Football Blog

2015-16 Week 8: Another Tough Assignment for Leaf & Co.

Rick : February 1, 2016 2:51 pm : Football

Foothills Christian’s national cred will be tested this week when the Knights take on Santa Ana Mater Dei in a Nike event Saturday night.

Foothills (16-3)  is  fourth in the latest Cal-Hi Sports rankings,  16th in USA Today,  and No. 1 in San Diego.

Mater Dei (21-3) is fifth in Cal-Hi Sports and out of USA Today‘s Top 25, but the Monarchs are logical favorites in this last big game for Foothills before the upcoming run to the state playoffs.

The game will be played on  Mater Dei’s home court, where the Monarchs have lost three games in 10 years, according to Cal-Hi boss Mark Tennis.

Foothills must bring its game and the 6-11 Leaf will have win his individual battle with 6-9 M.J. Cage, the Oregon-bound Mater Dei power forward and son of former San Diego State Hall of Famer Michael Cage.

The San Diego Section’s Big 4, Foothills, Cathedral, St. Augustine, and Torrey Pines, all eased along last week.  Most significant achievement probably was Cathedral’s 75-59 win over visiting Wilmington Narbonne in the San Diego-Los Angeles Shootout.

Narbonne is ranked 20th in the Los Angeles Times Southern Section-L.A. City poll.


Mission Hills (16-3) advanced from ninth to eighth in the Cal-Hi Sports poll, La Jolla Country Day (16-4) from 10th to ninth, and Bishop’s (19-4) remained 14th.  Torrey Pines (13-5) is on the bubble, joining boys bubbles Cathedral, St. Augustine, and Torrey Pines.

Records through Monday, Feb. 1.

Rank Team Record Points Last Week
1 Foothills Christian (11) 16-3 110 1
2 Cathedral 14-4 96 2
3 St. Augustine 17-4 83 4
4 Torrey Pines 17-4* 81 3
5 El Camino 17-5 55 5
6 Army-Navy 16-7 53 6
7 Kearny 22-2 49 7
8 Poway 20-3 33 9
9 Grossmont 18-3 19 10
10 La Jolla Country Day 20-3 16 8

*Forfeited 57-37 victory Dec. 5 over Horizon.                                                                          Points awarded on basis of 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.

Others receiving votes, including record: West Hills (15-6, 4)  Mission Bay (15-6, 3), San  Marcos (14-6, 3).

Eleven media representatives vote, including John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions), Terry Monahan, Jim Lindgren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Bill Dickens, Adam Paul,; Rick Willis, KUSI-TV; Rick Smith,; Bodie DeSilva,; Lisa Lane, San Diego Preps Insider; Aaron Burgin,

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1962: Someone Forgot To Tell The Officials

Rick : January 30, 2016 4:47 pm : Football

Try playing a game without officials.

Hilltop and Escondido tried, with disastrous results for the visiting Cougars, who were upset, 18-13, by the homecoming-enthused Lancers in the season’s final regular season game.

Twenty minutes before kickoff Hilltop coach Bob Tomlinson noticed that the game referee and his crew, usually already on site, had not checked in.

Tomlinson waited a few minutes and then notified Bob (Chick) Embrey, the coach of Escondido, which was the visiting team for the Metropolitan League contest at Chula Vista High.

The 8 p.m. kickoff time came and went.


School officials from Hilltop began hurriedly searching the stands for anyone with flag-throwing experience.

Two “neutrals” in the pro-Hilltop crowd agreed to help.  An assistant coach from each team also was pressed into service.

Kickoff started about 30 minutes late.

And controversy quickly followed.

Hilltop scored when no one was looking.

There also was no one in capacity to fairly judge the play involved and make a decision.

By halftime word had reached Bob Kirchhoff, president of the San Diego County Football Officials’ Association.  Kirchhoff left a game at nearby Sweetwater and headed for Hilltop.

But the damage had been done.

Following a Cougars touchdown in the first quarter and the Lancers’ return of the ensuing kickoff, Hilltop had first down on its 27-yard line.

Tomlinson’s team did not huddle, but quickly lined up.

Quarterback Joe Stetser passed to end Don Parish, who, according to The San Diego Union reporter Larry Littlefield, was “hiding on the sideline.”

Parish caught Stetser’s pass and raced untouched to the end zone to complete a 73-yard play.


As Kirchhoff explained after he arrived:  “On such a play the end, or sleeper, must be within 15 yards of the ball.”

Kirchhoff meant in bounds and 15 yards from where the ball would be snapped at the line of scrimmage.

Whether Parrish was within the required distance escaped everyone’s attention, including the “officials” and the stunned and furious Escondido coach.

Embrey (right) was much happier camper when he received congratulatory handshake from Sweetwater coach Nick Uglesich after title victory.

Embrey (right) was much happier camper when he received congratulatory handshake from Sweetwater coach Nick Uglesich after game that ensured league title.

“It was an illegal play,” Embrey stormed.

Nothing like the Oakland Raiders’ “Holy Roller” against the San Diego Chargers years later, but….

Embrey argued that because Hilltop no-huddled, the ersatz “head linesman” in charge of downs and markers hadn’t gotten into position before Stetser played hide and seek with Parish.

A veteran referee would have stood over the ball and whistled for play to begin  when he was satisfied that the teams were lined up and officials were in place.

“I don’t know if we’ll protest or not,” said Embrey.  “But we probably should just for the sake of our players. They were robbed.”

Acknowledging that “we played a bad game, there’s no question of that”, Embrey still got in another zinger.

