2015: Poll Unchanged 1 Through 7

Glacier-like movement in the Union-Tribune Top 10 continued this week with small action taking place in the bottom rungs.

Many teams are observing byes as league play edges onto the stage.  Almost all  will be so engaged in a couple weeks.

St. Augustine’s home game against Vista Murrieta represents one of the few intersectionals remaining.  The Saints dropped a 15-13 decision to the Southern Riverside County squad last season.

The Saints’ defense will get a stiff test, according to the Broncos’ four-game scores.

Vista Murrieta opened by defeating Seattle Ballard, 71-32, Corona Santiago, 55-33, and Lakewood, 43-7. They were beaten, 29-14, last week by Trinity League stalwart Orange Lutheran.

Meanwhile, Mission Hills and Helix each moved up one position, the Grizzlies to 15th and Highlanders to 16th, in the latest Cal-Hi Sports statewide poll.

La Costa Canyon, St. Augustine, and Cathedral reside “On the Bubble,”  out of the Top 25.

Cathedral went 219 miles north last week and defeated Bakersfield Liberty, 24-10.  The Kern County squad was ranked No. 2 in the Fresno Bee, which covers Central Section squads.

Cathedral’s victory was its second in five tries against a nonleague schedule that is the most demanding in the San Diego section.


Coach Mike Woodward’s Westview Wolverines, virtually comatose the last two seasons (5-17) and only 29-43 since 2008,  suddenly are 5-0 and No. 8 in the San Diego Section after a 36-30 win over respected San Marcos.

Truth or consequences loom for the representatives of Torrey Highlands, located northwest of Rancho Penasquitos, beginning next week against No. 7 Rancho Bernardo.  Westview’s last five opponents are a combined 18-7.

Week 6 Union-Tribune poll, after five weeks of games:

# Team (1st place votes) Points W-L Previous
1.  Mission Hills (20) 235 5-0 1
2. Helix (4) 208 2-1 2
3. St. Augustine 201 4-1 3
4. Oceanside 170 4-1 4
5. El Camino 113 4-0 5
6. La Costa Canyon 105 4-1 6
7. Rancho Bernardo 67 4-1 7
8. Westview 57 5-0 NR
9. Christian 52 3-1 9
10. Cathedral 30 2-3 NR

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

Others receiving votes (record & points in parenthesis): Grossmont (4-0, 23), Madison (2-2, 20), Bonita Vista (3-1, 11), Mater Dei  (4-0), Mission Bay (5-0), 6 each; Eastlake (2-3), San Marcos (3-2), 5 each; Mt. Carmel (3-1), Olympian (4-1), Poway (3-2), 2 each; Valhalla (3-1, 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 Sports.com), Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM), John (Coach) Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak (The Mighty 1090), Rick Willis, Brandon Stone (KUSI-TV), Rick Smith (partletonsports.com), Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (sandiegopreps.com), Drew Smith (sdcoastalsports.com), Lisa Lane (San Diego Preps Insider), Raymond Brown (sdfootball.net), Montell Allen (MBASportsrecruiting.com).

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2015: 13 From Here on Opening Rosters

Helix is one of 12 schools in the country with at least 4 alumni players who made 2015 opening-day rosters in the NFL.

Thirteen San Diego Section graduates were active, down from the 16 of 2013, the last year we published this information from the NFL Communications Department.

Reggie Bush, Levine Loiolo, Alex Smith, and Jamar Taylor also represented Helix in the 2013 survey.

Saint Thomas Aquinas (alma mater of tennis’ Chris Evert and  all-pro receiver Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys, among others) leads all U.S. high schools with 15 NFL players.

Cleveland Glenville (6), Miami Norland (6) and DeMatha Catholic of Hyattsville, Maryland (5), round out the top 4,

Calfornia’s Long Beach Poly, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, San Mateo Serra, Anaheim Servite, and Westlake Village Oaks Christian joined Helix with 4 each.

Oceanside and Mira Mesa each has 2, tying 155 schools.  There are 1,172  with 1 player.

Florida is the leading contributor with 204 players.  California was next with 203, followed by Texas (181) and Georgia (114).

Miami (31), Fort Lauderdale (20), Atlanta (16), and Houston (14) were leaders in the “hometown” category.  Los Angeles city had 10.

Alabama, with a population of 4,779,736, based on the 2010 U.S. Census, is the leader “per capita”  with one player for every 75,869 persons.

The pool of 1,668 NFL players in the U.S. population of 308,745,538 represented one player per 185,099 persons.

Name Position High School Team Year College
Khalif Barnes T Mount Miguel Oakland 11 Washington
Sam Brenner T Oceanside Miami 3 Utah
Reggie Bush RB Helix San Francisco 10 USC
Nate Chandler T Mira Mesa Carolina 5 UCLA
Arian Foster RB Mission Bay Houston 7 Tennessee
Leon Hall CB Vista Cincinnati 9 Michigan
Levine Loiolo TE Helix Atlanta 3 Stanford
Brian Schwenke C Oceanside Tennessee 3 California
Alex Smith QB Helix Kansas City 11 Utah
Kenny Stills WR La Costa
Miami 3 Oklahoma
Jamar Taylor CB Helix Miami 3 Boise State
Damien Williams RB Mira Mesa Miami 3 Oklahoma
Jimmy Wilson S Point Loma San Diego 5 Montana
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1971: Saints and Patriots Are Don’t Invitems*

The Watergate break-in and burglary in Washington, D.C., still was about nine months away, but spying and potential dirty tricks already were part of the landscape in a fierce Eastern League rivalry.

St. Augustine’s defending San  Diego Section champion was scheduled to play Patrick Henry, the city’s “elite”, newest public school, one that quickly had become thought of as being a little full of itself.

“Spies” were amid Leslie’s Patriots.

In only its fourth year, the San Carlos campus numbered 3,281 students in three grades and would grow to more than 4,000 later in the decade, making it one of the larger three-year schools in the state as well as the country.

Head coach Russ Leslie had smoothly built a strong program, posting records of 5-4 and 6-3 in its first two varsity seasons.

Nine miles away in North Park, nestled amid 50- and 60-year-old Craftsman style homes, St. Augustine annually enrolled no more than 650 in an all-boys environment and for years had sought respect and recognition.

As defending champion, the Saints were top-ranked by the Evening Tribune.

The Patriots were No. 2 but the probable favorite to win the San Diego Section championship, especially after a 17-0, opening-game victory over 1970 finalist Grossmont that was followed by a 24-8 win over Point Loma.

The Saints also had opened smartly with victories over Clairemont, 32-0, and University, 21-6, under new coach Larry Shepard, a fiery competitor who learned at the knee of the legendary Birt Slater and had led Kearny to the 1963 title.


Leslie was directing practice Tuesday before the game when it was brought to his attention that St. Augustine students were attempting to “chart and photograph” Patriots’ formations and plays.

“At first we noticed two of them sitting in the stands,” Leslie told the Tribune’s Bill Finley.  “We have four or five kids patrolling the place and they saw these guys writing information in their tablets (probably three-hole binders; this was long before I Pads).

