Football Blog

2013: Is Eastlake Underrated?

Rick : November 15, 2013 9:16 am : Basketball, Football

Cal-Hi Sports honcho Mark Tennis continues to build a case for Eastlake as the San Diego Section’s No. 1 team, although the 31 members of the U-T San Diego voting panel have re-installed Oceanside as No. 1, followed by Mission Hills.

Eastlake is third.

Answers should be forthcoming in the Open Division playoffs, which begin tonight.  Eastlake and Oceanside could meet in next week’s semifinals.

Eastlake is ranked 12th in Cal-Hi Sports’ latest poll, followed by Mission Hills, which rose from 20th to 14th, and Oceanside, back in the poll at 25th.

“Bubble” teams included Helix and Madison.  Cathedral did not get a call, its loss to St. Augustine three weeks ago a collective kick in the pelvic region.

“Based on our assessment of their record and the who beat who, a young Eastlake is our top dog until someone from the CIFSDS beats them,” wrote Tennis.

Tennis then made a more interesting observation.  “If the boys from Chula Vista were the top seed in the San Diego Union-Tribune (sic) poll, they would most likely be a Top 10 team (in the Cal-Hi Sports rankings).

Eastlake’s only loss in a 9-1 season was to Chandler Hamilton 28-17, in the season’s opening game.  Hamilton is a Top 10 team in Arizona.


Eastlake is sixth in the newsletter’s South Division I ratings  for State Bowl consideration. Madison is fifth and St. Augustine seventh in D-II.  Francis Parker and Christian are 1-2 in D-IV.


Cal-Hi Sports is not particularly impressed with San Diego Section basketball teams.  Not one was in its preseason Top 10.  La Costa Canyon is 22nd, El Camino (with standout guard Jason Watson transferring from Army-Navy) 26th, and St. Augustine 35th.

Foothills Christian and Hoover are on the bubble.

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2013, Week 12: Oceanside, Mission Hills Deadlock

Rick : November 12, 2013 10:33 am : Football

Oceanside and Mission Hills reached the end of the 10-game regular-season race in a flatfooted tie, each earning a first-place rating after they deadlocked with 276 points in the UT-San Diego poll of sportswriters and sportscasters.

Coach Chris Hauser’s Grizzlies, who shocked Oceanside, 30-6, in the regular season, are the top-seeded team in the San Diego Section Open Division playoffs, created this year to place teams not by enrollment but by records and past success.

The criteria also is in place for Divisions I-V and means that teams will be moved up and down in future playoff seedings.  As an example, Crawford, 10-0 and favored in D-V this season, could automatically move up a division in 2014.

Mission Hills takes on No. 8 Steele Canyon (3-7) in the first round.  Second-seeded Eastlake, which finished third in the poll, meets No. 7 Poway (4-6).  Oceanside, seeded third, gets No. 6 Torrey Pines (6-4)  and fourth-seeded Helix takes on No. 5 La Costa Canyon (7-3).

If seeding goes to form, a blockbuster semifinal looms, Mission Hills meeting Helix and Eastlake battling Oceanside.

The playoff seeding meeting was anchored by a group of mostly retired coaches.  The coaches (seeding) and media (poll), not surprisingly, didn’t agree on Open Division placements, although they were in step regarding top seeds in D-I and  II.

As the  games begin the U-T‘s group will be on hiatus, with a final poll conducted after the playoffs.


Team (1st)



Last Week


Oceanside (13)





Mission Hills (12)





Eastlake (5)





San Pasqual (1)















St. Augustine










Cathedral Catholic





Mount Miguel




*Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
Others receiving votes: Carlsbad, 6; El Capitan, 4; Imperial, 3; Grossmont,  2; Mission Bay, Hoover, 1 each.

