flames in new release at Spreckels Theater.

Cinema signs of the time, Eddie Dowling and Betty Compson fanning the flames at Spreckels Theater.

La Mesa was approved for daily mail delivery after the community’s Chamber of Commerce voted to increase the number of sidewalks and paving as required by the U.S. Postal Service.

The government agency also had required La Mesa to improve street lighting and provide a modern numbering system for residential and business addresses.


Before they passed, many retired San Diego High coaches and staff shook their heads when they spoke, often, of the game  coach Hobbs Adams’ Hilltoppers lost at Long Beach Poly in 1930.

Estimated attendance at Poly’s Burcham Field was 15,000 persons for the game that decided the Coast League championship and the league’s playoff representative.

Another 4,000 was said to have been turned away.

Hundreds of Hilltop boosters were there, having traveled by auto and train.  Some also came by boat. A vessel operated by the Los Angeles Steam Ship Company traveled at almost 25 knots and would be used on other occasions by the Cavers.

San Diegans were able to pick up a Long Beach radio station broadcast on San Diego station KGER 1350.

The Fox Theater commissioned a special cameraman to take film of the game and begin a one-week showing the day after the Thanksgiving tussle.

Radio station KSUN in San Diego also offered a play-by-play of the contest.


The Jackrabbits won, 14-8, and breezed to the Southern California upper division championship.

–San Diego had 15 first downs, Poly 1.

–Long Beach’s longest gain on a running play was 4 yards.


The game story lede, in part, as sent by The San Diego Union reporter Charles Byrne:

“Although outclassed—and outclassed badly—Long Beach Poly capitalized on the ‘breaks’ of the game to capture the Coast League championship in one of the weirdest prep school battles ever witnessed in Southern California.”

Poly’s one first down was on a pass play that turned into a 50-yard touchdown.

A Cotton Warburton punt from the end zone was blocked and Warburton recovered for a Poly safety.  Long Beach led, 8-0.

The Jackrabbits went up 14-0 after a lateral from Warburton to Ted Wilson was knocked in the air and strayed into the hands of another Poly defender, who ran 85 yards.

San Diego got on the board in the fourth quarter.  Cecil McElvain intercepted a Poly fumble and raced 20 yards to make the score 14-6.

King Hall blocked a Poly punt out of the end zone for another safety.

Poly went on to defeat Redondo Beach Redondo, 20-3, for the championship.


Ted Wilson's two touchdowns were not enough in loss at Phoenix.

Ted Wilson’s two touchdowns were not enough in loss at Phoenix.

San Diego boarded a 5:15 p.m. train on Thursday for an all night ride to Phoenix.  After “resting up” the Cavers dropped a 22-20 decision to Phoenix Union and hustled to the  depot to catch the last train at 10:30 Friday night.

The team arrived back in San Diego Saturday morning.

The sluggish Cavers trailed, 15-0, at halftime but rallied as Ted Wilson scored two touchdowns and Cotton Warburton added another.


The fledgling City League, numbering Point Loma, La Jolla, San Diego High’s Reserves, and the new Hoover High, meant that the Southern Prep, originally known as the County League, would become just that, a league of County squads.

The Southern Prep now listed Coronado, Sweetwater, Oceanside, Escondido, Mountain Empire, and Julian.  The last two did not field football teams but competed in other sports.


At one point in the preseason, San Diego coach Hobbs Adams had five, 11-man squads practicing daily.

Adams decided that assistant coach Mike Morrow would handle a group called the “Reserves”, sometimes referred to as the “Seconds”,  and Glen Broderick would continue as coach of the B’s.

Broderick’s B team was the defending Southern California champion, but the Coast League dropped its B league this season

The Little Hilltoppers forged a free-lance schedule and again prevailed in Southern California.

The B team defeated Santa Monica, 25-6, in the preliminary game to Long Beach Poly’s 20-3 victory over Redondo  at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

As was the practice in track and field and other sports, with A, B, and C squads based on “exponents,” B footballers’ eligibility was determined by their height, weight, grade, and age.

The Reserves served as sort of a varsity minor league.   Players shuttled back and forth between the teams.


The date was Sept. 28, 1930, when St. Augustine and Grossmont took the field in the first high school night football game under lights in San Diego County.

One day after San Diego State had played the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on the tanbark Navy Field, St. Augustine defeated the Foothillers, 25-0.