Leslie continued.  “Okay, so we asked them to leave.  A little while later, though, we noticed the two of them along with a third guy in a Saint letterman’s jacket watching us from their car on the hill overlooking our practice field.”

Shepard didn’t command spies.

The Patriots swung into action.

“Some of our players scrambled up the hill, jumped the fence and caught them,” said Leslie.

Leslie offered some evidence.  “We have the letterman’s jacket and the camera,” he said.


Bill Finley made a telephone call to St. Augustine coach Larry Shepard.

“Yeah, those were our kids,” said Shepard, who added, “I didn’t send them.  They did it on their own.”

Shepard told the writer that the students had come to the coach’s office the following morning.  “They said, ‘Here’s what they’re doing’ and gave me some stuff on paper.  You know, I threw it all away.”


Shepard discounted the value of the students’ “scouting”, but was beginning to warm up.

“They can talk all they want about this ‘spy’ stuff, but somebody out there with a good mouth has been calling our coaches and players at home all week to tell us what’s going to happen to us on Friday night.”

Things had not been rosy between the schools since Henry upset the Saints, 7-0, in 1969, forcing a three-way tie for the Eastern League championship with Henry and San Diego.

“Sure, we remember that,” said Shepard.

“What we remember most is that someone watered the (Aztec Bowl) field the day of the game.  We had all that speed in Jesse Ochoa and Frank George and there was no way in the world they could get outside in that muck.”

The Saints won, 7-6, in 1970 and Shepard told Finley he personally made sure that there was no watering of the Balboa Stadium gridiron, which represented the Saints’ home field.

Shepard, conducting a line drill in practice at St. Augustine, remembered muddy field.

And this year, at Aztec Bowl?

“We’re going to have a guy out there keeping an eye on the sprinklers.”


Patrick Henry’s colors were green and gold and its uniforms were replicas of the Green Bay Packers.  The Patriots wanted to run the ball in the fashion of Vince Lombardi’s teams.

Patrick Henry won the early showdown with the Saints, 17-8, rolled all the way to the San Diego Section finals, and lined up again against Grossmont.

“Our team is the type no one likes to see,” said Leslie, pointing out that the Patriots ran 17 consecutive plays off tackle in a 14-8, semifinals victory over El Capitan.

“I’m tired of reading about ‘em,” said Grossmont coach Pat Roberts.  “Every time I think about ‘em I get an anxious feeling from head to toe.”

Roberts’ anxiety was relieved when the Foothillers drove 90 yards to a tying touchdown with 9:38 left in the game.


Grossmont then executed a perfect, two-point conversion and edged the Patriots, 8-7, in the lowest scoring San Diego Section final, a yawner played before more than 13,000 in San Diego Stadium.

Grossmont quarterback Mike Rundle kept the play alive, drifting out of the pocket before he passed to tight end Chuck North in the left corner of the end zone.

“That’s the first time we’ve run that play to the left,” said Roberts.  “We’ve run it to the right, but they had us scouted.”

“The play should work every time,” said Rundle.  “They’re trying to cover three receivers with two defenders.”

Henry contributed to its defeat with three intercepted passes and five lost fumbles.


Clairemont players voted to play the day after popular teacher and coach Gerry Stryker was killed in a plane crash following takeoff from Montgomery Field.

Stryker, 32, a Kearny and San Diego State graduate, and his parents and brother perished along with Stryker’s uncle, who was piloting a twin-engine craft.

Stryker played basketball and baseball at Kearny.

The plane struck power lines on both sides of the I-805 construction site and crashed into a house in the 4000 block of Antiem Street.

No one was hurt on the ground, although Mrs. Edward Peterson told investigators she was thrown from her bed after the plane tore out a tree and crashed into the side of her residence.

Observers reported that the plane began to lose power after takeoff.

“This game was solely for coach Stryker,” said Mark Jones, who rushed for 138 yards in 33 carries and scored the winning touchdown with 1:30 remaining as the Chieftains defeated University, 22-20.


Kearny was going nowhere in the playoffs but traveling in style to get there.

The Komets were bounced by Grossmont, 21-17, in the first round, making their fifth consecutive early exit,  but Kearny ended the season with a Western League winning streak of 28 games and 33 without loss.

Kearny couldn’t stop a Grossmont play called “52 Veer”, which the Foothillers ran with success through the left side of the Linda Vistans’ defense.

“I think we called it five times and got four big gains,” Grossmont’s Roberts said of the maneuver.

“We’re snakebit,” said Kearny coach Birt Slater.

On the brighter side, the Komets hadn’t been beaten in league play since dropping a 19-14 decision to Point Loma in 1966.


Roberts, adorned in school colors, presented trophy to principal Walter Barnett, who played end on Grossmont's 1927 Southern Section championship team.

Roberts, adorned in school colors, presented trophy to principal Walter Barnett, who played end on Grossmont’s 1927 Southern Section championship team.

Roberts pointed to running backs Larry Olson and Mike Hicks when asked why the Foothillers usually disdain the pass, but the coach added, “Maybe I don’t have enough guts.  Whenever we pass I want to hide under the bench.”

Vista’s Dick Haines echoed Roberts.

“Look at the pros,” said Haines.  “Teams that pass 30 times a game lose.  Teams that pass 10-15 times a game win, but maybe we’re just cowards.”

Nick Canepa of the Evening Tribune suggested that Haines brought some of Woody Hayes’ Ohio State offense when Haines relocated from Dover, Ohio.

A 34-12 defeat of Oceanside was Vista’s first over the Pirates since 1960 and only their third in 27 years.

The win was the 131st in Haines career.

“I wouldn’t have known that if my wife hadn’t told me,” claimed the Panthers mentor, who won 12 consecutive league championships in Ohio and took with him to Vista assistant coaches Dave Parks and Steve Korcheran.

Haines won 125 games in Ohio and would claim another 194 at Vista before he retired following the 1994 season.

Vista, 0-9 in 1969 and 4-5 in 1970, Haines’ first season, completed a remarkable turnaround, closing at 10-1 following a 34-7 playoff loss to Grossmont.


Only 28 of Marian’s first 86 games since the school opened in 1961 were played on campus.  Night games at home were out, until Week 3 this season.

“We got some old lights from Mar Vista and we’re in the process of aiming them,” Crusader coach Joy Gritz told Will Watson of The San Diego Union.

Gritz singled out booster club president Chuck Perkins:  “He got the lights, some old telephone poles, and put the transformer in.”

It was Coronado that saw the light(s), defeating the host Crusaders, 10-7, in Marian’s first home game under the arcs.


The name began showing up in results involving San Diego teams in 1969, when Mountain Empire scored an 18-6 victory over CETY’s of Mexicali. Borrego Springs dropped a 23-8 decision this season.

Centro de Ensenanza Tecnica y Superior of Mexicali opened in 1961.  Translated the name essentially means Superior Education Center.

A Tijuana campus would open in 1972 and another in Ensenada in 1975.

San Diego teams in the future would schedule many American football games against squads from the two older Mexican institutions that offer high school and university business and technical curricula.


Coronado raced to a 5-1 start, its best since the Harry Sykes days and the 8-2 club of 1951.

