Football Blog

2013: North County, City Take 4 Top Spots in Final Grid Poll

Rick : December 9, 2013 7:23 pm : Football

Win or lose Saturday evening, coach Chris Hauser’s Mission Hills Grizzlies are an almost unanimous choice as the No. 1 2013 football team in the San Diego Section.

The final Top 10 poll of the season was voted on after conclusion of the  five San Diego Section championships.

The Grizzlies will host the Central Section champion Bakersfield Drillers in a State Bowl Series Southern California Regional playoff.

If Mission Hills wins, the San Marcos squad will play for a Division I state championship against either San Mateo Serra or Loomis Del Oro at the Home Depot Center in Carson the following week.

Two Eastern League teams, Cathedral and St. Augustine, finished third and fourth, respectively.  The Saints also received a first-place vote.

# Team (1st place votes) W-L Points* Previous
1 Mission Hills (30) 12-1 308 1T
2 Oceanside 10-3 244 1T
3 Cathedral 11-2 232 9
4 St. Augustine (1) 11-2 204 7
5 San Pasqual 11-2 204 5
6 Eastlake 10-2 149 3
7 Helix 9-3 121 5
8 Ramona 10-2 72 8
9 Mission Bay 12-2 47 NR
10 Madison 9-2 29 6

*Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. NR: previously unranked
Others receiving votes: Christian, 22; Carlsbad, 20; Rancho Buena Vista, 8; Sweetwater, San Marcos, 5 each; Holtville, El Capitan, Imperial, 1 each.

Thirty-one sportswriters, sportscasters and CIF representatives from throughout San Diego County voted in the weekly poll:
John Maffei, Craig Malveaux, Dennis Lin, Lisa Lane, Andrew Burer,
and Don Norcross (U-T San Diego);
Terry Monahan, Tom Saxe, and Rick Hoff (U-T San Diego stringer);
Bill Dickens (;
Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions);
John Kentera, Jack Cronin, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak, Jordan Carruth, Bobby Wooldridge, Craig Elsten, and Mark Chiebowski (The Mighty 1090);
Jerry Schniepp and John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section office);
Rick Willis, Brandon Stone, and Jake Fadden (KUSI-TV);
Bruce Ward (San Diego City Schools);
Rick Smith (;
Steve (Biff) Dolan and Rick (Red) Hill (107.9 FM The Mountain);
Jeff Kurtz (; Ernie Martinez (XTRA Sports 1360);  and
Nick Pellegrino.


2013: Bakersfield is Stranger in These Parts

Rick : December 9, 2013 8:16 am : Football

BakeSan Diego High first played Bakersfield, then known  as Kern County Union High, in 1917.

The Drillers, who play at Mission Hills Saturday night in a State Southern Regional playoff, last met an area team in  1952.

San Diego holds a 6-5, all-time advantage over the Drillers, the Cavemen having won the last five meetings.  Hoover and Grossmont each is 0-1.

Bakersfield and Long Beach Poly rank 1-2 in most wins by a California prep team.  The Drillers won their 776th  with a 60-21 victory over Clovis North and clinched their 36th Central Section championship.

The school opened in 1893 and is still located at its original site in the middle of the city.  Its 2,800 students represent the largest enrollment in the city but the school’s 25-acre site is the smallest.

All-time results with teams from the San Diego area:

Year Opponent Score
1917 @San Diego 7-18
1922 San Diego 32-0
1922 @San Diego 17-6
1938 @San Diego 21-0
1939 @San Diego 13-6
1940 San Diego 35-13
1946 @San Diego 7-13
1947 San Diego 0-25
1948 @San Diego 0-31
1949 San Diego 12-14
1950 San Diego 7-19
1950 Grossmont 38-7
1952 Hoover 33-13

Bakersfield’s second victory over San Diego in 1922 was a state playoff. San Diego had won the Southern California championship a  week before with a 31-14 victory over Gardena.

The CIF dropped  state playoffs in 1926 and didn’t renew the series until 2006.

Mission Hills will be the first San Diego Section team involved in a playoff with a school from another section since Mountain Empire dropped a 34-26, decision to Claremont in 1965.

Mountain Empire had remained in the Southern Section in 1960, when other San Diego County schools formed their own section, and didn’t become a member of the local group until 1969.


A Superior Court judge in San Diego sided with the state CIF and the CIF San Diego Section and denied a lawsuit by Christian.

The Patriots claimed a bylaw in CIF rules would allow them to move down to Division IV in the State Bowl Series.

The Patriots, who cited their enrollment of less than 500 students as basis for the action, won the San Diego Section III title but the Section declared them D-II for state playoff consideration.

Leave a response »

2013: Mission Hills In; Christian Waits

Rick : December 8, 2013 5:37 pm : Football

One San Diego team is in the State Bowl Southern Regional playoffs and another will learn its fate Monday.

Mission Hills (12-1) was invited to play host to the Central Section champion Bakersfield Drillers (11-2) Saturday night, Dec. 14, in Division I.

Christian, which defeated San Marcos, 19-7, for the San Diego Section III title, filed suit to be considered as a D-IV entry in the state playoffs.

A hearing is scheduled in  San Diego Superior Court Monday.

The  winner  of Mission Hills-Bakersfield will take on either the Central Coast’s San Mateo Serra (11-2) or the Sac-Joaquin’s Loomis Del Oro (12-2), which play in the North Regional.

The Grizzlies solidified their standing as the San Diego Section’s best team with a 36-14 win over Oceanside in the Open Division final.  Bakersfield defeated Clovis North, 60-21, for the Central Section I title.

Bakersfield’s two losses were early in the season to Westlake Village Oaks Christian, 51-50, and Long Beach Poly, 27-7.  Mission Hills was beaten, 13-10, in overtime by San Marcos.


Coach Matt Oliver has presided over four San Diego Section championship teams and had two others advance to the finals in his 15 seasons at Christian,  but no title was more satisfying than this.

The Patriots (12-1), enrollment less than 400, defeated San Marcos (9-5), enrollment more than 2,200, by a score of 19-7 in the D-III championship at Mesa College.

Paris Miller drove  the Patriots’ offense with 217 yards in 28 carries and a 12-yard touchdown run.  Sebastian Swift led the defense with 10 tackles, a quarterback sack, two interceptions (one returned 45 yards for a touchdown), and recovered a fumble.


Sweetwater (9-4), which lost four of its first five games, won its eighth in a row, longest streak for the school since 1986, and its first championship since 1984, scoring late to defeat  Monte Vista (7-6), 7-0, for the D-IV title.

Leave a response »

1950: As Powell Goes, So Go Cavers

Rick : December 7, 2013 5:00 pm : Football

This team may have been the best of all coached by Duane Maley at San Diego High, but the Cavemen lost two of their best players and five reserves as practice started and their best player at the most important time of the season.

They came up short in the Southern California playoffs.

Starting halfback Darnes Johnson and tackle Ed Wallace were gone before the first scrimmage.

Johnson was the team’s leading ball carrier and a :09.9 100-yard sprinter who anchored the Hillers’ rapid 880-yard relay team in the spring. Wallace was an experienced lineman who saw  playing time in 1949.


Halfbacks Richard Real, Paul Brooks and Mickey Hall, end Howard Simpson, and guard Calvin Rayford joined Johnson and Wallace, also literally hauled out of school and ordered to report to National Guard units at Fort Rosecrans on the Point Loma peninsula.

The Korean War erupted on June 25, 1950, when the North Korean army invaded South Korea. American ground troops aided the South Korean cause.

The seven National Guard Cavers were called to duty to help take the place of those deployed.

Maley soon learned there would be no “education deferments.” The only  games the players would be playing were war games.

The players had joined the National Guard in high school partly because each earned as much as $10 for every meeting attended, a handy sum for teenagers of the era.

Active duty was expected to be in the future, after graduation.

Johnson (left) also was anchor of coach Bill Patten's track team with football teammates Hal Espy and Herb McClister.

Johnson (left) also was anchor of coach Bill Patten’s track team with football teammates Hal Espy and Herb McClister.

Deep and fast, San Diego overcame the personnel losses and stormed through the new City Prep League to finish the regular season with an 8-0 record.

But disaster struck in game 7.

End Charlie Powell, who would be named Southern California player of the year, sustained a bruised kidney after taking a knee in his back during a 58-12 romp over Kearny, the poorest team on the schedule.

Of all the games to lose the star player in Southern California and arguably the best in the country! San Diego went into the Kearny game with an overall 29-pound average weight advantage, 184-155.

