The Braves didn’t do much in their first five decades on the gridiron, but since 1970 have been among the winningest programs in the state. Already this decade, they are 59-7 and have had a 32-game winning streak. The school now has all of its football scores in one archive provided by Cal-Hi Sports.
Up next in this series: Palma (Salinas). For more on the Cal-Hi Sports football archives project and on how we can help your school, CLICK HERE.
As we were inputting the all-time football scores from Lompoc (which had a first game reported way back in 1921) it was hard to not to root for the team that would finally come through and win a CIF Southern Section championship.
Talk about hard luck. Beginning in 1970, it took seven attempts over a 20-year span before the Braves finally broke through to win in a title game and there were four other teams that got as far as the semifinals.
One of those title game losses was particularly hard to swallow. That was the CIFSS Northwestern Division championship in 1980 against San Luis Obispo. Not only were the Braves 13-0 heading into that game, but they had beaten the Tigers 15-11 earlier in the year and also had beaten SLO eight times in a row. None of that mattered, however, as the Tigers pulled off the 7-0 upset.
The 1989 loss in the CIFSS Division VII final at El Camino College between Lompoc and Serra of Gardena was witnessed by Cal-Hi Sports because it was the first matchup in state history between two teams that were both 13-0. This also was the junior season for Lompoc’s most famous player ever, running back Napoleon Kaufman, and despite Kaufman returning a kickoff for a score and getting loose several times it was Serra that had too much firepower in a 34-31 win that rivals Serra’s recent overtime win over Oaks Christian of Westlake Village as one of the best games we’ve ever seen.
In Kaufman’s senior year in 1990, the Braves took one loss to Marina of Huntington Beach (17-7) but this time head coach Dick Barrett and the boys got it done with a 12-7 triumph over Arroyo of El Monte in the CIFSS Division VII title game.
Kaufman would later be named the State Player of the Year and went on to star at Washington and with the Oakland Raiders. He’s currently the head football coach at Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland, but being a minister in Livermore is his full-time job.
Barrett is one of five consecutive successful head coaches the school has had since Jim Spruill took over in 1965 and coached that first CIFSS finals’ team in 1970. Spruill, a former NFL player himself who died in 2006, was succeeded in 1975 by Mike Warren.
Warren said in a Santa Barbara Independent story in 2010 that from 1977 to 1980 that Lompoc played in more games than any team in the nation since all of those teams went to at least the CIFSS semifinals and played 13, 13, 14 and 14 games, respectively.
Barrett came in for the 1986 season after Warren left to coach at UC Santa Barbara (the Gauchos last had a football team in 1992) and then in 1991 he became the school’s athletic director with Robin Luken taking over as the football coach.
Luken’s teams didn’t miss a beat at the beginning of his tenure, including back-to-back CIFSS title teams in 2002 and 2003. After Lompoc was put into the PAC-7 League in 2006, however, against bigger schools, some struggles ensued. He resigned after the 2009 season (the team went 1-9) and since the 2010 season the squad has been led by current head coach Andrew Jones.
Jones and the Braves went 11-3 and the team won the CIFSS Northwest Division title in his first season. In fairness to Luken, however, this was also after the Braves were realigned again and were put back into the smaller-school Los Padres League. Still, some of Jones’ recent teams have to go down as among the best in school history.
That was followed by a 14-0 campaign in 2011 in which the school probably should have been chosen for the CIF Division III state bowl game but wasn’t in a controversial vote that went to Washington of Easton (which also was unbeaten) from the CIF Central Section. The Braves nonetheless were still picked as the Cal-Hi Sports Division III State Team of the Year (Washington was the pick for D4 in our five-division state rankings format).
In 2012, Lompoc might have been even better than 2011 but that season the team was in the stronger CIFSS Western Division. After going 12-0 and seeing the team’s win streak reach 32 games (longest in the state at the time), the Braves ran into ultra-talented Serra of Gardena and lost 34-21. That is the same Serra team Lompoc beat in 2002 and 2003, but by then the Cavaliers were eyeing the big-time and were collecting all of those major D1 college recruits they’re now known for.
With Jones now up to 59-7 in his five seasons, it was interesting to count up Lompoc’s reported all-time win total to 549. This doesn’t include one forfeit win and there could be some scores missing from the 1920s, but that means the 500th win took place in Jones’ first season and it’s a total that puts the school into the state record book.
REPORTED ALL-TIME RECORD HEADING INTO 2015 SEASON:
549 WINS, 352 LOSSES, 21 TIES*
*Note: Forfeit win from 1998 not included. Including that result, 1990s record would be 87-36-0 and all-time would 550-351-21.
55.0 ALL-TIME WINNING PERCENTAGE
(Based on half-win, half-loss for tie)
Best Records For Single Season
14-0 – 2011
13-1 – 1980
13-1 – 1989
13-1 – 1990
12-1 – 1977
12-1 – 2004
12-1 – 2012
Worst Records For Single Season
1-9 – 2009
1-8 – 1938
1-8 – 1956
1-7 – 1925
1-7 – 1946
Note: Doesn’t include 0-1 reported record for first season (1921).
Most Points Scored (Single Game)
80 – VS. Nipomo, 2013
74 – VS. Santa Maria, 2011
69 – VS. Santa Maria, 1995
69 – VS. Righetti (Santa Maria), 1995
69 – VS. Cabrillo (Lompoc), 2000
66 – VS. Harvard (Los Angeles), 1960
66 – VS. Cabrillo (Lompoc), 2012
64 – VS. Santa Ynez, 2013
Most Lopsided Wins
69-0 – VS. Santa Maria, 1995*
69-0 – VS. Righetti (Santa Maria), 1995*
66-0 – VS. Harvard (Los Angeles), 1960
66-0 – VS. Cabrillo (Lompoc), 2012
74-7 – VS. Santa Maria, 2011
69-6 – VS. Cabrillo (Lompoc), 2000
64-3 – VS. Santa Ynez, 2013
60-0 – VS. Arroyo Grande, 1969
Most Points Allowed (Single Game)
59 – VS. Santa Maria, 1932
58 – VS. Arroyo Grande, 1998
57 – VS. Santa Maria, 1946
56 – VS. San Luis Obispo, 1931
Most Lopsided Losses
59-0 – VS. Santa Maria, 1932
56-0 – VS. San Luis Obispo, 1931
54-0 – VS. Hart (Newhall), 1946
53-0 – VS. Santa Maria, 1924
54-7 – VS. Arroyo Grande, 1938
Records Against Notable Opponents
23-7 VS. Santa Ynez
38-14 VS. Cabrillo (Lompoc)
47-31-3 VS. Arroyo Grande
18-14-0 VS. Santa Barbara
35-33-2 VS. San Luis Obispo
23-25-3 VS. Atascadero
38-43-1 VS. Santa Maria*
8-26-1 VS. Paso Robles
*Lost first 19 times the Braves played this opponent.
Longest Winning Streaks
32 – 2010-2012 (won last six, then 14-0 season, then first 12)
23 – 2003-2004 (won last 11, then first 12)
13 – 1980 (13-0 start, lost last)
13 – 1989 (13-0 start, lost last)
Longest Losing Streaks
15 – 2008-2009 (lost last six, then first nine)
8 – 1937-38 (lost last three, then first five)
8 – 1956-57 (lost last seven, then first game of ensuing 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.
Thanks to Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens for contributing to this post. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports