Super 50 All-Time Great FB Teams

This is the cover illustration from the seventh edition of the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book. All 50 teams selected among greatest in state history have previously been chronicled within our comprehensive all-time state lists.

This is the cover illustration from the seventh edition of the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book. All 50 football teams selected among greatest in state history have previously been chronicled within our comprehensive all-time state lists.


With the CIF state bowl games putting a capper on the 2015 season, we thought it’s a perfect time to release our first-ever package of what we think would be a solid ranking of the 50 greatest football teams in state history. Go inside here for intro/criteria and alphabetical list of the 50 teams.

FOR TEAMS RANKED FROM NO. 1 TO NO. 10 (GOLD CLUB), CLICK HERE.

FOR TEAMS RANKED FROM NO. 11 TO NO. 20 (GOLD CLUB), CLICK HERE.

FOR TEAMS RANKED FROM NO. 21 TO NO. 30 (GOLD CLUB), CLICK HERE.

FOR TEAMS RANKED FROM NO. 31 TO NO. 40 (GOLD CLUB), CLICK HERE.

FOR TEAMS RANKED FROM NO. 41 TO NO. 50 (GOLD CLUB), CLICK HERE.

Note: All of the writeups, grid logs, photos and more for all of these teams are for our Gold Club members only. Starting today, we also are now offering Gold Club signups for just $9.99 for three months. If you’ve thought about joining, just going through this first-ever attempt at ranking the greatest football teams in state history may be worth it just by itself. For details, CLICK HERE.

Before beginning to go through these 50 trips down memory lane, this is not a ranking of the 50 “best” teams in state history because obviously many teams from 50, 60, 90 years ago wouldn’t be able to step on the same field with some of the super-fast, super-sized squads of modern times.

Greatness is about historical context, it’s about being that much better than one’s contemporary competition and it’s about being No. 1 in the state and No. 1 in the nation, which in most years in California was mythical and not determined on the field. It’s still purely mythical nationally.

Arguing about which teams deserve to be ranked higher and which teams have been missed is the point of such a task. It’s expected and kind of fun.

Mike Moustakas and 2004 baseball team at Chatsworth were recently ranked as No. 2 on state's greatest list behind 1958 Fresno. To see that list, CLICK HERE. Photo: Chatsworthbaseball.org.

Mike Moustakas and 2004 baseball team at Chatsworth were recently ranked as No. 2 on state’s greatest list behind 1958 Fresno. To see that list, CLICK HERE. Photo: Chatsworthbaseball.org.


For these all-time state rankings, which also have previously been done in baseball, we are not going to go against our own published state rankings for a given season. There is one example in football in which we did not (it is explained where it happened) but if a team was not No. 1 in the final Cal-Hi Sports rankings it wasn’t going to be ranked in this package in front of the team that was ranked higher for that season.

Secondly, finishing No. 1 in a credible national ranking also was used as a barometer to measure a team’s greatness. We also were looking for historical achievements plus we received input from several individuals, particularly managing editor Ronnie Flores, who previously compiled an all-time ranking of top teams for the L.A. City Section, along with Bob Barnett (CIF Central Section historian), Bruce McIntosh (legendary football scores compiler) and the duo of Steve Brand and Rick Smith of San Diego. Bruce’s scores of each team also was available to us for usage and we decided to include them all.

In addition, Ronnie was invaluable for providing some of the writeups and was consulted several times as the actual rankings were being done. We also spoke to several De La Salle Athletic Hall of Fame board members about that school’s teams that should be highest in these rankings.

We didn’t speak to them but found work from the following to be very helpful in this endeavor: Doug Huff (founder National Prep Poll and Student Sports/ESPN FAB 50), Mike Guardabascio (Long Beach Press-Telegram), Eric Sondheimer (L.A. Times), Joe Davidson (Sacramento Bee) and Pat Jacobs (Los Angeles Loyola).

Finally, of course, nothing we’ve ever done, including this project and the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book & Almanac, would be possible without all the research that was done for so many years by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis (1936-2004).

Here is an alphabetical list of the 50 teams we’ve decided to include in this feature:

Anaheim 1956
Bakersfield 1927
Banning (Wilmington) 1980
Bellarmine (San Jose) 1965
Bellarmine (San Jose) 1981
Berkeley 1957
Bishop Amat (La Puente) 1971
Bishop Amat (La Puente) 1992
Bishop Amat (La Puente) 1994
Blair (Pasadena) 1969
Bonita (La Verne) 1942
Carson 1971
Centennial (Corona) 2008
Cordova (Rancho Cordova) 1975
De La Salle (Concord) 1992
De La Salle (Concord) 1994
De La Salle (Concord) 1998
De La Salle (Concord) 1999
De La Salle (Concord) 2001
De La Salle (Concord) 2003
De La Salle (Concord) 2010
De La Salle (Concord) 2014
Downey 1956
Eisenhower (Rialto) 1993
Elk Grove 1998
El Rancho (Pico Rivera) 1966
El Toro (Lake Forest) 1986
Folsom 2014
Grant (Sacramento) 2008
Fontana 1987
Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 1919
Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 1959
Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 2001
Loyola (Los Angeles) 1975
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 1998
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 1994
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 1996
Merced 1990
Mission Viejo 2004
Morse (San Diego) 1990
Mt. Whitney (Visalia) 1978
Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 2006
Piedmont 1940
San Fernando 1974
San Diego 1916
San Diego 1955
Servite (Anaheim) 1982
St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 2013
Vallejo 1954
Vista 1985

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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7 Comments

  1. Ernesto Cortez
    Posted December 18, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    see merced 1990

    • Steve Andrews
      Posted March 10, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      In 1985, the top football team in California was the undefeated Cordova Lancers of Sacramento, featuring quarterback Troy Taylor, who went on to start at Cal for 4 years, play for the Jets, then recently coached Folsom to a couple of state championships. The top team was NOT, in any way, shape, or form, Vista! They would have been another victim that year of undefeated Cordova.

      • Mark Tennis
        Posted March 13, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        We will never know and we will never change one of our rankings. Sorry. You are entitled, but in our records 1985 will forever be Vista and that’s cool since it forever lists a team led by the late, great Sal Aunese.

        • Carl lackey
          Posted December 1, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

          I agree with you I’m a little biased because I coach that team in 1985 with Sal and you are correct he was a hell of a man always kind words always good things to say it was a great team and always will be I was also fortunate enough to play In the 1974 CIF team For vista 13-0 And still wear my ring

  2. James
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    No folsom 2010….considering they crushed grant in revenge and a great serra team un cif d2…u have dls 2010 and both were exceptional that year

  3. Joe Brunansky
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Wow, no West Covina 1965 team with future All PAC 10 players Sandy Durko (USC)and Ken Weidemann (Cal) who went on to play for the Bengals and Bears respectively. That team went 13-0 allowing only a total of 38 points and still holds the CIF record for most shutouts in a season (9).

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted January 10, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      We didn’t check them out that closely since they weren’t in the top division and there are at least three others from the CIFSS who have had nine shutouts and we have one, Valley Christian of Cerritos, with 10 in 1985. We will check them out for the next time we do the feature. We expanded from 50 to 55 this year and probably will go from 55 to 60 next year.

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