The Cavers led, 27-0, after one quarter and 58-0 after three.

Powell did not play the following week against La Jolla, the original  thinking that he would be available for the opening round of the playoffs.

Medical reports soon indicated a more serious injury.

The 6-foot, 3-inch, 230-pounder, a marvelous player who excelled in 4 sports (the only athlete in school history to earn 12 varsity letters in three years) , including track and field (he held the school shot put record of 57 feet, 9 1/4 inches, for 31 years) and baseball in the spring, was declared out several days before the first-round game at Fullerton.

No mystery. No intrigue. No wait for a game-time decision.

Powell not only missed the game but also part  of the basketball season.

San Diego Police detective Bert Ritchey, star of 1925 and 1926 teams. chats up Charlie Powell, star of 1950 Cavers.

Leaders of legendary San Diego High athletic families:  Bert Ritchey (left), star of 1924-26 teams, and 1950’s Charlie Powell .


Without Powell San Diego still was favored by a touchdown over the 7-1-1 Fullerton Indians.

Without “Ness” Johnson the Cavemen still had explosion.

Frank Johnson and Harold Espy combined for 20 touchdowns. Chuck McDairmant was completing 57 per cent of his passes and had thrown for more than 800 yards.

McDairmant’s play at quarterback was a final, important ingredient. Completing his second season as starter, McDairmant’s eight-game total was 47 completions in 83 attempts for 810 yards and 12 touchdowns.

At one point during the season McDairmant was averaging 10.27 yards per pass. Evening Tribune  writer Jerry Brucker was moved to compare the Hillers’ signal caller to the Los Angeles’ Rams’ Norm Van Brocklin, the NFL leader at 9.28 yards per pass.

McDairmant had been a relatively anonymous end on the Hillers’ 1948 sophomore team, but Maley moved him to quarterback the following spring and the junior-to-be won the job.

McDairmant (27) and Hillers teammates missed big Powell.

McDairmant (27 in first row) and Hillers teammates missed big Powell.

McDairmant also had some “cred”, although that term did not become a part of the social lexicon until years later.

The Horace Mann Junior High team of McDairmant, Terry Heselius and Bruce Dietrick had won the three-man City touch football championship by defeating the Memorial triumvirate of Powell, Espy, and Darnes Johnson.


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

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

The loss of Powell was just one of Maley’s concerns. The coach was uneasy before the 8 p.m. Friday kickoff at Fullerton High. A dense fog was rolling in, blanketing much of Orange County.

Players on both teams were ghost-like figures in a surreal pregame warmup, rhythmically appearing and disappearing.

“I couldn’t see the holder or the kicker I was snapping the ball to,” remembered center Fred Thompson, looking back  years later on one of his most disappointing experiences.

To Maley’s almost disbelief, the stadium public address announcer declared a weather postponement, the first in CIF Southern Section playoff history, after the national anthem.

The Cavers were forced to spend the night in Fullerton.

“It was crazy, the way the coaches worked it out,” said Thompson.

“There must have been forty-five or fifty players who made the trip.  They had us spread out all over Fullerton. I spent the night with 5 or 6 other players in the fire station. I slept on a cot. We were awakened every time there was any activity by the firemen.”


A long morning wait on Saturday preceded the 2 p.m. kickoff. Forces seem to be working against the Cavemen.

And why, with an 8-0 record, was Maley’s  squad the visiting team? Against an opponent that had a loss (19-0 to South Pasadena) and a tie (0-0 with Whittier) before winning six in a row?

Powell actually stayed in game long enough to score third-quarter touchdown.

With an oddly timed coin toss nine days before the game to determine where the teams would meet, especially since Fullerton still had a regular season game on its schedule?

Conspiracy theorists cited another example of perceived CIF Southern Section bias. The Southern Section numbered more than 200 schools, the great percentage of which were at least 100 miles north of San Diego, the so-called “Border Town”.

Fullerton proved a tough, worthy opponent.

Expected to grind it out and try to maintain ball-control, the Indians struck twice with touchdown passes in the third quarter after a 6-6 deadlock in the first half. San Diego answered with touchdowns each time but a missed extra point in the fourth quarter left the Cavers short.

Final score, 20-19.


Had the Hillers made the conversion and the game ended 20-20, San Diego would have advanced to the semifinals of the 10-team bracket, having more first downs than Fullerton. That CIF rule would come into play again in 1955, when the Cavers met Anaheim in an epic semifinal playoff.

