The memory of 10-28, 30-41, and 35-43 was erased with one 42-14.
After three straight losses to Helix, including one in the San Diego Section Division II finals and another in the semifinals, Oceanside put up the right numbers and stunned the Highlanders, No. 2 in California and No. 25 in the U.S.
“We were committed to play the best game of our lives,” a soaking-wet (power drink splash from team) and emotional Pirates coach John Carroll told Bill Dickens of The San Diego Union. “And we backed it up.”
Carroll didn’t stop there. “It was fantastic, the greatest win I’ve ever been associated with.”
SEVEN TITLES SINCE 1960
After opening the season with losses to Helix (43-35) and Rancho Buena Vista (36-35), the Pirates rolled to 11 consecutive victories and their fourth championship under Carroll and the Pirates’ seventh since the San Diego Section was formed in 1960.
“It was all about ball control and our offensive line,” said Tyler Lavea, who wedged for 86 yards in 26 carries and scored from 2, 4, 4, and 1 yard.
Oceanside converted on six of nine third downs and once on fourth down in the first half.
Quarterback Rick Coppack completed 9 of 17 passes for 258 yards. Coppack threw for two touchdowns in the last 90 seconds of the first half.
Coppack’s 45-yard connection to Matuia Poumele with six seconds left gave Oceanside a 28-0 lead at the break.
BUSH GREAT, BUT…
Favored Helix, averaging 451 yards and 43 points a game, reached the finals after playoff blowouts of 62-31 (Patrick Henry) and 71-32 (Monte Vista) and seemed unstoppable.
Reggie Bush was brilliant in his final four games, rushing for 764 yards and 11 touchdowns in 53 carries for a 14.4-yard average.
Bush gained 144 yards in 13 carries against Oceanside and returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown before leaving with cramps in the fourth quarter. Bush also ran 60 yards on a fake punt, but Helix missed a field-goal attempt.
“We just didn’t do a good job of defending on third down,” said Helix defensive coordinator Donnie Van Hook. “But no matter how you cut the ice, they were the better team tonight.”
HOW LONG AGO?
When last seen, the Los Angeles High Romans came up short 14-0 in a 1918 game in the City Stadium against San Diego. The Romans had posted earlier victories of 11-0 in 1898 and 6-0 in 1899 over the Hilltoppers.
L.A. High, Southern California’s oldest, having opened in 1873, nine years before Russ High, the prior name of San Diego High, then went on a very long hiatus from competition with schools in this area.
After 84 years the Romans showed up as the last opponent on Torrey Pines’ schedule.
Torrey prevailed, 63-20.
NO. 200 FOR BURKE
How did Los Angeles High find itself on the schedule of Ed Burke’s Torrey Pines Falcons?
“All our teams in the league had byes,” said Burke. “Ours was in the 10th week of the season. At that point in the season it can very difficult to find an available opponent.”
A former freshman player for Burke was on the coaching staff at Venice High in L.A. The former player’s father was able to connect Burke with athletic personnel at L.A. High, which also needed a game.
Burke well remembers. “November 15th, two-thousand-two,” said Burke. “It was my two-hundredth victory as a head coach.”
Burke was 214-70 at Torrey Pines and San Dieguito. His career total of 243 included stints at Taft Union near Bakersfield and at King City, inland from California’s Central Coast.
The Christian Patriots made a case for every loser who ever staggered into the playoffs.
The Patriots were in the figurative midst of a mandatory eight count and having the sawdust wiped off their gloves when they were given a chance at redemption.
Mark Oliver’s team was 1-4 in Harbor League play, including the indignity of a forfeit loss to Crawford.
The Patriots were down to 7 able-bodied varsity players as another 10 rode out suspensions when they forfeited the Week 9 contest and followed with a 28-12 loss at Coronado in the final regular-season game.
It was bad enough that one of their players, all-league receiver and safety Brian Schroeder, spurned football to concentrate on baseball in his senior season, but Kevin Giles, their leading rusher and tackler, sustained a fractured elbow against University City, a week after a 44-7 blowout to Madison.
