Bishop O’Dowd FB History Highlights

Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland football players run onto the field before a game last season against San Leandro. The two teams could be playing for a league championship when they meet this season on November 4. Photo: Ela Blalek/

Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland football players run onto the field before a game last season against San Leandro. The two teams could be playing for a league championship when they meet this season on November 4. Photo: Ela Blalek/

A school that’s well-known for basketball has been more than good in football, especially if you look at it’s 62.7 percent all-time winning percentage and the number of players who’ve gone on to do well in the NFL.

Up next in this series: Buena Park. The Coyotes have been a top talent producer in recent years and are currently loaded with Division I prospects. We can’t wait to figure out their all-time reported record. 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.


To say that Bishop O’Dowd High of Oakland is known for basketball would be an understatement. The Dragons already have become the first school in the state to win the CIF Open Division state title for both the girls and the boys and they’ve been among the state’s very best on the boys side for perhaps 50 years.

But did you know that O’Dowd actually has had more players go on to start in the NFL than it has had players go on to the NBA?

Langston Walker and Eric Bjornson received golden footballs that were given to O'Dowd earlier this year in celebration of the 50th Super Bowl. They both played in the game. Photo:

Langston Walker and Eric Bjornson received golden footballs that were given to O’Dowd earlier this year in celebration of the 50th Super Bowl. They both played in the game. Photo:

Although many Dragons have starred in college and current Cal standout Ivan Rabb seems NBA-bound very soon, former NBA head coach Brian Shaw and Guy Williams are the only two from the school who’ve played in the NBA.

On the NFL side, it’s a much longer list that includes linebacker Hardy Nickerson, linebacker Kirk Morrison, tight end Eric Bjornson, offensive tackle Langston Walker and offensive tackle Tarik Glenn.

Perhaps the most surprising element of the O’Dowd football story is that it only began in 1970. That is more than 15 years after the school itself started and after it started winning 30 games a season in basketball.

In the first seasons, the Dragons played a small school schedule before eventually settling into a Catholic Athletic League lineup that included other similar East Bay parochial schools such as St. Mary’s of Berkeley, Moreau of Hayward, Salesian of Richmond and De La Salle of Concord.

Under head coach Paul Perenon, who led the program from 1985 to 2009 and won more than 200 games, O’Dowd achieved its most success, especially in the late 1990s.

The Dragons followed up a 10-1 season in 1996 by going 12-0-1 in 1997 and winning the school’s first CIF North Coast Section title with a 28-3 victory over Amador Valley of Pleasanton in the NCS 3A Division final.

They were hardly done. O’Dowd repeated as an NCS champ in 1998 (this time in the reformatted East Bay 2A Division) by blanking Clayton Valley of Concord 10-0 and then in 1999 did not get denied for a three-peat until a 20-9 loss in the title game to Ygnacio Valley of Concord.

Nickerson, the former NFL player whose son (Hardy Nickerson Jr.) was starring at linebacker at the school at the same time, took over as head coach for the 2010 season. He went four seasons until two seasons ago when former NFL running back and 1990 Mr. Football State Player of the Year Napoleon Kaufman became head coach. Kaufman, however, did not go to O’Dowd. He’s from Lompoc in Southern California.

Although big-time linebacker Camilo Eifler has graduated and is now at Washington, Kaufman and the Dragons seem to have the players to make a run at a NCS title. Preseason all-state offensive tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker (6-5, 290), Cal-bound WR/DB Je’quari Godfrey, emerging TE/DE Jordan Jackson (6-3, 230) and TE Cooper Hagmaier (6-6, 215) are among the team’s returning standouts.

Here are some other Bishop O’Dowd football records that the school has been sent courtesy of this archive initiative:


1970s: 36-49-4

1980s: 52-45-0 (not including forfeits)

1990s: 99-17-1 (not including default)

2000s: 75-41-1

2010s: 40-29 (not including default)

302 WINS, 181 LOSSES, 6 TIES*

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

*Note: May be three or four missing results from 1980 season. Counting forfeits/defaults, record for 1980s would be 50-47-0, record for 1990s would be 100-17-1, record for 2010s would be 41-29 and all-time would be 302-182-6.

Best Records For Single Season
12-0-1 -1997
12-1 – 1999
10-1 – 1989
10-1 – 1993*
10-1 – 1996
*Adding default win, record would be 11-1.