The last indignity came late in the game. An apparent 15-yard touchdown run by Frank Johnson that would have put the San Diego in front, 25-20, was erased because of a rarely called rule infraction.

A San Diego lineman was penalized because his foot was lined up inside the foot of the lineman next to him.

“We had scored and I had my hand up to signal for the huddle (for the extra point),” Thompson recalled. “Then I heard the referee scream, ‘Illegal formation!’ I had no idea what was going on. I saw the referee go over to the sideline to explain the penalty. Maley was beside himself.”


Front sports page of newspaper said it all.

Front sports page of newspaper said it all as growing city consolidated school teams.

Hoover principal Floyd Johnson, the San Diego representative on the CIF Southern Section executive committee, was in Los Angeles in February, 1950, for a weekend meeting at which the new San Diego City Prep League was formed and the Metropolitan League was realigned.

The City League would consist of San Diego, Hoover, and Grossmont, holdovers from the Coast League; and La Jolla, Point Loma, and Kearny, former Metropolitan League entries.

Metro membership went to Sweetwater, Chula Vista, Coronado, Oceanside, Escondido and Mar Vista, which became the 22nd County school, opening its doors with a temporary campus near the Brown Field air station.

The Southern Prep presented the same lineup as in 1949. Mountain Empire, in distant Campo, was given a “passive” membership. Its representatives would attend league meetings and the Redskins would abide by SPL rules, but they played a limited league schedule.

Brown Military also remained in the SPL but would not play San Dieguito.

St. Augustine, as usual, was not a factor, wearily traipsing to and from schools in the far-flung, Los Angeles-dominated Southland Catholic League.

The Saints would mount a strong campaign for admittance to a San Diego league later in decade.

And what a decade it would be! From 1950-59 San Diego High was 85-15, the best record of any school in California. More significant, 10 new schools were welcomed as San Diego County nudged toward a divorce from the Southern Section.


One of the new schools would be Helix, which was scheduled to open in September, 1951, with split sessions at Grossmont while the Highlanders’ facility was constructed.

East County voters in November, 1950, overwhelmingly passed a bond issue for $1.9 million that financed what was then known as the “University Avenue High school.”

The Helix address became 7323 University Avenue in La Mesa.


San Dieguito was more fortunate than the San Diego Cavemen in the Minor Division playoffs.

Riding the heavyweight thrusts of Bud Reid, who finished the season with 16 touchdowns, the Mustangs defeated Metropolitan League co-champ Escondido, 13-0, then followed with wins at Brawley, 33-20, and over Palm Springs, 12-0.

Bud Reid was San Dieguito's touchdown man.

Bud Reid, outrunning Escondido defenders, was San Dieguito’s touchdown man.

Mustangs supporters were only slightly assuaged. They continued to be miffed at what they saw as disrespect for the school’s athletic program and lack of consideration when the re-leaguing of the 21 San Diego County schools took place earlier in the year.

San Dieguito wanted to sit at the big table, in the Metropolitan League, but was consigned to the weaker Southern Prep League.

Mar Vista, located in the supposedly more geographically suited South Bay and opening in September, 1950, would give the Metropolitan League its desired six teams, although Mariners games wouldn’t count in the league standings the first year.

San Dieguito, in the north San Diego County Encinitas community, claimed its second straight SPL title with a 4-0 record and outscored league rivals Army-Navy, Ramona, Fallbrook, and Vista, 142-19.

The Mustangs would join the Metro League in 1951.


It’s no surprise Charlie Powell was the Southern California player of the year despite playing only 6 1/2 games and,  with Powell healthy, the Cavers arguably were one of the top teams in the state.

Powell played running back, pass-catching end, and defensive end and could turn a game either way.

Powell towered over L.A. Rams halfback Glenn Davis and ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Frankie Albert when Powell received player-of-year award at Helms Athletic Foundation office in Los Angeles.

The tall, graceful Powell astounded the crowd of more than 8,000 in Bakersfield by running down and making an open field tackle on halfback Hal Morgan, a 49-seconds quarter-miler and one of the fastest athletes in the San Joaquin Valley.

Morgan, who gained 40 yards on the play and reached the Cavers’ 10-yard line,  was injured on the tackle and did not return. Powell also ran for a first down with a bad snap from punt formation.

