L.A. Cathedral FB History Highlights

This image is from Los Angeles Cathedral's twitter page. It appears to be receiver Martaveous Holliday from the Phantoms' 2013 season. Photo: PhantomsFootball.com.

This image is from Los Angeles Cathedral’s twitter page. It appears to be receiver Martaveous Holliday from the Phantoms’ 2013 season. Photo: PhantomsFootball.com.

The 1970s and 1980s were pretty awful for the Phantoms, but since head coach Kevin Pearson arrived in 1995 they’ve won 175 times and have established themselves as one of the most potent offensive teams in the state. This is the sixth school of the summer in which we have compiled its all-time football scores archive.

Up next in this series: Tamalpais (Mill Valley). They haven’t always been the Red-Tailed Hawks and they have had some stellar seasons, just not that many recently. 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.


After seasons of 10-2 and 11-2 and with many standout players returning, hopes are high for the upcoming football season at Cathedral High of Los Angeles.

A good hint as to how high is that the team is taking on one of its oldest rivals this season, Loyola of Los Angeles, an opponent it hasn’t beaten since 1961 and hasn’t played since suffering 10 losses in a row in a 12-year span from 1962 to 1973.

The new CIF Southern Section playoff divisions based on competitive equity may give head coach Kevin Pearson's team a better chance of winning the school's first section title ever. Photo: cathedralhighschool.org.

The new CIF Southern Section playoff divisions based on competitive equity may give head coach Kevin Pearson’s team a better chance of winning the school’s first section title ever. Photo: cathedralhighschool.org.

Some of the top returning players for Cathedral include quarterback Andrew Tovar, a three-year starter who passed for 3,712 yards and 47 TDs last season, Oregon State-bound receiver Arex Flemings, who caught 54 passes for 854 yards and 11 TDs, and USC-bound All-American defensive end Hunter Echols, who had 79 tackles and 17 sacks.

Having prolific quarterbacks, though, is nothing new for head coach Kevin Pearson. Shortly after his arrival in 1995, it was only one year before he had a team that went 12-2 and scored 646 points. Then in 1998, junior quarterback Robert De La Cruz set a Cal-Hi Sports state record with 61 touchdown passes while throwing for 3,882 yards. De La Cruz broke that record the next season with 63 TD passes, a state mark that stood up until it was beaten recently by Folsom’s Jake Browning and then taken up to the ungodly number of 90 in 2014.

In De La Cruz’s senior season, Cathedral receiver Earvin Johnson (no relation to Magic) tied the Cal-Hi Sports state record at the time of 29 TD catches held since 1970 by John McKay Jr. of La Puente Bishop Amat. Johnson also would go on to set the career state record with 66 TD catches, a record that still stands.

Cathedral has actually been playing football since 1926 and for most of the time has been more well known for its unique nickname – the Phantoms – which derives from its site on an old cemetery not far down the hill from Dodger Stadium and also not far from the downtown L.A. skyscrapers.

The Phantoms have never won a CIF Southern Section football title, but they’ve been in two finals – once in 1930 in a loss to El Monte in the old Northern Division and once in 1996 when Pearson’s first high-scoring squad fell to Yucca Valley in Division XI.

There also were some other early Cathedral teams that probably would have won in CIFSS lower divisions, but in some years played in the highest division. In 1934, for example, the Phantoms won their first nine games before losing to Long Beach Poly 26-7. The 1947 team also was strong, but lost to San Diego High in the playoffs and then played L.A. Washington of the L.A. City Section at the L.A. Coliseum and lost 42-21.

One of the best coaching families in CIFSS history is closely tied to the school. Cathedral grad Dick Salter was the team’s head coach from 1957 to 1968 before going on to greater success at other schools. Salter’s son, Tim, also was once the head coach of the Phantoms before he moved on to Upland, where he recently won his 200th game. Another of Salter’s sons, Tom, has been the head coach at Bishop Amat and Culver City and is currently the athletic director at Culver City.

The doldrums in Cathedral’s history clearly came from the late 1960s all the way to 1991. In fact, from 1966 through the 1990 season, the Phantoms only had two winning seasons and in those seasons they were only 5-4 and 6-5.

After the 1991 team went 8-3 under then head coach Jesse Carrillo, Cathedral followed up with 6-5, 5-5-1 and 5-5 campaigns before Pearson’s arrival in 1995. Since then, there’s only been one losing season and 10 seasons of at least 10 wins or more. Pearson’s record at Cathedral stands at 175-66 so he’s not too far from joining Dick Salter’s son in the 200-win club.

