Oak Grove Football History Highlights

Oak Grove players battle St. Francis of Mountain View in 2013 season. The Eagles have played St. Francis (mostly in season openers) every year since 1981. Photo: Prep2Prep.com.

Oak Grove players battle St. Francis of Mountain View in 2013 season. The Eagles have played St. Francis (mostly in season openers) every year since 1981. Photo: Prep2Prep.com.

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.

Ed Buller coached with energy and passion for his players from 1983 to 2008 (minus three seasons). Photo: PositiveCoach.org.

Ed Buller coached with energy and passion for his players from 1983 to 2008 (minus three seasons). Photo: PositiveCoach.org.

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.

Current San Francisco 49ers analyst Tim Ryan is one of several former Oak Grove players who've gone on to play in the NFL. Photo: 49ers.com.

Current San Francisco 49ers analyst Tim Ryan is one of several former Oak Grove players who’ve gone on to play in the NFL. Photo: 49ers.com.

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.

Here are some other Oak Grove football records that the school now has in its possession courtesy of this archive initiative:
Oak Grove logo

1960s: 1-22-0*

1970s: 75-36-1**

1980s: 87-31-2

1990s: 98-20-0*

2000s: 93-24-3

2010s: 39-17-0


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.

(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.

Remember, any school in the state can have this research finished in a customized fashion in return for a reasonable fee. For details, CLICK HERE.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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  1. Robert Perro
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I am a graduate of Oak Grove High School San Jose 1989

  2. Randy
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Sometime before the start of the initial 1967-68 football season, original head coach Ken Castle stood in front of an enthusiastic student body and announced something to the effect: “we may not be a great team, but we certainly aren’t going to go out there and get beat 63 to 0 !!” Always true to his word, the team later went out and got beat 61 – 6 by James Lick.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      In looking up info for the school’s archives, I sadly found that Mr. Castles died in 2009 at age 71. The first teams may have been bad, but he eventually got the Eagles to go 11-1 by 1972.

      • Randy
        Posted July 7, 2015 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

        Sad news indeed Mark, I wasn’t aware of the Coach’s passing. I meant no disrespect to the Coach, he was well liked across the board by students, athletes, and his fellow teachers and coaches.
        If you ever happen to run across baseball stats from ’68, ’69, and ’70, I’d be interested in seeing them !

      • Cary A. Cardinale
        Posted July 23, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        The 1972 season was the first winning season in OG varsity history. They went 10-0 during the regular season, beating CCS #2 ranked Silver Creek 26-23 after trailing 23-10 late in the 4th quarter. The playoffs were regional at that time and the top 3 tams in the 150 school section were all in Region 3 #1 Saratoga, #2 Oak Grove and #3 Leland. Their first game in the playoffs was against CCS #1 ranked Saratoga who was ranked top ten nationally. The Eagles jumped to a quick 21-6 lead and won 28-18. They were then pitted against Leland who went ahead 27-7 with a tremendous passing attack. The Eagles came back to 27-14 and had a first and goal inside the Leland 5 when a 1st down pass was intercepted and the Chargers went on to win 43-14. Leland then beat Riordan 41-16 in the CCS final.

        • Cary A. Cardinale
          Posted July 23, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

          I was also night manager of a restaurant in 1978 and several OG varsity players worked for me. I went to all of their playoff games including the 52-7 final vs St Francis (believe it was 32-7 at half). They also led Los Altos 35-0 at half another playoff game. Holmgren was the QB coach / offensive co-ordinator and Mornhinwheg was the junior QB.

  3. Terry Smith
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    You’re missing the 1986 3A CCS Championship title win. That was Buller’s first title. I was a sophomore scout team scooby snack for that team come playoff time. Don’t forget about those guys. Also, it was the 1987 team that lost to Santa Teresa and we tied it in 1988.

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      No team is forgotten in the actual full report that the school is getting. For this one, however, we decided to write the story before any corrections had come in. It is definitely a great tradition for you to be part of.

    • Todd Yeager
      Posted August 17, 2021 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      I was a member of that team… injured with kidney issues. Have gone on to have 3 transplants in my life – and am doing quite well. A tough start to that season, including the only league loss in my 4 years. That team pulled together though… and that 28-14 win over Wilcox was amazing. Will add I was treated great by that staff – especially Ed Buller, who seriously offered me a kidney. As great as the W/L stuff was in his career – that offer tells you all you need to know about about the man. He also coached my two of my brothers… Bryan and David… who had very successful careers.

  4. Greg Silva
    Posted July 9, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the article, Mark! A couple of minor corrections. Although Marty Morhinweg was a 3 year starter at Oak Grove, he was only a junior during the 1978 CCS Championship season. And he played his college ball in Missoula at the University of Montana, not Northern Arizona.

    One other impressive side note to the 1978 season was the Eagle’s smashing of Los Altos in the CCS semifinals!

