Football Blasts From The Past

One of the biggest wins that Netflix star and longtime Laney College football coach John Beam (left) ever had when he was at Skyline High in Oakland was 25 years ago when the Titans snapped Mountain View St. Francis’ 26-game win streak. At right is QB David Koral when he was at Palisades (Pacific Palisades), who set national record of 764 yards passing 20 years ago. Photos: & Cal-Hi Sports archives.

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 what happened in that third of four De La Salle-Mater Dei showdowns between 1998 and 2001 and which all-time national passing record was set the day before. We also have mentions of a future Rose Bowl MVP from 40 years ago and a win 15 years ago in the most exciting California vs. Texas contest probably ever played.


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Throwing for seven TD passes in one half got Rocklin Whitney’s Hunter Rodrigues into the state record book. Photo:

5 YEARS AGO (2015)
*Despite only getting to play the first half, QB Hunter Rodrigues from Whitney of Rocklin made it one to remember as he passed for 272 yards and seven touchdowns during a 76-14 win over Bella Vista of Fair Oaks. Rodrigues needed one more TD pass to make it into the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book for a single-game, but throwing for seven in one half does make the book. Devin Brochini was on the receiving end of four touchdown passes while Justin Kaft caught three.
*The Sacramento area also was buzzing about senior QB Unique Perez from Cordova of Rancho Cordova. It would be easy to say his performance during a 52-46 win over Foothill of Sacramento was far from ordinary. Unique combined for seven total touchdowns in the win. He was 29 of 40 for 435 yards and five touchdowns as a passer while also rushing for 49 yards and two touchdowns.
*Showing why strength of schedule isn’t just for rankings and can pay off of the field, previous state No. 9 Vista Murrieta of Murrieta was knocked out of the state rankings for this week due to a 29-14 loss to Orange Lutheran. The Lancers were just 2-2, but their losses were to then No. 1 De La Salle and No. 2 Corona Centennial. Dominik Austin led the rushing attack with 145 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries as a total of 11 players carried the ball at least once.

10 YEARS AGO (2010)
*USC-committed QB Cody Kessler (also a future NFL starter) connected on 18 of 23 passes for 223 yards and three TDs in a 36-6 win for Centennial of Bakersfield against Clovis. Kessler also scored on a 13-yard run. With the win, Centennial (2-0) moved up in the state rankings right behind its namesake school from Corona. The two Centennials were No. 10 and No. 11 in that week’s State Top 20. That other Centennial had a big win, too. The Huskies rolled past Mater Dei of Santa Ana, 44-13, behind QB Michael Eubank. He passed for 200 yards and two TDs and he rushed for 180 yards and three scores.
*Three San Fernando Valley/Ventura QBs passed for 482, 474 and 416 yards in single games. With the most was Jake Geringer of Newbury Park, but his 482 yards came in a tough loss by the Panthers as they fell 31-30 to Moorpark. Teammate Dakota Dunlea had 10 catches for 256 yards and two TDs for Newbury Park. Getting 474 yards in the air was future Arizona State QB Michael Bercovici from Taft of Woodland Hills. Bercovici passed for 474 yards and three TDs in leading the Toreadors past Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks 38-35. Then there was Kenny Stenhouse from Crespi of Encino. He set a Crespi school record with 416 yards, completing 33 of 43 passes with three TDs and an additional rushing TD, in leading the Celts past Clovis West of Fresno 33-32.

Tim Murphy is shown from his head coaching days at Clovis East, which 15 years ago got a big win vs. Midland Lee of Texas. Murphy’s team at Clayton Valley (Concord) won the 2019 CIF D2-AA state title. Photo:

15 YEARS AGO (2005)
*California improved to 2-2 all-time in reported contests against schools from Texas after Clovis East of Clovis outlasted Robert E. Lee of Midland, Texas, 38-37, in two overtimes. Clovis East came into the game at No. 4 in the state while Midland Lee (one of the most famous historical programs in the Lone Star State) was only 1-3, but two its losses were to nationally ranked opponents. Both kickers missed field goal attempts in the first overtime. Trent Hines then scored for Midland Lee on a two-yard run, but the ensuing PAT kick was partially blocked. The Timberwolves took their turn and scored on a three-yard run by Tracy Slocum. The PAT by Phillip Torres was good and Clovis East got the win.
*Junior RB/LB Malcolm Smith rushed for 111 yards on only seven carries as Taft of Woodland Hills improved to 4-0 with a 48-0 romp past Gardena. Malcolm went on to USC after his senior year at Taft, then to the NFL and he was MVP of the 2014 Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks.

