2016-17 Week 4: Littleton Sets Record, Gets Big Mac Invite

The Bishop’s Destiny Littleton sailed past Charde Houston to set the girls’ career scoring record in California and the status quo remained on the boys’ front in San Diego Section basketball last week.

Equally significant news was off the court.

Littleton was named to play in the 16th annual McDonald’s All-America game in Chicago on March 29,  while Foothills Christian’s Jaylen Hands  and Brandon McCoy of Cathedral were selected to play in the 40th annual  McDonald’s boys’ game.

Littleton scored 30 points in a 72-47 victory over Ramona to break Houston’s record of 3,837.  At that point, with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, the game was stopped.

Littleton’s point total stood at 3,838.

Houston  was in attendance, congratulated Littleton, and presented her a bouquet of flowers at midcourt, according to Mark Tennis of Cal-Hi Sports.

The Bishop’s coach Marlon Wells, who also mentored Houston at San Diego High from 2001-04, then pulled Little and sat her for the rest of the game, reported Tennis.

It was a classy move by Wells and classy of Houston to be there, part of a Martin Luther King event at Mount Miguel.

Charde Houston (left) was a gracious former recordholder when The Bishop’s Destiny Littleton set state career scoring record. Photo by Marlon Wells.



Littleton was preceded in the girls’ McDonald’s event by Houston and La Jolla Country Day’s Candice Wiggins in 2004, Day’s Kelsey Plum (2013), and Horizon’s DiJonai Carrington (2016).

Wiggins is eighth in career scoring in California with 3,252 points.  Terri Mann of Point Loma (1987)  is ninth with 3,188,  according to Cal-Hi Sports.

Jelani McCoy of St. Augustine (1994) and Chase Budinger of La Costa Canyon (2006) are the only previous McDonald’s boys invitees from the area.

Foothills Christian improved from eighth to seventh and St.  Augustine from 15th to 11th in the weekly Cal-Hi  boys’ top 20.  Torrey Pines and Vista are on the bubble.

The Union-Tribune boys poll remained static in  the top three positions, Foothills and St. Augustine tied for No. 1, followed by Torrey Pines and Vista.  Helix moved to No. 5.

Union-Tribune  poll through Tuesday, Jan. 17:

Rank Team Record Points Last Poll
1 Foothills Christian (5) 14-2 95 1T
2 St. Augustine (5) 16-3 95 1T
3 Torrey Pines 15-3 80 3
4 Vista 17-2 68 4
5 Helix 14-5 43 6
6 La Jolla 13-2 35 9
7 Mission Hills 12-5 32 NR
8 Serra 17-1 28 5
9 La Jolla Country Day 11-7 26 7
10 Mater Dei 12-4 18 NR

NR–Not rated.

Others receiving votes: La Costa Canyon (14-4, 14 points), Poway (14-4, 7), Canyon Crest (13-4, 2),  Coronado (19-2, 2), Santa Fe Christian (10-5, 1).

Poll participants include John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions), Terry Monahan,  Bill Dickens, Adam Paul, EastCountySports.com; Rick Willis, KUSI-TV; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Bodie DeSilva, sandiegopreps.com; Chris Davis, freelance;  Aaron Burgin, fulltimehoops.com.

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2017: Cleveland (Smiley) Jones, 77

Services for San Diego High legend Cleveland (Smiley) Jones will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at El Camino Memorial Park, 5600 Carroll Road, San Diego, 92123.

Viewings are  scheduled from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13.  and from 9-10 a.m. Saturday. A Repast will follow the funeral.

Jones, 77, a resident of Rancho Alamitos in Orange County, had been ill for several months.

Read about Jones and his achievements at San Diego High in 1955 and ‘56.


Two of Cleveland Jones’s San Diego High teammates also passed recently.

Gilchrist, 78,  was all-City Prep League in basketball  and baseball in 1955-56 and teamed with Art Powell and others on the 1954-55 basketball team that reached the Southern California playoffs semifinals and finished fourth overall.

