Football Blasts From The Past

Twenty-five years ago this week one of our state stat stars was future NFL linebacker Na’il Diggs (left) from Dorsey of Los Angeles. One of those from 40 years ago (right) was Santa Barbara QB Randall Cunningham. Photos: &

For the next few weeks, we’ll go back in time to approximately the same weekend of the California high school football season from five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years ago. At the end of what would have normally been the end of each of those seasons, we may go back even further. For this look back, we highlight the first girl to have ever reportedly scored a point in a California high school football game (35 years ago) and two of the most athletic QBs in state history (Khalil Tate & Randall Cunningham).


We hope you enjoy this free post on All of our annual preseason all-section, all-county and all-region football teams are being delayed in getting done until late November at the earliest. Once done, all of those posts will be for Gold Club members only as well, but we’ll still have plenty of free content to check out. Not to mention, we’ve just put all of our football state records onto the site for Gold Club members. You can now join for one-month rate of just $3.99. For subscription info, CLICK HERE.

5 YEARS AGO (2015)
*Sophomore QB Cam Rising of Newbury Park created headlines when he followed up his 388-yard and six-touchdown performance against Agoura from the week before with another monster outing in a 56-12 win over Dos Pueblos of Goleta. Rising completed 16 of his 24 pass attempts for 428 yards and seven touchdowns. Through his first few games, he had passed for 1,260 yards and 19 touchdowns with just one interception.
*The San Diego Union-Tribune reported a record being tied for the San Diego Section when Rancho Buena Vista of Vista RB Dominic Taylor piled up 436 yards on 33 carries and scored three times in a 29-24 loss to Steele Canyon of Spring Valley. It tied the section mark of 436 first set in 2009 by Ken James from Mt. Carmel of San Diego.
*Serra of Gardena senior Khalil Tate was proving to be one of the best running QBs in state history. Tate, who later starred at the University of Arizona, had one of his best high school outings when Serra outlasted Narbonne of Harbor City, 41-40, a South Bay shootout. Tate passed for 195 yards, but has a runner he went for 285 yards and scored six touchdowns.

University of Arizona commit Khalil Tate from Serra of Gardena (left) rushed for six TDs as a QB during game five years ago vs. Narbonne. Photo:

10 YEARS AGO (2010)
*After taking a week off from a season-opening win over Folsom that was shown nationally by ESPN, state No. 1 Grant of Sacramento rolled over Burbank of Sacramento 55-7 in its home opener. Junior RB/DB Shaq Thompson (now playing linebacker for the Carolina Panthers) scored five TDs and rushed for 243 yards on 20 carries. State No. 2 De La Salle (Concord) and No. 3 Servite (Anaheim) also maintained their rankings positions.
*Carson QB Justin Alo, the nephew of 1980 Mr. Football State Player of the Year Michael Alo of arch-rival Banning (Wilmington), starred for the Colts when they defeated A.B. Miller of Fontana 40-27 in a non-league contest. Justin Alo completed 16 of 24 passes for 443 yards and five touchdowns.
*We went to a matchup between highly regarded QBs Kyle Boehm, a senior from Archbishop Mitty of San Jose committed to Cal, and junior Zach Kline from San Ramon Valley of Danville. With Cal head coach Jeff Tedford watching, Kline completed his first eight passes and was offered the next week by the Bears. The star of SRV’s last second win was RB/LB Kyle Egan, who scored once, caught a key pass out of the backfield and had 21 tackles. Brett Barbier made a 47-yard field goal with 17 seconds left for the Wolves’ winning points.

15 YEARS AGO (2005)
*It was a somber mood while putting together the weekly highlights after junior Matthew Van Gelderen of local East Union High (Manteca) succumbed to a football-related head injury. It was reported that Van Gelderen and a player from Bear Creek of Stockton smacked into each other on a kickoff return in the second quarter. Van Gelderen lost consciousness while on the field and was taken to San Joaquin General Hospital. He was reported to be in critical condition for several days and died during the following week.
*Three-year starting quarterback Emmanuel Lewis of Tulare had a huge outing in leading Tulare past Lemoore 49-42. Lewis hit on 36 of 49 passes for 498 yards and four TDs. He also rushed for 55 yards and three other scores. He scored the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard run with seven seconds left. His single-game yardage total at the time placed No. 3 in CIF Central Section history, according to section historian Bob Barnett. Receiver Barry Wilson was Lewis’ leading target. He finished with 11 catches for 254 yards and three TDs.