A 5-0 start in the Metropolitan League also had Islanders followers honking horns on the Bay Bridge and celebrating in their yachts on Glorietta Bay.

“We haven’t met the strength of the league,” cautioned coach Gene Greene before a 16-7 victory over Bonita Vista.

Greene knew.  A capacity crowd of more than 3,000 at Cutler Field the next week witnessed a 38-0 loss to Sweetwater.

Coronado was outscored, 85-21, in its last three games, all losses.

Despite the flat finish the Islanders’ 5-4 record was their best since the Roger Rigdon-coached squad was 4-3-1 in 1962.

Quarterback Jim Skaalen, who would go to a 40-year career as a player,  scout, and major league coach in baseball, was so valuable that Greene said, “If we lose him we might as well close our doors and go home.”

Skaalen also starred in basketball and signed a baseball contract out of San Diego State.


The yards weren’t coming for Wally Henry.  He rushed for 910  and made the all-San Diego Section third team at San Diego as a sophomore.

Henry transferred to Lincoln and his numbers fell off to 600 yards this season.

Maybe Wally should block and run at same time.

“We just don’t block for him,” said Hornets coach Earl Faison.  “If he could block for himself he’d be a lot better off.  Wally might be the best blocker we have.”

That Henry was as dangerous as any runner in the area was demonstrated when he scored on a game-deciding 26-yard run as Lincoln beat Crawford, 10-7, knocking the Colts out of the playoffs, and pushing Lincoln through the door.


“A cold East wind swept through here making it an evening not fit for man or beast.  But it apparently was perfect weather for Bugs.”

So wrote the Tribune’s Harlon Bartlett on a blustery, late-fall night at Ramona High, where Julian’s James (Bugs) Ponchetti rushed for 194 yards in 28 carries and scored three touchdowns.

The 170-pound Ponchetti, a Diegueno Indian from the Santa Ysabel band, also played middle linebacker as the Eagles defeated Army-Navy, 30-8, for the San Diego Section A (small schools) championship.

“Bugs”, who has a brother named Charles but is better known as “Goody,” also led the section in scoring with 118 points.


Football would not come until 1983, but The Bishop’s School became co-educational for the first time since opening in 1909 when the all-girls La Jolla student body merged with San Miguel School.

San Miguel originally was located in National City but moved to Linda Vista to a site that would be occupied by upper level students of Francis Parker.

Parker, which began as a college prep curriculum in 1912, had housed all students at its Mission Hills location.


University coach Robert (Bull) Trometter, on the origination of his nickname:  “I used to smoke Bull Durham tobacco.  I couldn’t afford the expensive stuff.”

Santana coach Joe DiTomaso, on diminished success at Santana after a  12-0, championship season at St. Augustine in 1970:  “The last time I walked on water, I fell in.”

Hall rejoiced in his fifth career victory.

Hall celebrated.

QUICK KICKS:  Sweetwater’s Steve Riiff set a San Diego Section record with 52 career touchdown passes, bettering the 48 by San Diego’s Ezell Singleton from 1956-58…Riiff’s mark would stand until Helix’ Jim Plum passed for 70 touchdowns from 1979-81…El Capitan outscored Helix, 14-0, in one quarter and led the East to a 14-0 victory over the West in the 11th annual (16th overall including when the schools were in the Metropolitan League) carnival…Crawford’s 21-14 victory over St. Augustine “was the best win for me since I’ve been a head coach,” said the Colts’ Bill Hall…Hall was 1-8 in 1970 but improved the Colts to 6-2-1 this year….

*With apologies to the late syndicated gossip columnist Walter Winchell, who described bitter rivals as “don’t invitems”, as in don’t extend them an invitation to the same event.

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2015: Week 5, Chula Vista & Sweetwater Keep Streak Alive

You haven’t found them in any top 10 poll lately, but in a constantly shifting world one thing is certain:  Chula Vista and Sweetwater will play, every  year.

The South Bay schools, connected by  Highland Avenue in National City and 4th Avenue in the community to the South, have battled each other every season since 1947.  Theirs is the longest continuous rivalry in the County.SweetwaterPrimaryLogo

The Spartans defeated Sweetwater, 35-21, last week, but Sweetwater leads in the game-by-game count, 36 victories against 30 losses and three ties.

Other great series have come and gone, a few to return.

Leagues are realigned or made defunct. Teams move around.  Neighborhoods and demographics change. New schools take the place of old rivals.

Before Sweetwater and Chula Vista there was Grossmont and Sweetwater, the County’s answer to the city’s San Diego and Hoover and La Jolla and Point Loma.

The Red Devils of National City and the Foothillers of La Mesa met all but one year from 1920-60.  Grossmont was in the City Prep League in 1952 and the teams’ schedules were in conflict.Chula-Vista-Spartans

Sweetwater leads, 23-21, and two of those victories came in San Diego Section playoff games in 1970 and ’78.

Grossmont and Sweetwater have not met in the regular season since 1961, when the Foothillers joined the new Grossmont League and Sweetwater remained in the Metropolitan.

The Foothillers by that time had shifted most of their attention to Helix.

The La Mesa neighbors were natural rivals when Helix began classes on the Grossmont campus in 1951.  Helix leads, 39-18-1 and the schools reunited in the Grossmont Hills League in 2010  after going their separate ways in 2000.

San Diego and Hoover played each other every season from 1933-77, but only 27 times in the last 38 seasons.  Hoover is 17-9-1 since 1978 but the Cavemen, who won 18 of the first 23 games, still lead, 39-32-1.

La Jolla and Point Loma played for the Shoe Trophy annually from 1926-72  and just 24 times in the last 43 seasons, although they have been back together in the Western League since 2003.  Point Loma has the edge in the shoe war, 44-24-4.

Oceanside and Escondido first traveled the dirt road that connected their communities in 1926 and watched as that 20-mile link became state highway 78. Escondido holds a 40-28-5 advantage in the oldest Northern rivalry, but the Cougars and Pirates have not met since 2006.

Week 5 Union-Tribune poll, after four weeks of games:

# Team (1st place votes) Points W-L Previous
1.  Mission Hills (20) 235 4-0 1
2. Helix (4) 212 2-1 2
3. St. Augustine 197 3-1 3
4. Oceanside 164 3-1 5
5. El Camino 125 4-0 7
6. La Costa Canyon 103 3-1 10
7. Rancho Bernardo 45 3-1 4
8. Eastlake 44 2-2 NR
9. Christian 42 2-1 9
10. San Marcos 40 3-1 NR

NR–Not rated.

Others receiving votes (record & points in parenthesis): Madison (2-2, 39), westview (4-0, 26), Cathedral (1-3, 16), Point Loma (3-1, 9), Bonita Vista (3-1, 8), Grossmont (3-0), Mater Dei  (3-0, 8 points each), Mission Bay (4-0, 2), Valhalla (2-1), Poway (2-2), 1 point each.

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 Sports.com), Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM), John (Coach) Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak (The Mighty 1090), Rick Willis, Brandon Stone (KUSI-TV), Rick Smith (partletonsports.com), Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (sandiegopreps.com), Drew Smith (sdcoastalsports.com), Lisa Lane (San Diego Preps Insider), Raymond Brown (sdfootball.net), Montell Allen (MBASportsrecruiting.com).


