California’s all-time winningest football schools according to win totals include the usual familiar names, but our ongoing research has uncovered some new totals worth shouting about, especially for Pittsburg. Go inside here for a look at state’s top 15 reported totals for all-time wins and for a list of newly uncovered schools that are over 500.
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As a visit was recently beginning with legendary high school football researcher Bruce McIntosh in Rio Vista, the thought occurred that a high school football team getting to 500 all-time wins in its history isn’t quite the feat that it used to be.
If a school is now 100 years or older, for example, that’s only an average of five wins per season.
As usual, when a question like that arises in the presence of someone like Bruce – or Nelson Tennis (the late founder of Cal-Hi Sports) or Bob Barnett (the CIF Central Section historian) – one question leads to another, which leads to a search of files, which leads to more.
When the afternoon visit was complete, there were leads on more than a dozen schools that we’re pretty certain are now over 500 all-time wins. Some of those totals have since been determined and one of those, Pittsburg of the CIF North Coast Section, is actually closing in on 600.
Bruce happens to have a collection of football cards that include the grid logs of almost every California high school from the early days before 1900 until approximately 2006. His card system has been more difficult to maintain in recent years and most of the cards actually are in storage in Southern California (where Bruce used to live) but the beauty of it is that win-loss records for almost every California high school are easy to get from multiple sources after 2006. It’s then just a matter of adding the two totals together.
Pittsburg was a hunch we had that its record might be very good and that hunch paid off. Since the Pirates began playing football in the mid-1920s, they have been consistent winners. The school’s only losing decade, in fact, is the 1920s and that was just barely at 22-23-6.
Pitt started getting really good in the 1930s with a 74-26-11 record. The school of NFL Hall of Famer and California legend John Henry Johnson also has gone 61-20-5 for the 1940s, 63-13-5 for the 1950s, 56-24-9 for the 1960s, 50-43-1 for the 1970s, 67-35-3 for the 1980s, 77-40-1 for the 1990s and 78-38-1 for the 2000s. So far this decade, the Pirates have posted 5-6, 9-4, 8-4 and 10-3 records.
For many years, Pitt was known as the last team to beat De La Salle of Concord before the Spartans went on their national record 151-game win streak. That win came in the 1991 CIF North Coast Section final and the head coach of that team, Herc Pardi, helped us complete the task of compiling Pitt’s all-time record. Pardi, who is now retired from teaching and coaching after 37 years, filled in the gaps for us for the 1960s due to a missing folder in Bruce’s collection.
With 580 reported wins, Pitt is now 11th on the all-time state list. There happened to have been a Hall of Fame induction at the school just last spring for the 1964 team that went 9-0, but we initially counted that team’s record twice so 589 wins is not correct. Pitt’s 66.1 winning percentage for schools with 500 or more reported wins also only trails Bakersfield, Dos Palos and Loyola of Los Angeles.
Here is an updated look at the top 15 totals according to Cal-Hi Sports for schools with the most reported all-time football wins:749 – Bakersfield, 1896-1942, 1945-2013 (749-251-43)*
This total for the Drillers does not include 22 wins and three losses by default but does include seven wins that were forfeited in 1984.
732 – Long Beach Poly, 1904-2013
For a time, the Jackrabbits actually had more wins than Bakersfield if you don’t count rugby results from some of the early years as a substitute for football. The Cal-Hi Sports records were set up to count the rugby scores as a substitute and we never change anything the way Nelson wanted it to be. Still, in the last few seasons, Bakersfield now also has more wins even if you don’t count rugby. Drillers now lead by three in that category.
647 – Berkeley, 1891-2013 (647-394-61)
This total for the Yellowjackets does not include six wins and two losses by default. The record also is incomplete for the 1890s.
634 – Santa Monica, 1898-2013 (634-368-51)***
This total for the Vikings does not include six wins and one loss by default.
631 – Palo Alto, 1897-2013
Before Bakersfield won its CIF state bowl game title last December, Paly was the only “old” school in the state to have won a “new” CIF state bowl game.
628 – Los Angeles Loyola, 1908-1909, 1913-1917, 1919-2013 (628-285-37)
The Cubs have been passed on this list in the last three years by Palo Alto and hope to get back to their dominant ways this season. For an outlook on this year’s Cub team, CLICK HERE.
618 – Dos Palos, 1923-2013 (618-255-25)
The Broncos are trying to bounce back from a 3-7 season in 2013.
608 – San Jose Bellarmine, 1897-2013
Many NorCal schools like Bellarmine don’t have the high win totals of some in SoCal because for many years prior to the early 1970s there were not even section playoffs in the north.
605 – Eureka, 1901-2013
The Loggers went over the 600 barrier just last year with a 9-3 squad that made it to the CIF NCS D3 quarterfinals.
601 – Santa Barbara, 1900-1905, 1908-2013 (601-390-33)
The Dons also won their 600th reported game last season, but didn’t post a winning record at 4-6.
580 – Pittsburg, 1924-2013 (580-279-40)
This year’s team for head coach Vic Galli should be one of the best in Northern California, including a defense with four or five major D1 college prospects.
577 – Vallejo, 1898-1900, 1907-1914, 1922-2013
We have not yet done a ranking of the state’s all-time best teams, but we’re sure Vallejo for 1954 would be in the top 10.
574 – San Francisco Lowell, 1891-2013
Totals for Lowell just happen to be incomplete before 1923. A forfeit win from 2009 also is not included. The school probably does have close to or more than 600 wins. We just don’t know for sure.
567 – Tehachapi, 1930-2013 (567-290-25)
Coach Steve Denman has done a great job at the helm of the Warriors’ program in recent years.
563 – Santa Ana, 1894-2013 (563-507-45)
Ouch, the Saints were 0-10 last season. Still, they have been playing a long time and haven’t had too many stinkers like that.
More Schools with 500 Reported Wins
552 – Los Angeles, 1893-2013 (552-414-72) (forfeit losses in 2010, 2013 not included)
543 – Redlands, 1891-2013 (543-478-47)
533 – Pomona, 1901-2013
526 – San Diego, 1892-1893, 1895-2013 (forfeit win in 2010 not included)
526 – Oceanside, 1926-2013
523 – Fullerton, 2008-2013
522 – Los Angeles Manual Arts, 1910-2013 (522-408-36)
521 – Tulare, 1896-2013 (521-444-39)
513 – Anaheim, 1900-2013 (513-344-39)
510 – Kingsburg, 1922-2013 (510-360-24)
506 – Lodi, 1913-2013
504 – Clovis, 1922-2013 (504-338-21)
501 – Sanger, 1900-2013 (501-379-33)
*Pomona, Oceanside, Fullerton, Anaheim, Lodi, Tulare, Kingsburg, Clovis and Sanger are new schools that have had their all-time records figured out this summer.
*For Oceanside, we would not have gotten it without looking up totals on the Partleton Sports web site operated by retired NFL public relations executive Rick Smith.
*For Tulare, Kingsburg, Clovis and Sanger, thanks to Bob Barnett of Fresno.
*Among other schools that may be over 500 but are currently unreported, the list includes Alameda, Napa and Santa Cruz.
*Some schools with reported totals that are getting close to 500 include Mater Dei of Santa Ana (491), Chico (487) and Riverside Poly (487). Mater Dei has only been playing since 1950. We have scores from Riverside Poly from the 1890s.