McCloud, 76, was a three-year starter and made all-City and all-Southern California second team as a .352-hitting centerfielder on the 25-4 San Diego baseball team in 1959.

McCloud (fourth from right) with 1958 San Diego High team, started for three years on clubs that posted combined, 73-9 record.

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2016-17 Week 3: All Quiet on Top

The first three teams in the Union-Tribune Top 10 are easy.

Between the numerous “Shootouts”, “Classics”, “Showcases”, and “Invitationals” which jot the basketball map at this point in the season, getting a handle on Foothills Christian, St. Augustine, and Torrey Pines, numbers 1, 2, and 3, respectively, is piece of cake.

Those teams annually play intersectional schedules and test their wares against the best of the best in the state.

It’s the others that are hard to read.

Serra is 16-0 and Vista 13-2, but they play largely local schedules or in one of the second-tier “classics.”  Same with Helix (13-5), La Jolla (11-2), and Santa Fe Christian (10-4).

A better idea of those clubs’ profile will come only in the playoffs.  For now, it’s about getting deeper into league play and, for a few, this weekend’s Martin Luther King games.

Foothills rose from 11th to eighth in the weekly Cal-Hi Sports top 20.  St. Augustine elevated one position to 15th. Torrey Pines and Vista are on the bubble.

Mission Hills (13-1) dropped to 11th from sixth in Cal-Hi‘s girls’ top 20 and The Bishop’s (15-1) remained 20th. La Jolla Country Day (9-6) is on the bubble.

Mission Hills’ only loss was 65-62 in overtime to San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral in December.  The Bishop’s dropped a 73-68, overtime decision to Eastlake but rebounded last week to beat the Titans, 70-65.

The Knights’ Destiny Littleton remains on fire, averaging 51.7 points a game and closing in on the state career scoring record of 3,837 set in 2003-04 by San Diego’s Charde Houston.

Boby’ records through Monday, Jan. 7:

Rank Team Record Points Last Poll
1 Foothills Christian (5) 13-2 95 1T
2 St. Augustine (5) 11-3 95 1T
3 Torrey Pines 12-3 80 3
4 Vista 13-2 66 4
5 Serra 16-0 54 7
6 Helix 13-5 33 9
7 La Jolla Country Day 10-7 23 5
8 Cathedral 6-8 20 8
9 La Jolla 11-2 15 6
10 Santa Fe Christian 10-4 14 10

Others receiving votes: Mission Hills (9-5, 12 points), Mater Dei (11-4, 10), Poway (13-4, 10), Rancho Bernardo (12-3, 7), La Costa Canyon (13-4, 6), Canyon Crest (11-2, 3),  Coronado (17-2, 2), Patrick Henry (12-5, 1),  Kearny (6-6, 1).

Poll participants include John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions), Terry Monahan,  Bill Dickens, Adam Paul, EastCountySports.com; Rick Willis, KUSI-TV; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Bodie DeSilva, sandiegopreps.com; Chris Davis, freelance;  Aaron Burgin, fulltimehoops.com.

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2010-2017:  To Our Subscribers and Passers-by

Next month, on Feb. 14, will mark the seventh year since we undertook a challenge.

I wanted to write the history of San Diego County high school football.

That’s where my career started and where it will end.

Well, I didn’t write the history (that is almost infinite), but I gave it a shot.

I attempted to write a narrative about each season. More than 100.

I just counted.

The number includes all seasons from 1914 forward.  I combined the years 1891 to 1913.

Almost all of the narratives are broken into short subjects, vignettes and photographs (pictures from rustic and ragged microfilm at several Southern California sources).

Some years, like 1955, include multiple entries and, starting in 2013, football was covered on a week-to-week basis.

Most seasons usually required an average of about 2,000 words, although there are some with less and many with more.

My superstar writing friend Dave Kindred told me, “It wouldn’t sell and it would be too long,” when I suggested to David that maybe I’d write a book about this parochial subject.

He was right on both counts. But thanks to Henrik Jonson, my cyber guru, we put together a web site:  Partletonsports.com.

Partleton was the name on my father’s birth certificate when he was born in Barbados, “Little England” as it was known.

