This is one of the oldest schools that has asked us to compile its all-time football scores archive and it’s the only school in California that can say it has a graduate elected President of the United States. While Whittier’s football fortunes haven’t been that great since the 1960s, there were enough dominant decades (1930s, 1950s) so that it won’t take too many winning seasons to climb back above .500 for its all-time reported win-loss record.
Up next in this series: Fort Bragg. This year’s team reached the CIF North Coast Section Division V championship and gave eventual CIF Division 6-A state champ St. Patrick-St. Vincent a tough test before falling just short.
For more on the Cal-Hi Sports football archives project through the index card collection by legendary sports researcher Bruce McIntosh 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.
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After going through all of the reported scores for Whittier High’s football history, which date to before 1910, there could be a unique way for head coach Visko Ancich to motivate the Cardinals for the 2017 season and perhaps the next seasons after that.
“Do you guys want to make history with 500 losses or 500 wins?” could be the question that does it.
That’s because going into 2017, according to the archive of scores that has been compiled by Cal-Hi Sports and now turned into the school, the all-time record going back for more than 110 years is a reported 459-470-38 (not including forfeits). Obviously, that’s just 30 away from 500 all-time losses, but it’s also just 41 away from 500 all-time wins. With just a bit more success than the recent 4-6, 4-6, 6-5 and 5-5 seasons, the Cardinals could erase those 11 games below .500 rather quickly.
For roughly the first half of Whittier’s history, it was the only school in the Whittier Union High School District and before the district opened a second high school, El Rancho of Pico Rivera, the Cardinals were a big school with 3,000 students or more and had some great years in athletics, including a CIF state title in basketball in 1916 and posting records of 60-31-4 in football in the 1930s and 70-27-2 for football in the 1950s.
As El Rancho became more of a football power, especially in the 1960s under head coach Ernie Johnson, Whittier’s fortunes waned. They continued to struggle as other schools in the district opened — first California, then Sierra, then Monte Vista and then La Serna and Pioneer. Even though Sierra and Monte Vista closed after the 1979-80 school year, Whittier still hasn’t been able to become very successful in football. La Serna has been particularly more powerful in the last decade.
Whittier won its only CIF Southern Section title in 1964 when the Cardinals topped Loyola of Los Angeles 21-14. That team also featured CIFSS Player of the Year and Mr. Football State Player of the Year George Buehler. He was primarily a devastating linebacker and also was a heavyweight wrestling champion and shot put/discus thrower in track. Buehler went on to play for some of the best offensive lines in NFL history with the Oakland Raiders in the 1970s.
The Cardinals had several other teams that came close to winning CIFSS titles in 1953 (runner-up to Santa Monica), 1940 (runner-up to Santa Barbara) and 1915 (runner-up to Pasadena). The title game loss to Pasadena, however, wasn’t close (50-0). There also was an outstanding team in 1957 that won its first 11 games before losing in the semifinals 20-6 to San Diego High.
Another of the school’s all-time great players was receiver Bob Chandler, whose father, Gene, later became mayor of Whittier. Chandler played for the Cardinals several years after Buehler and also played in the NFL for the Raiders, although he played most of his career with the Buffalo Bills. Chandler, who died in 1995 at age 45 from a rare form of lung cancer, is still honored by his former high school with the Bob Chandler Award. He also was MVP of the 1970 Rose Bowl for USC and led the NFL in receptions from 1975 to 1977.
Whittier’s most famous alum, of course, is Richard M. Nixon, Class of 1930, who was elected President of the United States in 1968, re-elected in 1972 and then resigned in 1974 due to the Watergate scandal. Nixon didn’t play football for the Cardinals, but has been described as a “sports commissioner.” It was around the time Nixon was in high school that the school’s current nickname of “Cardinals” was adopted.
WIN-LOSS RECORDS FOR EACH DECADE
Prior to 1910s: 5-8-0
1920s: 40-47-8 (not including one loss by forfeit)
1990s: 47-60-3 (not including one win by forfeit)
2000s: 35-67-0 (not including one win by forfeit)
REPORTED ALL-TIME RECORD HEADING INTO 2017 SEASON:
459 WINS, 470 LOSSES, 38 TIES*
49.4 ALL-TIME WINNING PERCENTAGE
(Based on half-win, half-loss for tie)
*Note: On-the-field totals only. With forfeits and defaults counted, adjusted records would be 39-48-8 for 1920s, 48-59-3 for 1990s and 36-66-0 for 2000s. All-time record also would adjust to 461-471-38.