Thirty-one sportswriters, sportscasters and administrators vote each week, including:  John Maffei, Craig Malveaux, Dennis Lin, Don Norcross, Lisa Lane, and Andrew Burer, U-T-San Diego; Steve Brand, Terry Monahan, Bill Dickens, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, U-T-San Diego correspondents; Nick Pellegrino, East County; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (107.9 FM The Mountain); Jeff Kurtz,; Ernie Martinez, XTRA Sports 1360; John Kentera, Jack Cronin, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak, Jordan Carruth, Bobby Wooldridge, Mark Chiebowski (The Mighty 1090;  Rick Willis, Brandon tone, Jake Fadden, KUSI-TV; Craig Elsten,; Rick Smith,; Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta, CIF San Diego Section, and Bruce Ward, San Diego Unified School District.

2013, Week 12: Playoffs Begin In 6 Divisions

Rick : November 10, 2013 4:46 pm : Football

We must be in an era of entitlement.

How else can you explain that 64 of 97 San Diego Section teams were invited to participate in the playoffs?

And 25 don’t even have winning records.

Seventeen losing teams and eight with .500 records are in.

They’ll vie for 6 divisional championships.

Sixty of 96 teams, including seven with losing records, made the five-division postseason in 2012.

Division IV this year includes one winning team out of 12, Sweetwater’s 6-4 Red Devils.

La Jolla, with a 4-6 record, gets a first-round bye.

El Cajon, 2-8 with a record of 0-4 and a negative point differential of 191-7 in the Grossmont Valley League, is in the IV playoffs!


The CIF created an Open Division this year in hopes of getting the elite teams competing in one bracket.  “Only” two losing teams, 3-7 Steele Canyon and 4-6 Poway are in the Open Division.

The top seeds are Mission Hills (9-1), Open; San Pasqual, 9-1, D-I; Madison, 9-1, D-II; Francis Parker, 10-0.  D-III; Monte Vista, 5-5, D-IV, and Crawford, 10-0, D-V.


Best first-round matchups:

Open–La Costa Canyon (5) at Helix (4).


DII—Brawley (9)  versus Mission Bay (8) at site to be determined. Scripps Ranch (10) at West Hills (7).

DIII—The Bishop’s (7) at Morse (10).


DV—Army-Navy (5) at Blythe Palo Verde (4-6).


2013, Week 11: How Mighty Have Fallen

Rick : November 10, 2013 3:37 pm : Football

San Diego High’s football program has bottomed out.

The Cavers forfeited to Hoover on the Monday before the Friday game this week.  The reason given was that they had less than 20 players and unable to field a full squad.

There was a time when that many running backs turned out for football at San Diego High.

San Diego’s fall from the heady decade of the 1950s, when the Cavers’ 85-15 record was the best in California and their 1955 team was acclaimed national champion, followed  the retirement of Duane Maley after the 1959 season.

San Diego experienced its first winless season in 53 years just two seasons later, going 0-6-2 in 1961 (they were 0-5-1 in 1908, 0-10 in 1984 and 1997, and 0-9 in 2013).

The Cavers have had some successful records since Maley’s retirement and were 7-4 as recently as 2011 but the decline has been steady, with only 16 winning seasons in the last 54, compared with 49 in the first 66.


“It feels like a five-thousand pound elephant has been lifted from our shoulders,” Cody Roelof told U-T San Diego reporter Kevin Farmer.

“Our kids have been so close the last four years,” said Roelof, who guided the Hilltop Lancers to their second-ever league championship and first since Stan Canaris coached the Lancers to a 9-1 record and the Metropolitan League title in 1979.

Hilltop edged Mar Vista for the Metro South Bay title, 18-15, on a play suggested by Roelof’s players.

Eschewing a field goal, which could have tied the game and necessitated overtime, the Lancers took their chances on fourth down at the five-yard line with four seconds remaining.

Hilltop quarterback Daniel Sanchez pitched a handoff to Drake Madarang, who followed lead blocker Luis Hernandez into the end zone for the winning score.


Grossmont’s Anthony Lawrence set records for career passing yardage (8,502) and pass completions (652) and is two short of the career record for touchdowns (91) .

