It was a horrible start for the first few seasons of Eagle football, but since the 1970s the San Jose school has been a consistent winner and has had some truly legendary teams, especially the one from 1978 that had a future NFL head coach at quarterback and a future NFL Super Bowl winning head coach on the staff. The Eagles now have all of their scores in one archive provided by Cal-Hi Sports.
Up next in this series: Oakdale. For more on the Cal-Hi Sports football archives project and on how we can help your school, CLICK HERE.
For one game on one magical night, we can name just a handful of football teams seen over the last 35 years of Cal-Hi Sports that have been seemingly perfect when everything clicks like clockwork and talented players put on a show.
Recently, De La Salle of Concord from 2010 when it dismantled 14-0 Servite of Anaheim 48-6 in the CIF Open Division bowl game comes to mind. Eisenhower of Rialto in 1993 when it beat Mater Dei of Santa Ana 56-3 in the CIF Southern Section Division I championship is another example.
Then there’s Oak Grove of San Jose for 1978 when it played St. Francis of Mountain View at Spartan Stadium in the CIF Central Coast Section championship. The Eagles won that game 52-7 and if anybody who’s followed CCS football over the years knows that’s just something that never happens to St. Francis.
It wasn’t a perfect season for Oak Grove and we’d still rank Mt. Whitney of Visalia higher for that year as well (which didn’t lose a game). Still, an early 14-12 loss to Independence was more than overcome by a phenomenal playoff run that culminated with the 52-7 win over the Lancers.
Head coach Phil Stearns had the luxury of having an experienced quarterback that season. Junior quarterback and three-year starter Marty Mornhinweg was not big but scrambled around and threw darts around the field like Doug Flutie would do in winning the Heisman Trophy for Boston College in 1984. Mornhinweg, who was later followed by two brothers who played for the Eagles, eventually starred in college at Montana and later became a coach. He was head coach of the Detroit Lions for three seasons and has been an offensive coordinator for several NFL teams for many years.
One of Stearns’ assistant coaches in 1978 was former Lincoln of San Francisco standout and former USC quarterback Mike Holmgren. He came to the school after starting out at Sacred Heart of San Francisco, then left shortly after the 1980 season for a job at San Francisco State. Holmgren later became a head coach of the Green Bay Packers, guiding that team to a Super Bowl win in 1997, and then later coached the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL (lost to Pittsburgh). Mornhinweg was on Holmgren’s staff as quarterback coach for the Packers.
That 1978 Oak Grove team also seemed to set a high standard for every other team that has represented the school since then. When Stearns stepped down and Ed Buller took over the program prior to the 1983 season, those high standards continued. In Buller’s first season, the Eagles reached the CCS Division I final after losing in their first game to St. Francis. In that matchup, however, the Lancers prevailed 16-0.
It’s certainly not a stretch to say that Oak Grove’s biggest rival is not another school from its league (Mt. Hamilton) or its school district (East Side Unified High School District) but is indeed St. Francis. Sure, the Lancers would quickly name Bellarmine as their biggest rival. But Oak Grove and St. Francis have opened the season against each other for just about every season since 1981 and it’s been an amazingly good barometer for both programs.
Oak Grove, in fact, has played St. Francis more than any other opponent. This is due to changing league realignments over the years and because in many years the Eagles and Lancers have played twice (once to start the season and then in the CCS playoffs).
Buller directed the Eagles to CCS titles in 1997, 1999, 2004 and 2007. His all-time record from 1983 through 2009 (not including three years in the 1990s) of 214-39-3 is one of the best in CCS history and he is still serving the school as its athletic director. Current head coach Jay Braun had a 10-0 regular season team in 2012 and a 9-2 squad for 2011.
Counting up all of Oak Grove’s records since the school first started playing in 1967 shows an all-time CCS best winning percentage of 72.1 and we’re 95 percent certain that the 400th all-time win will be achieved this season. We still have to find two unreported results from 1974, however, to determine an exact total for the school.