The Cavers had brought the game to the 6-0 Bakersfield Drillers, scourges of the CIF Central Section, after a five-hour bus ride.

Hal Espy scored on the first play of the game with a 72-yard dash.  San Diego held  Bill Fanning, the Drillers’ leading rusher, to 19 yards and the Cavers eased to a 19-7 victory over coach Homer Beatty’s club, which was  averaging 32.3 points and wreaking havoc from Fresno to the Grapevine on U.S. 99.

Powell was all over the field in win against San Joaquin Valley power.

Powell was all over the field in win against San Joaquin Valley power.

As Bakersfield Californian writer Eddie Lopez noted, “Never before in all six of their previous games have the Drillers faced such dazzling speed, beefy forwards, and devil-may-care gambling  as illustrated by the visiting Cavers.”


Local observers generally were pleased with the alignment of the new San Diego leagues, with some reservations. Evening Tribune sports editor George T. Herrick did not like the idea that league games were scheduled by draw, coordinated by school principals.

Herrick suggested coaches would have done a better job. The schedule “pitted traditional teams against each other too early in the year,” said Herrick, who pointed out that every city school except La Jolla claimed its lowest attendance in several years at home games.

Particularly galling, said Herrick, was the scheduling of San Diego and Hoover in the league opener at Aztec Bowl as a Hoover home game.  The game drew 10,000 in the 11,500-seat stadium at San Diego State, not far from the Hoover campus. Attendance was half that of the 1949 game at Balboa.

City League officials, when announcing the schedule, indicated they wanted to minimize traditional rivalries. Point Loma and La Jolla, old antagonists from the Metro League, also were paired in a City League opener.

Evening Tribune  writer Jerry Brucker reported that CPL bosses felt the San Diego-Hoover game had gotten “too big” and needed to be deemphasized.

Tradition also took a back seat when San Diego High’s acclaimed Sergeanettes did not perform. A new rule prohibited the band and drill teams of visiting schools from participating in pregame or halftime ceremonies.


The pageantry and precision of ancillary groups was appreciated by the official crowd of 20,526 persons which turned out for the 12th annual City Schools football carnival.

City Prep League made debut in annual football carnival, program cover of which sketched by renowned Willard Mullin.

City Prep League made debut in annual football carnival, program cover of which sketched by renowned Willard Mullin.

The West of San Diego, Point Loma, and La Jolla, defeated the East of Kearny, Hoover, and Grossmont, 18-8 in a perfect, East-West geographical alignment of three, 15-minute quarters.

Point Loma’s Marshall (Scooter) Malcolm returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown against Grossmont and La Jolla’s Oscar Ruiz scored two touchdowns against Kearny. San Diego and Hoover were scoreless.


Powell was joined in the all-Southern California lineup by halfback Frank Johnson and tackle Terry Heselius, teammates who made the third team; Coronado halfback Harry Sykes, who earned second team honors, and Point Loma halfback Marshall (Scooter) Malcolm, a third team choice.

Future San Diego State  and Chargers assistant coach and St. Louis Cardinals head coach Jim Hanifan of Covina, was Powell’s accompanying first-team end.  Guard Jack Menotti of Santa Monica, later the head coach at Madison and Ramona, earned second-team honors.


Hoover at last introduced its new lighting system as 4,500 showed to watch the Cardinals tie San Bernardino, 14-14.

New lights had been purchased in time for the 1949 campaign but were late arriving and the Cardinals played the ’49 schedule on the road.

La Jolla installed new lights at Scripps Field on campus. Point Loma erected concrete bleachers, and Kearny acquired land to enlarge its athletic plant.


The Breitbard Athletic Foundation announced that a “San Diego Board of Football” had been formed. Writers Gene Earl and John McDonald of The Union;  Jerry Brucker and Tom Stansberry of the Tribune, and F.W. (Bill) Whitney of the Breitbard Foundation would select the all-City and all-Metropolitan League teams.

Coaches would be asked only to fill out ratings cards on opponent players the Monday following games.  The writers would analyze and make choices, supposedly removing selection politics and coaching agendas.


Head coach Gerry Spitler summed up the first season at Mar Vista:

“A few weeks ago we were greeted by thirty-five boys, five of whom lettered in junior varsity football at Chula Vista; a practice field full of rocks, and a coaching staff (Bob Ganger, baseball, and Don Smith, basketball) new to the game.”

