Football Blog

1947:  The Crowds, They Kept Coming

Rick : November 16, 2015 9:54 am : Football

 Hoover principal Floyd Johnson was going to hold the line.

His school was the technical host for the annual game with San Diego High in Balboa Stadium and after the throngs of recent years Johnson vowed to close sales “when the 27,000th ticket is sold.”

Johnson said that he did not want to revisit the “turmoil” attendant to the September city schools’ carnival that drew an overflow turnout estimated at 30,000.

Twenty-page program was popular .

Johnson also cited the “din and confusion” in the over-crowded facility when the San Diego Naval Air and Camp Pendleton battled in a military game that drew service personnel in droves.

Balboa Stadium had a listed capacity variously reported as from 23,500 to 25,000.

Since there were few if any reserved seats,  more than one rump often occupied those spaces, not to mention aisles, concourses, and sidelines at a carnival or San Diego-Hoover game.


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1947: Hilltoppers Are Oh, So Close!

Rick : November 15, 2015 1:59 pm : Football, Other

Although at least two-touchdown underdogs, coach Bill Bailey’s San Diego Hilltoppers took a 12-0 lead into the fourth quarter of the Southern California championship game.

It would not be enough.  The Hillers sustained a third consecutive loss in the finals, following defeats of the 1925 and 1933 clubs.

Holloway's pass to Ernie Smith in end zone was covered by Santa Monica defender defenders.

Neal Holloway’s pass to Ernie Smith in end zone was covered by Santa Monica defenders.

Favored Santa Monica rallied for a 13-12 victory before 26,601 persons in the Los Angeles Coliseum in what press box observers agreed was a brilliantly played contest between two outstanding teams.

Bailey’s final game as the Hilltoppers’ coach turned on two blocked point-after attempts that opened a door through which Samohi wedged for the winning touchdown with 1:20 remaining.

Dick Horn was Santa Monica's passing wizard.

Dick Horn was Santa Monica’s passing wizard.


Until then the Hillers’ gritty defense had checked the Vikings and Dick Horn, the nation’s No. 1 high school quarterback.

Horn had completed 101 of 162 passes for 2,009 yards and 24 touchdowns as Santa Monica scored 413 points, at least 4 touchdowns every game, and  won its first 11.

The Stanford-bound signal caller was just  5 for 18 for 108 yards and one touchdown with  three interceptions against the Hillers’ adjusted 5-3-3 defense.

San Diego would tenaciously hold the lead for 46 ½ minutes despite a huge, final yardage advantage for the winners, who had 17 first downs to 4 and outgained their opponents, 328-165.

Ted Ritchey ran 44 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and Ernie Smith returned one of Horn’s passes 26 yards for a score as San Diego built a 12-0 halftime advantage.

Historian Tebb Kusserow, a former Santa Monica High player and head coach, pointed out that San Diego coach Bill Bailey switched his 5-3-3 and utilized a 4-4-3, dropping end Ernie Smith into the secondary as a fourth defensive back.

“The Vikings’ bread-and-butter play was the quick slant (96 Q) to Ike Jones,” said Kusserow.   “Ernie Smith was positioned to take it away and shadowed Jones all day, effectively putting (Jones) in double coverage.”

The ploy was successful in controlling Horn’s passing,  but the Hillers’ four-man front opened a door, said Kusserow:

“Samohi was able, almost too late, to prosecute the run and (hit their) backside receivers.”

Horn finally marshaled an 88-yard, third-quarter  drive and got Santa Monica on the board with a 30-yard pass to Lynn Wallace on the first play of the fourth quarter.

A Ritchey fumble recovered by Chuck Steiner put Santa Monica in business again and the Vikings nudged 38 yards in nine plays to Bobo Lewis’ winning, one-yard smash.

Joe Brown (left) and Ted Ritchey were Hillers' main ball carriers.

Joe Brown (left) and Ted Ritchey were Hillers’ main ball carriers.

San Diego still had time.

Joe  Brown returned the kickoff 55 yards to the Vikings’ 37.  Ritchey advanced the ball to the 17. Ernie Smith then appeared open in the end zone but two Santa Monica defenders broke up Neale Henderson’s pass.

The gun sounded before San Diego could run another play.

The beaten Hillers soon began the three-hour bus ride back down U.S. 101, terribly disappointed and saying good bye to the coach who posted a 34-7 record in five seasons and had revitalized one of Southern California’s storied programs.

Bailey moved on to junior college after outstanding prep coaching career.

Bailey became head coach at San Diego Junior College and was replaced by assistant Duane Maley, a 1940 San Diego graduate who played at USC and would  continue what became the greatest era in school history.


From the Nov. 12 The San Diego Union:

“They tossed away all the storybook finishes and produced a new one of their own yesterday as Grossmont High School put over a post-game touchdown to defeat Sweetwater High, 18-13, in a wild Metropolitan League football fracas before nearly 5,000 Armistice Day customers….

“The finish of the game came amid confusion, some fist-swinging on the part of spectators, a mad stampede on the playing field that necessitated the calling of police, and the handing down of a delicate decision by the officials….”

In order:

–Sweetwater trailed, 12-6. Grossmont was driving to another, clinching touchdown with less than three minutes to play.

Art Preston, who led County with 132 points, was pivotal figure in Grossmont’s controversal victory over Sweetwater.

–Sweetwater’s Kenny Burns intercepted a pass by Art Preston and raced 90 yards to a tying touchdown.

–A “pass conversion”, Jim Miller to “Squeaky” Staffen gave Sweetwater a 13-12 lead.

–Grossmont appeared dead after the Red Devils intercepted another pass following the kickoff.

–Sweetwater could not run out the clock and gave up the ball on downs at its 46-yard line.

–The Red Devils’ surrender of possession would spark a protest in which Sweetwater coach Lloyd Bishop stormed that his team was given three downs and not four by the officials.

–Head linesman Raleigh Holt was adamant that the decision to turn the ball over to Grossmont was correct, pointing out that confusion was possible after Sweetwater had been penalized “several times” during the drive for delay of game.

–Time running out, Grossmont was on Sweetwater’s 40-yard line.  Art Preston threw a long, incomplete, fourth-down pass to Ellis Craddock.

–Ball game?

–Field judge Mike Morrow ruled pass interference on Sweewater at the Red Devils’ 11-yard line.

–Spectators, not seeing Morrow drop his flag, believed the game was over and swarmed the gridiron.

–The honest Sweetwater game timer ruled that Preston‘s pass was in the air when the timekeeper’s pistol fired to signal end of game.

–The game could not conclude on a defensive foul. Grossmont was given an additional play.

Sweetwater backed coach Lloyd Bishop (with quarterback Joe Reeves) and protested to Metropolitan League.

Sweetwater backed coach Lloyd Bishop (with quarterback Joe Reeves) and protested to Metropolitan League.

–National City Police with patrol vehicles were forced to clear the field of spectators.

–A semblance of order was restored.

–Sweetwater partisans were shocked and then enraged when Preston began a running play to his right, then stopped and passed across the field to Craddock, alone in the end zone.

–Craddock caught Preston’s pass for the winning touchdown and the Foothillers headed, quickly, to their buses.

–Police remained on site until the field and stands were clear.

–Newspaper telephone operators were flooded with calls from the South Bay.