The Foothillers will be in the playoffs after an 8-2 regular season.


Mt. Carmel could have won its first league title since 1994 but lost to Del Norte, 35-28, and shared the  Valley League gonfalon with Del Norte and San Marcos…after beating Torrey Pines, 27-0, in the “Beach Bowl,” La Costa Canyon running back Kevin Mann was moved to declare to U-T San Diego reporter Kirk Kenney, “This is the biggest rivalry, I think, in sports.”…after digesting the profoundness of Mann’s pronouncement, Kenney anointed the La Costa concession department with the rare five belches on his five-belch scale…2013 state shot put and discus qualifier Dotsun Ogundeji returned a fumble 58 yards for a Madison touchdown in its 28-7 win over Point Loma…”We kept our eyes up and our heads on a swivel,” said Warhawks defender Sam Vermillion, describing Madison’s approach to Point Loma’s “fly sweep” offense…Helix’s 14-13 victory over Steele Canyon marked Troy Starr’s 200th career win…Starr  is 61-12-1 since 2008 with the Highlanders….



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1948: High School Football is No. 1!

Rick : November 5, 2013 4:15 pm : Football

A small item in The San Diego Union revealed that the Coliseum Arena in San Diego would be dark on Sept. 24.

A scheduled boxing card  was called off, because the promoter didn’t want to compete for gate receipts with the annual City Schools’ football carnival.

The carnival, kickoff to the high school season, was so popular with the city’s sports fans that even events as unrelated as professional boxing matches deferred to the preps.

It was the way we were in 1948.

Kearny band members give cheerleader Beverly ull a lift (left), while Marilym Harness of San Diego High leads a cheer at ninth annual City schools' football carnival.

Kearny band members give cheerleader Beverly Dull a lift (left), while Marilyn Harness of San Diego High leads a cheer at 10th annual City schools’ football carnival.

Television had arrived but had yet to change American  entertainment habits. The NFL’s popularity was in the formative stage, and major league baseball was a game played at least two time zones and 1,800 miles to the East.


Football attendance in San Diego, beginning with the Carnival, still was at levels that would be considered unattainable just 10 years into the future.

The pomp, pageantry, and action of the carnival drew an estimated overflow crowd of 27,000, about as much as attended the 1947 Hoover-San Diego game, but less than the all-time record of 30,000 at the 1946 carnival.

San Diego outscored Hoover, 21-0, in its 15-minute debut and the Hillers and West compatriots La Jolla and Point Loma defeated the East contingent of Grossmont, Hoover, and Kearny, 28-2.

San Diego High had the largest home attendance, but Grossmont, ousted from the Metropolitan League because of increasing enrollment, proved to have a strong following as the third local member of the Coast League, joining San Diego and Hoover.

The Foothillers and Cavers played before 11,500 in their Coast League game at Balboa Stadium, and the Foothillers and winless Hoover drew 6,000 to Aztec Bowl.

Hoover, with no chance to win, helped San Diego draw 15,000 to Balboa Stadium for the annual renewal of the city rivalry, and 6,000 overflowed the Hoover stadium (before a stands-destroying fire) for a game with San Bernardino.

There was an overflow crowd of 5,000 at La Jolla for the Vikings’ Metropolitan League showdown with Coronado, and a jam-packed crowd of 3,000 saw host Vista win its Southern Prep title-deciding encounter with San Dieguito.

Eight-thousand were on hand at Ramsaur Stadium in Compton for San Diego’s big Coast League contest with Compton.

The numbers were up everywhere.


The Spanish word is correctly pronounced with  an “e” emphasis, but no one in the distant North County community was interested in  linguistics.

Not the way the local football team was playing.

The Panthers outscored four Southern Prep League opponents, 148-0, and defeated San Dieguito, 20-0, for the league championship on the Nov. 11 Armistice Day, later named Veterans’ Day.

Jack Goddard and Vista's ground attack reined in San Dieguito Mustangs.

Jack Goddard and Vista’s ground attack reined in San Dieguito Mustangs.