Players walked the field before the first practice, picking up rocks and using their helmets as buckets. A student contest resulted in the naming of the school and its teams (Mariners) and colors (green and gold).

Mar Vista students attended classes at the abandoned Naval Air Base at Brown Field near the U.S-Mexico border while the new school was being constructed.

The stars were out in Balboa Stadium gridfest.

Sweating through an opening-game, 26-0 loss at Corona,  Spitler declared, “The first quarter was the longest in my life!” Mariners players committed numerous penalties resulting in a 49-minute opening period.


The summer’s second annual College Prep game, matching all-Los Angeles against all-Southern California, was won by the L.A. City team, 27-7, before an destimated 15,000 in Balboa Stadium.

Several days later game founder Bob Breitbard told the Evening Tribune‘s George T. Herrick  that there would not be a third game between recent high school graduates.   The popular contest had been a financial loser, said Breitbard.

Foundation executive director Leo Callan went before the city council in January, 1951,   revealing that the 1950 game lost $1,100.

Callan, advancing Breitbard’s wish that the game be saved, sought a break in the rental fee for Balboa Stadium and also announced that a group in  Los Angeles wanted the game if Breitbard bailed.

La Jolla’s Sid Davis scored the losers’ only touchdown with an 88-yard kickoff return in the last minute.


Harvey, flanked by Omer Ruiz (left) and Ted Christiansen became head coach at La Jolla in 1950.

Walt Harvey, flanked by Omar Ruiz (left) and Ted Christiansen became head coach at La Jolla.

Compton, trailing, 14-6, in the third quarter, defeated Fullerton 26-14 for the Southern Section championship… San Diego won its opening game 14-2 over Long Beach Poly before 9,000 at Long Beach Veterans’ Memorial Stadium in  a renewal of a  preeminent Southern California rivalry…the Cavers and Jackrabbits met 30 times between 1910 and ’41 but they had not played since 1944…La Jolla, under new coach Walt Harvey, and Point Loma, led by the veteran Don Giddings, proved to be able replacements for teams from the Coast League…Point Loma beat Hoover and hung in against San Diego… Hoover played Glendale, Arizona, and San Diego played Glendale, California… the Cavers averaged almost 11 yards a carry and hammered Glendale with 323 yards on the ground… Frank Johnson had 151 yards in 9 carries, Eddie Duncan 79 in 8, and Hal Espy 88 in 6…Powell ran 63 yards on an end-around for a touchdown and scored on pass plays of 27 and 69 yards in the 33-21 victory over Point Loma…the Kearny Komets scored only 21 points and were 0-5 in the City League, prompting criticism of their inclusion in the new lineup…head coach Hal Smith was a one-man staff…he did not have an assistant coach…Hoover had two players named Bill Reed, one a guard, the other a fullback, no relation……with two touchdown passes to Hal Espy against Fullerton, San Diego’s Chuck McDairmant finished with 14 in nine games…St. Anthony forfeited to St. Augustine after discovery that the Long Beach school had scheduled Newport Harbor on the same night… fiery Hoover coach Bob Kirchhoff promoted several sophomores to the varsity and slashed the number of players dressing for home games after successive losses to San Diego and Grossmont… part of the Cardinals’ problem was a season-ending shoulder injury to halfback Don Bonatus, one of the area’s best… led by fullback Jim Frankson, Sweetwater outgained Escondido 390 yards to 90 and lost, 12-6…Lee Bogle’s team at Grossmont was known as Bogle’s Boogiemen…Harry Sykes of Coronado scored a touchdown in the final game against Montebello and finished with 100 points, seventh highest total in County history…champion San Dieguito gridders, their dads, and sundry Encinitas  businessmen consumed more than 100 pounds of turkey at the Del Mar Jockey Club…players received gold footballs and heard from former Navy all-America Slade Cutter…   


2013: Season May Not Be Over

Rick : December 6, 2013 7:18 am : Football

Is a state bowl game series game  in the offing for a San Diego Section team?

Cal-Hi Sports is suggesting that Mission Hills could meet the winner of  tonight’s Southern Section, Vista Murrieta-Corona Centennial Division I championship contest.  Such a game would take place on  the weekend of Dec. 13-14 and be a Southern California playoff prelude to a state championship game.