–The Metropolitan League’s “board of directors” and representatives of all member teams met on Saturday, four days later,  at the San Diego YMCA.

–The bosses were there to  address a formal letter of protest  from Sweetwater principal F.M. Chase to league president Dave Austin, principal at La Jolla.

(The meeting took place the day after Point Loma blanked a flat and dispirited Red Devils team, 19-0, for Sweetwater’s second loss in less than a week).

–Metro bosses upheld the Grossmont victory by a vote of 5-4.

Prez. Austin declared that “there was insufficient evidence to sustain the protest.”

–The vote was after officials failed to approve a motion that game officials had erred and had allowed Sweetwater  only three downs in the disputed series that preceded Grossmont’s winning touchdown.

–The motion failed by a vote of three “no” and two “yes”.  Four voters abstained.

–Taken into consideration was the submitted evidence of a radio broadcast of the game and written statements by game officials (including linesman Holt), coaches and sports writers assigned to the contest.

–Possibly sensing additional protests or forthcoming legal action, the board announced “termination of its responsibility in the matter.”


The Grossmont victory in the 30th renewal of a rivalry that began in 1920, came in a season in which the Foothillers would not compete for a Southern California minor division championship despite an overall,  9-1-1 record.

Fallbrook rolled behind Glen Crawford, who was all-Southern California.

The playoffs began Nov. 29, before the Metro had completed its eight-game schedule.

San Diego High played only seven regular-season games,  but most Metropolitan League clubs played at least 9 and some 10 or 11.  Coronado finished with an overall record of 6-4-1.

Grossmont dropped a 31-13 decision to Hoover in what amounted to a postseason game among the County’s second and third best teams.


That’s a question often posed about the avocado, sometimes while enjoying a guacamole dip.

It’s a fruit and probably the  most identified symbol of Fallbrook, the North San Diego County enclave that is an unofficial home to the native tree of Mexico.

U.S. 395 winds through the Avocado groves near the community, which was enjoying a postwar boom in football.

Coach Fred Stone’s Fallbrook High squad, 7-1 in 1946, raced to eight consecutive victories and the Southern Prep League championship this season.

The Warriors lost the first  “Avocado Bowl” contest, sponsored by the local Quarterback Club,  14-7, to Torrance on Thanksgiving Day.

Two days later the tired and undermanned Warriors fell to Laguna Beach, 20-6, in the Southern Section minor division playoffs, but their 15-3 record over two seasons was in sharp relief to Fallbrook’s short gridiron history.

The school opened with 20 students in 1893 and didn’t field a team until 1937.


Results of games often (usually) were unreported in San Diego newspapers but available information revealed only 12 Fallbrook victories in the eight seasons before the school of less than 250 students found success.

This year’s team was fired offensively by all-Southern California selection Glen Crawford, who scored at least 10 touchdowns, and backfield running mate Morris (Dude) Hedrick.

Despite the postwar boom, Stone stepped down after the season and Fallbrook would enter into another period of mediocrity.


Convair’s XC-99, the world’s largest airplane, made its second flight Dec. 3 and was airborne over the San Diego area from 12:05 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. carrying a larger takeoff load than on its maiden flight 10 days earlier.

The XC99 flies the friendly skies of San Diego.

The XC99 flies the friendly skies of San Diego.


City playgrounds bosses announced plans to construct new restrooms, new concession stands, and a new press box for Balboa Stadium.


A Guernsey cow from Lakeside set a record for milk and butterfat production. “Natalie” produced 11,600 pounds of milk and 675 pounds of butterfat, highest total ever in the Herd Improvement Division of the American Guernsey Cattle Club.

Former San Diego High football and baseball standout Johnny Ritchey, accompanied by brother and former Hilltoppers star Bert Ritchey (left), is congratulated by Padres owner Bill Starr (center) and coach Mike Morrow (right) after  becoming Pacific Coast baseball league’s first Africa-American player.. 


New rules were in force at the ninth annual City Schools’ carnival, played before an overflow, standing-room crowd estimated at a hyperbolized 30,000 to 32,000 in Balboa Stadium.

There were kickoffs at the start of each, 15-minute quarter. In the past, when teams left the field, the new teams played from where the ball had last been spotted.

Randy Epps scored touchdown for La Jolla in one of the season-opening carnivals.

Randy Epps scored touchdown for La Jolla in one of the season-opening carnivals.

The East of San Diego, La Jolla, and Kearny defeated the West of Hoover, Point Loma, and outsider Sweetwater of the Metropolitan League, 12-6.

St. Augustine, coached by former Hoover standout Chuck Coover, was outscored, 12-0, in one quarter by Santa Monica St. Monica in the Southland Catholic League carnival at Hollywood’s Gilmore Stadium.

Not to be left out, Brown Military Academy took part in the Imperial Valley League carnival in El Centro.


Writer Ken Bojens suggested that, with so many high school, college, and military teams fielding teams, the crowded Balboa Stadium schedule could use a break.

Bojens suggested San Diego preps use the stadium on all other week nights than Friday, as was being done in San Francisco, according to Bojens.

The Union columnist must have been thinking ahead.

A few weeks later the Southern Section playoffs began and San Diego was scheduled to play Saturday night in the Stadium against Los Angeles Cathedral.

The Hilltoppers agreed to move their game to Friday night to allow San Diego State and Santa Barbara State on the stadium turf Saturday  night.

To accommodate all, San Diego JC and East Los Angeles JC agreed to move their Metropolitan Conference game from Saturday afternoon to Friday afternoon.


Bob Miller (35) wasn't enough for Hoover, upset by Point Loma, which was shocked by Chula Vista.

Bob Miller (35) wasn’t enough for Hoover, upset by Point Loma, which was shocked by Chula Vista.

The upset of the season came when Chula Vista defeated big and established Point Loma in the Spartans second-ever game, 15-7, on a 95-yard pass interception return by Terry Shaw.

Point Loma had just scored a major surprise of its own, defeating Hoover, 18-13.


Big crowds at the football carnival, Hoover-San Diego, and any of the numerous military facilities’  games prompted another  suggestion by Ken Bojens:

“It might be a good idea for city fathers to begin looking to the near future and formulating plans to enlarge Balboa Stadium,” said Bojens.  “By the end of the season there will have been a half-dozen turnaway crowds.”

Balboa Stadium would be made larger 14 years later, from its original 23,500 seats to 34,500, when the Chargers moved South from Los Angeles.


Hoover end Bill McColl and San Diego tackle Bob Van Doren made the all-Southern California first team.  Fallbrook halfback Glen Crawford earned second-team honors and San Diego halfback Ted Ritchey was on the third team.

The 6-foot, 4 inch, 210-pound McColl, one of the city’s all-time great athletes, also was all-Southern California in basketball, went on to become a collegiate all-America at Stanford University, and played nine seasons in the NFL for the Chicago Bears.

Duane Maley and Bill Bailey (from left behind second row) took the 1947 Hilltoppers to southern California finals.

Duane Maley and Bill Bailey (from left behind second row) took  1947 Hilltoppers to Southern California finals.