SENIOR PHOTO FIASCO
According to Oliver’s account to Bill Dickens of The San Diego Union 10 seniors were suspended before the Crawford game because they made inappropriate gestures during the school’s senior group photo.
Riding a three-game losing streak, Christian caught fire with a 48-12 win over Army-Navy in the first round of the IV postseason.
The Patriots defeated Santa Fe Christian 21-19 in the semifinals and, behind quarterback Joel Allen’s all-around contribution, edged Horizon 23-20 for the championship.
Allen threw for two touchdowns, ran for one, made a spectacular interception, and recovered a fumble.
“If I had to kick an extra point, I would have done that, too,” said Allen.
CARLSBAD TURNS TABLES
At 2-2-1, with three defensive starters out and a fullback-linebacker playing quarterback, Carlsbad was at the fork in the road. Neither direction looked promising.
Coach Bob McAllister’s Lancers also were making their way back to school after a 45-7 loss at Vista.
“It was a situation where you almost start questioning…,” said McAllister. You say, ‘Hey, are we good enough to go out and win league?’”
The Lancers’ coach knew his injured players would come back, but he still made a critical change, giving the ball to sophomore quarterback Sean Canfield, who had mopped up for starter J.C. Cooper in the Vista rout.
Carlsbad stormed through a 5-0 Avocado League campaign, topped off with 21-0 and 49-0 shutouts of La Costa Canyon and Mt. Carmel.
Canfield was summoned to the varsity after the season’s third game and finished the regular season with 1,894 yards and 15 touchdown passed and directed a playoff run that concluded with a 14-13 stunner over Vista that gave the Lancers the I championship.
McAllister had been beaten in the finals in 1999 and 2000 and lost in the 2001 semifinals, 29-28, when Vista scored 10 points in the final 19 seconds.
“I didn’t want to be called Bob Levy, after Marv,” McAllister said.
Marv Levy, the Buffalo Bills coach, was a loser in four Super Bowls.
Ed Burke, the legendary Torrey Pines coach whose team won 6 of its last 7 regular-season games to forge a three-way tie for the Palomar League championship, suffered few defeats as tough as this one.
The Falcons were eliminated by Vista in the I quarterfinals 36-28, in three overtimes. “I’m sure both coaching staffs were thinking, ‘Somebody needs to get a turnover; somebody needs to make a play,'” said Vista’s Chris Hauser.
It was 14-14 at the end of four quarters. Overtime rules are such that each team was allowed 4 downs to score from the other’s 25-yard line. The opponents swapped touchdowns in the first two overtimes, precipitating a third, which called for a two-point conversion attempt after a touchdown.
Vista’s Shawn Ketcher made a diving catch in the endzone on a tipped pass from quarterback Mike Altieri for a two-point conversion and an eight-point lead. Panthers defensive back Jon McGuinn then intercepted Reilly Murphy at the one-yard line on fourth down to close out Torrey.
A DE LA SALLE DOSE
La Costa Canyon, No. 8 in San Diego County, visited Concord De La Salle, No. 1 in the country.
La Costa opened the season 3-0 by defeating Lompoc Cabrillo, 57-7, Santa Monica, 32-24, and San Pasqual, 38-34.
Even with quarterback Kevin O’Connell, a future No. 3 NFL draft choice by New England, the Mavericks met the same fate as De La Salle’s previous 128 opponents.
Final score: Spartans 56, Mavericks 27.
O’Connell and his teammates were hammered by three touchdowns during a span of 4:48 in a 28-point second quarter.
Included was a 93-yard kickoff return by Maurice Drew, who became Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Drew rushed for 88 yards in 11 carries and scored three TD’s.
Rancho Buena Vista, the other San Diego Section school to play De La Salle, was victim No. 40 in 1995 at De La Salle, 35-14, and No. 53 at home, 36-19, in 1996.
Julian’s Christopher Padlock blocked a 45-yard field goal attempt with six seconds to play and Julian defeated La Jolla Country Day, 20-18, after Brian Rucker’s one-yard run had with 55 seconds left put the Eagles ahead.