A 37-7 victory over Cathedral elevated Helix to No. 17 in the Cal-Hi Sports‘ state rankings. Mission Hills remained 16th and on-the-bubble recognition went to St. Augustine, La Costa Canyon, and Oceanside.


Twelve teams will try to maintain their undefeated status this week.

Mission Hills, Calexico Vincent Memorial, Calvary Christian San Diego, El Camino, Westview, El Centro Southwest, Mission Bay, and The Rock are each 4-0.

Army-Navy, Grossmont, Maranatha, and Mater Dei are 3-0.


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2015 Week 4: Helix Seeks Return to Top 20

Helix has vanished!

From Cal-Hi Sports.

The Highlanders  are nowhere to be found in this week’s top 20 ratings.

Coach Troy Starr’s Scots are 1-1 and coming off a 56-7 blowout of Eastlake.  They aren’t even given “On the Bubble” status, that “something’s missing here” honor being accorded locally only to Cathedral and St. Augustine.

“A typo,” said Cal-Hi’s Mark Tennis, who said the Highlanders really are a bubble team this week.

Helix and Mission Hills also are on the bubble in Division I, which lists 15 teams.

Helix, No. 1 in San Diego and No. 12 in Cal-Hi Sports in preseason, will need to beat Cathedral if it entertains any hope of climbing back in to the state’s top 20.

That game, featuring the Union-Tribune poll No. 2 Scots and No. 9 Dons, is the marquee event on this week’s schedule, just ahead of No. 4 Rancho Bernardo’s playing host to La Costa Canyon (10).

San Diego’s only representative in the State Top 20 is San Diego No. 1 Mission Hills.  The Grizzlies are 16th, same as last week, after a 48-7 rout at mediocre Long Beach Millikan.

Week 4 poll, after three weeks of games:

# Team (1st place votes) Points W-L Previous
1.  Mission Hills (23) 239 3-0 1
2. Helix (3) 204 2-1 3
3. St. Augustine 196 2-1 2
4. Rancho Bernardo 136 3-0 4
5. Oceanside 125 2-1 6
6. Madison 116 2-1 5
7. El Camino 89 3-0 10
8. Cathedral 84 1-2 9
9. Christian 33 2-1 7
10. La Costa Canyon 24 2-1 NR

NR–Not rated.

Others receiving votes (record & points in parenthesis):San Marcos (2-1, 18) Bonita Vista (2-1, 25), Eastlake (1-2, 10), Mater Dei (3-0, 9),Torrey Pines (1-1, 34), Point Loma (2-1, 7), Hoover (2-0, 13), Westview (3-0), The Bishop’s (3-0), Grossmont (3-0), 3 points each; Mission Bay (3-0, 2),Poway (2-1, 1).

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 Sports.com), Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM), John (Coach) Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak (The Mighty 1090), Rick Willis, Brandon Stone (KUSI-TV), Rick Smith (partletonsports.com), Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (sandiegopreps.com), Drew Smith (sdcoastalsports.com), Lisa Lane (San Diego Preps Insider), Raymond Brown (sdfootball.net), Montell Allen (MBASportsrecruiting.com).


Coach Tristan McCoy has reversed the downward spiral at Ranch Bernardo…5-6, 1-10, and 1-9 in his first three seasons, McCoy led the Broncos to a 10-3 record in 2014 and they are  3-0 this season…Rancho Bernardo is 14th in Cal-Hi Sports‘ D-II, while St. Augustine is fifth and Cathedral seventh…Christian is on the bubble in D-III.

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1970: The Saints Finally March In

“Neither rain nor sleet nor snow can keep the Saints from twelve and oh.”

That pregame prophecy,  as reported by Bill Center of The San  Diego Union, was scrawled on a chalkboard in a pregame meeting room under the Aztec Bowl stands before St. Augustine’s playoff against Escondido.

The week before, running backs Frankie George and Jesse Ochoa, playing as a tandem for one of the few times in the season, rushed for a combined 254 yards and 5 touchdowns in a 38-7, opening round win over Madison.

Frankie George was two-way star for Saints.

Frankie George was two-way star for Saints.

The Saints were confident and should have been.

Ochoa complemented George.

Ochoa complemented George.

They dispatched Escondido, 21-0, in the semifinal game on a soggy gridiron and prompted Cougars coach Chick Embrey to remark, “It would have been worse if the field was dry.”

The championship game against Grossmont, before a San Diego Section record crowd of 18,827, would have had more cachet if quarterback Matt Fahl were not sidelined by a  sprained knee early in the Foothillers’ 26-20 win over Sweetwater.

The Saints’ defense carried the day in a 13-8 victory and coach Joe DiTomaso, after coming up short in the finals in 1967, in the semifinals in 1969, and missing out on the postseason despite a 7-2 record in 1968, became  the second coach of a 12-0 team in San Diego County history, matching the San Diego Hilltoppers of 1916.

The Saints’ Greg Ricks hit Grossmont quarterback Mike Rundle as he delivered a pass that Robert George  intercepted and returned 43 yards to set up a touchdown by Frank George, who had 16 unassisted tackles on defense. Robert also ran 67 yards for a touchdown with a recovered fumble for a score.

Grossmont was without starting quarterback Matt Fahl.

Grossmont was without starting quarterback Matt Fahl.


Grossmont outgained St. Augustine, 257-226, and had 16 first downs to 11.  Rundle completed 7 of 12 passes for 78 yards and two interceptions.

Rundle took over for the injured Fahl the week before in a 26-20 semifinal, leading the ‘Hillers on a 51-yard touchdown drive to the come-from-behind, winning touchdown with 40 seconds to play that overcame a  20-0 deficit manufactured by Sweetwater quarterback Mike Riiff and running back Mike Ruiz.


Castle Park coach Gil Warren, whose team averaged 40 points and won its last seven games, was on the outside looking in when  playoff brackets were announced.

The Trojans finished the season with a 7-2 record after losing to Sweetwater, 20-13, and Granite Hills, 14-12, in their first two games.,

So inexperienced were the Trojans at the start of the season, they were penalized three times versus Granite Hills when players exited the field to the wrong sideline.

“I think we’re the hottest team in the CIF now and we’ve got results to prove it,” said Warren.

Warren had a compelling argument:

“The committee voted San Diego into the playoffs (as a higher seed than St. Augustine in 1969), because San Diego was the hottest team in the (Eastern) league at the end of the regular season.”

Warren  lost.  That defeat to Granite Hills allowed the Grossmont League’s Santana, 6-3 overall and 5-2 in loop play, to squeeze in.  The Sultans had a 26-13 victory over Granite Hills.

Embrey won his 100th.

Embrey won his 100th.


Escondido’s Chick Embrey passed a milestone achieved only once in the first 79 seasons of games played by teams in San Diego County.

Embrey, in his 15th season as the Cougars’ coach, won his 100th career game, becoming the second area mentor to achieve that number.

Grossmont’s Jack Mashin was the first, winning 124 games in a career that stretched from 1923-47.