The Panthers met Tustin in a one-game, Southern Section Minor Division Southern Group playoff.

The Tillers trailed the host Panthers, 13-7, at the half but rallied to win the title 20-13.

But Vista’s 294 points in nine games,  the most scored by a County team since the 1945 San Diego team of coach Bill Bailey had 385 points in nine games, made the Panthers more popular than their bigger North County neighbors, Oceanside and Escondido.


San Diego High had a new coach.  Bill Bailey resigned to become head coach at the neighboring Junior College and was replaced by Duane Maley.

Maley was a 1939 graduate of San Diego and played collegiately at USC.

Maley’ first team was 7-0-1 in the regular season, and then felt the pain of  the first of several disappointments in the Southern California playoffs.


The Cavers were beaten by Long Beach St. Anthony, or rather fullback Johnny Olszewski, 20-12, in a first-round game at Long Beach Wilson.

The 185-pound Olszewski, destined for an All-America career at California and a 10- season stint in the NFL, battered the Cavemen with pile-driving rushes, inside and outside, averaging 7.8 yards, gaining 187 yards in 24 attempts, and scoring two touchdowns.

St. Anthony led 20-6 in the waning moments when the Cavers’ Neal Henderson returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown.

Olszewski eliminated Ontario Chaffey the following week with touchdown runs of 80, 65, 41, and 22 yards, but was injured in the first quarter and out of the championship game versus Santa Barbara.

St. Anthony and Santa Barbara tied, 7-7, but the Saints were awarded the championship trophy with a 16-12 advantage in first downs.

Johnny O. actually was contained somewhat by the Hillers, at least in comparison to other opponents.  He averaged 11.99 yards a carry and gained 1,655 yards in 138 carries for the season and  scored 164 points in 12 games.


There would be a Labor Day weekend holiday for the rest of the citizenry, but no rest for new coaches Duane Maley of San Diego or Bob Kirchhoff of Hoover.

On Saturday Maley was in the school gymnasium issuing equipment from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Six miles away in East San Diego, Kirchhoff was doing to same thing, but pulled the plug at 3 p.m.


Hoover principal Floyd Johnson disclosed that San Diego may have its own league of city schools by 1950.

Officials from Coast, Metropolitan, and Imperial Valley schools discussed the possibility at a meeting Johnson chaired.  A City Prep League would include San Diego, Hoover, La Jolla, Point Loma, and Kearny.

Cavemen advertised with schedule poster.

Cavemen advertised with schedule poster.

A sixth school, the projected Southeast High, would join the others.  That school turned out to be Lincoln, which opened as a junior high, grades 7-9, in September, 1949.

The Presidents, as they were first known, became the Hornets and fielded a varsity team for the first time in 1954.


The penalty gods wouldn’t cut a break for the Sweetwater Red Devils.

Lloyd Bishop’s National City squad appeared to have snapped a 0-5 streak, leading 7-6 and intercepting a desperate Coronado pass as the final gun sounded.

Sweetwater, however, was off side.  The infraction put the ball on the Red Devils’ 12-yard line. From there the Islanders’ Jim Voit swept end for a touchdown.

Kurt Storch kicked the point after and Coronado left the field with a 13-7 victory.

The reeling Red Devils ran the table in reverse, losing all 10 games.


For 46 minutes Grossmont and Pasadena staggered to a 0-0 deadlock.  You could hear the snores of 3,000 attendees in the cavernous Pasadena Rose Bowl.

Suddenly, the game changed.  On second down from the Foothillers’ 44, quarterback Phil May arched a pass in the flat to Hal Norris on the 50-yard line.

Kenny Whitcomb was trailing Norris, who lateraled to Whitcomb, who juggled the ball, fumbled, then picked the ball up on a bounce and raced to the end zone.  Foothillers won, 6-0.


With Hoover  comatose, the San Diego-Grossmont game was billed as a battle for the “City Championship,” although the Foothillers’ campus had a La Mesa address.

