Go through this list and see how many of these nicknames that you like the best as well, and to see the prerequisites for what we think is a great school mascot name. Then be sure to check your Twitter feed and vote for your favorites in a series of polls. At the end, we’ll feature the school with the most votes and what the football players think of their school’s mascot name.
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CALIFORNIA HIGH SCHOOL
(Placements are simply by personal preference of the editor)
(All of these schools have one-of-a-kind mascot names. In other words, no other school in the state has it. Second, many of these mascot names reflect an aspect of their community. Others have a unique logo to go with the name or other long-standing traditions.)
20. Bellarmine Bells
CIF Central Coast Section. It’s a derivative of the school’s name, but there is a bell that rings loudly after every Bellarmine touchdown and for years the school has done a great job celebrating it’s unique nickname.
19. Fremont (Los Angeles) Pathfinders
CIF Los Angeles Section. This is one of the great mascot names in the nation as an example of it being appropriate for the person (General John C. Fremont) the school is named for. Fremont High of Oakland goes by the Tigers.
18. Tustin Tillers
CIF Southern Section. One of the oldest schools in Orange County, Tustin was surrounded by agriculture when it was built (hence the nickname). The Tillers once played in one of the most famous CIFSS football title games ever played as running back DeShaun Foster couldn’t quite lead them to a win against quarterback Carson Palmer and his team from Santa Margarita.
17. Venice Gondoliers
CIF L.A. City Section. The shortened version of this nickname “Gondos” is what teams from Venice are referred to more often. There’s a Venice High in Florida, but it doesn’t use a nickname from the city in Italy. That Venice goes by Indians. Boring and out-of-date.
16. Stagg (Stockton) Delta Kings
CIF Sac-Joaquin Section. We drive by Stagg every day and it’s still the only California school named for a football coach. The Calaveras River runs directly on the school’s south border along Brookside Road and it would be possible to access the San Joaquin/Sacramento River Delta through that waterway.
15. Kearny (San Diego) Komets
CIF San Diego Section. This has been our favorite mascot name from San Diego for many years. Kearny grad Alan Trammell was just inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
14. Fillmore Flashes
CIF Southern Section. The Flashes just won the CIFSS D7 title in baseball. The Flash Man logo at the school has tended look more like a bulked up weightlifter than the DC Comics character.
13. Live Oak (Morgan Hill) Acorns
CIF Central Coast Section. Little acorns obviously grow up to be large oak trees. Instead of “Go Acorns” as its slogan, however, the school uses, “Go Nuts.”
12. Bret Harte (Altaville) Bullfrogs
CIF Sac-Joaquin Section. The Calaveras County Jumping Frog Jubilee is held in Angels Camp, which is essentially right next door to Altaville. The Jubilee began in 1893 and was inspired by legendary author Mark Twain’s first book.
11. Hollywood Sheiks
CIF L.A. CIty Section. Many tourists visiting Hollywood probably have noticed the school’s distinct logo on the side of its gym. The nickname comes from a 1921 silent movie starring Rudolph Valentino.
10. Hollister Haybalers
CIF Central Coast Section. We usually refer to this school in rankings as San Benito (it’s official name) but for the locals it’s the Hollister Haybalers or Balers for short. More than 100 years ago, the town was known for storing more hay than anywhere else in the world.
9. Coalinga Horned Toads
CIF Central Section. The motto of the school says it all, “Once a Toad, Always a Toad.” The story goes that the school’s nickname came from a 1933 race of reptiles held in the town that the Horned Toad won.
8. Glendale Dynamiters
CIF Southern Section. Glendale goes by the Dynamiters in football and there’s a big logo of an exploding stick of dynamite on the school gym. In all other sports, however, Glendale goes by the Nitros.
7. Moorpark Musketeers
CIF Southern Section. Taken from the famous novel of the 19th century, The Three Musketeers, Moorpark also uses the phrase “All for one, one for all” from that same book as its school motto.
6. Lincoln Fighting Zebras
CIF Sac-Joaquin Section. No, the school colors are not black-and-white, but there is a S.T.R.I.P.E.S. program on campus and other references to the nickname. This also is the school that is named for the town it’s in and not directly for Abraham Lincoln.
5. Mayfair (Lakewood) Monsoons
CIF Southern Section. The school’s newspaper, known as The Windjammer, and the yearbook, called Tradewinds, also take their names from the school’s nickname. L.A. Dodger third baseman Justin Turner (a Mayfair alum) actually looks like a Monsoon when that red hair and red beard of his gets soaked after a game-winning hit.
4. Chester Volcanoes
The CIF Northern Section school is nearby to Lassen Volcanic National Park. Chester also is near Lake Almanor, which is well-known to fishermen in the state.