“We could play Hilltop a hundred times and beat them ninety-nine,” he said.


The late Howard Cosell was heard to shout after a production snafu on Monday Night Football, “Who goofed?  I’ve got to know.”

Investigation revealed that no officials were assigned to the game by the association’s appointment secretary.

But was that the fault of Bob Stephenson, the San Diego Fire Department Captain and long-time official who routinely sent groups of three to four rules enforcers to more than 20 games every week?

It turned out that the schedule Hilltop sent to Stephenson at the start of the year listed only a junior varsity game for the date in question.

The schedule Escondido entered did not list a game at all.  Nor was there an Escondido-Hilltop game on the master schedule for November in San Diego Section commissioner Don Clarkson’s office.

Evening Tribune reporter Roger Conlee pointed out that Hilltop’s schedule, mailed to the newspaper, listed a varsity game between the schools that night. Escondido had not sent the newspaper its schedule.

Although not official, the Union and Tribune grid log published each Tuesday also showed an Escondido-Hilltop contest in the last week of the regular season on the undated schedule for both teams.

The 18-13 result and Lancers victory was not “officially” challenged by Escondido.


Despite the loss, the Cougars still won the Metropolitan League championship.  Their 3-1 record was matched by Sweetwater, but Escondido had won the head-to-head match with the Red Devils, 25-14, weeks earlier.

The Cougars upset Hoover, 28-26, in the first round of the playoffs and defeated Clairemont, 28-14, for the large-schools championship, their second in the three years since the San Diego Section was formed.

It was not a seasons of powerhouses in the CIF.

Clairemont and Escondido entered the game with 6 losses between them.  Escondido  also had been beaten, 35-6, by Point Loma and 26-7 by San Diego and tied by Oceanside, 13-13.

Hoover backup quarterback Rick Shaeezes between defenders John Brown (34) and Sylvester Williams for touchdown. Cardinals' Bob Bishop (67) pulled confuse San Diego defense.

Hoover backup quarterback Rick Shaw eases between defenders John Brown (34) and Sylvester Williams for touchdown. Cardinals’ Bob Bishop (67) pulled to confuse San Diego defense.

Clairemont had won one league game in its history, which dated to 1959, and was 1-3 before getting untracked behind sharpshooting quarterback Bill Casey.


The Chieftains startled Point Loma, 19-0, in a Western League showdown before 5,000 persons at Hoover.

The Pointers, who finished with a 7-1 record, were at least one touchdown favorites, but Casey, improving each week under the guidance of assistant coach and former Hoover and San Diego State signal caller Joe Duke, completed 11 of 20 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown and ran for two others.

End Bill Peterson, who played six years as a linebacker and tight end in the pros for Cincinnati and Kansas City, caught 5 of Casey’s throws for 63 yards.

Kenny Rizzo gained 93 yards in 15 carries and caught 4 passes for 40 yards and Dan Gurley added 41 yards in 11 carries as the Chiefs kept the Pointers backing up.

Casey’s 23-yard touchdown strike to Larry Rose with 35 seconds left in the game pushed Clairemont past Helix, 6-0, in another surprise in the first round of the playoffs.


Clairemont’s run came to an end as Escondido led the Chiefs all the way in the finals before about 10,000 persons in Aztec Bowl.

It was what the Cougars did the week before that had the most currency.

Hoover was the favored team from the city’s seemingly omnipotent Eastern League, but Embrey’s team, overcame a 26-14 Hoover lead as Bob Blunt caught a 15-yard touchdown pass and raced 64 yards for another score


The Cardinals were 7-1 going into the playoffs and had scored one of the school’s greatest victories when they upset San Diego, 6-0, in the season’s fourth week, after the Cavers had outscored their first three opponents, Santa Barbara, 32-12, Santa Monica, 46-19, and Escondido, 26-7.

The defeat so flattened San Diego that the Cavemen did not win another game and coach Charlie Popa was released at the end of the season.

Hoover lost starting quarterback Art Howard with a broken leg early in the San Diego game, played before a crowd estimated at 7,000 in the Cardinals stadium.

The Cardinals were  outgained, 303-118, and needed 10 plays to move 28 yards, with benefit of a 15-yard penalty, to score the game’s touchdown.

Hoover won with an epic defensive performance:

1—Hit San Diego runners so hard the Cavers lost two fumbles in the first quarter.

2—Blocked a punt in the second quarter that set in motion the winning score.

3—Defended on third down and two yards to go at the Cardinals’ eight, and stopped San Diego on two line thrusts, taking over on the seven late in the second quarter.

4—Held the Cavers to four yards on three plays in the third quarter, forcing the Cavemen to attempt an unsuccessful field goal from Hoover’s 15.

5—Stopped the Cavers on fourth down and inches from the goal line in the fourth quarter.

The Cardinals had other good fortune.

On a fourth down from his 20-yard line, the snap from center went over the head of punter Gene Cowell, who recovered the ball and advanced it out of the end zone to the two-yard line.

But San Diego was out of time outs and could not regroup and run a play before time expired.

Game over.

Hoover defenders who stopped San Diego, top (from left): Bobby Smith, Bill Boone. Middle (from left): David Carr, Gary Weide, Jiom Foster, Ron Flisher. Bottom (from left) Dale Twombley, Roger Seeman, Richard Gauthier, Bill (Sledge) Homik, Bob Bishop.