St. Augustine coach Dave DeVarona was not pleased when he read the headline over the story written by Gene Earl.

Grossmont battled manfully against favored San Diego, which pulled out a 13-7 victory.

DeVarona, who saw the game, kept his counsel, but a couple weeks later, after a 25-0 victory over Grossmont, DeVarona reminded Earl that the Saints also resided in the city and hinted that his club could beat San Diego.

Earl was a St. Augustine alumnus.

Charlie Davis has only one defender to shed as he scored first touchdown ibn San Diego's 39-7 win over Hoover.

Charlie Davis has only one defender to shed as he scores first in San Diego’s 39-7 win over Hoover.

There would be no San Diego-St. Augustine clash.

In the teams’ only other contest against a common opponent, San Diego lost to Long Beach St. Anthony, 20-12, in the Southern Section playoffs, a week after St. Anthony put a 64-33 whipping on the Saints.


A fire, suspicious in  origin according to Fire Department officials,  destroyed Hoover’s grandstand, forcing the Cardinals to hit the road, starting with a “home” day game in Aztec Bowl against Pasadena Muir.

A new structure would be ready for the Cardinals in 1949 but would not have lights, forcing the Redbirds to continue traveling.

It would be 1950 before the Cardinals played a home night game on their campus field.


Hoover’s Del Teter boomed a punt that went 55 yards in the air, over the heads of San Diego players, and teammate Jack Roznos downed the ball on the Cavers’ one-yard line.

Teter’s 78-yard kick could not be downed inside an opponent’s 10-yard line, according to a statute in the rule book of the day.

San Diego got the ball on its 20-yard line.


Ream Field’s 11th Naval District football team in Imperial Beach, boasting a 3-1 record, was forced to cancel football in the middle of the season because of an outbreak of polio.

Floyd Buchi, the team’s starting quarterback, died four days after being diagnosed with the disease.  Midshipman Fritz Krauth, a starting end, also fell ill and was rushed to Navy Hospital in Balboa Park with fever and muscle pain.


In action by the student council, San Diego Junior College adopted “Knights” as its athletic mascot name, replacing the unflattering “Jaybirds”.


Long Beach Wilson had six touchdown plays negated by penalties but still took Hoover apart, 56-0… rare is the game won by a field goal, but that’s how Army-Navy defeated Fallbrook…Jim Salisbury’s 35-yard placement with 42 seconds left in the game pushed the Cadets past the Warriors, 3-0… Jim Voit averaged 10.4 yards and rushed for 120 of Coronado’s 138 total yards in an opening-game, 12-6 loss to St. Augustine…35 San Diego players, plus coaches and staff flew to Phoenix Saturday afternoon at 2 and returned that night…the Saints were in the Pasadena Rose Bowl for the Southland Catholic League carnival… St. Augustine outscored  Santa Monica St. Monica’s, 20-0, in a 10-minute exercise…teams played six, 10-minute quarters…starting at end for the  Cavers: sophomore Charlie Powell, 6-2, 225 pounds…for three years, Powell excelled in downfield blocks, intercepted passes, touchdown catches, and touchdown runs…the “Imperial Valley Shuttle”, which ran for years, saw Cowboy Ken Maynard move on from Calexico to assist Lee Bogle at Grossmont…Walt Harvey was in his second year at La Jolla after serving in 1946 at Holtville, where Harvey coached all sports and drove the school bus to games…Bill (Red) Burrows joined the San Diego staff after apprenticing  at San Diego County Mountain Empire…La Jolla’s Jay Gutowski also was identified in press reports as “Ray” Gutowski and “Gay” Gutowski…his brother Bob was a world record holder in the pole vault in the late 1950s…Oceanside defeated Fallbrook, 20-19, in the season’s final game, dubbed the “Avocado Bowl”…six different Cavers, Charlie Davis, Curtis Everett, Neal Henderson, Granville Walton, Fred Davis, and Jim Mellos, scored touchdowns and Frank San Fillipo kicked four extra points in the 39-7 rout of Hoover…two other Cavers touchdowns were called back because of penalties…center John Davis of San Diego was a first-team, all-Southern California choice…no other locals were chosen on the three teams….