Dad changed his last name to Smith after he entered the United States following service in the Canadian army in World War I.

I asked him often why he hadn’t been more inventive. He could have changed his name to Jones.

I’m going to continue looking for nuggets of information in basketball, track field, and probably baseball.

It’s a labor of love and in retirement you have to have interests.  I’ve got season tickets to San Diego State basketball and I catch a prep football or basketball game every week.

That and trying to keep Susie happy and watching our 4 grandsons grow up.

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2016 Week 17, Cathedral, Madison, & Verdell Hold Sway

Football, it’s  a wrap.

Cathedral finished fifth in Cal-Hi Sports‘ state top 25, Helix was 14th, and Madison 19th in an outstanding  San Diego Section season.

Coach Sean Doyle’s Cathedral Dons, wearing the letter “U” on  their helmets in the state championship in honor of Cathedral’s previous University of San Diego High designation (and Doyle’s alma-mater), ran the table in a 15-0 season.

The closest any teams have come to this Cathedral club were the 14-0, Tyler Gaffney-led Dons of 2008, and the 14-0 Morse Tigers of Teddy Lawrence and Company in 1990.

I agreed with John Maffei of the San Diego Union-Tribune when the prep writer called this year’s Dons squad the best in the 56-year history of the San Diego Section.

My reasoning was that no one had ever won for 15 consecutive weeks and Cathedral, unlike its ’08 predecessor or John Shacklett’s ’90 Morse, played a heavy intersectional schedule.

The Dons played five teams from out of the section, including three early in the season. They defeated  L.A. City power Narbonne, 35-28, in the Southern California 1-AA final, and Stockton St. Mary’s in overtime, 38-35, for the state title in a repeat of a 37-34 victory over St. Mary’s in ’08.

Cathedral outscored its 15 opponents by an average score of 40-15.  The ’08 team scored a record 671 points and had a winning margin of 48-17.  The ’90 Morse team had held the section scoring record of 649 points with an average advantage of 46-13.

Neither ’08 Cathedral or ’90 Morse played the type of schedule of this year’s Dons.

After a 56-15 win over Honolulu Punahou, one of the strongest teams in Hawaii, the Tigers’ schedule featured only San Diego Section squads.

The situation was almost the same with Cathedral in ’08.  The Dons had a 63-7 victory over weak Chino early in the season and then did not meet an intersectional foe again until the final versus St. Mary’s.


Rick Jackson’s Madison Warhawks (13-2) became one of the most popular teams in the state with some incredible play in the San Diego Section D-I championship and in the Southern California final.

The Warhawks overcame a 31-7, St. Augustine halftime lead to defeat the Saints, 35-31, for the section D-I crown and then overcame a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit to top Calabasas, 60-53, in overtime. They won the state II-AA title, 23-17 over San Jose Valley Christian.

Helix (11-3) had an opening game loss to Timpview, Utah, which posted a 9-3 record and went to its state finals.  The Highlanders also defeated strong Northern entry Concord Clayton Valley and played two tough losses with Cathedral, including  the section Open final.


Mater Dei’s Oregon-bound C.J. Verdell scored 40 touchdowns and added a 2-point conversion for a section-leading 242 points. Tyler Saikhon of El Centro Southwest was second with 188.

Verdell’s is the 10th highest, one-season total in San Diego County history. Verdell scored 204 points in 2015, second only to the 210 of Helix’ Nate Stinson.

Not all teams submitted team and individual stats, which were compiled by Max Preps.

For a complete list of San Diego Section scoring leaders link to “Football” and “Individual Performances” in the drop down  menu.



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2016-17 Week 2: Knights, Saints Share Top

Foothills Christian, St. Augustine, and Torrey Pines, we know about.  All three played before overflow crowds of more than 3,000 persons in the Under-Armour tournament at Torrey Pines over the Christmas holiday.

What about the Vista?

The Panthers are fourth in the weekly San Diego Union-
Tribune poll but they’ve managed to stay under the radar while building a 13-2 record.