Hoover defenders who stopped San Diego, top (from left): Bobby Smith, Bill Boone. Middle (from left): David Carr, Gary Weide, Jim Foster, Ron Flisher. Bottom (from left) Dale Twombley, Roger Seeman, Richard Gauthier, Bill (Sledge) Homik, Bob Bishop. Coach is Roy Engle.

The San Diego Union, on the following Tuesday, selected Hoover’s starting 11 on defense as the prep players of the week.


A student from University called The San Diego Union late one Friday night to report the score from the Dons’ game at Brawley.

The student told the sports desk reporter that the Dons had beaten the host Wildcats, 49-7.  That score was reported in Union editions the next day.

Hold the phone!

Actual score was Uni 14, Brawley 13.  The Wildcats missed a tie when a point-after attempt hit the crossbar and fell short.

The Union printed a retraction the following day after people began calling the newspaper and facts surfaced.

“The student’s identity was made known to University officials, who promised action,” wrote Union prep honcho Chuck Sawyer.

Ken Henderson (36) and teammates are rapt observers as Clairemont nears upset win over Helix.

Ken Henderson (36) and teammates are rapt observers as Clairemont nears upset win over Helix.


Bill Peterson wasn‘t the only Clairemont standout with a professional career in his future.

End Ken Henderson was an outfielder and played for seven teams in a 16-season major league career, with career bests of 20 home runs and 95 runs batted in and hit .292 for the 1974 Chicago White Sox.

Henderson was on pennant-winning teams with the San Francisco Giants in 1970 and Cincinnati Reds in 1979 and hit .294 with 17 homers and 88 RBI in 1970.

Henderson’s career totals included 122 home runs and a .257 batting average.


Casry led Clairemont with accurate passing, timely running.

Casry led Clairemont with accurate passing, timely running.

Quarterback Bill Casey, who nixed football as a junior to concentrate on basketball, was the Western League player of the year and the best passer in the area.

Casey had pedigree.  His uncle, Davey O’Brien was an all-America passing phenom at Texas Christian University in the late 1930s. Casey’s father, William Casey, was a lineman decades before for the Hobbs Adams-coached San Diego High team.


Madison, 2.9 miles east of Clairemont, defeated the San Diego High junior varsity, 33-0, in its inagural game as Brandt Crocker scored two touchdowns.

The Warhawks’ quarterback, Al Fitzmorris, also was a baseball player of note.  Fitzmorris had a won-loss record of 77-59 in 10 major league seasons, mostly with Kansas City.  He was 16-12 in 1975 and 15-11 the year before.


Hoover tackle Bill (Sledge) Homik and Lincoln quarterback Nate Shaw were second team all-Southern California and Escondido halfback Bob Blunt third team in the last year San Diego Section athletes were honored by the Helms Athletic Foundation.

Shaw became an all-American safety at USC.  His nephew, David Shaw, would become head coach at Stanford.


Coronado and Sweetwater set an admittedly obscure record.

Their 26-26 tie game represented the most combined points by two tied teams from  all but San Diego Section smallest schools..

Oceanside and Vista, 20-20 in 1951, and San Diego and Anaheim, 20-20 in 1955, represented the record.  Poway and Marian bettered the 52-point total when they deadlocked, 39-39, in 1966.

On the smallest school level, San Miguel and North Hollywood Harvard Military tied, 33-33, in 1961.


There were nine head coaching appointments and three schools opened their doors for the first time.

Madison, Morse, and Orange Glen fielded teams against mostly junior varsity competition.

Chuck Coover moved from Mission Bay to Morse, Dick Disney from San Marcos to Orange Glen, and George Hoagland, San Diego High assistant, to Madison.

School New Coach Previous
Crawford Frank Smith Walt Harvey
Grossmont Sam Muscolino Ken Maynard
Madison George Hoagland
Marian Jan Chapman John Strub
Mar Vista Verne Dodds Art Filson
Mission Bay Gerry Spitler Chuck Coover
Morse Chuck Coover
Orange Glen Dick Disney
San Marcos Bob Woodhouse Dick Disney


Richard Einstein, a senior at Point Loma, was in a unique position.   Einstein was the Pointers’ official motion picture shooter, in a position usually occupied by older professional photographers.

Einstein shot 16 millimeter film of Pointers games for head coach Bennie Edens.

“He doesn’t say much about my films,” said Einstein, “but he gets mad once in awhile when I miss a play during a reel change.”


Point Loma coach Bennie Edens got a kick out of Steve Soares, who also played quarterback.

Point Loma coach Bennie Edens got a kick out of Steve Soares, who also played quarterback.

Point Loma quarterback Steve Soares made his first 21 point after kicks and had a streak of 26 dating to the 1961 season.

Soares was 9 for 9 as the Pointers rushed for 358 yards in a 63-0 rout of Mission Bay that was the highest point total in the area since Hoover’s 66-0 win over St. Augustine in 1954.

Soares’ streak came to an end when his first two attempts at La Jolla were blocked.


Future Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett of Los Angeles Roosevelt led the L.A. City squad to a 20-6 victory over the San Diego County team before 12,500 persons at Aztec Bowl in the 14th annual Breitbard College Prep all-star game in August…the Eastern League crushed the Western League, 52-14, in the 24th City Schools carnival before 14,000 at Balboa Stadium…San Diego outscored Mission Bay, 21-0, in one quarter…Lincoln was 19-7 over Point Loma, and Crawford 12-7 over Kearny…Hoover and Clairemont and La Jolla and St. Augustine were scoreless…an overflow crowd of 13,000 at Aztec Bowl saw Monte Vista, El Cajon Valley, Granite Hills, and El Capitan defeat the Helix Green team, Helix White team, Mount Miguel, and Grossmont, 13-6…San Diego and Santa Monica met for the first time since Samohi came from behind to beat the Hilltoppers, 13-12, in the 1947 Southern California finals…Marty (the Mop) Jensen of Coronado led the Metropolitan League with 88 points including all of his team’s in a 26-7 win over San Dieguito…Carlsbad defeated Oceanside. 13-6 for the Class A title….