Embrey reached triple digits in his 138th game, Mashin in his 164th,  a 21-6 victory over Oceanside in 1941.

Embrey began the season with 98 victories.  No. 100 did not come easily.

The Cougars dropped a 13-12 decision at San Luis Obispo after a six-hour bus ride in the opening game.

The loss followed with win No. 99, a  22-0 shutout of Poway, but that was a met by another loss, 8-7 to Carlsbad.  Escondido finally put Embrey over the hump with a 41-6 triumph against Vista.


Two prominent coaches from other eras had outstanding records but retired a few wins short.

San  Diego’s Duane Maley was 97-19-3 from 1948-59.  John Perry was 92-45-11 from 1920-26 at San Diego and from 1930-39 at Hoover.

Perry stepped aside from coaching and was in charge of the physical education department at San Diego from 1927-29.

Grossmont's Travis Hitt (42) fumbles (left) in first half and St. Augustine's Curt Young recoversin end zone (right) to thwart Foothillers.

Grossmont’s Travis Hitt (42) fumbles (left) in first half and St. Augustine’s Curt Young recovers in end zone (right) to thwart Foothillers.


Twenty Orange Glen players came down with viral meningitis and the Patriots were forced to forfeit their Avocado League game to San Marcos.

“The cancelation of the game was no fault of the players or schools, so I don’t think either should be punished,” said coach Dick Disney, petitioning for a rescheduled game.

Disney told Bill Center that a game could be played the Monday or Tuesday after the regular season.

“If they say play, we’ll play,” said San Marcos coach Bob Woodhouse,  “You know we don’t like winning games that way, but on the other hand it’s hard to prepare for a game with only 3 days at most in between,”

San Diego Section commissioner Don Clarkson, who would take such a request to the CIF board of managers, encouraged Disney.  “The board might approve such a game,” said Clarkson.  “It is not something the school could have stopped or had any control over.”

The issue went up the administrative ladder.  “I don’t know what use it would serve,” said Guilford (Bud) Quade, the Escondido School District superintendent.

“The game still would be a forfeit,” Quade added.  “We’d try to help, but there would be a lot in the way of a game after the season.”

Quade was being charitable.  His message quickly reached the ears of Orange Glen principal Pat Ross, who spoke with Center a few days later:

“Any discussions we had are over and it’s a closed issue now,” said Ross.

Disney started the Orange Glen program from scratch, built it into an 11-0 juggernaut in 1969 and was 39-39-3 when he stepped down after the 1971 campaign.

He always remembered the losing game his team never played.


A burgeoning superstar was sophomore Wally Henry of San Diego.

“He’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to Cleveland Jones,” said Cavers coach Allan (Scotty) Harris, who coached the legendary Jones when both were at the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

“Wally’s not that fast, but he has tremendous balance and quickness.  He doesn’t fumble, he doesn’t drop a pass.  It takes an army to knock him down.”

Henry got his chance to play when starter Elijah Turner was hurt.  “I wanted to bring him along slowly,” said Harris.  “Now we can’t get him out of there.”

As Jerry Powell had done four years before, Henry transferred from San Diego to Lincoln, where former Chargers star Earl Faison replaced Shan Deniston as head coach.  Scotty Harris retired at San Diego and  Deniston replaced Harris.

Bill (left) and Bruce left their marks at Helix before UCLA.

Bill (left) and Bruce left their marks at Helix and UCLA.


UCLA’s gain was Helix’ loss.  The Highlanders took a 49-game winning streak into the opening game of the 1970-71 basketball season, but, sans Bill and Bruce Walton, the Highlanders were denied No. 50, losing, 63-61, to Kearny.

Bruce was a starting forward on the 29-2, 1968-69 club.  Bill was the architect of that season’s success and a 33-0 campaign the following season.

Bruce already was on the Bruins’ football varsity when freshman Bill showed up for basketball.


San Diegans may be driving to El Centro to catch planes for Chicago and Boston or Washington in another 15 years, according to the top story in The San Diego Union local section.

A federal committee said it may be necessary for San Diegans to use the El Centro Naval Air Facility as a second airport unless an alternate site for Lindbergh Field is developed before then.

Hmm, uh-huh.


DiTomaso's unbeaten Saints became second to win 12 games.

DiTomaso’s unbeaten Saints became second to win 12 games.

St. Augustine coach Joe DiTomaso saluted the effectiveness of the 4-4-3 defense installed by assistant Larry Shepard, who made his bones as a quarterback at Kearny in 1963.

Saints linebackers Larry Mascari, Frankie, and Robert George, augmented by cornerback Monte Jackson and several other defenders, were standouts in a group that held 12 opponents to a touchdown a game.

Mascari was from a family that had produced St. Augustine players since 1948.  Jackson played at San Diego State and was the first selection in the second round of the 1975 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams.

Jackson led the NFL with 10 pass interceptions in 1978 and played nine seasons.

Monte’s younger, freshman brother Terry was a fifth-round draft choice of the New York Giants out of San Diego State in 1978 and played eight seasons.


Kearny annually was knocked out of the playoffs, this year for the fourth consecutive time, but the Komets owned the Western League.  They were in the midst of a 28-game league winning streak that started in 1967 and would not be broken until 1972.


It was a yearly complaint.  The CIF once again appeared inadequately prepared for the playoff game between St. Augustine and Grossmont, two programs known for large followings.

Kickoff was delayed 10 minutes to accommodate the crowd, which flocked to the three ticket booths at Aztec Bowl.


Commissioner Don Clarkson, after complaints in 1969, arranged for playoff dates so that there were two games each on Friday and Saturday in the first-round, quarterfinals and one game each on Friday and Saturday in the semifinals.

The playoffs were expanded to eight teams and had the authenticity of an upper and lower bracket.  A legitimate and workable thirty-three per cent of the Section’s large schools earned postseason bids.

The CIF finally had come up with a playoff format that satisfied everyone.


Ruiz's playoff run led to scoring title.

Ruiz’s playoff run led to scoring title.

University of San Diego High became coed for the first time…many students from the closed Cathedral High for girls in downtown San Diego enrolled at Uni…Sweetwater’s Mike Ruiz scored 99 points in the regular season, three touchdowns and four PAT behind the 121 of Castle Park’s George Ohnessorgen, but Ruiz knocked down 40 points in two playoff games to earn the County scoring touchdown with 139…Joe DiTomaso, a 1954 graduate of St. Augustine, left after the 1970-71 school year and became coach at Santana…with a growing family, the move was easier with pay definitely higher in the Grossmont School District and the hours  shorter…Clairemont defeated Hoover, 47-44, after scoring only 42 points in the first six games…Bill Center  estimated that 13,000 persons attended the annual city bragging rights game between Escondido and Orange Glen…”The stands overflowed, there was standing room only, and the banks on both end zones were full,” said The San Diego Union correspondent…Center also estimated that 13,000 overflowed Aztec Bowl for the Grossmont-Sweetwater playoff…Grossmont coach Pat Roberts’ philosophy on defense:  “Fight as hard as you can, get to the ball, and get there as ugly as you can”…Santana defensive back Steve West had the pedigree…dad Harry West was head coach at San Diego City College, played in the Rose Bowl as a collegian for the University of California, and teamed with Cosimo Cutri to form the “Touchdown Twins” at San Diego in 1945…

Official Jack Taylor lost his footing but still made call of completed catch for Grossmont's John Gavin against El Capitan.