A  sighting last week in the Silver Division of the La Verne Damian tournament shed some light.

the Panthers defeated  Woodland Hills Taft, 60-52, for the championship and beat an 11-2 club that annually is among the  best teams in the Los Angeles City Section.

Meanwhile, Foothills Christian, led by the explosive Jaylen Hands, won the Under-Armour National Division by defeating St. John’s of Washington, D.C., 61-57, and is tied for first in the local poll with St. Augustine.

I voted for the Saints No. 1, based on their 85-75 victory over Foothills in the Under-Armour preview but can’t argue with the first-place tie.  The Saints flattened out, losing 2 of their last 3 games in the tournament.

Foothills rose from 11th to eighth in the weekly Cal-Hi Sports top 20.  St. Augustine went to 16th from unranked.  Torrey Pines and Vista are on the bubble.

Records through Monday, Jan. 2:

Rank Team Record Points Last Poll
1 Foothills Christian (5) 12-2 95 1
2 St. Augustine (5) 11-3 95 2
3 Torrey Pines 12-3 80 5
4 Vista 13-2 62 5
5 La Jolla Country Day 9-6 59 4
6 La Jolla 10-1 33 9
7 Serra 14-0 28 NR
8 Cathedral 4-7 27 7
9 Helix 10-4 13 6
10 Santa Fe Christian 10-4 12 NR

NR–Not ranked.

Others receiving votes: Orange Glen (7-2, 10 points), La Costa Canyon (11-3, 10), Poway (10-4, 10), Rancho Bernardo (8-2, 9), Mater Dei (7-4, 4), Patrick Henry (11-3, 1),  Coronado (15-2, 1).

Poll participants include John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune; Steve Brand (San Diego Hall of Champions), Terry Monahan,  Union-Tribune correspondent; im Lindgren Union-Tribune correspondent, Bill Dickens, Adam Paul, EastCountySports.com; Rick Willis, KUSI-TV; Rick Smith, partletonsports.com; Bodie DeSilva, sandiegopreps.com; Chris Davis, freelance;  Aaron Burgin, fulltimehoops.com.

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1955:  Anaheim Was In Like Flynn

Mickey Flynn became known as the “Ghost of La Palma”.

Because of the 1950-55 success of Clare Van Hoorebeke’s Anaheim Colonists program, the Anaheim parks department had agreed to expand the La Palma Avenue baseball park to include 7,500 grandstand seats in the outfield.

The first football game drew an overflow crowd of 9,000 persons in 1956 and Flynn scored the only touchdown with a 71-yard run in the fourth quarter that defeated Redlands, 6-0.

Flynn’s exploits soon gave way to his being compared to an invisible figure.

Flynn and Van Hoorebeke wrote Anaheim history.

Sid Ziff, the sports editor of the Los Angeles Mirror, was credited with the origin, but longtime patrons of La Palma Stadium suggested that Flynn became known as the Ghost for another reason.

“The lighting on the field was not the best back then,” wrote Steve Kresal of the Los Angeles Times in 1989.  “Flynn could disappear into the shadows, then reappear downfield on his way to a big gain.”

Flynn, who averaged almost 14 yards a carry in the varsity seasons of 1954-56 and who was the individual star of the 1955 Anaheim-San Diego playoff, was the first athlete inducted into the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.

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1955: Cavers in Epic Struggle

By the grace of a 17-14 Advantage in first downs, San Diego High survived a 20-20 standoff with Anaheim in the CIF playoff semifinals before 10,271 persons at Long Beach Veterans’ Memorial Stadium.

A heart-thumping conclusion represented the final shot in a frenetic battle of undefeated teams that bought an end to a week of intrigue and one-upmanship.

Anaheim had defeated Glendale 27-13 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, and San Diego ushered out Bellflower in Balboa Stadium, 26-6, in the quarterfinals round, setting up what many figured would be a “semifinal for the championship”.


San Diego assistant coach Birt Slater met with Anaheim athletic director Dick Glover and CIF commissioner Ken Fagans in Los Angeles.

Anaheim won a coin flip to determine the home team, according to the Anaheim Bulletin, but the Colonists did not have a home field, although they played in the low-capacity La Palma Avenue Park.