Carlsbad's Charlie Coad, the County's leading scorer with 114 points, earned his 19th touchdown of the season on this play as he ran through Bob Norgard (51) and Jim Valdvogel (80).

Carlsbad’s Charlie Coad, the County’s leading scorer with 115 points, earned his 19th touchdown of the season on this play as he ran through Oceanside’s Bob Norgard (51) and Jim Valdvogel (80).

Hoover's Bobby Smith (24) jars Escondido's Bob Blunt into rare fumble, but Cougars knocked out Hoover, 28-26 in playoffs.

Hoover’s Bobby Smith (24) jars Escondido’s Bob Blunt into rare fumble, but Cougars knocked out Hoover, 28-26, in playoffs. Bill Boone (23) and Jim Foster (68) converge.

St. Augustine's Jimmy Antl goes low to stop Lincoln's Marvin Lowery as Eastern League team battled to 6-6 standoff.

St. Augustine’s Jimmy Antl goes low to stop Lincoln’s Marvin Lowery as Eastern League teams battled to 6-6 standoff.

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2015-16 Week 7: No Change Among Poll Top 4.

Rick : January 26, 2016 10:47 am : Football

Foothills Christian blew past a couple Coastal League opponents last week and retained its ranking as No. 1 in San Diego, No. 4 in California, and No. 17 in the United States.

The rankings are from the Union-Tribune, Cal-Hi Sports, and USA Today, respectively.

Foothills Christian, which defeated La Jolla Country Day, 68-42, and The Bishop’s, 69-37 days ago,  has a league game at Cuyamaca College tomorow night with Army-Navy, ranked sixth in San Diego.

Cathedral, Torrey Pines, and St. Augustine are 2, 3, and 4 in San Diego.

San Ysidro hosts a shootout this weekend and may be getting some poll props after writer Don Norcross campaigned for the 74-points-a-game, 17-3 Cougars in a Union-Tribune article this morning.

Coach Terry Tucker, who coached another high scoring Crawford squad that featured future San Diego State Aztecs Tyrone Shelley and Malcom Turner a decade ago, sends his club against Hoover (8-10) in the the Cougars’ City of Angels tournament Saturday night.

The night’s feature game has La Jolla Country Day (18-2) against West Hills (14-3).

Seems odd that San Ysidro is not in the main event against either of those visiting teams.

Records through Monday, Jan. 25.

Rank Team Record Points Last Week
1 Foothills Christian (11) 13-3 110 1
2 Cathedral 11-4 92 2
3 Torrey Pines 15-4* 83 3
4 St. Augustine 15-4 79 4
5 El Camino 16-4 67 6
6 Army-Navy 15-5 60 7
7 Kearny 20-2 39 8
8 la Jolla Country Day 18-2 32 5
9 Poway 18-3 15 9
10 Grossmont 17-3 13 NR

*Forfeited 57-37 victory Dec. 5 over Horizon.                                                                          Points awarded on basis of 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.

Others receiving votes, including record: Mission Bay (14-5, 9), Rancho Berrnardo (14-5, 5), San  Marcos (12-6, 3).

Eleven media representatives vote, including John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions), Terry Monahan, Jim Lindgren, Union-Tribune correspondents; Bill Dickens, Adam Paul,; Rick Willis, KUSI-TV; Rick Smith,; Bodie DeSilva,; Lisa Lane, San Diego Preps Insider; Aaron Burgin,

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2016: San Diego’s All-Time Super Bowl Roster

Rick : January 26, 2016 9:17 am : Football

Thirty-three players with San Diego Section or Southern Section connections have played in the 49 Super Bowls.

Denver and Carolina meet in Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7 in Santa Clara.

Carolina Defensive tackle Nate Chandler from Mira Mesa, who signed with the Panthers as an undrafted free agent in 2012, is the only San Diego-connected player on either team but spent the 2015 season on reserve/injured.

Dave Grayson, Sr., of Lincoln was the earliest Super Bowl representative, for Oakland in game II.

Grayson was a starting defensive back and  reserve halfback for the 1955 San Diego High Cavemen, who won the Southern Section championship and and were acclaimed national champions.

Grayson moved into the Lincoln district and played for the Hornets in 1956.  He was the first of five Lincoln graduates (see table below) to play in the Super Bowl.

Lincoln is tied with Long Beach Poly, Compton, Los Angeles Crenshaw, Los Angeles Dorsey, and L.A. High for the most representation among California schools.

Helix, with 4 Super Bowl players (see table), is tied for fifth  with Los Angeles Hamilton, Berkeley, and Anaheim Servite.

Two head coaches, Mike Martz of Madison, and John Fox of Castle Park, have guided their teams to the big game, Martz for the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, and Fox for the Panthers in S.B. XXXVIII.