Of the 50 or so schools in California that play in the eight-man alignment, the game matched the Nos. 1 and 2 teams.
The victory was Julian’s 17th straight in a streak that would reach 23 before ‘Day would defeat the Eagles, 21-14, in the San Diego Section championship, making up for a 30-13 loss in the 2001 title game.
GIVE IT UP FOR SOUTHWEST!
Strains from Queen’s “We Will Rock You!” or “We Are the Champions!” may have been heard resounding on Hollister Street, the main drag in Nestor.
San Diego Southwest finally had hoisted a victory flag.
The Raiders, trailing, 14-13, rode the arm of Robert Riggs, who passed for two second half touchdowns to Lamar Thomas, and Southwest added a safety to defeat Montgomery 20-14 and end a streak of 40 games without a win.
The Raiders tied El Cajon, 20-20, stopping a run of 37 straight losses in the season opener.
Patrick Henry snapped a three-game losing streak with a 38-27 win over Morse as Jazzarle Beeks rushed for 209 yards in 29 carries.
“This is one of the best jobs the line has done for me all year,” said Beeks. “We’ve been doing this in practice every week and they finally stepped up and did what they were supposed to do.”
More from the candid Beeks, after Henry’s 62-31 playoff loss to Helix: “I’m disappointed in the outcome but it was a good way to end it for me. I wanted to show everyone that Reggie Bush isn’t the only running back in town.”
Beeks was the only runner in the San Diego Section to rush for at least 100 yards in every game this season. He had 201 yards in 16 carries and scored four touchdowns in the loss to Helix.
WHO’S YOUR GRANDDADDY?
A third-generation name surfaced on the Grossmont League’s opening weekend. Freshman Ryan Sevier accounted for 186 yards and two touchdowns in West Hills’ 38-20 loss at Ramona.
Sevier is the grandson of the late Wayne Sevier, who quarterbacked Sweetwater to the Southern Section semifinals in 1958.
A backfield mate of Wayne Sevier’s was Gil Warren, who played with Wayne at San Diego State and launched a legendary coaching career in the Metropolitan League.
Wayne Sevier was Sweetwater’s head coach at age 24 in 1965 and had a long career in the NFL as a special teams coach for squads coached by Don Coryell, Joe Gibbs, and Chuck Knox.
THE ORIGINAL SUBURBAN RIVALS
Grossmont and Sweetwater met in Week 1, on the 82nd anniversary of their first game in 1920.
The Foothillers and Red Devils were blood rivals, playing sometimes twice a year, first in the County League, then the Southern Prep and Metropolitan circuits. They played each other every season from 1920-51.
Grossmont moved to the City Prep League in 1952, played the ‘Devils in a nonleague contest in ’53, then moved back into the Metro in 1954. The rivalry resumed until 1960.
Grossmont and Sweetwater went their separate ways in 1961 as the Foothillers, in the new San Diego Section alignment, became part of the Grossmont League and Sweetwater remained in the Metro. The teams met only in the playoffs in 1970, ’78, and ’93.
Grossmont’s 20-14 victory this season gave the ‘Hillers a 24-22 edge in the series.
NO. 1 OVER NO. 2
Marian proved the wisdom of requesting a larger table at which to sit, having lobbied the CIF for a move from IV to III. The Crusaders won IV titles in 1998 and 1999 and are 25-1 two seasons into D-III.
Marian, replacing Sweetwater (1980s) and Castle Park (1990s) as the South Bay’s most feared team, completed a 13-0 season (after 12-1 in ’01) with a 49-21 victory over St. Augustine.
St. Augustine running backs netted 17 yards in 17 attempts and the Saints fell short of their 34.4 scoring average.
Jonathan Alvarado, Patrick Gates, and Marco Contreras each scored twice for the Crusaders. The seventh touchdown came from Eugene Alaniz, who played despite torn knee ligaments sustained in the final regular-season game.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS AND RAIN
Nowhere was the precipitation more prevalent on the final round of regular-season games in Week 10 than at Madison High, where Coronado players held a giant mud slide in the middle of the field following the 10-6 victory over the Warhawks, 8-0 entering the game against the 7-1 Islanders.