Here are some other L.A. Cathedral football records that the school has been sent courtesy of this archive initiative:

Cathedral logo

1920s: 8-12-2

1930s: 49-35-5 (plus two wins by forfeit/default)

1940s: 43-33-2

1950s: 42-42-5

1960s: 41-43-4

1970s: 26-62-2

1980s: 36-62-4

1990s: 79-36-1

2000s: 81-33-0

2010s: 43-23-0 (plus one loss by forfeit/default)


448 WINS, 381 LOSSES, 25 TIES*

*Note: Two forfeit wins and one forfeit loss not included. Including those results, 1930s record would be 51-35-5, 2010s record would be 43-24 and all-time would be 440-382-25.

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

Best Records For Single Season
12-1 – 1999
11-1 – 2000
9-1 – 1934
12-2 – 1996
11-2 – 1998
11-2 – 2010
11-2 – 2015

Worst Records For Single Season
0-9 – 1971
0-6-1 – 1941
1-8 – 1968
1-8 – 1970
1-7 – 1955

Records Against Notable Opponents
21-13-1 VS. Cantwell-Sacred Heart (Montebello)
6-3 VS. Verbum Dei (Los Angeles)
12-10 VS. Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood)
12-10-1 VS. Salesian (Los Angeles)
14-28-1 VS. Loyola (Los Angeles)
Notes: Some of Cathedral’s top rivals from earlier years, such as Daniel Murphy (Los Angeles) & Pater Noster (Los Angeles, are schools that no longer exist. Records vs. Cantwell-Sacred Heart and Harvard-Westlake include years before those two schools consolidated with girls schools and were known as Cantwell and Harvard, respectively. Cathedral hasn’t played Loyola since 1973, but is playing the Cubs this season. Loyola had won 10 in a row when the series was stopped. Cathedral won three in a row in 1959, 1960 and 1961.

Most Points Scored (Single Game)
83 VS. Washington (Los Angeles) 2015
82 VS. Cantwell (Montebello) 2000
80 VS. Murphy (Los Angeles) 1997
74 VS. Salesian (Los Angeles) 2000
73 VS. St. Genevieve (Panorama City) 1996
73 VS. Bosco Tech (Rosemead) 2006
73 VS. Locke (Los Angeles) 2014
71 VS. La Salle (Pasadena) 2014
70 VS. Bosco Tech (Rosemead) 1996
69 VS. Santa Clara (Oxnard) 2009
68 VS. Pius X (Downey) 1995
68 VS. St. Genevieve (Panorama City) 1997
68 VS. St. Genevieve (Panorama City) 1998
66 VS. Verbum Dei (Los Angeles) 2015
65 VS. Bosco Tech (Rosemead) 1997
65 VS. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 2003
64 VS. Flintridge Prep (La Canada) 1999
64 VS. La Salle (Pasadena) 1999

Most Lopsided Wins
83-0 VS. Washington (Los Angeles) 2015
82-0 VS. Cantwell (Montebello) 2000
74-0 VS. Salesian (Los Angeles) 2000
68-0 VS. Pius X (Downey) 1995
66-0 VS. Verbum Dei (Los Angeles) 2015
65-0 VS. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 2003
63-0 VS. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 2002
62-0 VS. Marshall (Pasadena) 1997
62-0 VS. Contreras (Los Angeles) 2008
62-0 VS. Contreras (Los Angeles) 2009
69-7 VS. Santa Clara (Oxnard) 2009
63-3 VS. St. Anthony (Long Beach) 1999
59-0 VS. Ambassador 2000
58-0 VS. Kern Valley (Lake Isabella) 1998
63-6 VS. Murphy (Los Angeles) 1996
56-0 VS. Murphy (Los Angeles) 1999
62-6 VS. Salesian (Los Angeles) 1999
63-7 VS. St. Bernard (Playa del Rey) 2013
55-0 VS. Mary Star (San Pedro) 1991
55-0 VS. Workman (City of Industry) 2005
68-13 VS. St. Genevieve (Panorama City) 1997
73-18 VS. Locke (Los Angeles) 2014
61-7 VS. Muir (Pasadena) 2015
70-17 VS. Bosco Tech (Rosemead) 1996
51-0 VS. Moorpark 1975

Most Points Allowed (Single Game)
62 VS. Paraclete (Lancaster) 1998
62 VS. Chaminade (West Hills) 2012
56 VS. Cantwell (Montebello) 1971
56 VS. Bishop Amat (La Puente) 2011
56 VS. Bishop Amat (La Puente) 2012
55 VS. Crespi (Encino) 1972
55 VS Mary Star (San Pedro) 1978
55 VS. Mary Star (San Pedro) 1990
54 VS. St. Francis (La Canada) 2011
53 VS. Serra (Gardena) 2010
50 VS. St. Monica (Santa Monica) 1988
49 VS. Oak Park 1991
48 VS. Loyola (Los Angeles) 1928
48 VS. Lutheran (Orange) 1993
48 VS. Westchester (Los Angeles) 2005