Name Pos. High School Team Super Bowl
Marcus Allen RB Lincoln Oakland* XVIII
Terrell Davis RB Lincoln Denver* XXXII, XXXIII
Saladin Martin DB Lincoln San Francisco* XVI
Wally Henry KR-WR Lincoln Philadelphia XV
Dave Grayson, Sr. FS Lincoln Oakland II
Brett Swain WR Carlsbad Green Bay* XLV
Colin Branch S Carlsbad Carolina XXXVIII
Ted Johnson LB Carlsbad New England XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX
Steve Riley T Castle Park Minnesota IX, XI
Michael Booker CB El Camino Atlanta XXXIII
Dokie Williams WR El Camino Oakland XVIII
Glenn Cadrez LB El Centro Central Denver* XXXII, XXXIII
Joe Lavender CB El Centro Central Washington* XVII
Alex Smith QB Helix San Francisco XLVII
Reggie Bush RB Helix New Orleans* XLIV
Leon White RB Helix Cincinnati XXIII
Bruce Walton T Helix Dallas X
Tony Banks QB Hoover Baltimore* XXXV
Bryan Wagner P Hilltop San Diego XXIX
Clifford Hicks CB Kearny Buffalo XXV, XXVI, XXVII
John Richardson T Kearny Miami VI
John Michels T La Jolla Green Bay* XXXI
Lincoln Kennedy T Morse Oakland XXXVII
Michael Pittman RB Mira Mesa Tampa Bay* XXXVII
Joev Salave’a DT Oceanside Tennessee XXXIV
Junior Seau LB Oceanside San Diego, New England XXIX, XLII
Stephen Neal T San Diego New England* XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX
Darren Comeaux LB San Diego Denver XXI
Keith Kartz C-T San Dieguito Denver XXIV
Mike Kozlowski S San Dieguito Miami XIX
Monte Jackson CB St. Augustine Oakland XV
John Lynch S Torrey Pines Tampa Bay* XXXVII
Brad Daluiso K Valhalla N.Y. Giants XXXV

*Winning Team.


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2016: Eldridge Cooks, Fullback on ’55 National Champs

Rick : January 20, 2016 1:45 pm : Football

Eldridge Cooks, the starting fullback on the 1955 San Diego High team that won the Southern California championship and was acclaimed the national high school champion for that season, was at a UCLA basketball game when he passed recently.

The 165-pound blocker and runner was a two-year varsity letterman for the Hillers, whose combined record in 1954 and ’55 was 20-2-1.

Cooks (22) lined up as fullback on San Diego's championship team.

Cooks (22) lined up as fullback on San Diego’s championship team.

Cooks, 78, also played baseball at San Diego State and was a member of Don Coryell’s first San Diego State football teams in 1961-62.

Cooks resided in Santa Ana for many years and was an enthusiastic alumnus of San Diego High and regularly attended sporting events throughout Southern California.


Bobby Contreras was El Cajon’s Valley’s first varsity football quarterback when the  school opened in 1955 and also starred for the Braves in basketball and baseball before graduation in 1957.


Kerry Dineen, 63, all-San Diego Section outfielder at Chula Vista in 1970, was a fourth-round draft choice of the baseball New York Yankees in 1973.

Dineen got into 16 games over parts of three seasons in the majors and had a .324 batting average. He was inducted into the University of San Diego Hall of Fame in 1997 and had a .409 collegiate career batting average.




1978: Arnaiz and Helix Persevere

Rick : January 10, 2016 5:20 pm : Football

Dominated by Grossmont in the annual carnival, beaten by the rival Foothillers in league play, overwhelmed by a Mount Miguel comeback a week later, the Helix Highlanders took a mandatory eight count, had the sawdust wiped from their gloves, and rallied to win the San Diego Section championship.

Arnaiz's team charged down season's stretch.

Arnaiz’s team charged down season’s stretch.

Coach Jim Arnaiz’s Scots knocked out San Pasqual, 17-10, before 8,778 persons in San Diego Stadium to capture the school’s first title and validate Arnaiz’s program as one of the area’s elite.

Casey Tiamalu, a 5-foot8, 193-pounder rushed for 160 yards in 11 carries and scored on runs of 25 and 40 yards in the  second half as the Highlanders, stung by three turnovers, rallied from a 10-3 deficit.

Tiamalu also got the Highlanders on the scoreboard in the first half with a 38-yard field goal.

Winning the championship was the last thing on Arnaiz’ mind  when he made his way off the field at Helix’ Benton Hart Stadium in mid-season.

The coach’s mind would be occupied by nightmares when he put his head down on the pillow that night, following a devastating, 41-40  loss to Mount Miguel that saw Arnaiz’s team fall to 3-2.

Helix had leads of 27-0 and 34-6.

Mount Miguel coach Brian Smith admitted to being “in shock.”

“We didn’t panic or scream,” said Smith.  “We just told the players to get rolling.”

A six-yard pass, John Coughlin to Jerome Weatherspoon with 22 seconds remaining in the game clinched the Matadors’ comeback as they survived a 350-yard, five-touchdown passing effort by Jim Oxe.

Helix regrouped, set sights on the big prize, and won its last seven games.


John Shacklett’s Morse Tigers seemed unbeatable.

The team from the 16-year-old school at 69th Street and Skyline Drive was in full beast mode.

The Tigers set a San Diego Section record with 425 points and 47.2 average in a 9-0 regular season.

“”Deep,  talented, quick, awesome,” wrote Steve Brand of The San Diego Union after the Tigers had put up 50 points a game in a 5-0 start.

But it’s a long way to the finish line.

Morse fought the fog and La Jolla in the playoffs’ opening round, leading only 6-0 at halftime.