San Diego coach Hobbs Adams took his team to Navy Field for a workout later in the season before the Hilltoppers boarded a train for a game in the north.

The Navy Field site at the foot of Broadway and adjacent  to Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive would be renamed Lane Field as home of the Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres later in the decade.

San Diego High’s Class B team represented the school in its first night-time venture when the Little Hilltoppers traveled to Brawley.


September was a historic month.

On Sept. 3, Herbert Hoover High, 4474 El Cajon Blvd., in East San Diego, opened its doors to almost 1,000 sophomore and junior students.  There was no senior class.

Known as the Engineers or Presidents, students opted for school colors of Red and White.

Their teams eventually became the Cardinals.

Coach John Perry, who had posted a 52-14-5 record at San Diego from 1920-26 but had left coaching to pursue additional educational credentials, came out of retirement to lead the Eastsiders.

Perry’s first call resulted in 88 candidates, remarkable, said The San Diego Union, in that there were less than 500 boys in the school.

A total of 130 were out at  San Diego High, 50 at Grossmont, 75 at Army-Navy, and 35 at St. Augustine.


San Diego had a new practice field north of the City Stadium but the rough, dirt layout prohibited intrasquad scrimmages until the team moved into the stadium and its turf playing surface.

The football team and student gym classes soon would access the stadium on a daily basis throughout the school year after an agreement was reached during a meeting of the Balboa Park Board and City Schools big shots.

For the next 30-odd years, it was easy to identify the practice field site.  Whenever news media photos were taken of the San Diego High players, the Balboa Naval Hospital would loom in the background.

The new, Crosstown Freeway of Interstate 5 opened in 1963 and changed the practice landscape, as the baseball field was reconfigured.  Cavers teams continued to practice football there.


Interscholastic athletics at Fresno Edison Technical was suspended until the end of the school year June 1, 1931.

Two Technical students were charged with assaulting game referee H.L. Rowe, a resident of Madera who ruled a touchdown in favor of Kingsburg with two minutes left in the game that gave Kingsburg a 6-0 victory and setting off a riot.

About 30 Technical students were involved in the beef at the game and for creating another disturbance that night.


Thirty-one former San Diego-area gridders were listed on the rosters of 12 universities.

Twelve players each were from San Diego High and St. Augustine.  Coronado had four.

The schools included USC, Stanford, California, and Oregon of the Pacific Coast Conference, plus Idaho, Tulane, Kansas, Tulsa, St. Mary’s, Santa Clara, Regis of Denver, and Columbia of Seattle.


San Diego coach took no chances before Wilson game.

San Diego coach took no chances against former locals.

Hobbs Adams closed practices and locked gates at City Stadium as his team prepared for visiting Long Beach Wilson and Santa Ana…the Bruins were coached by former San Diego High star Rockwell  (Rocky) Kemp, Santa Ana by former Memorial Junior High and San Diego High coach Gerald (Tex) Oliver…heavy rain forced the Hilltoppers indoors to their new gymnasium the Thursday before the Alhambra game…Grossmont had turf for the first time…”We’ve been working for a turf field for about six years, and now that we have one, it’s probably the best in the County,” said Foothillers coach Jack Mashin…Ramona, which opened in 1893, considered the fielding a  football team… coach Harold Roberts was in place, but the Bulldogs wouldn’t be on the field until 1938…Gene Miller got San Diego on the scoreboard against San Bernardino by drop-kicking a 38-yard field goal…Oceanside was constructing an  athletic facility that could hold three full-size football fields, four tennis courts, and a quarter-mile oval for track and field meets…one local writer described Grossmont as “the back country school.”…flags flew in St. Augustine’s 64-0 win over Brawley…the Saints were penalized 165 yards and the Wildcats 105…the same Brawley squad dropped a 26-0 decision to the San Diego B team the next week…Cotton Warburton was the only athlete from the area to earn all-Southern California honors…Warburton was on the first team for the second year in a row.


2014: St. Augustine Goes Intersectional

Rick : August 12, 2014 7:09 pm : Football

With Frank Buncom IV leading the defense and explosive running back Elijah Preston propelling the offense, St. Augustine might have more good players than last season’s 11-2 team but could be hard pressed proving it.

The Saints have stayed close to home for most of  the San Diego Section’s first 54 years, but they’re stepping out this season, with road games at  legendary Los Angeles Loyola and Riverside County power Vista Murrieta.