Official Jack Taylor lost his footing but still made call of completed catch for Grossmont’s John Gavin against El Capitan.


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2015, Week 3: St. Augustine, Loyola in Rematch Here

How far has coach Richard Sanchez’s program come at St. Augustine?

The Saints get another shot against a major opponent this week, tradition strong Los Angeles Loyola, ranked 24th in the L.A. Times and winner of its first two games, 34-0, and 45-7.

saints logo deuceSt. Augustine is 2-0 and second in  the Union-Tribune poll after an impressive, 48-21 victory over Madison, which followed a 41-3 win over Ramona.

Running back Elijah Preston, a 5-foot, 6-inch, 180-pounder, fires a prolific offense that will again test Loyola’s defense.

St. Augustine helped the Cubs celebrate their first home game since 1949 last season when Preston ran for more than 200 yards in a 42-35 loss.  The Saints had the ball in the final four minutes and in decent field position, but 3 consecutive incomplete passes put them out of business.

Always fielding a solid program, the young men at 32nd and Nutmeg streets in North Park have elevated under Sanchez, winning two San Diego Section titles (I in 2014 and II in 2013) and Sanchez has an overall record of 58-18 since succeeding Jerry Ralph in 2009.

Week 3 poll, after two weeks of games:

# Team (1st place votes) Points W-L Previous
1.  Mission Hills (17) 233 2-0 1
2. St. Augustine (5) 220 2-0 2
3. Helix (2) 194 0-1 3
4. Rancho Bernardo 109 2-0 8
5. Madison 92 1-1 4
6. Oceanside 87 1-1 5
7. Christian 83 2-0 7
8. Eastlake 70 1-1 10
9. Cathedral 68 0-2 7
10. El Camino 54 2-0 NR

NR–Not rated.

Others receiving votes (record & points in parenthesis): Torrey Pines (1-1, 34), Bonita Vista (2-0, 25), Hoover (2-0, 13), San Marcos (1-1, 11), Poway (2-0, 9), Lincoln (2-0, 8), La Costa Canyon (1-1, 8), Mater Dei (2-0, 3), The Bishop’s (2-0, 3), Mt. Carmel (2-0, 2), Grossmont (2-0, 2), Mission Bay (2-0, 1), Santana (2-0, 1).

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 Sports.com), Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM), John (Coach) Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak (The Mighty 1090), Rick Willis, Brandon Stone (KUSI-TV), Rick Smith (partletonsports.com), Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (sandiegopreps.com), Drew Smith (sdcoastalsports.com), Lisa Lane (San Diego Preps Insider), Raymond Brown (sdfootball.net), Montell Allen (MBASportsrecruiting.com).


Kearny inaugurated its new football field in a 59-19 loss to Santana. Komets home games have been  at nearby Mesa College, which opened in 1964.

Before coach Birt Slater introduced the team’s traditional  “walk” (a pilgrimage in full gear from school to games at Mesa, a distance of several hundred yards),  home fields were at Hoover, Balboa Stadium, or La Jolla, with an occasional contest on campus, on the old field with the encircling track.

That field now is the baseball diamond, while the new football field occupies the former baseball location.

Alumnus Stephen Grooms estimated that the Komets have probably played no more than 40 or 50 games on campus in the school’s 71-season football history.  This would include games when the school was located at what became Montgomery Junior High. The present campus opened in 1955.

Kearny drew its biggest crowds for CIF track meets, which were held there in 1961 and ’62.

The track was notorious for blazing sprint times as runners were aided by significant breezes from the Kearny Mesa.  Birt Slater on more than one occasion remarked that the wind would die down as soon as some planted Eucalyptus trees “got some height and growth.”


Trailing in the third quarter, 35-7, Cathedral battled back behind quarterback Tate Haynes but came up short, 35-33, to L.A. Times 14th-ranked Westlake Village Oaks Christian. Haines’s father is Mike Haynes, former NFL cornerback now in the pro football Hall of Fame.

One of Oaks Christian’s stars is Mike Pittman, whose father by the same name and uncle Wayne were standouts at Mira Mesa. The senior  Mike Pittman  was an 11-season NFL running back out of Fresno State.

David Justice, Jr., whose father hit 307 home runs in his major league baseball career, is St. Augustine’s punter, holder on extra points, and partcipates on other special teams.  The sophomore eventually figures to  be the Saints’ quarterback.


Saints-Madison  drew about 5,000 persons to Mesa College…St. Augustine partisans weekly fill the East bleachers at Mesa…this includes several hundred, milling, socializing students on the rear concourse…that area is known as the “Petting Zoo”…Richard Sanchez was 6-14 as head coach at San diego High in 1998 and ’99…he coached in Northern California for several years…Mission Hills is the only San Diego team in Cal-Hi Sports‘ state top 20…the Grizzlies are 16th….

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1968: El Capitan is Pistol-Packin’ Mad

Late November in San Diego County produced rain, muddy fields, and fog.

Such expressions by Mother Nature carried the promise of critical fumbles and controversial calls, but not a touchdown that no one saw, accompanied by not one but two reports from the timer’s pistol.

A 29-yard field goal by University’s Steve Johnson gave the Dons a 10-7 halftime lead they improved to a final score of 19-7 against El Capitan in the County Conference semifinals in Aztec Bowl.

Although the fog prevented anyone from witnessing Johnson’s placement, most of those on hand enjoyed the faculty of perceiving sounds.

68CIFlogo0904150001El Capitan principal Russell Savage was one.  Savage heard two starter pistol shots at the end of the first half and announced immediately following the game that the Vaqueros were going to  protest the Dons’ three-point play.

Referee Clarence Burton ruled Johnson’s kick was launched before the half ended.

According to Burton, the unidentified timer, located high above the field in the press box,  told the referee that the first shot sounded after the ball was snapped for the kick.

The second shot, according to the timer, was to let the teams know that the half was over, because in the timer’s words, “the first shot was too faint to be heard throughout the stadium.”

Bill Center of The San Diego Union wrote that no one in the stadium was in position to see the scoreboard clock in the bowl’s South end zone and the kick at the north end.

In fact, Center added, few of the 6,500 on hand witnessed either.

An unidentified panel of three principals ruled against El Capitan the following Monday.

After more than an hour of deliberation, the principals issued a statement:  “Due to inconclusive evidence as to whether or not any time remained, the protest is disallowed.”


The El Capitan principal asked CIF commissioner Don Clarkson that the game be replayed from just before the field goal attempt.  Russell Savage noted the timer could neither see the field or the clock.

Savage also cited the fact that one official had told him that only 15 seconds remained two plays before the kick and that University had only one time out.

Savage also protested that no provision had been made for keeping the time on the field, although “everyone knew it was going to be foggy.”

The principal’s final shot as it were was that the semifinals contest was “handled with complete incompetence.”