Mark Kennedy, the County’s No. 3 rusher, gained only 25 yards in seven carries but the Tigers scored 13 points in the third quarter and pulled away from the pesky Vikings to win, 20-0.

Michael Johnson took up the slack for Kennedy, gaining 151 yards in 15 carries and scored on runs of 62 and 18 yards. Michael’s  brother, Jerry, returned a punt 40 yards for another touchdowns.

Shacklett told writers that he had a “good talk” with his club at halftime.


Crusty Bob Woodhouse’s San Pasqual Golden Eagles had a top 10 defense yet averaged at least 4 touchdowns a game less than Morse.

Woodhouse led San Pasqual.

Woodhouse led San Pasqual.

But the Eagles made plays.

The squad from east Escondido was wobbling late in the game, clinging to a 21-19 lead with the rallying Tigers on San Pasqual’s  25-yard line.

Allen Dale and Dave Gleason came to the rescue.

Dale stopped Billy Ervin for a five-yard loss and Gleason sacked quarterback Keith Magee on fourth down.

Ball game.

The resourceful Eagles had similarly kept Morse at a distance throughout the quarterfinals contest.

Morse’s first score didn’t come until 3:22 remained in the third quarter when Magee and John Glover connected on a 41-yard scoring pass play.  San Pasqual promptly answered with a touchdown and took a 21-6 lead into the final quarter.

Ervin’s 10-yard run at 7:03 of the fourth made the score 21-12.  Morse stunned the Eagles with an onside kick, Ray Anderson recovering. Magee raced 47 yards for a touchdown on the next play.

Momentum clearly was with Shacklett’s team, but San Pasqual dug in and closed the door.

The last time a 10-0 team had been so shockingly led to the exit was in 1958, when San Diego was beaten, 26-18, in the quarterfinals by eventual Southern California champion Long Beach Poly.


Morse defeated Escondido, 18-0,  in a two-day preseason scrimmage.

No big deal?

Umm, that was 18 touchdowns to none.

“Was it 18?” wondered first year Cougars coach Denny Snyder, whose team then lost its season opener to Vista, 35-7.

Bring back Chick Embrey?

Snyder admitted to being a little shook,  but “if there was a lynching party, I didn’t hear about it.”

Embrey stay retired and Escondido recovered, advancing all the way to the playoff semifinals before bowing to Helix, 18-16.

Jacobus was wary.

Jacobus was wary.


“All season I’ve been telling the kids the story of a farmer who looked so far into the forest he tripped over his hogs,” said Sweetwater coach Al Jacobus.  “What irony.  Now we play a team called the Hogs.  That’s Spooky.”

San Pasqual defenders were known as such, cognomens that also would identify Washington Redskins Super Bowl offensive linemen in the 1980s.

Asked how he was going to approach the semifinal contest against the favored Red Devils at Southwestern College, Bob Woodhouse announced,  “We’ll take the 805 South.”

Woodhouse’s glibness was nothing compared to the time he threw a defanged rattlesnake under the Oceanside bench, distracting the Pirates’ players and coaches into an upset loss.

No snakes this time, but San Pasqual reached the finals with another surprising victory, 15-12.


Residences of Chula Vista’s upscale east side didn’t know how to react.

Wagner's kicks beat Sweetwater.

Wagner’s kicks beat Sweetwater.

The Hilltop Lancers won their first  Metropoltan League championship since the school opened in 1959 when Mark Armbrust and David Wright collaborated on a 24-yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds remaining in the game to defeat Bonita Vista, 26-21.

The Lancers and Sweetwater each had 8-1 league records. Hilltop won for only the fifth time in 20 tries against the Red Devils but claimed the title by virtue of their 15-7, head-to-head victory after Bryan Wagner kicked field goals of 24, 22, and 21 yards.


It was one thing for the Grossmont District superintendent in 1977 to suggest a shutdown of interscholastic sports, but coaches this year, especially those who endured the long hours of football,  had enough.

Area school districts enacted policies which forced coaches to begin practices after school.

For years the mentors were allowed to use the final physical education period of the school day for football practice, which would continue after school.

This procedure saved at least an hour in the teacher-coaches’ work day.

Now the coaches were being ordered to coach a full p.e. session first and then begin football exercises.

Twenty-one coaches either stepped down or transferred to other schools. Several retired or got out of coaching or found positions in two-year or four-year colleges.

School 1978 Coach 1977 Coach
Bonita Vista Jan Chapman Larry Fernandez
Castle Park Reldon (Bing) Dawson Gil Warren
Cathedral Dan Ramos Paul Wargo
Christian Dan Henson Rick White
Chula Vista Gary Chapman Bob Korzep
El Cajon Valley Don George Jim Mann
El Capitan Art Preston Joe Rockhold
Escondido Denny Snyder Bob (Chick) Embrey
Fallbrook Tom Pack Chuck Lundquist
Granite Hills Paul Wargo Dan Garcia
Hoover Jerry Varner Roy Engle
Marian Bill Smith Phil Bryant
Monte Vista Bob Korzep Larry Schimpf
Ramona Jack Menotti Mike Cunningham
San Marcos Kenny Broach Ivan Seaton
Santana Phil Bryant Joe DiTomaso
Southwest Bob Arciaga Oscar Mercado
Sweetwater Al Jacobus Dave Lay
Torrey Pines Darold Nogle Cliff Kinney
Valhalla Rick White Russ Boehmke

Coached in previous season at another San Diego Section school.


Christian’s Dan Henson had the most successful season of the new coaches, posting a 9-0-1 record and defeating Army-Navy, 33-0, for the A title.