Gene Earl, who covered the high school beat for The San Diego Union, took the field and played right end for the St. Augustine alumni in its year-end game against the Saints’ varsity…card stunts were brought back after a wartime lapse, according to Jerry Brucker of the Evening Tribune,  and were presented by the San Diego cheering section at halftime…the cards featured a blue San Diego High castle on white background in addition to displays honoring San Diego and Hoover…Hoover and Muir kicked off at the unusual time of 5:45 p.m. in the Pasadena Rose Bowl…the Cardinals and Mustangs had argued over game sites before agreement was reached…Brown Military coach Eddie Olds was on the roster of the Green Bay Packers of the NFL in 1946 and then hooked on with the San  Diego Bombers of the Pacific Coast League…the Breitbard Athletic Foundation and auto dealer Guarantee Chevrolet footed the bill to film the San Diego Hoover game that would be shown to Monday morning quarterbacks and at school assemblies…Hoover’s Bob Miller, who scored 120 points, topped only by the 132 of Grossmont’s Art Preston, was on fire against Northern opponents…Miller had five touchdowns in a 38-15 win over San Bernadino and 4 more in a 44-18 rout of Long Beach Poly….

What catches your eye? The pass intercepted by Point Loma against Kearny or the two coeds in background strolling into the game after kickoff. Yoto Takeshita picked the pass from Dick Pedrin to Bob Walke, while Point Loma's Pete Simmons (10) arrived to support Takeshita.

What catches your eye? The pass intercepted  by Point Loma against Kearny, the coeds in background strolling in after kickoff, or the two figures atop the bluff? Yoto Takeshita picked the pass from Dick Pedrin to Bob Walke, while Point Loma’s Pete Simmons (10) arrived to support Takeshita.


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2015: Week 12, Grizzlies are No. 1 and No. 3

Rick : November 9, 2015 5:19 pm : Football
Undefeated Mission Hills was an almost wire-to-wire, regular-season winner in the Union-Tribune writers’ poll, but the Grizzlies are seeded only third behind Helix and St. Augustine in the Open Division of the San Diego Section playoffs, which begin this week.
Power ratings, introduced three years ago,  base a team’s strength on a number of factors,  most visible of which is strength of schedule.
Mission Hills and other teams in the eight team Open don’t begin play until the quarterfinals round on Nov. 20.  These matchups will give the playoffs some added cachet:
No. 1 Helix vs. No. 8 Madison, 2 St. Augustine vs. 7 Eastlake, 3 Mission Hills vs. 6 La Costa Canyon, and 4 Cathedral vs. 5 Carlsbad.
High seeds in other brackets also receive byes in the first round, which begin this Friday night.  Action and anticipation will pick up next week.
Week 12 poll after 11 weeks of games:
# Team (1st place votes) Points W-L Previous
1.  Mission Hills (16) 231 10-0 1
2. Helix (8) 222 8-1 2
3. St. Augustine 187 8-2 3
4. Madison 136 8-2 7
5. Rancho Bernardo 123 8-2 6
6. Cathedral Catholic 100 6-4 9
7. Carlsbad 57 7-3 NR
8. La Costa Canyon 56 7-3 4
9. San Marcos 37 7-3 NR
10. Westview 36 7-3 5

NR–Not ranked. Points awarded on basis of 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.

Others receiving votes (record & points in parenthesis): Mater Dei  (9-1, 27), Bonita Vista (8-2, 25), Valhalla (8-2, 15), Oceanside (6-4, 14), Grossmont (8-2, 11), Mission Bay (8-2, 10), Poway (5-5, 9), Granite Hills (9-1, 8), Christian (7-3, 4), Santa Fe Christian (9-1, 2), Point Loma (7-3, 2), Eastlake (5-5, 1).

24 Media and CIF representatives vote each week: John Maffei (U-T San Diego), Steve Brand, Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Jim Lindgren, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff (U-T San Diego correspondents), Bill Dickens, Chris Davis (East County, Steve (Biff) Dolan,  (Mountain Country 107.9 FM), John (Coach) Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak (The Mighty 1090), Rick Willis, Brandon Stone (KUSI-TV), Rick Smith (, Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (, Drew Smith (, Lisa Lane (San Diego Preps Insider), Raymond Brown (, R. Pena, C. Smith and Montell Allen (MBASports-SDFNL Magazine).

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2015: Champions of 19 Leagues, Take a Bow!

Rick : November 7, 2015 6:27 am : Football

The regular season is finished, playoffs are about to begin, and who won league championships?

 AVOCADO EAST                                                                                                               Mission Hills.  It’s time to retire the trophy.  Grizzlies have won or tied for championship six consecutive seasons.

AVOCADO WEST                                                                                                        Carlsbad.  It’s the Lancers’ first  since 2006, a year they won the San Diego Section D-I crown.

CITRUS (EIGHT-MAN)                                                                                                                    Ocean View.  Third title in last four years in this or the Sunset League .

CITY                                                                                                                                         Christian Patriots are 32-4 overall and 10-0 in league play in Central or City League since 2013.

CENTRAL                                                                                                                                         Kearny‘s first since they were in the Central in 2011.  Komets moved to the Western in 2012 and had a rough patch, 3-23, before moving back.

COASTAL                                                                                                                                 Santa Fe Christian. First for Eagles since 2012 and first for third-year coach Jon Wallace.

EASTERN                                                                                                                                    St. Augustine has won the East four times in coach Richard Sanchez’ seven seasons.

GROSSMONT VALLEY                                                                                                        Granite Hills alums who were there in 1988 now are in their mid-40s.  Eagles claimed first title since they were part of Grossmont AAA League 27 years ago.

GROSSMONT HILLS                                                                                                              Helix has taken High(landers) road  13 times in the last 20 years, for four different coaches, Jim Arnaiz, Gordon Woods, Donnie Van Hook, and Troy Starr.

IMPERIAL VALLEY                                                                                                                   Imperial, two seasons later still trying to absorb the graduation of superstar Royce Freeman, finished first for the first time since 2013 season and for third time in last six.

MANZANITA                                                                                                                                   The change of scenery agreed with  Crawford, with two Manzie titles in three years and 23-10 overall after going 10-68 in Central from 2005-13.

METROPOLITAN MESA                                                                                                             Former Scripps Ranch assistant Chris Thompson has Bonita Vista rising, from 3-8 and 5-6 to this season’s 8-2.

METROPOLITAN PACIFIC                                                                                                       For Castle Park a first first-place finish since 2008.                                                          

METROPOLITAN  SOUTH BAY                                                                                               Mater Dei would be 10-0 and in position take a shot at school-record 13-0 of 2003 squad except for dreaded administrative glitch and forfeiture of one victory.

OCEAN (EIGHT-MAN)                                                                                                       A first  since 2009 when Calvin Christian of North Escondido was in D-V Southern League and the second since Crusaders started football in 2007.  They tied with Calvary Christian San Diego, each with 2-1 league record, but Calvin beat the Royal Knights  head-to-head, 44-16.

PALOMAR                                                                                                                                                 Caoch Tristan McCoy’s Rancho Bernardo Broncos make it two in a row after going 2-19 in 2012 and ’13.

PACIFIC                                                                                                                                             Tri-City  Christian of Vista is back in driver’s seat since winning in 2010 and ’11.

VALLEY                                                                                                                                   Fallbrook, San Pasqual, and Valley Center took turns beating each other and arrived at the finish line, each with  3-1 league record.