3. Poly Parrots
CIF L.A. City Section. Polly want a cracker, of course, is a famous phrase that goes back more than one hundred years related to teaching birds (mainly Parrots) to talk. Poll is actually listed in the Oxford English Dictionary as “a female name or name of a parrot.”
2. Bakersfield Drillers
CIF Central Section. The Drillers reflect the oil industry history of Kern County. They are the state’s all-time winningest football school that won CIF state titles in the 1920s and again in 2011. They “drill” opponents quite often.
1. Vintage (Napa) Crushers
CIF North Coast Section. Vintage just switched sections from the Sac-Joaquin. Crushers is obviously perfect for a school representing one of the world’s great wine-grape growing regions. Vintage’s arch-rival, Napa High, is unveiling a new mascot name on August 17 since it isn’t going to be the Indians any longer.
You Might Like These Better
But Didn’t Make Our Top 20
Canoga Park Hunters
Grant (Sacramento) Pacers
Hamilton (Los Angeles) Yankees
Hoover (Glendale) Tornadoes
Jefferson (Los Angeles) Democrats
Manual Arts (Los Angeles) Toilers
Marshall (Los Angeles) Barristers
San Diego Cavers
Note: Sorry, this was for 11-man football only and not for basketball, either. Therefore, no Dunn Earwigs of Los Olivos.
Mark Tennis is the editor and publisher of Cal-Hi Sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports
There are some very creative mascots in California, but in my personal opinion, San Benito High School in Hollister, CA has the best mastcot ~ SBHS Haybalers! I love the picture of the Hay Bayler! Very creative way to combine our history in Hollister and show the strength of our athletic programs and education as well as our schools main color – RED! SBHS students are STRONG!
If the school is really supposed to be San Benito, why do their baseball jerseys and the fans’ blankets all say Hollister? I refuse to call that school San Benito.
Great list and fun article! But no Compton Tarbabes? Hmm
I just have never liked the “pups” or “babes” or similar in a nickname, but to each his own.
Very entertaining article.
But what about a couple of mascots whose names show some irony.
Drake (San Anselmo) Pirates. Francis Drake in reality was more of a slave runner and pirate than anything else. His ’round the world voyage was quite controversial among navigators at the time. He lost at least 80% of his crew and all of his ships except for the GOLDEN HINDE.
Madison (San Diego) War Hawks. The War of 1812 (“Mr. Madison’s” War) was quite controversial at the time, especially in New England. In fact there was a strong movement there during that war to succeed from the U.S.
And someone has to mention the travesty of the Laguna Beach Artists being replaced by the Breakers.
And they ruined it for Pacific Grove being the only Breakers as well.
“Golden Knights” of St. Francis, La Canada.
There are only a few teams in the nation with this mascot.
St. Francis (CIF SS D3 Finalist ’17), snubbed again by Cal Hi.
My favorite is from Poca, West Virginia: Poca Dots
For the nation, yes, I agree.
I like the Millenium Falcons also, the Coachella Valley
Arabs and Indio Rajas are quite unique. Just sayin.
Concerning the Coachella Valley Arabs, if I remember correctly , about a year or so ago there was a “brouhaha” over the school sign which depicted an Arab in a not exactly “politically correct” way. Apparently, all concerned got it settled since they’re still the Arabs.
Not an enormous distance away from Thermal, up in the Upper Desert the Barstow Aztecs used to be the Riffians. Kind of like the uniqueness of that name over the Aztecs. In fact, I believe their yearbook used to be called THE RIFF.
Up north there used to be another Poly Parrotts: San Francisco Polytechnic High School located in the “Inner Sunset” just above Kezar Stadium, the original home of the 49ers. It closed in 1973, though.
Lastly: kind of wish Bassett HS of La Puente called themselves “The Hounds” rather than “The Olympians”.
Falcons isn’t original so it wasn’t included but is one of best for matching school name.
Also noticed I didn’t put the Cathedral Phantoms on the list for some reason, but have always liked it.
No Honkers, either, but thought of that one. Didn’t include since there is Tulelake and Yuba City. Not original.
how about the shafter generals kern county
I do like the Mascot Ugly Eagles from CVC
Spirits, from Paraclete. There are very unique names in other states. I did student teaching at Newton HS in Newton, Iowa, home to Maytag. Their name for about a hundred years was the “Lil Washers”. Unfortunately, I think they changed it to the Cardinals several years ago. There’s a school in the Southwest (New Mexico?) whose teams are called “The Criminals.” The schools original buildings were once part of a prison. Thanks, Mark. Fun stuff!
Think I forgot to include Phantoms of L.A. Cathedral as well. Criminals are from Yuma, Ariz. Heard once that JVs at Yuma known as Delinquents.
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