Best Records For Single Season
9-0-1 – 1954
11-1 – 1957
10-1 – 1930
8-1 – 1935
11-1-2 – 1915
10-1-2 – 1964
Worst Records For Single Season
0-10 – 1979
0-10 – 2010
0-9 – 1980
0-8-1 – 1974
0-6 – 1914
0-6 – 1918
Records Against Notable Opponents
24-12-1 VS. Monrovia
23-25-1 VS. Pioneer (Whittier)
15-24-0 VS. Montebello
20-35-1 VS. California (Whittier)
16-40-1 VS. El Rancho (Pico Rivera)
12-35-1 VS. La Serna (Whittier)
*Notes: The Cardinals played Montebello and Monrovia back-to-back in 2016, which they did as well back in 1922. First game vs. California was in 1956. First game vs. La Serna and Pioneer was in 1968. Whittier also played Sierra (Whittier) and Monte Vista (Whittier) from 1963-1979 and 1966-1979, respectively. Those schools were closed after 1979-80 school year. Whittier never played Lowell (Whittier), which also is now closed but was in La Habra school district.
Most Points Scored (Single Game)
67 VS. Corona 1915
62 VS. Alhambra 1916
62 VS. Cantwell-Sacred Heart (Montebello) 2015
60 VS. Whittier Christian (La Habra) 2015
56 VS. Pioneer (Whittier) 2009
55 vs. Artesia (Lakewood) 2012
54 VS. Katella (Anaheim) 2007
54 VS. Artesia (Lakewood) 2011
53 VS. Burbank 1932
52 VS. Bell Gardens 1950
52 VS. Bassett (La Puente) 1994
51 VS. Whittier Christian (La Habra) 2014
50 VS. Anaheim 1922
50 VS. Mark Keppel (Anaheim) 1962
Most Lopsided Wins
67-0 VS. Corona 1915
62-0 VS. Alhambra 1916
62-0 VS. Cantwell-Sacred Heart (Montebello) 2015
53-0 VS. Burbank 1932
52-0 VS. Bassett (La Puente) 1994
50-0 VS. Anaheim 1922
Most Points Allowed (Single Game)
76 VS. Pasadena 1914
69 VS. Long Beach Poly 1919
65 VS. Santa Ana 1921
64 VS. Santa Fe (Santa Fe Springs) 2005
61 VS. La Serna (Whittier) 2010
60 VS. Brea Olinda (Brea) 1980
56 VS. Hollywood 1907
56 VS. Bell Gardens 1982
56 VS. La Serna (Whittier) 2013
55 VS. Schurr (MontebellO) 1998
55 VS. Pioneer (Whittier) 2002
54 VS. Rosemead 1971
54 VS. La Serna (Whittier) 1983
54 VS. Warren (Downey) 2009
53 VS. Excelsior (Norwalk) 1945
53 VS. Alhambra 1946
Most Lopsided Losses
76-6 VS. Pasadena 1914
69-0 vs. Long Beach Poly 1919
65-0 VS. Santa Ana 1921
64-0 VS. Santa Fe (Santa Fe Springs) 2005
56-0 VS. Hollywood 1907
56-0 VS. Bell Gardens 1982
55-0 VS. Pioneer (Whittier) 2002
61-6 VS. La Serna (Whittier) 2010
54-0 VS. Rosemead 1971
52-0 VS. Chaffey (Ontario) 1911
52-0 VS. Long Beach Poly 1918
Longest Winning Streaks
11 – 1957 (won first 11, then lost in section playoffs)
10 – 1930 (won first 10, then lost in section playoffs)
10 – 1934-35 (won last two, then first eight of following season)
Note: The Cardinals also had a 13-game unbeaten streak (11-0-2) that was achieved in the 1915 season. It ended with a playoff loss.
Longest Losing Streaks*
24 – 1978-1981 (lost last four, then 0-10 season, then 0-9 season, then first game of 1981 season)
11 – 2001-2002 (lost last seven, then first four)
11 – 2004-2005 (lost last two, then first nine)
10 – 1995-1996 (lost last seven, then first three)*
10 – 2010 (0-10 season, won first game in 2011)
*Note: There also was an additional tie and loss in 1995 so it was an 0-11-1 winless streak. Another winless streak of 0-13-1 occurred from 1973 to 1975. The tie came in 1974 after nine straight losses and was followed by four more losses.
Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens also contributed to this post and thanks of course to Bruce McIntosh. 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