WESTERN                                                                                                                                       Madison has blown up the league, beating closest pursuers Point Loma and Mission Bay, 48-0 and 64-7. Rick Jackson’s Warhawks have won 108 games and 11 champoionships in 11 seasons, one in Harbor, five in Central, and five in Western.




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2015, Week 11: Helix Closes Gap with Grizzlies

Rick : November 2, 2015 1:50 pm : Football
Helix picked up 4 additional first place votes in this week’s Union-Tribune poll and now has eight, half the total of front running mission Hills, which remained No. 1 for the ninth consecutive week and moved into top 10 in the weekly Cal-Hi Sports‘ state rankings.
The Highlanders, ranked 13th by Cal-Hi Sports, have trailed Mission Hills since a 23-19 loss in the opening game  to Scottsdale Chaparral, now ranked fifth in Arizona with an 8-2 record.
The regular season ends in the San Diego Section this week the playoffs could lead to and Helix’s and Mission Hills’ meeting in the Open Division championship. 
It was a shaky week for teams in the Top 10.  Madison jumped from seventh to fourth, La Costa fell from fourth to eighth,  Cathedral moved from ninth to sixth, and Mission Bay disappeared, perhaps not to be seen again this season.
The 8-0 Buccaneers walked into a 41-0 knockout punch by Point Loma, which sustained a 48-0 TKO and fourth-quarter running clock by Madison the week before.
Grossmont is 46-24-1 since 2010 and coach Tom Karlo has fielded a 7-2 this season, but don’t tell that to Helix.
The Highlanders won another “battle” for the Musket last week, scoring a 68-16 victory in a series that began in 1951 and has become a Helix runaway.
The Scots have won the last 16 meetings by a combined score of 690-177 and hold an all-time lead of 38-18-2.
The 52-point margin last week wasn’t the widest. Helix won the Musket game, 56-2, in 1982. 
Week 11 poll after 10 weeks of games:
# Team (1st place votes) Points W-L Previous
1.  Mission Hills (16) 231 9-0 1
2. Helix (8) 222 7-1 2
3. St. Augustine 187 7-2 3
4. Madison 136 7-2 7
5. Rancho Bernardo 123 7-2 6
6. Cathedral Catholic 100 5-4 9
7. Carlsbad 57 6-3 NR
8. La Costa Canyon 56 6-3 4
9. San Marcos 37 7-2 NR
10. Westview 36 7-2 5

NR–Not ranked. Points awarded on basis of 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.

Others receiving votes (record & points in parenthesis): Mater Dei  (8-1, 27), Bonita Vista (7-2, 25), Valhalla (7-2, 15), Oceanside (5-4, 14), Grossmont (7-2, 11), Mission Bay (8-1, 10), Poway (5-4, 9), Granite Hills (8-1, 8), Christian (7-2, 4), Santa Fe Christian (8-1, 2), Point Loma (6-3, 2), Eastlake (4-5, 1).

24 Media and CIF representatives vote each week: John Maffei (U-T San Diego), Steve Brand, Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Jim Lindgren, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff (U-T San Diego correspondents), Bill Dickens, Chris Davis (East County, Steve (Biff) Dolan,  (Mountain Country 107.9 FM), John (Coach) Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak (The Mighty 1090), Rick Willis, Brandon Stone (KUSI-TV), Rick Smith (, Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (, Drew Smith (, Lisa Lane (San Diego Preps Insider), Raymond Brown (, R. Pena, C. Smith and Montell Allen (MBASports-SDFNL Magazine).

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1975: Day Football on Saturday?

Rick : November 1, 2015 2:30 pm : Football

City schools experimented with a Saturday slate of games for one week.

At the same time it was revealed that the board of education had supplemented schools’ associated student body accounts with $49,000 since the ban on night games began in 1974.

The school board said it hoped to determine whether parents and students would prefer games on the weekend.

Writer Brand saw little difference between Friday and Saturday.

Writer Brand saw little difference between Friday and Saturday.

“The Great Experiment…was neither a success nor a disaster,” wrote Steve Brand of The San Diego Union.

Brand noted that none of the games approached the former Friday night crowds and attendance pretty much equaled that of Friday afternoons.

The switch from night to day was the result of postgame violence at Friday night venues.

The move to day games in 1974 resulted in such a continuing decline in attendance that the city came up with the Saturday plan halfway through this season.

“Economic pressures will force a move (back to Friday night),” said Crawford coach Bill Hall.  “The choices are going back or going broke.”


Five games in the Eastern and Western Leagues were forfeited, effectively changing the records of six teams in one of the city’s most widespread instances of the “dreaded administrative glitch”.

Patrick Henry forfeited three games and Hoover and San Diego one each.

Kearny, Point Loma, and Madison were the beneficiaries of Henry’s malfeasance.

San Diego forfeited to Hoover and Hoover forfeited to St. Augustine.

Residential impropriety and academic hi-jinks usually are the reasons for administrative judgment. Both were in effect.

Hoover was peripherally involved in Henry’s forfeits.

Two Cardinals players transferred.

“The parents simply did not want their sons attending Hoover,” said Henry coach Russ Leslie, who thought that his school had jumped through all necessary hoops to make the players eligible.


“However, when rumors persisted we asked for and received specific guidelines for change-of-address eligibility,” said Leslie.  “I had never seen them and I’ll bet none of the other coaches have either.”

The procedure requires more than telling the postman you’re moving.

“Some of the items which indicate change of address are changing the address on a driver’s license, on auto registration, on income tax returns, and so forth,” said Leslie.

“If rent was involved, as it was in this case, rent receipts are needed.  They were provided,

Jim Minerd had one of Patrick Henry's few successes in loss to Oceanside. Minerd (top) gathers for second-quarter pass from Steve Fairchild and maintains concentration (bottom) to catch throw that was deflected by disappointed Robin House.

Jim Minerd had one of Patrick Henry’s few successes in loss to Oceanside. Minerd (top) gathers for second-quarter pass from Steve Fairchild and maintains concentration (bottom) to catch throw that was deflected by disappointed Robin House.

but some of the other criteria, which were not even known to me, were not,” Leslie added.

The two players became eligible and Henry, 9-3 on the field but 6-6 legislatively, battled all the way to the San Diego Section semifinals before bowing to Oceanside, 14-0.


Coach Roy Engle’s Hoover Cardinals lost their last seven games of 1973, scored all of seven points in 1974, and were working on a 18-game losing streak after a 21-20 loss to San Diego.

But the Cardinals caught a forfeit break, thanks to the Cavers.  Hoover finally scored a victory on the field when it defeated St. Augustine, 22-8, a month later.

Not quite.  Another ineligibility.  St. Augustine got the  win.


The newspaper headline said, “Edens Feels Sting Of Own Prep Project.”

Point Loma coach Bennie Edens was instrumental in developing the city’s overtime rules which rewarded the team with the most yards gained during the extra session.

Bennie more or less blamed students.

Bennie more or less blamed students.

Madison was given a 1-0 victory over Point Loma when the  tie-breaker was used for the first time in the season’s Week 8.

The defeat knocked Point Loma out of contention for a San Diego Section playoff berth and kept Madison in the hunt for a Western League championship.

Edens’ colleagues in the city voted, 8-2, to change the tie-breaking rules.  In answer to a mail poll, 10 County coaches voted for the California Tie-Breaker, in which each team gets four downs, starting at the 40, alternating plays.