Most Lopsided Losses
55-0 VS. Crespi (Encino) 1972
55-0 VS. Mary Star (San Pedro) 1990
50-0 VS. St. Monica (Santa Monica) 1988
56-7 VS. Bishop Amat (La Puente) 2011
56-7 VS. Bishop Amat (La Puente) 2012
48-0 VS. Loyola (Los Angeles) 1928
47-0 VS. Loyola (Los Angeles) 1949

Longest Winning Streaks
12 – 1999 (lost last game after 12-0 start)
11 – 2000 (lost last game after 11-0 start)
9 – 1934 (lost last game after 9-0 start)
9 – 1954 (lost first game, then 9-0, then loss)
9 – 1997 (lost second game, then 9-0, then loss)
9 – 2008 (lost in 10th game after 9-0 start)
9 – 2009 (lost in 10th game after 9-0 start)

Longest Losing Streaks
14 – 1970-1971 (lost last five games, then 0-9 season before winning to start 1972)
8 – 1968 (won first game, then lost last eight)
8 – 1983-84 (lost last seven, then started 0-1)
8 – 1985-86 (lost last four, then first four of following season)

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.

Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens also contributed to this post. 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 Gomez '76
    Posted September 7, 2016 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Mark Tennis and everyone else involved in researching Cathedral’s football history. I’m a ’76 alumnus and was on the team that defeated Moorpark in a non-league game 51-0 in 1975. It was a cold rainy night in Moorpark and the long bus ride was worth it. Great to see that result on the list of most lopsided wins. We are on the right path to our first section title. No doubt it will be the crowning jewel on the updated list. Thanks again, Robert.

    • Mario A. Manrique
      Posted July 16, 2018 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      I remember the night. Playing defense end and closing every play that came my way. I don’t remember it raining, but it was a cold dark night. We came to play. Our defense was strong, Albert & Raymond at tackles and Ed at the other defense of end. It was a tune up game to Cantwell. We had a strong win streak going until we play cantwell high school for our last non-conference game. A battle which we won on the field, the score says a different story Cat 14 vs Cantwell 16.
      Chaminade high was our first league game which we won, making our record 4 wins 1 lost. Best start for the 70’s . The falling year team play for a league title. Losing to Paraclete high on a Friday night in Lancaster . That night was very cold. We play our hearts off. One mistake turn to the game over to Paraclete high . Cat 14 vs Paraclete 16. We also enter the play offs with a win over Rowland high school. They were much bigger than us. Our hard work and team unity show on the field . We took charge of every play. First quarter 0 to 0, second quarter 0 to 0. Half time. Beginning third quarter and ending 0 to 0. Rowland began the fourth quarter with a punt. We blew threw the line and block Rowland punt. I grab the bal as it bounce off the field and ran for the first score. Etc. Cat 14 vs Rowland 6. Donald Chapman phantom quarter back sneak for 80 yard run.

      • Ken Cordle
        Posted August 22, 2018 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        Hi Mario. You mentioned that your first league game in 1975 was against Chaminade which you won. I was a defensive end for Chaminade that year. It was a great game. You guys hit hard. So did we. Not much scoring but you scored enough to win. One good thing happened though. Our offense played so poorly that our coach benched the QB and i started at QB the next two years at Chaminade. We beat Paraclete in my first start. I always liked playing you guys. We hit each other hard. I hope the years have been good for you since. God Bless.

        • Mario Manrique
          Posted June 29, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

          Hello Ken, just finishing reading your post. Thanks for the reply. When we played you guys at Chaminade in 76, were you playing quartet back? Question, do you have any photos of the game or photos in your year books that shows Cathedral vs Chaminade year 74, 75 & 76? If you do, would like to check them out if possible. Let me know and we can exchange old memories. I will check my year books, and photos that I have. Let me know so we can exchange numbers. Hope all is well for you and family.

          • Ken Cordle
            Posted June 18, 2021 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            Hi Mario,
            Thanks for responding. Yeah, I was the Quarterback in the game in 1976. Not my best game. But you guys played tough and won. I’m at work, but I will check this weekend to see what photos I might have. I think there a couple pictures from my yearbook. I will let you know. Then we can exchange numbers when I find them. Nice to hear from you.

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