Sweetwater’s Al Jacobus continued Dave Lay’s excellence, finishing with a 10-2 record and reaching the AA semifinals. Denny Snyder was 10-2 at Escondido.

Paul Wargo (6-4), Darold Nogle (6-3), and Reldon (Bing) Dawson (5-3-1) were others with winning records.

Art Preston, who was 3-4-1 at El Capitan, had retired from coaching after leading the Vaqueros to an 8-2 record and a berth in the championship game against Kearny in 1963.



Meyer expounded on career milestone.

Meyer expounded on career milestone.

Herb Meyer was getting philosophical in his 20th season.

“If you stick around long enough you have to win a few by osmosis,” said the El Camino coach, who started at Oceanside in 1959.

Meyer had just tied Birt Slater for second all-time among County mentors with his 132nd victory. Chick Embrey retired with 144 wins and the lead in 1977.

“Part of 132 is longevity,” said Meyer.  “People got pretty excited when I won number 100, but I’m not setting goals like winning 150 or 200.”

Meyer finally pulled the pin in 2003 with a record total of 339 victories.


There was optimism at San Diego High.

Stanley Murphy’s team had won 6 in a row dating to the final four games of the 1977 season and were  looking forward to their first big test against Morse.

Steve Brand of The San Diego Union predicted that the game would be “interesting and probably close”.

Morse didn’t let up after leading 13-7 at the end of the first quarter, 40-7 at the half, and 53-19 after three.  Tigers coach John Shacklett then began substituting and Morse put away a 69-19 victory.

San Diego, 5-3-1 under Murphy in 1977 and full of promise, fell to 3-6 and 1-6 and seventh in the Western League.


Babers, running against San Pasqual in playoffs, was future head coach in college.

Dino Babers, running for Morse against San Pasqual in playoffs, was future head coach in college.

Four standouts were destined to become head coaches and would be active almost 40 years later.

Escondido tackle Rob Gilster would head programs at Orange Glen and Valley Center.  End Sean Doyle of University became that school’s leader and stayed with the Dons when their campus moved and the school was renamed Cathedral.

Herb Meyer’s son, Joe, eventually took over at Rancho Buena Vista after other stops. And Morse running back Dino Babers went the college route, guiding Eastern Illinois, Bowling Green, and Syracuse.

Morcillo received delayed reaction.

Morcillo received delayed reaction.


Willie Morcillo of Mira Mesa had to wait before he was credited with  a section record, 50-yard field in a 21-14 victory over La Jolla.

Morcillo originally was determined to have booted a 43-yard placement, but seven yards were added after coach Brad Griffith’s review of game film the following day showed the scrimmage line was La Jolla’s 33-yard line and that the kick was from the 40.

Morcillo bettered the record of 47 yards by Poway’s Denny Miller in 1976 but did not have a long reign at the top.  David Cabral of La Jolla Country Day boomed a 51-yarder later in the season.


Basketball court at St. Augustine served as temporary site for bodies.

Basketball court at St. Augustine received bodies.

A small plane flying East collided with a Pacific Southwest Airlines 727 that was approaching Lindbergh Field to the West, resulting in  more than 135 lives lost.

The mid-air collision, the most deadly in aeronautical history, occurred  around 9 a.m. in  North Park, about two miles from St. Augustine High.

Dougherty Gymnasium on the St. Augustine campus was converted into a temporary morgue.

The original intent was for the gym to serve as an emergency room as more than  75 doctors, nurses, and volunteer medical aides converged on the school site.  When it was determined there were no survivors, the gym played another, tragic role.

Hans Wendt's remarkable photograph of falling PSA jet.

Hans Wendt’s remarkable photograph of falling PSA jet.


Add Mount Miguel to those who thought the playoff system established in 1976 created a redolent presence…after defeating Grossmont, 35-12 in the regular-season finale, the Matadors were forced to meet the Foothillers again the following week in the first round and lost, 18-17…San Diego  junior Terry Turner gained 87 yards in 12 carries in the Cavers’ season-opening, 12-0 win over Lincoln…Turner had never played in  a game…Patrick Henry quarterback Brent Woods is son of Jack Woods, who was “Charlie” on the popular “Charlie and Harrigan” radio show in San Diego…defending champion Lincoln flattened out to 5-4, but finished with a 4-game winning streak…Coronado made the playoffs for the first time in 17 years and La Jolla shared a piece of the Western League championship for the first time since 1952…Kearny missed the playoffs for the first time since 1966 and Castle Park for the first time since 1972…the 18th annual Grossmont Carnival “featuring lots of spirit, penalties, and money,” according to Steve Brand, was played before 7,500 at Aztec Bowl as the West beat the East, 14-0…

Helix's Casey Tiamalu was too much for San Pasqual in finals.

Helix’s Casey Tiamalu was too much for San Pasqual in finals.




1977: Death Threats for Marcus Allen

Rick : January 1, 2016 11:22 am : Football

The messages were not the garden variety “good luck this week,” or “see you at the game.”

“I got several phone calls threatening my life,” Marcus Allen told writer Steve Brand.  “The callers said I better not be at the game.  They didn’t say what they’d do.  They just said not to be there.  It was obvious what they meant.”

“Some people called my house and told me not to come to the game or I would get hurt,” Allen related to Jerry Froide of the Evening Tribune. “It upset my mother a lot, but I didn’t really take them seriously.  I just tried to put it out of my mind.”