Not to mention their annual roll in the dirt with Eastern League rival Cathedral.

The Saints have played 12 intersectional games since they attained membership in the San Diego City Prep League in 1957 and  nine since the San Diego Section was formed in 1960.

The Saints had played eight such out-of-the-area games  from 1951-56 and from 1945-50 they were members of the far-flung Southland Catholic League, competing against Los Angeles-area schools.

Their last foray against a team from outside San Diego County was a home-and-home series with Anaheim Servite, losing, 37-14, on the road  in 2005 and 23-0 at Southwestern College in 2006.

Loyola officials announced that they are bringing in extra bleachers and lights for the game with the Saints Sept. 12, marking the first after-dark home contest in school history and the first home game since 1949.

The Cubs’ home field for years has been at Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys.

St. Augustine played an afternoon league game at Loyola in 1949, losing, 28-6.

A video profile of the 2014 Loyola squad by Los Angeles Times writer Eric Sondheimer can be accessed by connecting to the link below.

Football: Loyola Coach Marvin Sanders is feeling comfortable

The Saints’ intersectional history and record of 7-12-1 since leaving the Southland Catholic League after the 1950 season (games against Imperial Valley teams since 2000 not listed, as they now are in San Diego section):

1951 at El Centro Central 0-13
1952 Culver City 14-6
L.A. Mt.  Carmel 12-25
1953 San Gabriel Mission 33-0
Lawndale Leuzinger 13-0
1954 at Long Beach St. Anthony 0-6
1956 at Yuma, Arizona 7-20
at Pomona Catholic 6-6
1957 at Torrance 26-6
1958 L.A. Mt. Carmel 6-40
1959 Brawley 31-7
at Gardena Serra 12-7
1960 at Redlands 6-34
1965 at Santa Barbara 7-34
1974 at Santa Barbara 18-31
1987 L.A. Salesian 7-6
1995 at Rancho Santa Margarita 6-28
1996 Rancho Santa Margarita 7-27
2005 at Anaheim Servite 0-23
2006 Anaheim Servite 14-37
Record: 7-12-1.

2014: Intersectional Games & New Coaches

Rick : August 3, 2014 3:47 pm : Football

Preseason games don’t have the import of regular-season contests, which carry the prestige of potential league championships and playoff seedings, but the early intersectionals have their own realities.

Do well in these games and gain ratings.

Have high ratings and increase the possibility of state playoff invitations.

Many intersectionals will be played the week of Aug. 29, with Oceanside, Cathedral, and Eastlake serving as sites for the annual Brothers in Arms carnival.

One of those first week attractions sends St. Augustine to Oceanside in a battle of San Diego Section powers who were a combined 21-5 last season. Oceanside won the 2013 matchup, 47-28.

Carlsbad 9-3 Temecula Great Oak 6-5 There
Cathedral 11-2 Folsom 14-1 Home
Cathedral 11-2 Westlake Village Oaks Christian 8-3 Oceanside
Cathedral 11-2 Newbury Park 5-5 Away
Christian 12-1 San Luis Obispo Mission Prep 11-3 Away
Eastlake 10-2 Mesa Desert Ridge, Arizona 11-2 Home
Eastlake 10-2 Los Alamitos 9-3 Away
Francis Parker 10-1 Honolulu Arthur Radford 7-3 Home
Helix 9-3 Ventura St. Bonaventure 8-4 Cathedral
Helix 9-3 Loomis Del Oro 13-3 Oceanside
La Costa Canyon 7-4 Corona del Mar 16-0 Cathedral
La Costa Canyon 7-4 Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills 6-4 Home
Mar Vista 4-6 Santa Cruz Harbor 2-8 Away
Mar Vista 4-6 San Gabriel Gabrieleno 7-4 Away
Mission Hills 12-2 Provo Timpview, Utah 13-1 Cathedral
Oceanside 10-3 Mission Viejo 11-1 Home
Oceanside 10-3 Temecula Chaparral 8-4 Away
St. Augustine 11-2 L.A. Loyola 4-6 Away
St. Augustine 11-2 Murrieta Vista Murrieta 12-2 Away
Santa Fe Christian 6-5 Santa Barbara Bishop Diego 10-3 Away
Torrey Pines 6-5 Pleasant Grove, Utah 9-3 Eastlake
Valley Center 3-7 Redwood City Sequoia 5-5 Home
Westview 2-9 Avondale Westview, Arizona 10-1 Away

Not all returns are in, but at least nine coaches will be debuting with their teams when presesason games begin Aug. 29.

