San Mateo Football History Highlights

San Mateo and Burlingame players battle it out during recent year of rivalry series. The first game between the two schools was played in 1927. Photo:

San Mateo and Burlingame players battle it out during recent year of rivalry series. The first game between the two schools was played in 1927. Photo:

Hailing as the namesake high school of the city that is the hometown of NFL legend Tom Brady, the Bearcats are mostly known for their long rivalry with Burlingame, the years they rolled when they were coached by Buz Williams and for having some record-breaking running backs. This is the fifth school of the summer in which we have compiled its all-time football scores archive.

Up next in this series: Cathedral (Los Angeles). We hope to find out more about the Phantoms than just some of the prolific passing and receiving record breakers they have had in recent years. For more on the Cal-Hi Sports football archives project and how we can help your school, CLICK HERE. Note: One doesn’t have to be the football coach or AD to order this work. It can be presented to any school as a gift.


They say there’s still a little bit of a “Buz” in the air when anyone goes to a San Mateo High football game.

It would be hard for that not to be true because Buz Williams was the head coach of the Bearcats for more than 30 years and after his departure in 1996 continued to mentor a lot of young coaches, including Jeff Scheller, San Mateo’s current head coach and athletic director.

San Mateo head coach Jeff Scheller (who is also the school's athletic director) works the sideline during a game last season. Photo:

San Mateo head coach Jeff Scheller (who is also the school’s athletic director) works the sideline during a game last season. Photo:

From 1965 through 1996, Williams’ teams at San Mateo won 201 times with eight league titles and two CIF Central Coast Section crowns. The Bearcats had one additional CCS title in 2003 under the guidance of head coach T.J. Ewing, who then left to start the program at Monterey Trail of Elk Grove (a team that has been in two CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title games).

San Mateo’s back-to-back unbeaten teams in 1974 and 1975 that Williams had were tough to score on, but that was nothing compared to the Bearcats of 1985. Counting two shutouts to end the 1984 season, they blanked their first six opponents for 1985 and other than one touchdown given up to Mills of Millbrae in a 48-7 win they nearly had 11 straight shutout wins. That would have tied the state record set in 1899 by Los Angeles. San Mateo went on to beat Aragon of San Mateo 19-14 to win a CCS divisional title.

For many years, Aragon was coached by Britt Williams, brother of Buz, which caused a lot of extra media attention (especially because Aragon tended to be outstanding in those years as well).

San Mateo followed up its 1985 season by going unbeaten again and winning a second straight CCS title. The team eventually got its winning streak to 29 games before a loss in 1987 to Woodside.

This is a program, however, that has two CIF state titles to go with the CCS crowns. The first actually came in rugby when that sport was played as a replacement for football. San Mateo won the 1917 state title with a 20-3 win over Stockton. The 1926 Bearcats then won the CIF state football title with a 20-0 shutout of Covina. They lost in 1927 in the semifinals 14-0 to Bakersfield, which then won the state title by a much more healthy 38-0 margin over Fullerton.

The 1927 team’s only other loss was 7-6 to Burlingame, which featured students that previously attended San Mateo. It was that familiarity that fueled a rivalry, which later came to be known as the Little Big Game (a reference to the Cal-Stanford Big Game). Despite San Mateo having won a CIF state title in 1926, it took until 1932 before the Bearcats could beat Burlingame.

Those 1985 and 1986 teams also featured running back Peter Tuipulotu, who was named the Bay Area Offensive Player of the Year and later was a standout in the Canadian Football League.

Albert Tuipulotu broke his records in 1996 and also set Northern California records at the time with 2,654 yards rushing and 45 touchdowns.

Toke Kefu was another record-setting running back for the Bearcats in the 2003 season. In that year, he rushed for 2,699 yards. Both Tuipulotu and Kefu also still have totals that are listed in the state record book.

Here are some other San Mateo football records that the school has been sent courtesy of this archive initiative:


This is the cover of the 50th anniversary of the Little Big Game, which is played each year between San Mateo and Burlingame.

This is the cover of the 50th anniversary of the Little Big Game, which is played each year between San Mateo and Burlingame.

1910s: 32-19-3 (counting rugby same as football) (plus one win from 1904 vs. Cal frosh)

1920s: 51-27-9 (plus four forfeit/default losses & counting rugby same as football)

1930s: 27-63-9

1940s: 27-52-5

1950s: 40-46-4

1960s: 57-32-2

1970s: 58-32-2

1980s: 70-33-0

1990s: 53-50-2

2000s: 48-56-1

2010s: 25-38-1


489 WINS, 448 LOSSES, 38 TIES*

*Note: Four forfeit wins (all four were by default) not included. Including those results, 1920s record would be 55-27-9 and all-time would be 493-448-38.