20 YEARS AGO (2000)
*The state and national record win streak being run up by De La Salle of Concord was nearly broken in a 31-28 loss to Mater Dei of Santa Ana before an estimated 15,000 at Anaheim Stadium. The Spartans led 31-28 late in the fourth quarter, but the Monarchs had come back from deficits of 21-0 and 31-14 and got it down to the DLS 17-yard line. The Spartans avoided overtime and a possible defeat by holding up on defense at that point and then with 27 seconds left Mater Dei’s Bryan New missed a 34-yard field goal. QB Matt Leinart, who would later win the Heisman Trophy at USC, had a spectacular outing for Mater Dei. He connected on 25 of 40 passes for 401 yards and four TDs. “I wanted to run out there to Leinart and ask him, ‘Would you quit doing that?” said DLS defensive coordinator Terry Eidson. “We knew he was a great quarterback and he was.” Kevin Simon was the standout for the Spartans. The future University of Tennessee standout had 14 carries for 114 yards with one TD plus a 50-yard screen pass that set up another score. Simon also tipped several passes on defense and was all over the field making tackles. The DLS win streak stood at 103 games.
*The state and national record for single game passing yards was smashed by Palisades of Pacific Palisades QB David Koral. H passed for 764 yards on 39 of 59 throws and seven TDs in a 48-30 win over Grant of Van Nuys. Koral broke the previous national record of 672 set in 1999 by Rhett Lashlee from Shiloh Christian of Springdale, Ark. “We looked like the St. Louis Rams,” said Steve Clarkson, the offensive coordinator for Palisades at the time and who later became one of the best QB coaches in the nation. “David looked like Kurt Warner. The game was almost four hours long and was in a varied rain. He threw a wet ball.”

25 YEARS AGO (1995)
*Enjoying one of his best games of the season was QB Daniel Jeremiah from Christian of El Cajon. In a 36-8 victory over Crawford of San Diego, Jeremiah hit on 17 of 39 passes for 291 yards and five TDs. He is currently an analyst for the NFL Network, a writer for and does color commentary on Los Angeles Chargers’ games on KFI Radio.
*The state’s second longest win streak of 26 games held by St. Francis of Mountain View was snapped in a 12-6 loss to Skyline of Oakland. The Titans held the Lancers out of the end zone until late in the fourth quarter. Head coach John Beam said the key to the defense was moving 6-foot-5, 215-pound LaCorey Collins to middle linebacker. Collins had three sacks. Beam had a successful run at Skyline and then went to Laney College. His team at Laney in 2018 won the California state title and he was featured prominently in the Netflix docuseries “Last Chance U” that we watched a couple of months ago. Well worth the time.

30 YEARS AGO (1990)
*Leading wide receivers in the state were led by a pair of L.A. City Section standouts — Carson’s Latario Rachal and Dorsey’s Keyshawn Johnson. There also were stat stars Greg Siwek from Monta Vista of Cupertino and Tyler Cashman of Los Alamitos, along with a big-time recruit from San Diego Kearny – Darnay Scott. Keyshawn of course went on to USC and was the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. The leading junior WR was De La Salle’s Amani Toomer.

35 YEARS AGO (1985)
*State No. 5 and state No. 6 Carson and arch-rival Banning of Wilmington both had drop out of the state rankings after losing games. The Colts were upended by St. Paul of Santa Fe Springs, 9-7, which improved to 3-0 and jumped into the following week’s rankings. The Pilots, who had to replace their entire backfield from 1984, were topped 27-11 by Edison of Huntington Beach.
*McCloud’s Aaron Blakely became the state’s first 1,000-yard rusher after he ran for 205 yards in 28 carries in a 22-0 win over Dunsmuir. It was Blakely’s fourth straight 200-yard game and put him at 1,126 yards and 10 TDs in four games.

40 YEARS AGO (1980)
*It’s quite rare to jump from No. 5 to No. 1 in one week of any ranking, but for this week in 1980 it happened in the Class AAA state rankings. The previous No. 1 was La Canada, which lost 14-10 to Blair of Pasadena. Previous No. 2 Riverside Poly lost 34-7 to Colton, No. 3 Orange Glen of Escondido lost 12-6 by Escondido, and No. 4 Canyon of Anaheim los 26-14 to Gahr of Cerritos. The new No. 1 team was Amador Valley of Pleasanton. The Dons improved to 3-0 with a 36-28 win against Washington of Fremont.
*Following a teacher’s strike in San Jose that prevented his team from playing in the previous two weeks, running back Jacque Robinson of San Jose High blazed for 297 yards and scored four touchdowns as the Bulldogs blew past Harbor of Santa Cruz 45-0. Robinson would later earn Rose Bowl MVP honors as a running back at Washington. His son, Nate Robinson, born in 1984 in Seattle, played in the NBA from 2005 to 2015 and was the first three-time NBA slam dunk champion.

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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