Worst Records For Single Season
1-5 – 1980*
1-4-1 – 1970
2-7 – 1973

Records Against Notable Opponents
16-6 VS. Castro Valley
25-9-1 VS. Moreau (Hayward)
20-17 VS. San Leandro*
14-15 VS. St. Mary’s (Berkeley)
3-10-1 VS. De La Salle (Concord)
3-15-0 VS. Salesian (Richmond)
*Notes: One of the on-the-field wins over San Leandro was later switched to a forfeit loss. Official record would therefore be 19-18.

Most Points Scored (Single Game)
63 VS. Arroyo (San Lorenzo) 2007
63 VS. Tennyson (Hayward) 2007
63 VS. Tennyson (Hayward) 2010
62 VS. Albany 1993
62 VS. San Lorenzo 2010
62 VS. Hayward 2011
59 VS. Alameda 2010
57 VS. Moreau (Hayward) 2001
56 VS. Tennyson (Hayward) 1997
56 VS. Tennyson (Hayward) 2000
56 VS. Tennyson (Hayward) 2009
56 VS. Castro Valley 2010
56 VS. Mt. Eden (Hayward) 2011

Most Lopsided Wins
63-0 VS. Tennyson (Hayward) 2010
57-0 VS. Moreau (Hayward) 2001
62-6 VS. Albany 1993
56-0 VS. Tennyson (Hayward) 1997
56-0 VS. Tennyson (Hayward) 2000
56-0 VS. Mt. Eden (Hayward) 2011
55-0 VS. Richmond 1994
55-0 VS. Mt. Eden (Hayward) 1997
55-0 VS. Tennyson (Hayward) 1998
62-7 VS. San Lorenzo 2010
54-0 VS. Richmond 1991
54-0 VS. Tamalpais (Mill Valley) 2015

Most Points Allowed (Single Game)
63 VS. De La Salle (Concord) 1982
58 VS. San Leandro 2009
56 VS. Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) 2010
55 VS. St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 1982
54 VS. De La Salle (Concord) 1985
51 VS. Salesian (Richmond) 1978
50 VS. St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 1971
50 VS. St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 1973

Most Lopsided Losses
51-0 VS. Salesian (Richmond) 1978
50-0 VS. St. Mary’s (Berkeley) 1971
63-13 VS. De La Salle (Concord) 1982

Longest Winning Streaks
19 – 1998-1999 (won last seven during NCS title season, then next 12 of ensuing season)
10 – 1989 (lost last game after 10-0 start)
10 – 1994 (lost last game after 10-0 start)*
10 – 1997 (lost last game after 10-0 start)
*Note: Does not include forfeit loss to San Leandro. There also is a 13-0-1 unbeaten streak for O’Dowd that took place in the 1998 and 1999 seasons.

Longest Losing Streaks
0-8 – 1980-1981 (lost last five reported outings in 1980, then first three for 1981)*
0-5 – Several tied for that length.
*Some scores for 1980 season are not reported/missing.

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 He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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  1. Aurora
    Posted September 1, 2016 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Hardy Nickerson did not play at O’Dowd! He coached there for 4 years.

    • Posted September 1, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Correction Auroa: Hardy Nickerson the son did play at Bishop O’Dowd he was in the class of 2012, I watched him play while he was there at the school. Mark stated it was Hardy Nickerson Jr. His dad was the head coach.

      • Posted September 1, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Correction on my part. I misspelled apology. 🙂

      • Mark Tennis
        Posted September 2, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        Hardy Nickerson did go to Cal and son did go to O’Dowd but correction should be that he is from Verbum Dei. Sorry about that.

  2. Jason Hong
    Posted September 12, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Cooper Hagmaier is starting left Defensive End and Tight End. He is off to a great start and should be on everyone’s radar.

  3. Melvin Okeith
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    I’m a McClymonds, Oakland, Ca. supporter, but I can’t seem to get much information on them and
    the rest of the Oakland Public Schools!!!!! Is there a problem with their information scoured?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 27, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Well, there’s no Oakland Section records that have been kept, if that’s what you’re asking.
      We have the same index cards with football scores for Oakland public schools that we have for O’Dowd, but O’Dowd paid us a fee to digitize those scores and then give them to the school. Wish we could just give those to all schools that need them, but it takes time to input everything.

  4. Max Fulmer
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I played at O’Dowd from 98-01, where can I find the game by game scores/season records?

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      We did all of them and turned them into the school, which paid a fee for the work. We didn’t post them for that reason.
      If you have a score you want looked up or have a question, email me and I can answer.

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