The attempts at intimidation probably were nothing more than high jinks by rival school students (Patrick Henry?), safe in their cowardly anonymity.

Whatever the words, they represented the ultimate compliment to Allen.

The 6-foot, 2-inch, 190-pound senior was a once-in-a-lifetime player, a Jack Armstrong, All-American Boy who ate his Wheaties every morning and performed weekly feats of derring do for the Lincoln Hornets.

The undermanned but talented Hive went as far as quarterback Allen’s running and passing and free safety Allen’s pass interceptions and ground shaking big hits would take them.

Allen relaxed in championship mode at San Diego Stadium.

Allen relaxed in championship mode at San Diego Stadium.


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1977: Old Friend in Trouble

Rick : December 30, 2015 2:39 pm : Football

Balboa Stadium’s days were numbered.

When construction was completed in 1915, the concrete horseshoe seating more than 23,000 was the largest municipally-owned stadium in the world, according to Don King, author of “Caver Conquest.”

The 1933 magnitude 6.3 earthquake that destroyed 230 school buildings in Southern California, including many at Long Beach Poly, resulted in the Field Act, government legislation that was specifically for schools in California.

The Field Act mandated that all pre-1930 buildings be demolished unless they were of earthquake resistant construction.

Since Balboa Stadium was owned by the City of San Diego, the edifice did not come under the Field Act.

Balboa Stadium, Thanksgiving Day, 1964, a 34,865 sellout for the Chargers' game against Buffalo.

Balboa Stadium, Thanksgiving Day, 1964, a 34,865 sellout for Chargers-Buffalo game.

But after San Diego Stadium opened in 1967, the city leased Balboa Stadium to the San Diego Unified School District, a move that put the aging facility in the crosshairs of the Field Act.

The hastily constructed second deck added in 1961 to accommodate the San Diego Chargers was found to be unsafe by earthquake standards.

By 1974 repairs were made which allowed for use of Balboa for two years, but the extension ran out and major improvements, mostly to the second deck, were not made.

A condemned Balboa Stadium soon would follow Russ Auditorium and  many campus buildings and the gymnasium at San Diego High that were bulldozed beginning in 1973.

Gov. Brown’s office ruled that only the playing field could be put to use. The Stadium became dark on Friday nights this year as City schools played elsewhere.

Lights were turned on only once, when private schools St. Augustine and University met in the “Holy Bowl”.

The end was near.


2015: Valley Center’s Gilster Nears Second Century

Rick : December 27, 2015 3:01 pm : Football

Rob Gilster of Valley Center moved from 11th to 9th place among all-time winning coaches in San Diego County in 2015  and needs three victories next year to gain admittance to the 200 Club.

The Jaguars’ 8-4 season  gave Gilster a 27-season record of 197-121-5 for a .618 winning percentage.  He was head coach at Orange Glen for nine seasons before beginning the Valley Center program in 1998.

Several other active coaches moved up on the all-time list of 41 with at  least 100 victories.

Mira Mesa’s Gary Blevins rose from 21st to 18th with 139 victories, Christian’s Matt Oliver from 26th to 20th with 136, Mission Hills’ Chris Hauser  from 28th to 21st with 135, and Point Loma’s Mike Hastings  from 33rd to 28th with 128.

Madison’s Rick Jackson is the active coaches leader in winning percentage at 108-34-1 (,759) in 12 seasons.

Chula Vista’s Chet DeVore is the all-time percentage leader among coaches of at least 50 games. DeVore was 44-7-1 (.856) from 1951-55.  Duane Maley is second at 97-19-3 (.828) from 1948-59 at San Diego High.

John Carroll leads in the category of  coaching continuously at one school.  Carroll, second all-time with 248 victories, had a .763 winning percentage from 1989-2014 at Oceanside.

Castle Park’s Gil Warren was 83-23-5 (.783) from 1967-77  and 70-18-1 (.792) in a second stint with the Trojans from 1992-98.  Ed Burke was 151-40 (.791) in a second go-round at Torrey Pines, 1991-2006.


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2015 Week 17, Saints No. 1 in D-II, Helix 7th in D-I

Rick : December 24, 2015 1:07 pm : Football

It’s essentially not who you beat, but who you played.

St. Augustine lost three games but was 20th in the state and No. 1 in Division II in Cal-Hi Sports‘ final 2015 rankings.

Cathedral lost five but its schedule was so difficult that the Dons earned a Cal-Hi ranking of sixth in Division II and 38th overall.

Mission Hills, No. 1 in the final Union-Tribune poll, was 11-1 but didn’t finish among Cal-Hi‘s top 50.


The Saints and Cathedral faced far more demanding, regular-season nonleague tests than Mission Hills.

St. Augustine was steeled by tough losses to Los Angeles Loyola and Vista Murrieta.

Cathedral took on Rancho Santa Margarita, Westlake Village Oaks Christian, Bakersfield Liberty, and St. Augustine, among others.

The Grizzlies, ranked No. 1 for most of the season in the Union-Tribune‘s weekly poll and king in a weak North County, were no match when St. Augustine ran away to a 48-14 victory in the San Diego Section Open Division semifinals.

The Saints, although losing to Helix, 44-30, in  the Open championship, rose three spots from 23rd on Cal-Hi‘s final list.

Reliable Helix ranked seventh overall and might have become a state D-I champion had it not lost in the final two minutes, 32-28, to eventual winner Mission Viejo in the Southern California playoff.

Mission Viejo defeated San Jose Bellarmine, 24-0, for the D-1 title.


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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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