Bill Center reported that coaches and administrators were preparing to take several grievances to the  CIF, most notably the  idea of two winners at season’s end.

The second year in which a Metropolitan titlist and a County winner would be declared co-champions was roundly criticized.

So were dates of games (the Metropolitan playoff was on the same night as the San Diego State-Utah State game)  and methods of picking playoff teams (at large squads were being given preference over teams that finished tied for first in a league).

Morse defeated University, 26-21, and Castle Park edged Escondido, 21-14, in the two title games.

Chuck Coover of Morse weighed in on the two-championship controversy.  “We want it and I know Gil (Castle Park coach Warren) wants it.  I don’t know of a coach who doesn’t want one title and one game.”

Castle Park and Morse would meet…in the season-opening game of 1969.


Avery Clark was vital to Morse's playoff march.

All-San Diego Section tackle Avery Clark was vital to Morse’s playoff march.

Birt Slater’s Kearny Komets had to gag on another bitter pill  after being knocked  out of the playoffs for the second successive year.

In 1967 they were on Lincoln’s one-foot line when time ran out in a 7-6 loss.

They led Morse, 19-13, with at least two downs to run out the final 61 seconds in this year’s City Conference final.

On second down from the Komets’ 27-yard line, quarterback Gene Watkins was sacked by Avery Clark, Morse’s 6-foot-3,  215-pound all-San Diego Section tackle, as Watkins attempted to hand off on a risky end-around play.

Clark hit with enough force that Watkins fumbled the ball into the air and Clark intercepted and rumbled to the 10-yard line.

Evilsizor was outstanding in Kearny loss.

Evilsizor was outstanding in Kearny loss.

Rick Halsey’s 10-yard pass to Mike Hawks on the next play etched a 19-19 tie.  Hawks then soccer-styled the winning point after through the heavy fog of Aztec Bowl with seconds remaining.

Until Clark’s game-breaking play, the game was a Watkins-Ed Evilsizor show.

The quarterback and his split end collaborated on touchdown pass plays of 43, 20, and 46 yards for a 19-13 lead.  Evilsizor had set up Kearny’s first score ran he ran 18 yards on fourth and eight out of punt formation.


San Diego County population was 1,320,000, increasing by 97 persons a day.

Caltrans district supervisor Jacob Dekema said the freeways weren’t keeping up with the population as he announced groundbreaking for an extension of the I-8 freeway from east of the bridge crossing the San Diego River  west to Nimitz and Sunset Cliffs boulevards.

Dekema,  also said that traffic analyses would be impossible in the metropolitan area “without use of computers”.



The Adams Avenue Bridge over the man-made I-805 canyon between Iowa and Boundary Streets was being replaced. The old structure, with its wooden trestles, conveyed the historic Adams Avenue trolley.


Small schools bosses Tom Gillaspie of Julian and Louis Bitterlin of San Diego Military Academy wanted no part of a releaguing proposal that  pitted their teams against Army-Navy and Ramona, schools with much larger enrollments.

The two principals suggested a two-division Southern League.  This would include a Mountain Division of Borrego Springs, Mountain Empire, Julian, and Rancho del Campo and a Coastal Division of Francis Parker, La Jolla Country Day, Christian, and San Diego Military.

Army-Navy and Ramona would become independents under the Gillaspie-Bitterlin plan.

The CIF disagreed.  Releaguing in 1969 would put Ramona in a Southern Mountain Division and Army-Navy in a Coastal Division.

Ramona and Army-Navy were going to move, because the Palomar League would go on hiatus in 1969, with San Marcos headed for the Avocado and Marian for the Metropolitan.


Orange Glen coach Dick Disney spoke too soon. “Potentially, this team is every bit as good as last year’s.  I’d have to rate our chances as good for a repeat.”

Disney must have overlooked the fact that the Patriots lost 31 of their first 38 players from the 1967 club that was 11-0 and won the County Conference title.

Orange Glen flatted out to a 3-5 record.

Point Loma quarterback Bob Kaye appears nonplussed, but coach Bennie Edens is much the unhappy camper as he talks to assistant coach on field-to-press box telephone. It was that kind of year for the Pointers.

Point Loma quarterback Bob Kaye is worried, but coach Bennie Edens is nonplussed as he talks to an assistant coach in press box.


Point Loma won its first game of the season…twice!

The Pointers, forced to forfeit three victories, bounced back to defeat Crawford, 21-9, for its official first win.

Point Loma, Mission Bay, and La Jolla all were penalized for using residentially ineligible players.

Games between the three Western League schools were declared “no contest.”  The schools also were forced to vacate any nonleague wins from start of the season.

La Jolla saved one victory because it did not use  its ineligible player in a 21-6 victory over Point Loma.


La Jolla coach Gene Edwards stormed away after the Vikings frantic signal for a time out either was not seen, heard, or was too late in an 18-14 loss to University.

La Jolla and Uni had combined for 213 yards in a wild last seven minutes on the Vikings’ rain-soaked, muddy field.  La Jolla was parked on the Dons’ 10-yard line at the final gun and screamed its time out shouts weren’t recognized.


Patrick Henry, 1,732 students strong in two grades, opened its doors and 170 boys turned out for football, eventually pared to 66 for varsity and junior varsity.

Head coach Russ Leslie, an assistant to Roy Engle at Hoover since 1960, had coached at least one all-Eastern League lineman since 1962.

The Patriots played three varsity games, going 1-1-1 and overall were 3-1 with a statistics freak’s dream, 5 ties, against mostly junior varsity competition.

“We’re not deep, but we’ve got some real good football players,” said Leslie.  “If we can play with these small schools now, we should be able to play with anyone next year.”

The coach was prescient.  Henry tied Lincoln and St. Augustine at 5-1 for the Eastern League championship in 1969 and was 6-3 overall.


Crawford was the largest school in the city with 2,932 students in three grades.  Madison was next at 2,700, followed by Kearny at 2,640.

The fourth largest was Horace Mann Junior High, one block from Crawford, where 2,469 students were enrolled.

County schools Mount Miguel (2,571), Helix (2,510), and Oceanside (2,485) had more students than Mann but all had freshmen classes.


…to the kneebone.

Morse’s Joe Kneebone teamed with quarterback Rick Halsey and scored on 60 and 41-yard pass plays in a 41-7 victory over Clairemont


Hoover stopped Lincoln on six plays inside its four-yard line, but Lincoln scored on the seventh.

You can’t blame the Cardinals’ defense if it focused a collective stink eye on the offense.

After recovering a Lincoln fumble on the three-yard line, the Cardinals fumbled on the next play and Lincoln recovered.

Fullback Larry Williams finally scored from the one-yard line and that was all the Hornets got, or needed, in a 6-0 triumph.

Escondido's Joe Reyes applies facemask technique to bring down Castle Park's Ray Sablan in Cougars' 21-14 victory for County Conference championship.

Escondido’s Joe Reyes applies facemask technique to bring down Castle Park’s Ray Sablan in Cougars’ 21-14 victory for County Conference championship.