2013, Week 11: Oceanside No. 1 Again, Barely

Rick : November 5, 2013 9:40 am : Football

Oceanside is back on top in the U-T San Diego football poll, despite losing 30-6 to Mission Hills, the No. 2 team, a few weeks back.

I voted for Oceanside.  My thoughts were as conflicted as the total points separating Nos. 1 and 2.

Oceanside compiled 276 points and 12 first-place votes following its 43-0 blowout of La Costa Canyon last week. Mission Hills followed with  12 first place votes and 275 points after a 31-14 victory over Rancho Buena Vista.

Oceanside had one more second-place vote than the Grizzlies.

It seems the U-T panel may have awarded the Pirates more style points for their win.

Oceanside and Mission Hills could settle it all if they meet again in the Open Division playoffs.

Other potentially attractive rematches won’t happen because several of the Top 10 teams are in different playoff divisions.

# Team W-L Pts Last Week
1 Oceanside (12) 7-2 276 2
2 Mission Hills (12) 8-1 275 1
3 Eastlake (6) 8-1 264 3
4 San Pasqual (1) 8-1 214 4
5 Helix   7-2 186 5
6 Madison 8-1 165 6
7 St. Augustine 7-2 118 7
8 Ramona 8-1 80 9
9 Cathedral Catholic 7-2 72 8
10 Mount Miguel 8-2 49 10

*Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
Others receiving votes: Carlsbad, 5; El Capitan, 4; Imperial, 3; Torrey Pines, 2; Grossmont, Mission Bay, Hoover, 1 each.

Thirty-one sportswriters, sportscasters and administrators vote each week, including:  John Maffei, Craig Malveaux, Dennis Lin, Don Norcross, Lisa Lane, and Andrew Burer, U-T-San Diego; Steve Brand, Terry Monahan, Bill Dickens, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, U-T-San Diego correspondents; Nick Pellegrino, East County; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (107.9 FM The Mountain); Jeff Kurtz,; Ernie Martinez, XTRA Sports 1360; John Kentera, Jack Cronin, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak, Jordan Carruth, Bobby Wooldridge, Mark Chiebowski (The Mighty 1090;  Rick Willis, Brandon tone, Jake Fadden, KUSI-TV; Craig Elsten,; Rick Smith,; Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta, CIF San Diego Section, and Bruce Ward, San Diego Unified School District.
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2013, Week 10: Red Devils & Cardinals Roll

Rick : November 3, 2013 1:13 pm : Football

Football is fun again at Sweetwater and Hoover is traveling in style.

Sweetwater whipped Castle Park, 28-7, for its fourth victory in a row and a 5-4 record.  The Red Devils had not won 4 straight since 1996 and have not been 5-4 since 1998.

Hoover is a 7-game winner for only the 12th season in the 84 since the Cardinals first teed up the pigskin.  They also collected a rare double, defeating old rivals Lincoln and Morse for the first time in the same season.


Hoover is only 13-29-1 against Lincoln since 1954 and 8-14 versus Morse since 1962.

There were several years in which Hoover played only one of the teams and years in which the squads were in different leagues and did not meet at all.

The somewhat itinerant  Hockervillers have been in eight different leagues (some with the same names but different schools) since 1954:  City, 1954-58; Eastern, 1959-75; Western, 1976-80; Central, 1981-92; Harbor, 1993-99; Western, 2000-09; Central, 2010-11, and City, 2012-13.


The  Cardinals now are 7-2 with only ancient and now impotent rival San Diego remaining on the regular-season schedule.

A Hoover win next week would give the Redbirds eight victories, a feat accomplished only by the squads of 1954, ’56, ’86, ’98, ’99, and ’06.