Perhaps the most amazing aspect to Oak Grove’s football success over the years is that it’s come despite one of the worst beginnings any school in Northern California has ever had. The Eagles didn’t come close to winning in their first season (1967) and in their second season took four forfeit losses in addition to losing five more in a row on the field. The first win didn’t come until 1969 against McClymonds of Oakland but that was followed by 16 more consecutive losses.
By the time Oak Grove won its second game ever in 1971, the school had lost 35 of its first 36 games (31 of 32 on the field). Since the 1-35 start, however, the Eagles have gone 395-115-6 (including forfeits) for a winning percentage of more than 77 percent.
REPORTED ALL-TIME RECORD HEADING INTO 2015 SEASON:
393 WINS, 150 LOSSES, 6 TIES*
*On-the-field totals only. Does not include forfeit wins, forfeit losses. There were four forfeit losses or defaults in 1968 and one forfeit win in 1996. Including forfeits, add one win and four losses. All-time record also would then be 394 wins, 154 losses, 6 ties.
**Two results appear to be unreported for 1974. Totals therefore would be adjusted when those are uncovered.
72.1 WINNING PERCENTAGE
(Based on half-win, half-loss for ties and using 393-150-6 totals)
Best Records For Single Season
13-0 – 1997
14-1 – 1978
12-1 – 1979
12-1 – 1985
12-1 – 1998
12-1 – 1999
Worst Records For Single Season
0-9 – 1967
0-5 – 1968 (plus four losses by default)
1-9 – 1970
Most Points Scored (Single Game)
77 – VS. Bellarmine (San Jose), 2006
63 – VS. Willow Glen (San Jose), 1999
63 – VS. Leigh (San Jose), 2007
62 – VS. Lick (San Jose), 1997
62 – VS. Santa Teresa (San Jose), 1997
62 – VS. Leland (San Jose), 2000
Most Lopsided Wins
63-0 – VS. Willow Glen (San Jose), 1999
63-0 – VS. Leigh (San Jose), 2007
62-0 – VS. Santa Teresa (San Jose), 1997
62-0 – VS. Leland (San Jose), 2000
58-0 – VS. Piedmont Hills (San Jose), 1984
Most Points Allowed (Single Game)
61 – VS. Lick (San Jose), 1967
58 – VS. Piedmont Hills (San Jose), 1967
49 – VS. Piedmont Hills (San Jose), 2010
48 – VS. Homestead (Cupertino), 2002
48 – VS. Leland (San Jose), 2013
48 – VS. Willow Glen (San Jose), 2014*
*Oak Grove won game 55-48 in 2 OTs.
Most Lopsided Losses
61-6 – VS. Lick (San Jose), 1967
47-0 – VS. Gilroy, 1967
42-0 – VS. Ayer (Milpitas), 1969
38-6 – VS. Bellarmine (San Jose), 2010
Records Against Notable Opponents
31-4-1 VS. Santa Teresa (San Jose)*
13-3 VS. Pioneer (San Jose)
20-7 VS. Leland (San Jose)
25-12 VS. Piedmont Hills (San Jose)
8-4 VS. San Benito (Hollister)
10-8 VS. Bellarmine (San Jose)
15-29-1 VS. St. Francis (Mountain View)
*Last win by Santa Teresa in 1988 (tie in 1989). Oak Grove has won 22 in a row after 2014.
Longest Winning Streaks
25-0 – 1997-98 (13-0 in 97, then won first 12 in 98)
23-0 – 1978-79 (won last 11, then first 12)
23-0 – 2007-08 (won last 12, then first 11)
Note: School also has a 22-0-1 unbeaten streak for 1999-2000 (won last 11, first two, then tie, then next nine).
Longest Losing Streaks
0-16 – 1969-1970 (lost last seven, then lost first nine)
0-15 – 1967-1969 (0-9, then 0-5 not including forfeits/defaults, then 0-1)*
*Counting forfeits, losing streak would be 0-19.
Note: Since 1970, the longest losing streak has been just five games and that happened just once in 1981 season.
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