Bill Walton was about to become a nationally known basketball player at Helix and his older brother, Bruce, 6 foot 5, 270 pounds, was the anchor lineman at Helix…Bruce went on to UCLA and was a fifth-round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys in  1973…Mount Miguel, scoreless in its first three games, outscored, 92-6, in its first four, made a startling recovery, outscoring its last 4 opponents, 135-22, to finish 4-4…Lincoln returned 9 of 11 defensive starters and moved end Melvin Chapman to quarterback, but Jerry Powell had graduated and the Hornets fell to 6-3 after winning the City Conference title in 1967…the Grossmont League’s eighth annual carnival drew an overflow crowd of 12,000 to Aztec Bowl as El Capitan, Santana, Grossmont, and Granite Hills led the East to a 27-0 victory over the West, made up of Helix, Monte Vista, Mount Miguel, and El Cajon Valley…when in doubt give the ball to Jeff Phair, who got the call on 11 successive plays and scored from 9 yards for Hilltop’s first score in a 14-6 win over Clairemont…Lincoln and Los Angeles Locke were “rained out”…Hornets coach Shan Deniston and his team were en route to their final game when Deniston was informed by Locke officials that the field at Gardena High was  a quagmire and that the game should be called…the Hornets collected a forfeit victory, turned around on Interstate 5 and headed home…Coronado would like to forget its 1968 homecoming game…final score, Sweetwater 58, Islanders 0…stone tossing, harassment, and rowdyism at night games had city officials thinking hard again about going to an all-daytime schedule…some games were switched but game lights prevailed….

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2015 Week 2: Helix Defeat Unexpected

Helix still ranks as the No. 12 team in the state by the respected Cal-Hi Sports and dropped from No. 1 to third in the San Diego Section after a surprising (not to unhappy coach Troy Starr), 23-19 loss to Scottsdale Chaparral  of Arizona in one of the “Brothers in Arms” games last week at Cathedral.

Depending partly on  how Chaparral’s season plays out, the Highlanders dug themselves a hole in future state rankings, but they can start making up ground in two weeks against usually tough  Eastlake, which took a 14-13 loss from Whittier La Serna.

Game of the week  is Friday’s St. Augustine (2) tussle against Madison (4) at Mesa College.  The Saints stung Ramona on the road, 41-3, and Madison blew out El Capitan, 44-7.

Mission Hills moved up from second to supplant Helix at the top of the weekly Union-Tribune grid poll.  The Grizzlies beat a middle-of-the-road Los Angeles Crenshaw squad, 38-26.

Cal-Hi Sports‘ preseason top 50 included Helix at 12, Mission Hills, 17, Oceanside, 23, Cathedral, 35, and St. Augustine, 41.

Week 2:

# Team (1st place votes) Points W-L Previous
1.  Mission Hills (20) 234 1-0 2
2. St. Augustine (1) 202 1-0 4
3. Helix (2) 185 0-1 1
4. Madison 156 1-0 6
5. Oceanside 154 1-0 5
6. Torrey Pines 90` 1-0 9
7. Cathedral 84 0-1 3
8. Rancho Bernardo 60 1-0 12
9. Christian 42 1-0 13
10. Eastlake 31 0-1 7

Others receiving votes (points, record & previous ranking in parenthesis):                         El Camino (23, 1-0, 18th), Bonita Vista (1-0, 13, 16th), San Marcos (11, 0-1, 11th), Carlsbad, 8, 0o-1. 10th), Granite Hills (6, 1-0, 21st), Hoover, Grossmont (3 each, 1-0. NR) Poway, Mt. Carmel (2 each, 1-0, NR), The Bishop’s (1, 1-0. 20th), La Costa Canyon, (1, 0-1, 19th).

Twenty-four 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 Sports.com), Steve (Biff) Dolan, Rick (Red) Hill (Mountain Country 107.9 FM), John (Coach) Kentera, Ted Mendenhall, Bob Petinak (The Mighty 1090), Rick Willis, Brandon Stone (KUSI-TV), Rick Smith (partletonsports.com), Jerry Schniepp, John Labeta (CIF San Diego Section), Bodie DeSilva (sandiegopreps.com), Drew Smith (sdcoastalsports.com), Lisa Lane (San Diego Preps Insider), Raymond Brown (sdfootball.net), Chris Smith, Montell Allen (MBASportsrecruiting.com).


Lincoln graduate Gary Webb was a proud father watching his linebacker son Deron earn all-Grossmont League honors  35 years ago and Saturday he watched with pride another generation.

Webb’s grandson, Davis Webb, was the starting center for the Scottsdale Chaparral team that beat Helix.

Seated beside Gary was Deron Webb, Gary’s son.  Davis Webb is Deron’s son.

Deron Webb, now a successful Certified Public Accountant in the Phoenix area, was a member of the Helix squad that won the San Diego Section championship in 1980.

A 1980 teammate of Deron’s for coach Jim Arnaiz’ Scots was Jerry Schniepp, future San Diego Section commissioner.


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1967:  For Powell, Why Lincoln?

Jerry Powell was 9-0 as the sophomore quarterback on San Diego’s junior varsity but transferred from the school of his family’s athletic greatness to the less traditional Lincoln.

It was a brilliant move.

Powell cleared this traffic jam and scored on 43-yard run against St. Augustine in Metropolitan Conference title game.

Powell cleared this traffic jam and scored on 43-yard run against St. Augustine in title game of Metropolitan Conference, although plaques received by players honored the “CIF Metropolitan League champions.”

Powell went on to a great career as the field leader for coach Shan Deniston’s Hornets, who were 7-2 and 10-1 in Jerry’s two seasons, including a San Diego Section championship in his senior season.

“I was only at San Diego High, because of the legacy of my brothers (Charlie, Art, and Ellsworth),” said Powell.

Powell did not live within San Diego’s attendance district.  The family had moved from Logan Heights to Valencia Park , within walking distance of Lincoln.

Powell was granted permission by school authorities to attend San Diego because he also was enrolled in two college preparatory classes at San Diego City College, across the street from the San Diego High campus.

But when Powell turned out for practice the following spring he was told by coaches the Cavers probably were going  to alternate quarterbacks, Powell, Leonard Simon and Glenn Callan.

A revolving quarterback situation didn’t appeal to the youngster.  “I transferred out of  San Diego and enrolled at Lincoln for the final quarter of my sophomore year,” said Powell.

“All of those guys at Lincoln, I played with in Pop Warner…Melvin Maxwell, Doug Jones, Bebe Franklin, all of them…I’d known them since we were little kids.

Deniston , Powell, and Hornets clicked.

“Horace Tucker (a Caver of Art Powell’s vintage) even talked to me about Lincoln.  Horace’s little brother, David Tucker, was on the team.”

Powell never looked back.

“It was natural for me, especially with coach Deniston.  Shan told me, ‘I’m going to put the ball in your hands.’ Shan was  a very underrated coach, innovative,  always thinking.”

Powell and many of his teammates, including Wally Henry, a 1970s transfer from San Diego to Lincoln, continue to celebrate Deniston, in his mid-nineties as of 2015, and lunch with the coach several times annually.

“He’s still driving his car,” said Powell, smiling  at the thought.  “We’re always telling Shan to pass us some of those secrets to a long life.”

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