Even in the cascading torrent of watered-down playoff invitations, Sweetwater hasn’t competed in the postseason since 2004.  Hoover will make its second consecutive appearance under second-year mentor Jerry Ralph.


Serra’s Hunter Correll lofted  a pass with 2.7 seconds remaining and Calvin Crockett caught the throw for a 53-yard touchdown  as the Conquistadors came from behind to shock Morse, 21-15…Ramona’s is supposed to be leaving the Palomar League  after four seasons and the Bulldogs claimed their first league championship with a 24-21 win over Torrey Pines…after a 42-0 victory over Valley Center, San Pasqual still was hurting from the 38-36 upset loss to Rancho Buena Vista in Week 9…”We had a emotional and mental breakdown in that game,” Eagles coach Tony Corley said of his team’s first defeat…Oceanside coach John Carroll, hospitalized during the week because of dizziness, watched from the press box as the Pirates took La Costa Canyon to the woodshed, 43-0….


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2007: Oceanside’s 10th and First Titles

Rick : October 30, 2013 7:04 pm : Football

Oceanside became the first San Diego Section team to participate in the state playoffs, which resumed in 2006 after an 80-year hiatus.

The Pirates (11-1) of coach John Carroll, who won Carroll’s fourth San Diego Section championship and Oceanside’s 10th overall, were chosen to represent the South in the Division II championship against 13-0 Novato.

Two opponents, two different worlds.

The Pirates represented the tough fiber of a Marine Corps town, hewn by the DNA from nearby Camp Pendleton. The Hornets were a North Coast Section team located in a leafy Marin County enclave about 30 miles beyond San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

The schools shared a curious geographical thread. Each was located within a stroll of the legendary, original U.S. Highway 101, although separated by more than 500 miles.


The triumphant Pirates posed for a team picture at Carson's Home Depot Center.

The triumphant Pirates posed for a team picture as scoreboard said it all at Carson’s Home Depot Center.

Bigger, with more team speed, the Pirates struggled.  After taking a 7-0 lead they trailed 14-7 at the half before rolling to a 21-0 second half and 28-14 victory.

“I think it was too easy (Oceanside’s early lead),” Carroll said.  “Those guys came to play.  I think we lost our edge for awhile.”

“Maybe it was the underestimation of them,” receiver Frankie Zimmerman said.  “They came out so hard and you have to give them credit for that.”

Novato was no chump.  The Hornets were 12-1 in 2006 and 11-2 in 2005 and were riding a winning streak of 25 games.

Oceanside had trailed at halftime only once in 12 games.  “That was our worst first half of the year,” said Zimmerman, who caught a 22-yard pass from Jordan Wynn for the Pirates’ first score.


Oceanside’s great season got off slowly as it was beaten, 28-20, by Helix in the season opener.

The Pirates had another tough game the next week but defeated La Costa Canyon, 27-20.

Oceanside didn’t know it then but it would meet the Mavericks again in the San Diego Section semifinals with its season on the brink.


more »

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2013, Week 10: Mission Hills On Top…For Now

Rick : October 29, 2013 12:47 pm : Football

The suddenly topsy turvy UT-San Diego football poll saw another change at the top this week after last week’s No. 1, San Pasqual, took a surprising haymaker from Rancho Buena Vista and fell , 38-36.

Mission Hills, upset two weeks ago by San Pasqual, quickly filled the void.  The Grizzlies smashed Fallbrook, 61-21.

Meanwhile, Oceanside is lurking.  The Pirates had 11 first place votes to Mission Hills’ 12 but added a more impressive victory to their resume, rudely ushering  Ramona out of the undefeated ranks, 42-0.

While Oceanside lurks, Eastlake lies in the weeds.Eastlake logo

Coach John Mc Fadden’s Titans of east Chula Vista won their seventh straight game and scored eight-first place votes after a workmanlike, 27-0 win over Bonita Vista.

What does it all prove?

There are no great teams in the San Diego Section this season, just some very good ones.