There has been one head coaching switch.  Ron Gladnick  left Clairemont to head up the Torrey Pines program.

Drew Westling Chula Vista Judd Rachow
Joe Kim Clairemont Ron Gladnick
Jon Goodman Classical Jon Burnes
John  Roberts El Camino Pulu Poumele
Tyler Hales La Jolla Country Day Jeff Hutzler
Lance Christensen Otay Ranch Anthony Lacsina
Jason Patterson Orange Glen Kris Plash
Ron Gladnick Torrey Pines Scott Ashby
Scott Catlin San Ysidro Tyler Arciaga




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1992: Leave it to The Bennie

Rick : August 1, 2014 7:38 pm : Football

They could have asked Bennie Edens.

Writers and prep experts comprising the selection panel for The San Diego Union weekly Top 10 may well have consulted the Point Loma coach.

No one could have offered more expert testimony.

The peninsula pigskin sage coached his 38th team at the Chatsworth Boulevard enclave and lost to the No’s. 1, 2, 3, and 7 teams this season.

Add another defeat to University City, which was 9-1 and didn’t make the Top 10, and the Pointers were beaten by five clubs with a combined record of 47 wins and three losses.

There’s more.

Poway, which eliminated the Pointers, 14-10, in the first round of the playoffs, finished with a 10-4 record.

Six teams at a combined 57-7!

The final Union regular-season poll:

1. Morse 10-0 39
2. Helix 10-0 36
3. El Camino 9-1 32
4. El Capitan 9-1 28
5. Mt. Carmel 8-1-1 21
6. San Pasqual 9-1 20
7. Kearny 9-1 13
8. Orange Glen 7-3 11
9. Torrey Pines 8-2 7
10. Castle Park 8-2 5

  St. Augustine was another 9-1 team looking up at the Top 10, as was Poway, 7-3 in the regular season.


John Shacklett’s tiger had different spots this season but still claimed its second AAA title in three seasons in its fifth trip to the finals in the last six.

The Tigers of Morse were ranked fourth in the country by USA Today in 1990 when they outscored 14 opponents by an average of 46-13.

Conan Smith was three-year leader of Morse Tigers.

Conan Smith was three-year leader of Morse Tigers.

Shacklett’s 1992 squad wasn’t as explosive, averaging 29 points in another 14-0 season but allowing only an average of 6.

Crushing defense and tough, slashing running by Archie Amerson (675 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns in one three-game stretch and AAA offensive player of year) and three-year veteran Conan Smith (defensive player of the year)  were staples of Shacklett’s  squad, which won a fourth  championship in six tries.


El Camino was looking for its fourth straight AA title but its 15-game playoff winning streak was broken, and convincingly, 38-13, by Torrey Pines.

The Falcons survived a season in which their quarterback, Ryan Lynch, was involved in a one-game suspension controversy and was lost with an injury in the middle of the 27-21, semifinal victory over San Pasqual.


Falcon Brian Batson spoke of coach Ed Burke:

“I can’t say enough about him and what he’s done for this football program.  It used to be all we’d think about on Friday nights was where the party was after the game.”

Burke, who coached the Falcons from 1980-84, returned this season and inherited a 4-6-1 team.

“I’m still in a state of shock,” said Burke, who led a program that until four weeks before  never had won a playoff game.

“This is El Camino,” Burke said to writer Ed Graney.  “This is no run-of-the-mill program.  These are people we’ve admired for a long time. To win is great.  To win this convincingly is overwhelming.”


One victory in 15 seasons against a neighborhood rival that is your essential progeny can lead to indigestion.

Two  fourth-quarter touchdowns that led to a 14-11 loss to Helix stirred acid reflux in Grossmont coach Judd Hulburt, whose postmortem included a sour observation:

“I like to refer to them as the East County All-Stars,” said Hulburt.

“They have players from (Canyon Country) Canyon, Mount Miguel, and other areas.  It’s hard to recruit speed and they certainly have it.”

Teneil Ethridge, a transfer from Mount Miguel, rushed for 74 yards in 16 carries and scored the Highlanders’ first touchdown on an eight-yard run. Quarterback Jeremy Gottlieb and Marc Baskin teamed on a 25-yard scoring pass for the winner.