(Based on half-win, half-loss for tie)

Best Records For Single Season
12-0 – 1985
12-0 – 1986
10-0 – 1974
10-0 – 1975
13-0-1 – 1917 (rugby)
8-0-1 – 1924
10-1 – 1982

Worst Records For Single Season
0-10 – 2006
0-9 – 1958
0-8 – 1938
0-7 – 1943
1-9 – 1935
1-9 – 1997
1-9 – 2004

Records Against Notable Opponents
39-17 VS. Jefferson (Daly City)
32-24-5 VS. Sequoia (Redwood City)
22-27 VS. Hillsdale (San Mateo)
22-31 VS. Aragon (San Mateo)
32-52-4 VS. Burlingame*
*Rivalry that began in 1927 is regarded as one of the best in Northern California.
Note: Rugby scores counted for Sequoia for 1915, 1917.

Most Points Scored (Single Game)
69 VS. McClymonds (Oakland) 1968
61 VS. Hillsdale (San Mateo) 1996
60 VS. El Camino (South San Francisco) 2002
58 VS. Capuchino (San Bruno) 1982
57 VS. Mills (Millbrae) 1986
56 VS. Monterey 1927
56 VS. Capuchino (San Bruno) 1985
56 VS. Mills (Millbrae) 1992
55 VS. Mountain View 1922
55 VS. Sequoia (Redwood City) 1996
54 VS. Crestmoor (Daly City) 1968

Most Lopsided Wins
69-6 VS. McClymonds (Oakland) 1968
58-0 VS. Capuchino (San Bruno) 1982
56-0 VS. Capuchino (San Bruno) 1985
56-0 VS. Mills (Millbrae) 1992
61-7 VS. Hillsdale (San Mateo) 1996
53-0 VS. San Jose 1926
53-0 VS. Mills (Millbrae) 1982
51-0 VS. Sequoia (Redwood City) 1927
57-6 VS. Mills (Millbrae) 1986
50-0 VS. William Warren 1924

Most Points Allowed (Single Game)
58 VS. Aragon (San Mateo) 1997
57 VS. Serra (San Mateo) 1968
56 VS. Aragon (San Mateo) 2004
55 VS. Piedmont Hills (San Jose) 2002
54 VS. Serra (San Mateo) 1969
54 VS. Aragon (San Mateo) 2005
54 VS. King’s Academy (Sunnyvale) 2011
53 VS. Jefferson (Daly City) 1998
53 VS. Jefferson (Daly City) 2015
50 VS. Aragon (San Mateo) 1993
50 VS. Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 2003
50 VS. Terra Nova (Pacifica) 2010
50 VS. Aragon (San Mateo) 2011
50 VS. Terra Nova (Pacifica) 2011

Most Lopsided Losses
58-0 VS. Argaon (San Mateo) 1997
50-0 VS. Aragon (San Mateo) 1993
48-0 VS. Burlingame 2013
47-0 VS. Lick (San Francisco) 2013 (Rugby)
54-7 VS. Aragon (San Mateo) 2005
53-7 VS. Jefferson (Daly City) 1998
45-0 VS. Capuchino (San Bruno) 1957

Longest Winning Streaks
29 – 1984-1987 (won last two, then 12-0, then 12-0 and then first two of 1987)
22 – 1973-1976 (won last two, then 10-0, then 10-0 and then lost first game of 1976 season)
15 – 1924-1925 (won eight straight after season-opening tie, then seven straight in following season before loss in final game)*
13 – 1917 (won 13 straight after opening season with a tie)**
*Also part of 18-0-2 unbeaten streak.
**Also part of 17-0-3 unbeaten streak (rugby).

Longest Losing Streaks
15 – 2005-2007 (lost last game, then 0-10 season and then lost first four of following season)
14 – 1957-1959 (lost last five, then 0-9 season, then a tie and loss to start 1959)*
10 – 1942-1944 (lost last game, then 0-7 season, then next two for 1944 before streak ended)*
*Also part of 0-15-1 winless streak.

Remember, any school in the state or a fan/supporter of any school in the state can have this research completed in a customized fashion in return for a reasonable fee. For details, CLICK HERE.

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

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One Comment

  1. Michael Battles
    Posted February 29, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I play for Coach Buzz Williams on the 1982 bearcat varsity team we were very Disappointed and losing to Westmoor high In round of the playoffs. Eva so I am proud of the team and all of the bearcat teams that at least had the courage to get out on the field at five for our school and I’m also happy and proud to see the 1982 Bearcats on a few of those list a great accomplishments thank you for your time and my name is Michael battles senior

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