“Stop!” shouted Coronado coach Bud Mayfield. “You don’t disrespect an opponent like that.”
The players probably could be excused for their enthusiasm. The game was played in a steady downpour and heavy fog that was just to the Islanders’ choosing.
Clinching a tie for the Harbor League championship and one win away from reversing a 1-9 season in 2001, Mayfield’s underdog squad made a determined drive in the second quarter.
The 22-play, 80-yard maneuver, which ended with Kyle Hammel’s 27-yard field goal, kept the Warhawks at bay until junior J.T. Rogan’s 42-yard touchdown run provided a 10-0 advantage in the fourth quarter.
Rogan, who had 122 yards in 31 carries, had made the signature contribution to the first-half field goal, carrying the ball on 16 of the 22 plays and burrowing for first downs on three fourth downs.
The Islanders clinched the title with a 28-12 victory over Christian the following week, then were eliminated in the first round of the III playoffs, 12-7, by La Jolla.
MIRE MESA CLINIC
University never knew what hit.
Leading rusher ‘Rico Tucker was thrown for a three-yard loss on the opening play. The Dons’ misfortune was only beginning.
Two plays later, after forcing a three and out, Mira Mesa struck for a 64-yard touchdown play on its first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Jason Schmidt lateraled to wideout Adam Cooper, who found Terrell Blake wide open.
Four plays after, the Marauders’ Luke Dailey recovered a fumble and ran 31 yards for a touchdown.
Awhile later University’s punter took a knee in the end zone following a low snap. Two more points for Mira Mesa.
After the free kick, Reggie Ross went 21 yards on the first play and 33 on the next for another score.
The Marauders led 23-0 after one quarter and 37-0 at the half. The 57-12 victory gave Mira Mesa a tie for the Western League title with St. Augustine.
DICK HAINES PASSES
Not long after the 2001 season, on Feb. 27, 2002, legendary Vista High coach Dick Haines passed away at age 76. Haines had been residing in a North County rest home since 1997, suffering from Alsheimer’s Disease, according to Tom Shanahan of The San Diego Union.
Haines, who 320 games in his career and had a 194-85-1 record in 25 seasons at Vista, retired after the 1994 season, about the time he was diagnosed. For awhile Haines and his wife, Martha, had lived near his son Rik, who coached in Redmond, Washington.
One-day combined attendance for the championships was 21,237…the San Diego Chargers paid the $8,500 rental fee to allow the CIF to use Qualcomm Stadium…Dwayne Ary didn’t score a touchdown, but Mount Miguel profited from his 322 yards in 30 carries in a 37-20 win over El Cajon…San Pasqual’s Nick Popoff did the heavy lifting with 223 yards in 37 carries and scored two touchdowns, but the Eagles defeated St. Augustine 27-24 on Ryan Bowler’s 29-yard field goal as time expired…”nothing fancy about this backyard rivalry, where the forward pass is like a gadget play,” said writer Mick McGrane of the upcoming Rancho Bernardo-Poway game…’Bernardo won the offensive wrestling match, 20-7…Granite Hills defeated Steele Canyon, 6-4, the losers’ scores coming when the Eagles tackled quarterback Jake Launder and running back Mike Anderson in the end zone…when scoring was different, there were five games between 1898 and 1921 in which one of the teams scored 4 points…controversy reigned in IV when Calexico Vincent Memorial was given the top seed…Horizon knocked out the Imperial Valley entry 28-6 in the semifinals…Charles Dimry III, The Bishop’s coach, is the son of Charles Dimry Jr., who played on Duane Maley’s last team at San Diego High in 1959 and was a standout in sprinter for the Cavers’ track team…the younger Dimry, out of El Camino and Nevada-Las Vegas, was a cornerback and played 12 seasons in the NFL…Marian’s offensive weaponry was such that the Crusaders overcame an 0-26 hole against Eastlake to win 27-26.