                      Team                              W-L               Pts.      Last Week

1 Mission Hills (12) 7-1 275 2
2 Oceanside (11) 6-2 271 4
3 Eastlake (8) 7-1 270 3
4 San Pasqual 7-1 200 1
5 Helix 6-2 171 8    
6 Madison 7-1 165 7
7 St. Augustine 6-2 113 10
8 Cathedral 6-2 71 5
9 Ramona 7-1 63 6
10 Mount Miguel 7-2 50 9

*Points awarded on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.                                                               Others receiving votes with points in parenthesis: Torrey Pines, 21; Grossmont, 17; La Costa Canyon, 12; Rancho Buena Vista, 10; Imperial, 4; El Capitan, 3.

Thirty-one sportswriters, sportscasters and administrators vote each week, including:  John Maffei, Craig Malveaux, Dennis Lin, Don Norcross, Lisa Lane, and Andrew Burer, U-T-San Diego; Steve Brand, Terry Monahan, Bill Dickens, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff, U-T-San Diego correspondents; Nick Pellegrino, East County; Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (107.9 FM The Mountain); Jeff Kurtz,; Ernie Martinez, XTRA Sports 1360; John Kentera, Jack Cronin, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak, Jordan Carruth, Bobby Wooldridge, Mark Chiebowski (The Mighty 1090;  Rick Willis, Brandon tone, Jake Fadden, KUSI-TV; Craig Elsten,; Rick Smith,; Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta, CIF San Diego Section, and Bruce Ward, San Diego Unified School District.

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2013, Week 9: Colts Like Wild Horses, Untamed

Rick : October 23, 2013 9:50 am : Football

Crawford rose to 8-0 and played a home game under lights.

Imperial’s Royce Freeman set a San Diego Section career rushing record as the Tigers went to 8-0.

San Pasqual and Ramona dropped from the ranks of the undefeated.


Crawford coach Mike Wright convinced his administration and the ruling City Conference that the Colts were more suited to an overall less demanding level of competition, thus a move from the Division IV Central League to the D-V  Manzanita.

The first night game at home was facilitated through rented lights and Crawford responded with a 35-0 victory over Calexico Vincent Memorial.

Among those in attendance was Bill Rainey, who led the Colts to an 8-0-2 record and the San Diego Section championship in 1961. Rainey was CIF player of the year. He also was the first champion in the Section track finals the previous spring with a winning time of 1:58 in the 880-yard run.


Crawford’s football field and track and field facilities will be moved across Trojan Avenue to the site of the original baseball field, which will move to the existing football and track location.

Crawford will play a road schedule in football in 2014, while construction is completed.


Imperial’s Royce Freeman played the first half in a 49-14 rout of Calexico and rushed for 135 yards in 11 carries, giving Freeman a 37-game, four-season career total of 6,778.

Freeman moved past Rickey Seale, the son of ex-Charger and Oakland Raider Sammy Seale.  Rickey rushed for 6,778 yards at Escondido from 2006-09.


Oceanside’s could have missed its kickoff with Ramona because of a traffic accident on State  78.

The usual 48-minute ride for the 39-mile trek became a two-hour marathon.

It’s all good.  Oceanside won, 42-0.

Sweetwater rushed (a  record?) 66 times for 405 yards, averaging 6.1 yards a thrust, and defeated Marian Catholic 41-14.

The Red Devils are running the ancient double wing favored by head coach Brian Hay and they’re getting used to the first-year coach’s offensive philosophy. They’ve won three in a row.


Rancho Buena Vista’s 38-36 win over San Pasqual improved the Longhorns’  record to 6-2, their best since a 6-1-1 start in 2003… the West Hills Wolfpack dropped its 16th in a row to Helix, 44-7…score was 44-0 at halftime…St. Augustine surprised Cathedral, 19-7 but the Dons still lead the series, 32-20…backup quarterback James Harwell of San Marcos passed for four touchdowns and ran for another in a 47-27 win over Del Norte…starter Will Freed has been out with a broken jaw….


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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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