20 YEARS AGO (2000)
*High profile transfers are more common these days, but they’ve been going on for a long time. Alta Loma had one in 2000 in senior DeAndre Belin, who led Bonita of La Verne to a 14-0 record in 1999. In a 45-0 win over Glendora, Belin racked up 432 yards rushing and scored six touchdowns. Two of Belin’s TDs came on runs of 94 and 87 yards. His single-game total at the time was reported as the 12th best in Southern California history. Four years later, after a series of attempts to play in college, Belin was murdered at age 21. He was shot twice at his mobile home after hearing a noise and going to open up a sliding door.
*Upland and Corona Centennial combined for seven fourth quarter touchdowns in an epic shootout that Upland held on to win 53-50. Bo Drake led the winners by completing 17 of 22 passes for 245 yards and five TDs. Running back Mike Bass had 318 yards rushing and three TDs for the Huskies.
*Having what head coach Dave Humphers called “a quality night against a quality opponent,” running back Jefferson Heidelberger from Nevada Union of Grass Valley had a great outing for the state No. 11 Miners in a 45-32 triumph over Granite Bay. With the win, Nevada Union also snapped Granite Bay’s 19-game winning streak. Heidelberger motored for 312 yards on 18 carries and scored on runs of 85 and 71 yards. He also had two receptions for 68 yards.

25 YEARS AGO (1995)
*In a matchup between two state top five ranked teams, No. 3 Fontana came through when it needed to on defense to post a 14-7 victory at home against No. 5 Clovis West of Fresno. The Steelers scored on their first offensive play on a 80-yard TD run by Eisenhower of Rialto transfer R. Jay Soward, but didn’t get much else the rest of the night. Head coach Randy Blankenship’s team at Clovis West ended up outgaining Fontana 341-261 in yards, but was stopped on downs at the 3-yard line, 18-yard line and at the 7 on an interception by Soward.
*Big-time linebacker recruit (and future NFL defensive end) Na’il Diggs from Dorsey of Los Angeles had a monster game for the Dons in a 42-0 romp past Manual Arts. Diggs ended the night with three sacks, five solo tackles, three assists and a fumble recovery.

30 YEARS AGO (1990)
*Leading running backs in the state were Napoleon Kaufman of Lompoc, Leon Neal of Paramount, Willie Harper from Fremont of Sunnyvale, Aaron McDonald of Bakersfield, Markeith Ross from Rancho Buena Vista of Vista, Jhay Roland of Merced and Damon Boddie from Cordova of Rancho Cordova. Defensive back Ricky Whittle from Edison of Fresno also was a sensational running back while Lamont Warren of Dorsey (Los Angeles) played quarterback and running back.

35 YEARS AGO (1985)
*Those at the time who thought girls would never be able to contribute in a high school varsity football game may have begun to think about during this week of this season. This was when junior Bridgette Farris, a junior at Hoover of Fresno, booted an extra point last week in Hoover’s 9-0 win vs. Dinuba. She became the first girl to score a point in the history of California high school football.
*Another all-time first for the state taking place for this season was the participation of 7-foot, 305-pound offensive lineman Ed Christiansen of Roseville. Christiansen is believed to be the first 7-footer to play in a California high school football contest.

40 YEARS AGO (1980)
*In a 45-7 rout by Santa Barbara over Channel Islands of Oxnard, future NFL QB Randall Cunningham led the Dons with four touchdown passes and 241 yards. At the time, it was described that Randall is the younger brother of ex-USC great Sam “Bam” Cunningham.
*Another family ties standout of the week was running back Bob Garibaldi from St. Mary’s of Stockton. Garibaldi, the son of former S.F. Giants pitcher Bob Garibaldi and nephew of college basketball coach Dick Garibaldi, piled up 311 yards rushing and scored three times as the Rams topped Manteca 20-8. Garibaldi also had 543 yards in his first two games.

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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