“Well,” Hulburt said to writer Jim Trotter two days later, “if I’m going to be on the record, I’m going to be very careful about what I say.

“I’m just saying it looks really strange that Helix gets good athletes in its program year after year.”

Hulburt denied accusing the Helix coaching staff of recruiting but said something about Helix parents and boosters proselytizing off-the-books.


Highlanders reaped dividends by transfer of Chuck Cecil.

Highlanders reaped dividends by transfer of Chuck Cecil.

Highlanders coach Jim Arnaiz was nonplussed.

“I just don’t know where he’s coming from,” said the 20-season mentor of the Highlanders.  “I know what I’ve done, what our staff has done, and I know how we handle our program.  We have nothing to be embarrassed about.

“We have been known statewide as a good athletic school as well as a good academic school,” Arnaiz added.  “Yes, we’ve had some good fortune of having great players show up on our doorstep, wanting to be part of a winning tradition.”

As an example, Arnaiz noted that when Chuck Cecil’s dad was job transferred from Hanford in the San Joaquin Valley to San Diego “he researched East County.  That’s how Chuck ended up at Helix in 1982.”

Cecil’s fierce play as a linebacker and safety led the Highlanders to the AAA championship in 1982.  He went on to play and coach in the NFL.

Arnaiz had amassed 147 victories and was 12-6-2 against the Foothillers from the time of his appointment as the Scots’ coach in 1973 and 12-2-2 since 1977.


The San Diego Section coordinating council unanimously voted, in the middle of the season, to return to a 16-team playoff bracket after the Section board of managers voted to reduce the number of playoff teams to 12 for this year.

The board’s decision met with criticism, partly because several concerned groups, including the coordinating council, had no opportunity to discuss the proposed reduction.


The board of managers wanted to unify playoff brackets and eliminate the first-round blowouts associated with 16-team playoffs, i.e., the top seed playing the lowest seed.


An obscure but telling statistic to come out of the AA playoffs involved El Camino and its 24-14 victory over Kearny in  the quarterfinals.

The win was the Wildcats 12th in a row over a Western League squad in the playoffs, dating their 39-28 win over Kearny for the AA title in 1976, the year El Camino opened after splitting from Oceanside.

“I know (Western League) coaches get tired of hearing this, but we play tough football in the (Avocado League),  said Wildcats coach Herb Meyer.


Chula Vista means beautiful view, but the Spartans’ view was anything but on this Friday night after a galling, 22-19 loss to San Diego Southwest.

–They surrendered the Metropolitan League championship after four consecutive titles.

–This, after their 36-game, league unbeaten streak came to an end the previous week in a loss to Castle Park.

–The Spartans were beaten by Southwest for the first time in seven years.


Chula Vista coach George Ohnessorgen saw a fumble; the officials saw a completed pass.

Southwest faced a fourth-and-five midway in the fourth quarter at the Chula Vista 10-yard line. Raiders quarterback O’Brien Woods passed to Tony Diaz, who caught the pass at the three and was hit by J.J. Rosier. The ball came loose.  Southwest’s Danny Lim recovered.

Chula Vista celebrated, thinking the pass was incomplete. Game officials ruled that Diaz caught the ball and that his feet hit the ground before Diaz fumbled, making the pass a completion.

Southwest scored on the next play.

“I’m sorry for the kids that the game had to be taken away on a bad play,” Ohnessorgen said to writer Tom Shanahan, “but we made some critical mistakes and Southwest did a good job of coming back (from deficits of 13-0 and 19-14).”

Raiders coach Alan Kaylor didn’t exactly have a straight face when he told Shanahan, “It was a catch.  We’ll have to look at the films.”

San Pasqual's Mike Dolan could be experiencing thrill of victory...or agony of defeat.

San Pasqual’s Mike Dolan could be experiencing thrill of victory…or agony of defeat.


“Sometimes I have no idea,” said Ed Burke.  “Unfortunately for me, I’m one of the weirdos who chooses to do this.”

The legendary Torrey Pines coach was addressing the question posed by Ed Graney of The San Diego Union.

Long hours, myriad logistics, and problems with players and parents are only part of a high school coach’s job.

“It gets to a point where you are validating your lifestyle around how determined 16- and 17-year-old kids are at winning football games,” said Vic Player of Lincoln.