San Diego Section squads would use the California Tie-Breaker beginning  in 1976.


Edens exonerated his kin when discussing the forfeit frenzy:

“It’s never pleasant to win or lose by forfeit.  While we all hate the concept of a forfeit you have to have rules, not so much for the coaches, but for the students who might take advantage.”


John Shacklett’s fourth season at Morse did not portend greatness.

The Tigers were only 14-20-3 as Shacklett was building a program in his first three seasons but they came from behind to defeat Patrick Henry, 14-9, for the Eastern League title and their 10-1 finish this season signaled the beginning of a remarkable, quarter-century run for Shacklett and the players he coached at the Skyline Drive campus.

Morse defense swarmed Patrick Henry's Steve Fairchild in Eastern showdown.

Morse defense swarmed Patrick Henry’s Steve Fairchild in Eastern showdown.

From 1975-99 Morse was 207-67-6, for a .742 winning percentage. Shacklett’s teams won five Section titles in eight appearances and his 1990 squad, perhaps the best ever assembled in San Diego, was No 1 in Southern California, No. 2 in the state and No. 4 in the country.

Demographic change struck quickly and devastatingly at Morse around  the Millenium.

Bad coaches will lose with good players.  Good coaches, as was Shacklett, will not win with bad players.  The talent pool at Morse shrank.

Shacklett was 8-31 in his last four seasons but finished with 229 victories, fourth highest total in San Diego County history.


Crawford led Lincoln, 3-0, deep into the fourth quarter.

From Steve Brand’s game account on Oct. 18, 1975:

“Lincoln coach Vic Player inserted 6-foot, 180-pound sophomore Marcus Allen with only 3:30 to play.

“Allen hit Matthew Santos for a 38-yard gain to the Crawford 25.  Four (sic) plays later, Lincoln had gained only one yard.  Allen seemed trapped on what surely would have been Lincoln’s last play.  He scrambled loose, passing the ball to Santos on the one.”

Mild controversy on the play.

Crawford’s Dennis Uhle, who earlier had intercepted two of starter Lederer Hampton’s passes, stepped in front of Santos and thought he had an interception, but referee Gary Todd, a Crawford graduate, ruled simultaneous catch.

Lincoln retained the ball and scored on the next play to win, 7-3.

The Hornets would enjoy a great ride with Allen, as would USC and two NFL teams in a 15-year, Hall of Fame career.


A Bonita Vista security guard would not allow a car to park in the restricted upper level of a garage at Southwestern College, where the Barons were scheduled to play Castle Park.

The driver patiently explained to the guard who he was, that traffic had made him late, and that he desperately needed to park in the more accessible space.

The security guard, perhaps flushed with authority, denied the request and the now pissed off and irate visitor was forced to park on the street, a hundred yards away.

The inconvenienced driver happened to be a member of the four-man game officiating crew.

The game official and his colleagues didn’t take it out on  the host Barons or their parking garage enforcer.

Bonita Vista was penalized 10 yards to Castle Park’s 90.

For Castle Park coach Gil Warren, the garage incident was the beginning of a bad evening.

Warren’s Trojans fell behind, 20-0, but rallied with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to go ahead, 27-20, and then apparently stopped a Bonita drive at Castle Park’s 40 yard line.

Don Slater (left) made big catch and Chris Daily was defensive standout for Barons.

Don Slater (left) made big catch and Chris Daily was defensive standout for Barons.

Holding, Castle Park.

Fifteen-yard penalty.

Given life, Bonita’s Russ Palser connected with Don Slater for a 25-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds left in the game.


Barons coach Jan Chapman kicked for the one-point PAT and the game ended in a 27-27 tie.

Chapman’s reason against going for a two-point conversion and victory  was that, with one point, Bonita would clinch at least a tie for the Metropolitan League championship that could be outright if Castle lost one of its last two league games.

The teams finished tied with 6-0-1 records, but Bonita Vista was given the league’s top seeding in the playoffs, with Castle Park second.

“We feel we should have been number one,” said Warren, “but anytime you have a vote of coaches personalities get involved.  The principals vote, but the coaches tell them how to vote.”

Castle Park had a five-point advantage in comparative league scores, 215-121 to 151-62.

Both teams won opening playoff games but were eliminated in the quarterfinals.


Kearny beat Mount Miguel, 20-6, in the first round of the playoffs and Matadors quarterback Steven Slater was sacked three times and intercepted thrice.

Jimbo Harris helped Kearny advance past Mount Miguel and defender Jeff Anderson.

Jimbo Harris helped Kearny advance past Mount Miguel and defender Jeff Anderson.

“He’s like I am,” said Slater’s father, Birt, the coach at Kearny, after Steven angrily pulled away from dad after the game.  Steven was not, as Michael Grant of the Union wrote, “interested in some parental consolation.”

“We’re both pretty competitive and he’s ticked off,” said Birt. “He wanted to win as badly as I did.”

Steven scored Mount Miguel’s only touchdown.


Field goals were becoming more and more a part of the landscape.  La Jolla’s Dick O’Neil, who toed a 37-yarder with 16 seconds remaining to give La Jolla a 17-14 win over Coronado, was tied for the state lead with 10 for the season.

German exchange student Jens Halle of Fallbrook kicked a 25-yarder in the first American football game he ever saw or was part of, and scored Fallbrook’s first points of the season.


Pat Roberts’ Grossmont team was going to play Granite Hills on the Foothillers’ “home” field, Helix.

“I feel guilty about taking my kids over there to play,” said Roberts.  “It’s a terrible disgrace to high school football.”

Roberts asserted that “I must have thrown 15 rocks off the field, all about seven inches in diameter,” the previous week, when Grossmont topped Helix, 42-14.

So as not to think Roberts was dumping on hated-rival Helix, Roberts widened his scope of criticism.

“There aren’t any good fields in the league,” he said, also putting the knock on Granite Hills’ Valley Stadium and lighted venues at Monte Vista, El Capitan, and Mount Miguel.

Roberts, 77-52-7 in 14 seasons from 1968-81 with one championship and two appearances in the finals, may have been taking an oblique shot at his Grossmont School District bosses.

Like, why can’t we have lights?

The Foothillers predated Helix as the oldest school in the district, having opened in 1920, while the Highlanders came along in 1951 and had their own, campus facility by 1954.

Grossmont continued to travel to Helix and to Aztec Bowl for home games with an occasional afternoon tussle on its campus.


Tyler suited El Camino to a T.

Tyler suited El Camino to a T.