A grandstand to be built at nearby La Palma Park wouldn’t be ready until the 1956 season, but there were several stadium possibilities in the region.

Glover wanted the new, 7,500-seat Orange Coast College facility in Costa Mesa.

Slater, speaking for head coach Duane Maley and the San Diego administration, argued for the 13,000-seat Long Beach Veterans’ Stadium.

Slater said Orange Coast would not be large enough for an expected huge crowd that would follow the Hillers from San Diego.

Glover, citing observers’ reports, asserted that San Diego attendance was only about 2,000 out of the 3,500 that watched the Bellflower game.

Glover also claimed that Colonists followers outnumbered San Diego’s in Balboa Stadium in 1953, when Anaheim won, 21-7.


Anaheim, perhaps with some prodding from Fagans and with a promise of a huge visiting crowd from San Diego, agreed to move the game to the larger, financially more rewarding Veterans’ Stadium.

Flynn sidestepped David Grayson (12) and Ferreras on 67-yard touchdown run.

“A football field is still 100 yards long no matter where it’s located,” Anaheim coach Clare Van Hoorebeke cryptically replied to a question concerning his opinion about the contest’s being moved from the “originally-planned” Orange Coast venue.

San Diego seemed to be making mountains out of mole hills.

The Cavers also wanted to wear their powder blue jerseys, which were introduced this year and were a popular departure from San Diego’s traditional Columbia blue.

Anaheim had the choice of color and opted for its home blue tops.  “San Diego will play in their ‘Sunday School’ whites,” according to the Bulletin.

“The ‘Border Bandits’, declared the newspaper,acted like true scoundrels when they tried to force the game to be moved to San Diego and then insisted on their choice of jersey color.”

San Diego had another reason for wanting the game moved from the Costa Mesa campus.  Anaheim was familiar with the layout and had won two games there this season.


Dick Glover responded to Orange County fans who felt the Colonists let them down by agreeing to play at Long Beach Vets.

If not Orange Coast, why not the equally familiar Santa Ana Bowl, capacity 9,000?

Glover had several reasons:

  • “Long Beach charges 10 per cent of the gross, Santa Ana 10 per cent of the first thousand (dollars) and 15 per cent after that.
  • “Veterans Stadium is in the back yard of Cypress and Los Alamitos (communities) and we have an obligation to our own school.”
  • Glover also pointed out that the clay soil of Orange Coast’s parking would cause problems in the event of rain.
  • Orange Coast College was 18.1 miles from Anaheim High. Santa Ana Bowl was 8.2 miles and Long Beach Veterans Stadium 14.8 miles.


How good was Mickey Flynn, the 160-pound junior who, with “pony “backfield mates Joe Avitia (155), Don Penfield (145), and George Dena (145), had led Colonists on a 27-game winning streak in the Sunset League?

  • Anaheim scored a touchdown on its first or second play in nine of 11 games.
  • Flynn was averaging 68 yards on his 19 touchdowns and had scored on his first carry in eight games.
  • Gary Land, who sustained a broken ankle in a practice two weeks before, had been ably replaced at right guard in the Cavers’ line by junior Gary Becker. Ron Collins, who had sustained an elbow injury earlier, was ready to go at center.


John De La Vega of the Los Angeles Times described the game as a “hair-raiser.”

Jim Trinkle of The San Diego Union also captured the moment in his game account:



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1955: This Year is Different for Cavemen

Since winning it all in 1922, San Diego High had made unsuccessful playoff attempts in 1925, ’33, ’45, ’46, ’47, ’48, ’50, ’53, and ’54, and they were positioned again to make another run at a Southern Section championship.

Coach Duane Maley whistled the start of September drills with all hands on deck, except one.

Cavers coach Duane Maley relied on no one more than end-linebacker Deron Johnson (left) and quarterback Pete Gumina.

Starting quarterback Pete Gumina was absent, away fishing on his father’s bait fishing vessel, approximately 150 miles Southwest of where the Cavemen were exercising on the upper practice field.