“We sat down once, figured out how many hours we spent during the season, and the pay (actually a stipend) came out to something like 12 cents per hour,” said San Pasqual’s Mike Dolan.

The three coaches may at times have had a love-hate relationship with their profession, but they couldn’t resist the lure.

Together the three won more than 500 games in their careers.

Before he coached, Player (left) starred in 1960 St. Augustine backfield with Tom Procopio, Mike Moses, and quarterback Oliver Walker.

Before he coached, Player (left) starred in 1960 St. Augustine backfield with Tom Procopio, Mike Moses, and quarterback Oliver Walker.


Four of the County’s most renowned coaches got together in the spring and came up with the idea for a season-opening doubleheader. Vista was the venue, with Herb Meyer’s preseason No. 1 El Camino squad meeting No. 2 Point Loma and John Shacklett’s No. 6 Morse Tigers taking on Craig Bell’s No. 4 Rancho Buena Vista Broncos.

An added fillip was Meyer, the County’s winningest coach (243) against Edens, No. 2 (211).

The buildup was greater.   El Camino stifled Point Loma, 20-0, and Morse ran away from RBV, 45-29.


Morse actually began the season 2,600 miles away several days earlier in Hawaii, marking its eighth consecutive lid-lifter in the islands.

The Tigers were joined by three other San Diego Section teams that took part in a 10-team carnival at Aloha Stadium.

The surfeit of games honored Shawn Akina, a 19-year-old Honolulu Punahou graduate who died of a heart ailment at the University of Utah, where he was going to play football.

The Tigers defeated Kamehameha, 22-15, in the third and final game on a Friday evening card that ended well after midnight.

Kickoff for the first game was at 6:30 p.m., Kaneohe Castle defeating Monte Vista, 6-2.

Orange Glen’s 22-20 victory over Punahou began at 9 p.m., followed by Morse at 11:30.

Lincoln fell behind, 21-0, and came up short, losing 34-24 to Kahuku the next evening.  Mountain View of Mesa, Arizona Honolulu St. Louis appeared in the final contest.


Someone was snoozing.

San Pasqual’s 34-20, quarterfinals playoff win over Santana was notable for a  very slow- developing touchdown.

The Eagles’ David Villa intercepted a pass by Santana’s Doug Schultz five yards deep in San Pasqual’s end zone. Villa tucked the pigskin under his arm and began moseying off the field to give the ball to an equipment man for safekeeping.

“I was thinking about keeping the ball as a memento,” said Villa.  “But then everyone started yelling at me to run with it.”

Run Villa did, 105 yards for a touchdown and a 19-10 Eagles lead at halftime.


Addie Jacobs, a second-team, all-San Diego Section choice in girls’ soccer last year, kicked an extra point for Madison in the Warhawks’ 14-7 loss to Patrick Henry. Jacobs is believed to be the second young lady to appear and score for a local squad, joining San Diego’s Mia Lebowitz, who kicked a field goal as San Diego defeated St. Augustine, 3-0, in 1988.

Jacobs isn’t the only female on the Madison squad.  Dawn Collins also kicks for the Warhawks, as does Sheila Walsh for Clairemont.


El Camino’s Bryant Westbrook was one of three players to get all 10 Pacific 10 head coaches’ votes for the Long Beach Press-Telegram’s annual “Best in the West” team.

Westbrook, who also was the San Diego Section AA defensive player of the year, was joined by running back Lawrence Phillips of Baldwin Park and quarterback Pat Barnes of Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills.

El Camino's Westbrook was one of nation's best.

El Camino’s Westbrook was one of nation’s best.

The coaches may have viewed game film of El Camino’s 14-0 victory over Carlsbad.

A  205-pound defensive back, Westbrook intercepted a pass, returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown, forced a fumble, and caught a touchdown pass against the Lancers.

Westbrook was known as a big-hitting cornerback at the University of Texas and was the fifth selection in the first round by the Detroit Lions in the 1997 NFL draft. He played seven seasons.

Westbrook was the latest future NFL standout that Herb Meyer coached at Oceanside and El Camino.

The list also included Willie Buchanon, Dokie Williams, Darron Norris, and Jayice Pearson.


Holtville, 44-7-1 since 1987, won its fourth straight A championship in its fifth title game in a row.  Anthony Iten passed for three touchdowns as coach Sam Faulk’s Vikings topped Mountain Empire 41-6.