St. Augustine, Cathedral, and Holtville also are in the mix.  Any  of the 5 Section champions are eligible, but most will be on the outside looking in. 

The Saints have not turned in their equipment and will be watching to see who wins the Southern Section Division II matchup between Gardena Serra and West Hills Chaminade.

Holtville, which won D-V, is an 11-1 possibility in D-IV. There is no D-V playoff.

Cathedral is a D-1 longshot but administered the only loss in 13 games for Vista Murrieta.

A caveat to much of this is which Southern Section winners will go into the Open Division and which will be in D-I. 

Meanwhile, Christian has taken legal action to  place the Patriots in a D-IV bowl series game.  Christian has less than 500 students and, according to state CIF bylaws, that automatically means Christian is D-IV.

Playoff pairings throughout the state this year were determined by “past success” and not by enrollment.  Christian thus is in the San Diego Section D-III title game tomorrow night against San Marcos, which has a student body of more than 2,200.

San Marcos is favored and a Christian loss could make a D-IV state playoff berth and the law suit agajnst the San Diego Section and State CIF somewhat academic.

Christian is represented by attorney Bob Ottilie, who has won previous battles against the high school federations.

The games are tonight. The politics will follow soon after.


Leave a response »

2013: Cathedral & San Pasqual Both Winners

Rick : December 3, 2013 12:59 pm : Football

So shocked were San Pasqual defenders they just watched.

Cathedral’s Jack Onstott ran 98 yards with an intercepted pass and brought a stunning conclusion to the Division I, San Diego Section championship game.

It was the most thrilling finish since…since Auburn beat Alabama with a 99-yard field goal return a week ago.

But Cathedral’s three-overtime, 37-31 victory over the school from Southeast Escondido was just as sudden and more final and maybe a little more emotional.Cathedral

Onstott, just a junior, has next season to look forward to.

But the Dons’ linebacker ended this season and the careers of many players on the field at Qualcomm Stadium, seniors on both sides of the ball who most likely strapped on a helmet for the last time.

Scoreboard be damned, both teams were winners.

Remember it, guys, and take the experience with you through life.


more »


2013: Championship Predictions…er, Guesses

Rick : December 1, 2013 5:25 pm : Football

Imperial’s dream run and Crawford’s miracle run each came to an end…with a thud.                                                                                                                                                   

The Tigers of the Imperial Valley were no match for St. Augustine in the San Diego Section Division II semifinals, losing 56-12, despite a good performance by Royce Freeman.

Crawford, which had stepped down a division and rekindled success of years past, was ambushed 42-6 in the D-V championship by Holtville, a team the Colts had beaten 21-14 in the regular season.

Such is life in the postseason.

Five championships will be determined this week, three tomorrow at Qualcomm Stadium. Two more are scheduled Saturday at Mesa College.


Is there a possible California bowl series bid in the offing for either Oceanside (10-2) or Mission Hills (11-1)? 

Probably not, but hopefully.

The Grizzlies whacked Oceanside 30-6 during the regular season, but most pundits, including me, have sided with the Pirates.

As we see it:  Oceanside, 34-24.


more »

Leave a response »

2013: Warren Vinton, 89, Led Helix in ‘Sixties

Rick : November 25, 2013 11:33 am : Football

Warren Vinton, who helped Helix establish itself as an athletic force as San Diego schools moved to form their own CIF section, passed away in Murrieta in Riverside County recently at age 89.

Vinton  posted a 25-9-1 record as the Highlanders’ head coach from 1964-67, winning two Grossmont League championships and taking his team to the San Diego Section title game in 1966.

The University of California at Santa Barbara graduate joined the coaching staff at Helix in 1956, when coach Tom Welbaum guided the Highlanders to an 8-1 record and a berth in the Southern Section playoffs.

Vinton (cnter) was joined at a 1967 practice with assistants Tom Feeser (left) and Bill White.

Vinton (center) was joined at  1967 practice by assistants Tom Feeser (left) and Bill White.

When Welbaum relocated to start the new Mount Miguel program in 1957, Vinton remained as college teammate Dick Gorrie became head coach.

After posting a 39-21-2 record in seven seasons, Gorrie was named head coach at Santa Ana Junior College and was succeeded by Vinton.

Vinton stepped down after the 1967 season but remained on the Highlanders’ faculty until his retirement in 1989.