Gumina’s summer job was to help his dad bring home enough fish to support the family and put food on dining room table.

When Gumina turned out for practice a few days later the senior signals caller was surprised and puzzled that he was running behind No. 2 quarterback Edward Heard.

Apparently Maley thought Gumina had been ducking those hot, late-summer drills.

Pete waited a few years, about 30 actually, before finally asking Maley why he had been temporarily demoted.

“Duane laughed,” remembered the quarterback.  “He told me that he thought I was out sports fishing and enjoying myself.”

A first-generation American who grew up near the Italian enclave on India Street, Gumina was Maley’s steady hand at the wheel, leading this talented, multi-cultural group to the mountain top.

While Gumina was at sea, Willie West (top) and  Johnson cooled out.

Pete had lots of help, from all-America end-linebacker-punter Deron Johnson; from Willie West, a brilliant runner who played several years in the American Football League; from David Grayson, a member of the 10-year, all-time AFL squad;

From Alden Kimbrough, Ron Collins, Cleveland (Smiley) Jones, Eldridge Cooks, Steve Allen, Jerry Ybarra, Ollie Osborne, Mike Rustich, Gary Becker, Luther Hayes, Don Bransford, and a flock of others.


Willie West pulled it out for the West.

The squads from San Diego, Point Loma, and La Jolla defeated Hoover, Lincoln, and Kearny, 13-12, before 16,000 Balboa Stadium fans who waited in anticipation on a slow-starting San Diego team in the game’s fourth and final, 15-minute exhibition (Point Loma played two quarters).

West fumbled on San Diego’s 34-yard line, but Hoover gave up the ball on the Cavers’ 15. Three plays later a Gumina interception allowed Hoover another chance.  The Cardinals surrendered the ball again on the Hillers’ 25.

Steve Allen ran 5 yards to the 30.

Lightning struck on the next play.

West, according to Jim Trinkle in The San Diego Union, “bolted over right guard, found himself unopposed by the time he was at the 50, and easily outdistanced the defenders.”

West’s 70-yard touchdown was followed by Gumina’s PAT and the West’s winning points.


COMPTON—The host Knights had a 13-4 advantage in first downs at Ramsaur Stadium on the Compton High campus but didn’t get past San Diego’s 20 after taking a 6-0, first-quarter lead.

Pete Gumina passed 25 yards to Deron Johnson, who covered the final 15 for a 40-yard touchdown play that made for a 6-6 halftime score.

Johnson intercepted a pass by Stanford-bound Dick Norman and ran 25 yards for another touchdown.

With time running out, a Lynwood drive expired on the Cavers’ 28 and Steve Allen closed out the scoring with a 72-yard run on the next play.


Lincoln, in its second varsity season, featuring backfield speed equal to San Diego’s and boasting a sharp passer in Bob Mendoza, was expected to contend.

The Hornets kept it close for three quarters, but finished the night with minus 10 yards rushing and 54 passing.

San Diego rushed for 242 yards and had a 15-3 advantage in first downs as West and David Grayson scored on short plunges and Deron Johnson returned an intercepted pass 48 yards for another score.

Although contested in Balboa Stadium, Lincoln was the “home” team.

Deron Johnson got behind Point Loma’s Steve Aldridge and made fingertip catch for touchdown.


The Hillers, as they also were known, began to separate from the pack.

Pete Gumina completed 13 of 17 passes for 189 yards and 4 touchdowns, kicked 6 points after, and led a 423-yard attack that reduced Point Loma to rubble.

Deron Johnson was on the receiving end of two of Gumina’s scoring passes, Steve Allen, and Luther Hayes, one each.

The Pointers had 61 yards in total offense and never advanced beyond San Diego’s 46-yard line.


The Cavers seemingly let Kearny do as it pleased, between the 20-yard lines.

The Komets, playing hosts at Hoover, had an edge in first downs, 13-12, but the game wasn’t close, highlighted by a 51-yard touchdown pass play from Pete Gumina to Alden Kimbrough to Deron Johnson.

