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.
SLEEPER MUST BE IN PLACE
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 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.
DREADED ADMINISTRATIVE GLITCH
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.
NO HARM, NO FOUL?
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 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.
POINT LOMA AMBUSHED
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.
COUGARS IN CONTROL
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
CAVERS NEVER RECOVER
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.
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.
CHIEFTAINS OF NOTE
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.
LIKED BASKETBALL MORE
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.
A TIE FOR THE AGES
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.
HE’S AN EINSTEIN!
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.”
POINTER ON POINT
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 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. Bill Boone (23) and Jim Foster (68) converge.
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St. Augustine’s Jimmy Antl goes low to stop Lincoln’s Marvin Lowery as Eastern League teams battled to 6-6 standoff.