  5. Cathy Freitas Blouin
    Posted July 9, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    I was a Freshman cheerleader at the CCS Final in 1978 against St. Francis. It was a great game!!!

  6. John Fratangelo
    Posted July 20, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink


    • John Fratangelo
      Posted July 20, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      CCS D1 Championship between Oak Grove and Palma was one of the better playoff championships in the section. Palma won 15-14 going for 2 pt conversion with seconds left instead of the tie, and Palma QB Louis Amaral rolled left and threw across the other side of the field before getting tackled. It was a very hard fought game on both sides.

  7. Ken Castles Jr.
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I still remember in 1972 when the underdog Eagles beat Saratoga in the playoffs. That had to be one of the biggest upsets I have ever seen in high school sports. Thanks go out to the Saratoga OG for tipping off the plays.

    • Cary A. Cardinale
      Posted July 23, 2015 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Ken I did not know you then but you pitched against us at Santa Teresa in the Easter tournament in 1975 and of course transferred to ST your senior year, having stellar football and baseball seasons and of course I vividly remember a buzzer beating winning shot in basketball.

      The 1972 Saratoga game – OG took the opening kickoff and scored 7-0. Saratoga came right back and scored but missed the XP 7-6. OG scored again and missed the XP – I can still picture Raushnot’s reaction after kicking wide. OG scored again and made a 2 point conversion on a fake FG type PAT 21-6 at half. The Eagles then scored their first drive of the 3rd Q making it 28-6, Saratoga then came on strong but succumbed 28-18.

      They would win it in 1973, 1976 and 1980 if I recall.

      I believe 1972 was one of the first, if not the first, year of CCS playoffs.

      • Ginger L Buss
        Posted August 11, 2023 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        My husband but then boyfriend, Bill Buss, played on that 1972 team!

  8. Joe Spicer
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    I Remember the Saratoga Game I was there with Cary Cardinale. .Otis Page was huge .I was better at baseball than both Ken Castles and Cary Cardinale

  9. Joe Soukup
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I was the starting middle linebacker for Oak Grove in 72 and the San Jose Mercury News ran a story
    that said Saratoga should beat Oak Grove 110 to 0 in that game. We had that score on our helmets all week
    during practice.We went into that game Ski Hi.We all had a great time not just in that game but the whole year.

  10. Scott Deremer
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Very proud to be a part of this tradition. I grew up across the street and watched all of these mentioned games and teams. Pretty awesome putting on that uniform when you grow up watching it for 20 years! My favorite moments was in 89 when I was called up from Frosh Soph and we ended up beating Bellarmine at SJCC.

  11. Richard Cortese
    Posted February 23, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Ken, your father was the best thing about football back then. I played for him at Lick my junior year & against him his first year at OG. Always in good humor & fun. I saw him after he started coaching at OG and someone asked him how it was going & he said ‘I had three players injured carrying out tackling dummies!’ 🙂

    • Ginger Buss
      Posted November 4, 2021 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      I went to OG from 1970 – 1974. My boyfriend adoring high school was
      Called up to Varsity as a Sophmore and they win their first game. I was so proud of him. He played football and baseball all 4 years of high school. We had some great football and baseball coaches back then and it’s a pleasure to call them friends now. We lost some wonderful people from our coaching staffs. Heart was broken when Ken Castles, Sr. passed. He was a very good man and not bad looking either! By the way, my boyfriend/husband was Bill Buss

  12. Norman Brown
    Posted August 1, 2020 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    I am the youngest member of the Brown family. The 8 children of Mike and Joanna Brown. All of us attended Oak Grove and played sports. My sister Anita Brown is one of the best female Athletes to ever come out of OG.
    My brother Drew Brown was the Captain of the 1978 Eagles team that went 14-1 and won the only TRUE central coast section championship. The 78’ playoffs were the first time ALL the Leagues attended. It is my belief that Marty Mornhenwig is arguably the greatest player to come out of this prestigious power house program. Finally, I would like to say that all FIVE of the Brown brothers all played football for OG and I was lucky enough to play 3 years on varsity 82, 83 & 84. In 1984 I was the Captain along with Shannon Mornhenwig of one of the best teams in OG history. We were ranked in the top ten in the Nation and #1 in the state before we lost in the semi final to Bellarmine who was ranked #2 in the state. We finished 12-1 and just outside the National rankings. Our defense was the best in school history with 8 shut outs giving up 52 points in 13 games!

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted August 1, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing. Went to that 1978 CCS final. I was a freshman at San Jose State. An avalanche of points for the Eagles.

  13. Ronnie Allega
    Posted April 8, 2021 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    I was the pulling guard in 78 #75 I think the smallest player but maybe the biggest heart. I loved my teammates and coaches. Best job I ever had.

  14. Justin rupprecht
    Posted August 17, 2021 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Ronnie i was your paper boy in 78 and you were one of my heroes.
    Judd rupprecht class of 85.

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