A  La Mesa resident for 56 years, Vinton was remembered by Helix graduate and San Diego Evening Tribune sportswriter Roger Conlee, who covered the Highlanders during one of the most successful eras in school history.

“Warren was a contrast, more cerebral, less rah-rah than the charismatic Gorrie,” said Conlee.   “He had a droll sense of humor and a keen knowledge of football, especially the defensive side of the game.”

Vinton was tall, Gorrie much shorter.  Both handsome, they crafted an image of Helix football that was hip and almost glamorous compared to their Grossmont League brethren.


2013: Open Semifinals & III, IV, and V Quarterfinals

Rick : November 23, 2013 3:19 pm : Football

Ailing John Carroll, still not fully back from a late-season health scare,  wasn’t about to go hyperbolic.

After all, Carroll has won 233 games  in  25 seasons at Oceanside.

U-T San Diego writer Don Norcross wanted to know if the Pirates’ rally from 23 points behind at the half to a 33-30 Open Division playoff victory over Eastlake was the greatest..

“No, thank God, we’ve done it before,” said Carroll, “but (it was) the best this year.  Fantastic!”

Recovering Carroll stayed cool.

Carroll”s 247th career victory was result of Oceanside’s return from 30-7 halftime deficit.

History and tradition must mean something.


more »


2013: D-I & II Quarterfinals: No. 8 Beats No. 1

Rick : November 23, 2013 12:53 pm : Football

Props to the Open Division, which delivered the games the CIF hoped for in a terrific week of San Diego Section playoffs.

But Oceanside’s stunning comeback, which ousted Eastlake, 33-30, and Mission Hills’ grinding, 24-21 win over Helix were just part of  competitive, late November action.

And at most venues there was the accompaniment of a calendar visitor,  rain and chill.

It started Thursday night with  Divisions I and II quarterfinals.


–Mission Bay, now 11-1 but the No. 8 seed in D-II, rallied in the last three minutes, then weathered a last-second field goal attempt to knock out Madison, the No. 1 seed and the state’s defending D-III champion.

Matson and Buccaneers advanced to D-II semifinals.

Matson (in earlier game) and Buccaneers advanced to D-II semifinals.

The 21-18 victory, coming on Andre Petties-Wilson’s 12-yard touchdown  catch of Nicholas Plum’s pass with 2:50 remaining, was the 161st in coach Willie  Matson’s 24-season career as a head coach.

Matson, a Kearny graduate, was head coach at Mission Bay from 1984-85 (5-15), then served from 1987-93 at Kearny (49-32-1) and logged  logged six seasons, 1996-2001,  at Hoover (38-28-2).

His  last nine years have been Mission Bay redux (69-35-3)  and few, if any, of the coach’s 161 victories (including one San Diego Section title), were more dramatic or satisfying.

Only six weeks before the Buccaneers were on the short end of a 42-7 score against Madison in the teams’ Western League opener.


–El Capitan  took its 10-1 record and 44-point scoring average over the mountains to the Imperial Valley and became Imperial’s 11th straight victim, 49-42.

The Tigers’ Royce Freeman rushed for 218 yards in 36 carries and scored three touchdowns to raise his season total to 43.

Imperial, undefeated and with an average winning margin of 46-14, was behind 35-21 at halftime.

Freeman finally put the Tigers ahead for the first time with a 13-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-three with 5:52 remaining in the game.

The Tigers, the 3 seed, now take on No. 2 St. Augustine in the semifinals at Mesa College next Wednesday.


–It took awhile for people to start taking notice of Rancho Buena Vista, which was 4-35-1 from 2007-11.

The Longhorns, seeded fifth in D-II, showed some unexpected muscle in blowing out 4 seed Mount Miguel, an 8-2 team, 50-10, and this followed a regular-season, 38-36 win RBVcrestover San Pasqual, top seed in D-I.

The Vista school’s comeback began when Paul Gomes, who was 59-37-7 in nine years at Escondido, took over the program in 2012 and immediately improved the Longhorns from 0-10 to 6-6.

Gomes had left Escondido after the 2009 campaign to take a job on the staff of Rancho Santa Margarita’s Harry Welch.

Note: results and pairings for next week’s games can be accessed by going  to the  “Scores” link on the home page, then visiting the drop-down menu “by year”.


Leave a response »
« Page 1 ... 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 ... 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 *