El Camino’s Toussaint (Tootie) Tyler was named after the man who freed Haiti of Napoleon’s rule:  Pierre-Dominique Toussaint l’Overture…Tyler’s 168 rushing yards were the difference in Oceanside’s 25-14 victory over Granite Hills for the CIF title…Losing teams made the playoffs for the first time…Fallbrook was 4-5 and Patrick Henry was 4-5, although 7-2 on the field…Patrick Henry quarterback Steve Fairchild went on to play at Colorado State, was head coach at his alma mater, and also coached in NFL…Official attendance at the championship in San Diego Stadium was 9,200…writers had estimated the turnout at 13,000..Morse’s starting backs, Eddie Ford, Charles Crews, Delvin Barnett, and Barry Alexander, called themselves the “Four Horses”…St. Augustine’s 422 points allowed was a San Diego Section record, topping the 357 of Mount Miguel in 1970…the show must go on?  Because of rain vendors refused to sell game programs at playoffs between Castle Park and Morse and Patrick Henry and Bonita Vista…La  Jolla Country Day dropped football and wouldn’t field a team again until 1981…Chula Vista’s Bob Korzep would remember his first coaching victory, 14-7 over Marian, in which the Spartans intercepted 9 passes and Oscar Ohnessorgen returned one for a 100-yard touchdown…With quarterback Mark Malone leading the way, El Cajon Valley won its first league championship since the school opened in 1955…Russ Boehmke, 10-5-1 in two seasons as Lincoln’s quarterback in 1956-57, guided Valhalla to an upset win over Helix and a 3-4-1 record in the Norsemen’s first varsity season….

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2015, Week 10: Komets Come Out of Coma

Rick : October 24, 2015 6:39 am : Football

Business has picked up at Kearny, where the Komets have won three in a row and can finish the regular season with their best record since 2011.

Takoda Browne, who has scored touchdowns by running, receiving,  kickoff, punt, and pass interception returns, and two-point conversion attempts,  leads the San Diego Section with 23 touchdowns and 142 points in eight games.

Kearny is 4-5 and can clinch the Central League championship in two weeks against Clairemont. The Komets have as many victories this season as they had during a 4-24 stretch that began in 2012 after an 8-3, league-championship 2011 season.


Not quite, but Mike Lewis, the executive director at Helix who stepped in when head coach Troy Starr was forced to withdraw from Friday’s game because of a health issue in his family, is the son-in-law of the late and iconic San Diego State Aztecs and Chargers coach Don Coryell.

Lewis, who had previous assistant coaching experience in the Grossmont League,  guided the Highlanders to a 42-14 victory over Valhalla.


Oceanside’s three-game losing streak is the longest for the Pirates since they dropped three in a row in the middle of the 2005 season…Carlsbad’s 21-6 triumph was its first over Oceanside in 10 years and clinched at least a tie for the Avocado West title…the Lancers are 3-0 in league play and 5-3 overall…Helix’ Nate Stinson is second in the San Diego Section to Takoda Browne with 114 points…St. Augustine’s Elijah Preston follows with 110…Valley Center’s  28-17 win over Rancho Buena Vista gave Jaguars coach Rob Gilster 193 career wins, tying Gilster with Dick Haines for ninth place…Christian’s double-overtime, 13-6 win over Morse clinched a tie for the City League championship….

Week 10 poll, after nine weeks of games:

# Team (1st place votes) Points W-L Previous
1.  Mission Hills (20) 234 8-0 1
2. Helix (4) 218 6-1 2
3. St. Augustine 196 6-2 3
4. La Costa Canyon 144 6-2 6
5. Westview 110 7-1 4
6. Rancho Bernardo 101 6-2 7
7. Madison 98 6-2 8
8. Mission Bay 53 8-0 9
9. Cathedral 52 4-4 5
10. Grossmont 40 7-1 10

NR–Not ranked. Points awarded on basis of 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.

Others receiving votes (record & points in parenthesis): Carlsbad (5-3, 28), San Marcos (6-2, 15),  Bonita Vista (6-2, 13),  Mater Dei  (7-1, 10), Christian (6-2, 3), Valhalla (6-2, 3),  Granite Hills (7-1, 2), El Camino (5-3, 1), Mira Mesa (6-2, 1), Eastlake (4-5, 1).

24 Media and CIF representatives vote each week: John Maffei (U-T San Diego), Steve Brand, Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Jim Lindgren, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff (U-T San Diego correspondents), Bill Dickens, Chris Davis (East County, Steve (Biff) Dolan,  (Mountain Country 107.9 FM), John (Coach) Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak (The Mighty 1090), Rick Willis, Brandon Stone (KUSI-TV), Rick Smith (, Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (, Drew Smith (, Lisa Lane (San Diego Preps Insider), Raymond Brown (, R. Pena, C. Smith and Montell Allen (MBASports-SDFNL Magazine).





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2015: State Division Rankings Improve for Locals

Rick : October 22, 2015 1:01 pm : Football

Action above, including Long Beach Poly’s 52-6 loss to Concord De La Salle, has resulted in Mission Hills and Helix getting another boost in Cal-Hi Sports newsletter’s unofficial, weekly state rankings by division.

Mission Hills is 10th and Helix 11th in Division I, partly because Poly dropped from eighth to 13th.  The Grizzlies and Highlanders were 12th and 13th, respectively, last week, and have been inching up almost each week for the last month.

Other San Diego Section teams:


St. Augustine (6-1) remained sixth.  Cathedral (4-3) is 11th, and Westview  (7-0) 12th. Idle last week, Cathedral dropped from 10th and Westview rose from 15th.


Mission Bay (7-0) is on the bubble.  The rankings for D-III and lower are 1 through 10, with bubble teams following.


Mater Dei, 7-0 on the field but 6-1 legislatively after losing a game because of a player’s ineligibility, and Santa Fe Christian (6-1) are on the bubble.


La Jolla Country Day (6-1) moved from fourth to third.  Simi Valley Grace Brethren (7-0) and Temecula Linfield (6-1) rank 1-2.

Division nomenclature is different in the San Diego Section, i.e., Mission Hills, Helix, Westview, Cathedral, and St. Augustine are in I, Mission Bay in  II.  The teams in IV and V are slotted the same by the newsletter.



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1973: Back to the Future

Rick : October 19, 2015 10:13 am : Football

Two, eight-team upper and lower brackets made for the largest postseason in San Diego Section history.

What had gotten into the CIF bosses?

They had repeatedly recited the dubious mantra that the playoffs made the season too long and were a “major” reason for bolting the Southern Section.

To win a Southern Section championship, teams would have to play as many as four playoff games, adding a month to the football season, although San Diego teams seldom played beyond the second round of games.

The most notable result of the San Diego Section’s formation in 1960 was that a champion would be decided in a postseason of two weeks. Four of 21 AA teams, 19 per cent, made the playoffs.

By 1965 only seventeen per cent of 35 AA clubs were in the postseason.  One playoff involving two teams decided the A winner.

Complaints from coaches, fans, and media grew, as many teams with good records were not invited.


The CIF began to fudge on its original argument.  Slowly the number of teams qualifying for the second season began to rise.

The bosses gerrymandered the final week of regular-season schedules in 1966 by having two teams compete in a “play-in” game, the winner going to the postseason, although playoffs remained at two weeks.

The CIF created the unpopular double champions format in 1967.  “Metropolitan Conference” and “County Conference” winners were crowned. Nine of the 37 AA schools, 24 per cent, made the playoffs. The postseason still was two weeks.

The two-conference format also was in effect in 1968 and 1969, but a third postseason week between the conference winners was added.  Escondido, 10-1-1, and San Diego, 8-3-1, tied for the championship, 21-21.

Champions from 1969 forward would play 12 games, the same as San Diego in 1916, ’55, and ’57 Southern California playoff seasons.

(The regular season in most leagues had gone from 8 to 9 games in 1964.  The Grossmont League stayed at eight until 1970, the schools in that circuit having played in the game-counting, money-making carnival through 1969).