Kimbrough accepted Gumina’s six-yard aerial, then slipped the ball into the trailing Johnson’s stomach and took off, Komets defenders in pursuit of Kimbrough.  Johnson raced the remaining 45 yards untouched.


A Deron Johnson punt traveled 76 yards and the big end caught two of Pete Gumina’s three touchdown passes.

Hoover defenders Carl Lorenz (top) and Ralph Mann struggle to bring down Hillers’ Cleveland (Smiley) Jones.

Hoover was the first City Prep League team to score on San Diego and a Cardinals assailant actually bit Johnson amid a pile of bodies near the line of scrimmage.


Don King wrote in Caver Conquest that an assistant Mission Bay coach signaled from the sideline when the Buccaneers should put the ball in play on offense.

The coach was equipped with a stopwatch to avoid delay-of-game penalties.

The tactic by Mission Bay coach Harry Anderson was supposed to help the Bucs keep the score down.


Kimbrough caught touchdown pass from Gumina at Santa Barbara.

PEABODY STADIUM—The Cavers hadn’t been to this venue since a 27-0 victory over the Dons in the semifinals of the 1933 playoffs.

Santa Barbara High was one of the few schools in California older than San Diego High, having opened in 1875 to their younger rival’s 1882.

The Hillers led, 21-0, after three quarters and gave up a touchdown on a 30-yard fumble return and 35-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

The Dons could boast that their 13 points were more than the 12 managed by San Diego’s first six opponents.

The Cavers got on the board in second quarter, when Pete Gumina passed 30 yards to Alden Kimbrough and Don Bransford ran 18 yards for a 14-0 halftime lead.

West joined Deron Johnson and Pete Gumina on all-Southern Section first team, with Alden Kimbrough on third team.


San Diego closed the regular season having outscored CPL opponents, 250-6 en route to a 6-0 league record.

Willie West and Cleveland Jones scored two touchdowns each. Deron Johnson and Gumina hooked up on a 47-yard touchdown pass play, and four other Cavers scored.


San Diego marched 80 and 98 yards to touchdowns on its first two possessions, led, 19-0, at the half and finished the scoring with a touchdown on the first series of the third quarter.

Chula Vista lost for the first time in 20 games in coach Chet DeVore’s final game.  Cleveland Jones helped expedite DeVore’s departure with a brilliant, 65-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

The first-round playoff victory at Aztec Bowl moved the Cavers into the quarterfinals.


There was no coin flip to determine the playing site. Bellflower was not unhappy with a rare nonleague travel date to Balboa Stadium.

Assistant coach Birt Slater went over Bellflower game plan with defenders Mike Rustich (center) and George Stebbins.

The San Gabriel League, of which the Buccaneers were members, had a quirky rule against travel during the regular season.

Bellflower, an 8-1 team with a single-wing offense, took a first-quarter, 6-0 lead and San Diego did not score until 2:40 remained in the second quarter.

Willie West rushed for 106 yards, received for 57 yards, returned two intercepted passes 44 yards, and scored two touchdowns.

Gumina passed for three touchdowns and Kimbrough and Johnson collaborated again.

On fourth down from the 10-yard line, Gumina lobbed a short pass to Johnson over the middle.  Johnson lateraled to his teammate at the 5 and Kimbrough crossed the goal.

Fourteen seconds remained after Gumina’s PAT.

The Cavers were in the semifinals for the first time since 1947.

Dec. 9, SAN DIEGO 20, ANAHEIM 20

(Link to 1955: Cavers in Epic Struggle

Dec. 16, SAN DIEGO 26, ALHAMBRA 14

The game came down to one play.

San Diego, leading, 19-7, in the fourth quarter, gave up an Alhambra touchdown and then found itself in a fourth-and-23 situation on its 34- yard line with less than 5 minutes remaining.

Maley was surrounded by jubilant players, including Jerry Ybarra (left), Don Bransford (bottom), and Steve Allen (right).

Momentum had swung to the visitors in Aztec Bowl, where 8,500 largely San Diego patrons stirred nervously in their seats.