San Diego’s star was quarterback-defensive back Jacque Jones, who went on to play 10 seasons in the major leagues with 165 home runs and a  career .277 average…Tommy Casper, the son of legendary golfer and former U.S. Open winner Billy Casper, was a starting tackle for Bonita Vista and also a member of the Barons’ golf team…Grossmont’s six wins in  its 6-5 season were against teams collectively 13-39, none with a winning record…San Pasqual defeated Lincoln, 28-22, for a 4-1 postseason record against the Hornets after the teams met  for the fifth time in six postseasons…Julian whipped Francis Parker, 37-20, in the final regular-season game, then turned around the next week to defeat the Lancers, 34-14, for the 8-Man championship…San Diego High athletic director Allan (Scotty) Harris touted safety Marlin McWilson as the first Caver in 18 years to bid for a college Division I scholarship…McWilson went on to play at California…Cavers Michael Hayes (USC) and Frankie Wilson (UCLA) won schollies after the 1974 season…a preseason publication rated Lincoln’s Akili Smith among  the top 13 quarterbacks in the nation…Linebacker Tom Stehly was the seventh brother to play football at Orange Glen…one more was coming, sophomore Pat, who was on the junior varsity…the 34 career field goals by Rancho Bernardo’s Nate Tandberg stood as a state record until 2010, when a kicker from Upland completed his career with 39…attendance for the championships at Jack Murphy Stadium was 8,182…

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1991: Vista Returns to Prominence

Rick : July 18, 2014 12:26 pm : Football

Successive records of 4-7, 0-10, and 6-6, had turned whispers into shouts at Vista. Had Dick Haines, borrowing baseball parlance, lost the hop on his fastball?

Two state No. 1 rankings, three San Diego Section titles, and 11 league championships were a distant memory until the Panthers shot down Morse, 21-7, in the season’s third week, erasing 57-14 and 48-14 losses to the Tigers in 1990.

Morse came into the game No. 1 in San Diego County, No. 2 in Southern California, No. 3 in California, and No. 20 in the country.

From that redeeming moment the rebuilt Panthers went all the way to 13-0 before losing to Point Loma, 14-0, in the Section AAA title game.

It may have been Haines’s finest hour.

Haines overcame obstacles and returned Vista to championship level.

Haines overcame obstacles and returned Vista to championship level.

Vista’s retreat in the late ‘eighties was traced to the school district’s arbitrary and perceived gerrymandering of enrollment boundaries that favored newbie Rancho Buena Vista.

The fledgling Longhorns won section titles in two of their first three seasons, corresponding with Vista’s decline.

Cries of political wheeling and dealing were heard.


Haines, often feisty and confrontational, wasn’t the most popular employee in the Vista School District.

“Dick felt very slighted after the split, “said Morse coach John Shacklett.  “Maybe if someone was doing something just to get him, I don’t know.”

Shacklett, speaking with Ed Graney of The San Diego Union, was a fan of his coaching rival.

“No matter what kind of talent he has been dealt, he always gets the most out of his kids,” said Shacklett.   “He loves to win, but is gracious in defeat.  He certainly has been a force.”

Haines’ son, Rik, a head coach at Redmond in Washington State and former Torrey Pines head coach, may have put it best to Graney: “Really, he’s about as steady as rain in Seattle.”

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36 Responses to Football Blog

  1. John Carter says:

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

    • Rick says:

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

  2. Buzz Ponce says:

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

    • Rick says:

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

  3. holly bryant says:

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

    • Rick says:

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

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

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

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

    • Rick says:

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

  5. Bob Dexter says:

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

    • Rick says:

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

  6. Bob Dexter says:

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

    • Rick says:

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

  7. Jasen Boyens says:

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

    • Rick says:

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

  8. BoyensJC says:


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

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

    • Rick says:

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

      • Buzz Ponce says:

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

      • Rick says:

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

  9. Bob Dexter says:

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

  10. Bob Dexter says:


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

    I became aware of your great website from Henrik.

    • Rick says:

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

  11. malcolm pusey says:

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

    • Rick says:

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

  12. Rick says:

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

    • Mark Monroe says:

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

  13. Mark Monroe says:

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

  14. Todd Tobias says:

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

  15. John Walker says:

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

    • Rick says:

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

  16. Albert Oliver says:

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

    • Rick says:

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

  17. Richard Houk says:

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

    • Rick says:

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

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