By 1972 there were 51 football-playing clubs and the postseason included 8 of the 40 AA squads, still just 20 per cent.

The floodgates opened this year.

Kearny's Ron Means gives self a salute after one of his four touchdowns in finals victory.

Kearny’s Ron
Means gives self a salute after one of his four touchdowns in finals victory.

Sixteen teams, representing 35 per cent of the 43 AA teams went to the postseason.  A single contest decided the A champion.

Thirteen games and four weeks to decide a champion.  Things were back to the way they were.

CITY SETS PACE                                                                                                                       Seedings for the playoffs were done by a coaches’ committee and evoked none of the usual complaints.

The four semifinalists, Kearny, Patrick Henry, Sweetwater, and San Marcos, had a combined record of 38-3-2.

Kearny shut out Sweetwater, 34-0, in one semifinal and then took out Patrick Henry, 35-13, in the finals. It was the first time in eight seasons that Komets coach Birt Slater did not lose in the first round.

A 28-14 victory over Point Loma in the regular season was Slater’s 100th.  He became the third, after Jack Mashin and Chick Embrey (see below), to reach that mark.


The Avocado and Metropolitan leagues were bulging.  The Eastern and Western Leagues lacked symmetry, thus a new circuit, the AA Coast, was created.

The city’s Eastern and Western League now listed six teams each. The Avocado reduced from nine to seven and the Metropolitan from nine to eight.  The Grossmont League stayed at eight.

The Coast, with Coronado at the South end and San Dieguito and Poway in the North, would last only three years.

Coronado, buffeted by small enrollment for years in the Metropolitan League, now traveled 30 miles to Poway and 28 miles to San Dieguito and still faced schools with double its number of students.

How the changes went down:

Team 1973 League 1972 League
Coronado Coast Metropolitan
San Diego Western Eastern
Mission Bay Coast Western
La Jolla Coast Western
Poway Coast Avocado
San Dieguito Coast Avocado


San Diego’s population had risen from 573,000 in the 1960 census to about 735,000.   The County total was almost 1.4 million.  Twenty-one schools not part of the original San Diego Section football lineup were now in business.

The growth strengthened the CIF, but the bosses were having a difficult time getting their hands around a spike in rowdyism and violence at game sites.

Stop and frisk wasn‘t part of the solution, but, following the lead of other major cities, an unpopular decision was made.

“Night football and basketball games in the San Diego City School District will end with this season’s athletic schedules, school officials announced yesterday,” wrote The San Diego Union education writer Ray Kipp.

The vote of 4-1 gave school district superintendent Tom Goodman authority to schedule night athletic events to afternoon competition, wrote Kipp.74headline1022150001

The reason was violence at events.

A specious argument was that the “growing unavailability of fields” and a desire to “conserve energy” influenced the board’s action .

(The long waits and gasoline shortage that hounded Americans in 1973 would be ended when the oil-rich middle east countries lifted a ban on oil exportation to the U.S. in March, 1974).

The night-games ban came despite protests by students and adults who opposed any change without in-depth studies and potential effects on school spirit, game revenues, and the opportunity to attend afternoon contests.

In response, school board member Louie Dyer said, “If people really want to go to an afternoon game, they will.”

Board member Richard Johnston voted against the measure, citing the punishment that would be inflicted on students by the action of nonstudents.

Only one of 12 speakers appearing before the board voiced support for the change.


Anthony Paopao would have been welcome in the company of Frank Gansz’ special teams players on the Super Bowl 34-champion St. Louis Rams of 1999.

Paopao embodied the espirit and toughness that Gansz, a Naval Academy graduate and pilot, rewarded on Mondays following games in that memorable season.

Make a play, show toughness and desire, and a deserving Rams player would receive a baseball cap inscribed “Warrior Elite”.

It was ultimate praise and those recognized wore the headwear with pride.

Gansz would have been a PaoPao fan.

Oceanside coach Herb Meyer continually called PaoPao’s number in the playoffs against Mission Bay and the 190-pound junior responded again and again on the soggy, rain-dampened Simcox Field.

PaoPao touched the ball on 68 percent of the Pirates’ offensive plays, scored from 18 and 15 yards, including the come-from-behind, 13-10 game winner in the fourth quarter, and rushed for 213 yards in 41 carries.

BUCCANEERS REVIVED                                                                                    

The playoff loss was disappointing but didn’t dim a gratifying year for Mission Bay.

Three seasons and a 2-25  record that included 18 losses in a row were staring at coach Al Lewis when practice began at the Pacific Beach school in September.

Lewis, who started the football program at Point Loma’s Cal Western University in 1957, had succeeded Bill Hall at the Grand Avenue location in 1970.

It helped that the Buccaneers moved this year from the Western to the less competitive Coast League.

A 7-2 regular-season record tied the 1958 squad for the most successful in school history and earned the Bucs the first Coast League championship and their first playoff invitation since the 1954 inaugural varsity season.

Lewis was 31-50-2 overall but 29-25-2 from 1973 until he stepped down after the 1978 season.


Ladimir (Jack) Mashin, who coached at Grossmont from 1923-47, had held the County record for most coaching victories since he retired after the 10-1 campaign of 1947.

Mashin was 121-65-15 (.639) and figured at the start of this season to be caught by Escondido’s Chick Embrey, who had fashioned a 118-45-4 record since becoming head coach in 1956.

Embrey didn‘t catch Mashin until the Cougars’ eighth game and passed him in the final game of a 3-6 disapointment by defeating Fallbrook, 23-6.

Mashin, 75, whose record was later amended to 125-66-19 (.640),  still was active, assisting the weight men (shot put, discus) on the Grossmont College track team.  He expounded on the modern game.

“There are 4-4-2-1 and 4-5-2 defenses and you get stunting and all that which you never had when I was coaching.” Mashin told Will Watson of The Union.

“I wish I was coaching under the present system, where you could see games on TV. If I were a coach today I’d be glued to the TV.

“Of course,” Mashin added, “in my day there was no TV, so we tried to go to as many coaching clinics as we could.”

John Perry (left) joined retired coaches Jack Mashin (center) and Bill Bailey in perusing newly-published copy of Evening Tribune prep football record book in 1965.

John Perry (left) joined retired coaches Jack Mashin (center) and Bill Bailey in perusing newly-published copy of Evening Tribune prep football record book in 1965.


John Perry, the 78-year-old former coach at San Diego and Hoover, died Oct. 21 from injuries sustained in an auto accident on Sept. 10 near his retirement home on San Diego’s Bankers Hill.

Perry, who never played football, learned the game by reading football books and printed pamphlets, and traveling hundreds of miles to attend clinics.

Perry coached at San Diego from 1920-26, winning a Southern California title in 1922 and earning a trip to the finals in 1925.

Perry left coaching but returned and built the Hoover program from scratch in 1930 and led the Cardinals to their first victory over San Diego in  1935.

“He was a great coach and a great personal friend,” Bert Ritchey, the star of the 1925 squad, told Bill Center of The Union. “We all knew he never played, but he was one man with no playing experience who could teach it.”

“He wasn’t only a coach, he was like a father to us,” said Roy Engle, who scored the touchdown in Hoover’s  7-6,  first win over the Cavemen .  “It was John who turned my eyes to a coaching career.”

Perry was 52-14-5 at San Diego and 40-34-6 from 1930-39 at Hoover.