Back to punt, Deron Johnson fielded a high snap and was forced to retreat to his 20.  As he scrambled toward the Moors’ side of the field, Johnson shouted, “Kimbrough!”

Johnson could be heard high above the field in the press box and Alden Kimbrough, running downfield to cover the punt, turned and caught Johnson’s 33-yard pass at the Moors’ 45.

Kimbrough was brought down on the Alhambra 39 for an official gain of 27 yards and game-saving first down.  The play actually covered 39 yards.

The Hillers’ Eldridge Cooks punched in the clinching touchdown from the 2. San Diego, led by Willie West’s 148 yards in 27 carries, dominated with 424 yards to Alhambra’s 229.

Cleveland Jones abetted West with 42 yards in eight carries.  Eldridge Cooks added 34 in 4, Steve Allen 30 in eight, Don Bransford 29 in 3, and David Grayson 18 in 3.

The Cavers’ defense held the Moors to three first downs and 15 yards rushing, but Alhambra scored on a 76- and 6-yard pass plays from Jerry Cooper to Duane Allen.


The week started with contretemps similar to the cat-and-mouse game between San Diego and Anaheim the previous week.

CIF commissioner Ken Fagans on Tuesday morning honored a San Diego request to play the game Friday night at San Diego State’s Aztec Bowl.

Photographer Charles Aqua Viva covered the action as Willie West scored third quarter touchdown (1), Deron Johnson was tackled by Don Bevilaqua and Tony Longo (2), Don Bransford ran for seven yards (3) and Mrs. Pauline Gumina congratulated son Pete, as Deron Johnson looked on (4).

A Saturday afternoon game in Balboa Stadium was not possible, because the fourth-annual Poinsettia Bowl military game had been booked earlier at that site.

Alhambra principal Gilbert Strother did not like playing Friday evening.

“We are not trying to pull a fast one, but all championship games except one in my memory have been played on Saturday afternoons,” said Strother.

“We would have sent four, five-thousand down for a Saturday game.  I predict we won’t have more than 600 there on Friday night.”


Strother contended that many parents would not let their children make the trip “because that highway is too dangerous.”

The principal argued the risk of high school students driving on the Coast Highway at “one or two o’clock” in the morning with possible fog.

Highway 101 was principal’s concern.

U.S. 101 had long stretches of precarious, three-lane pavement between Oceanside and San Clemente.

The 8,500 attendance was low and the CIF announced before the game that the San Diego venue would serve as  “a test”.  In most cases future championship games would be in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

The title game  returned to Aztec Bowl two years later, when San Diego met Downey.

The Alhambra-San Diego contest also competed against the County-wide Kiwanis basketball tournament.

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2016-17 Week 1: Foothills Christian Leads Again

Coach Brad Leaf’s Foothills Christian squad picked up where it left off, first in the first San Diego Union-Tribune basketball poll,  which the Knights dominated in 2015-16.

The El Cajon club is 6-1, with only a 90-73 loss to defending national champion Chino Hills after leading the Huskies, 42-38, at halftime.

What’s up with Cathedral?  Picked as high as fifth in the state in some preseason polls and with 7-foot Brandon McCoy leading the Dons, Cathedral has slumped to 3-5.

Coronado got one vote among teams outside the top 10, but raise one for the Islanders, who are 15-2 and played 17 games since Nov. 28.

Records through Wednesday, Dec. 21:

Rank Team Record Points Last Poll
1 Foothills Christian (10) 6-1 100 1
2 St. Augustine 5-1 82 2
3 Torrey Pines 7-1 76 5
4 La Jolla Country Day 8-2 71 4
5 Vista 8-2 48 8
6 Helix 7-2 43 7
7 Cathedral 3-5 42 3
8 Poway 8-2 28 10
9 La Jolla 8-1 17 NR
10 La Costa Canyon 8-2 14 NR

Others receiving votes, including record: Santa Fe Christian (6-3, 5 points), Mission Hills (4-4, 5) Patrick Henry (9-0, 5), Serra (8-0, 4), Mira Mesa (5-3, 4), Kearny (3-3, 2), Coronado (5-2, 1).

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

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