The San  Diego sports world was saddened again seven weeks later when Dewey J. (Mike) Morrow the nationally renowned San Diego high coach and peer of John Perry, passed away at 75.

Morrow coached 10 Southern California baseball championship teams and the only San  Diego County team to win a Southern California major division championship in basketball, in 1935-36.


Kearny junior Don Norcross, who led the County with 1,270 passing yards, was destined for a career as a sports staff ace for the Union-Tribune.

Norcross entered the season as the only question mark on a loaded Kearny squad.  “Sure, I felt the pressure,” he said. “It was like, ’If Kearny doesn’t make it, it will be Norcross’ fault.’”


Player-of-the-year Ed Imo was the 5-foot-9, 230-pound  line-plugging nose tackle for the Komets’ defense.

Imo went on to star at San Diego State and later became the physical education/athletics department chairman in American Samoa,

“Had I played against him, I would have spent a lot of time face-first into the grass,” said Norcross.

Ed Imo had another distinction at San Diego State, the shortest name in Division I football, five letters.


Sweetwater’s 27-game Metro League winning streak, which began in 1969 after a 41-0 loss to Castle Park, ended in a 12-8 loss to the Trojans.


Future NFL standouts included St. Augustine wide receiver Tim Smith, Kearny defensive back Lucious Smith, Castle Park defensive back John Fox, who became an NFL head coach; El Cajon Valley quarterback Mark Malone, and Hoover defensive lineman Bill Gay.

San Diego’s Michael Hayes, who led the County with 1,418 yards rushing, including 858 in his last four games, did not play in the NFL but was one of the all-time great San Diego running backs.

Hayes was just warming up.  He’d be the San Diego Section player of the year in 1974 and was named to the second all-time, all-County team in 2013.


Hayes was a one-man show against Point Loma, scoring three touchdowns and gaining 223 yards in 28 carries, but his team offered no defense against Point Loma.

The Pointers’54-28 victory over  San Diego represented the most points allowed by the Cavemen since a 56-0 loss to the Stanford University freshmen in 1923.  Point Loma’s John Finley  scored four touchdowns and gained 123 yards in 22 attempts.

Jeff Carlile (75) serves as cushion for Point Loma's John Finley, who scores one of four touchdowns against San Diego.

Jeff Carlile (75) serves as cushion for Point Loma’s John Finley, who scores one of four touchdowns against San Diego. Finley’s 99 season points were second in San Diego Section.


.Hoover coach Roy Engle had to devise a defense for the Crawford quarterback, the position played by his son, David…Carlsbad snapped an 0-6-1 stretch against Oceanside, 17-8…Lincoln did not kick a point after touchdown or field goal all season…Cleon Gilliam, who caught 8 passes for 157 yards in Patrick Henry’s title-game loss to Kearny, is son of Earl Gilliam, a federal judge from San Diego who started on San  Diego High’s 1947 team that went to the Southern California finals…Bill Casper, Jr., son of the former U.S. Open golf champion Billy Casper, was a star lineman  for Hilltop….


2015, Week 9: Move Over, Dick Haines

Rick : October 17, 2015 3:52 pm : Football

Valley Center’s Rob Gilster can tie Dick Haines this week for ninth place among the winningest coaches in  San Diego Section history.

The 32-21, Valley League  victory over Fallbrook last week was Gilster’s 193rd.  The veteran mentor moved from 11th to 10th place earlier this season when he passed Carl Parrick with victory No. 191.

Gilster is second to the 203 victories of Monte Vista’s Ron Hamamoto among active coaches.  Mission Bay’s Willie Matson is third with 177.

Gilster, in his 18th season with the Jaguars after nine at Orange Glen, has an all-time record of 193-120-5 for a .615 percentage. Haines, who also coached several years in Ohio, was 194-85-1 (.695) in 25 seasons at Vista.

Next up for Valley Center is a nonleague tussle Friday at Rancho Buena Vista.


Dr. George Brown, examining future NFL lineman Claudie Minor, who also served as team physician at San Diego State and was leader of push for Granite Hills' Valley stadium.

Dr. George Brown, examining future NFL lineman Claudie Minor in 1973, served as team physician at San Diego State and was leader of push for Granite Hills’ Valley stadium.

Granite Hills recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of Valley Stadium. When the facility was dedicated in October, 1965, the Eagles and Helix were the only schools with  lighted fields in the East County.

The Eagles defeated Castle Park, 33-7, in the inaugural game.  One of Granite’s standouts was George Brown, who scored a touchdown in that game and was one of the state’s leading shotputters during the spring track season.

Brown’s father, Dr. George Brown, a star at Hoover in the late ‘thirties and an all-America lineman at the Naval Academy before concluding his football career at postwar San Diego State, led the drive to build the facility.

Meanwhile, coach Kellan Cobbs’ 2015 team improved to  6-1, the best record since the 1994 team was 6-1 en route to a 9-3 finish.


Mission Hills continues to hold sway in the weekly Union-Tribune poll. Westview now is fourth behind the big three of ‘Hills, Helix, and St. Augustine.  Madison and Mission Bay made their first appearances in the top 10.

Week 9 poll, after eight weeks of games:

# Team (1st place votes) Points W-L Previous
1.  Mission Hills (20) 239 7-0 1
2. Helix (4) 219 5-1 2
3. St. Augustine 193 5-2 3
4. Westview 163 7-0 5
5. Cathedral 101 4-3 9
6. LaCosta Canyon 85 5-2 4
7. Rancho Bernardo 75 5-2 10
8. Madison 63 5-2 NR
9. Mission Bay 45 7-0 NR
10. Grossmont 28 6-1 7

NR–Not ranked. Points awarded on basis of 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.

Others receiving votes (record & points in parenthesis): Carlsbad (4-3, 23), Valhalla (6-1, 20), Bonita Vista (5-2, 14), San Marcos (5-2, 13), Mater Dei  (6-1, 12), El Camino (5-2, 11), Oceanside (4-3, 8), Granite Hills (6-1, 4), Poway (4-3, 3), Christian (5-2, 1), University City (6-1, 1).

24 Media and CIF representatives vote each week: John Maffei (U-T San Diego), Steve Brand, Terry Monahan, Don Norcross, Jim Lindgren, Tom Saxe, Rick Hoff (U-T San Diego correspondents), Bill Dickens, Chris Davis (East County, Steve (Biff) Dolan,  (Mountain Country 107.9 FM), John (Coach) Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak (The Mighty 1090), Rick Willis, Brandon Stone (KUSI-TV), Rick Smith (, Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (, Drew Smith (, Lisa Lane (San Diego Preps Insider), Raymond Brown (, R. Pena, C. Smith and Montell Allen (MBASports-SDFNL Magazine).


Were it not for  the ubiquitous,  dreaded administrative glitch, Mater Dei would be 7-0, matching the 13-0 team of 2003 for best start in school history…the Crusaders were forced to forfeit a Week 2 victory over El Capitan after discovery of  an ineligible player…Calexico Vincent Memorial, with a win this week, can match the 2002 club’s 8-0 start…Vinnie, Westview, and Mission Bay are the only 7-0 squads in the San Diego Section…Mar Vista’s and Santa Fe christian’s 6-1 starts are the best for each since 2011……University City is 6-1 for the first time since 2006….

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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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