Football Blasts From The Past

Current De La Salle head coach Justin Alumbaugh (left) was a sophomore at the school in the 1995 season when the Spartans moved up to No. 1 in the state in late October (a position that didn’t change for nearly nine years). At right are team captains doing a photo shoot prior to 2012 rivalry game between Roosevelt and Garfield of Los Angeles. Photos: &

We got a little bit off schedule last week due to all the World Series-related posts so this week’s Blasts From The Past isn’t that far removed from last week. It’s still another look 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 late October of 1995 when state No. 1 Los Alamitos was upset by Esperanza of Anaheim, creating the move of previous No. 2 De La Salle of Concord going to No. 1. The Spartans stayed in that position until September of 2004. We also have a NorCal TD pass record set 10 years ago plus 20,000 fans at games in 2005 and 1980.


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La Habra QB Eric Barriere was the Whittier Daily News Player of the Year in both 2014 and 2015. Photo:

5 YEARS AGO (2015)
*There’s been a lot on the site recently from Hart High of Newhall (mostly related to alums in the World Series), but five years ago at this point of the season senior A.J. Stanley of the Indians finished with a school record of five interceptions during a 24-21 overtime win against Golden Valley of Santa Clarita. Stanley could have had even more picks in that game since one was taken away for him being out of bounds and another by off-setting penalties. After Hart went ahead on a field goal in overtime, guess how the game ended? On an interception by Stanley to clinch the win. He also had nine interceptions on the season.
*Versatile QB Eric Barriere of La Habra set an Orange County record with seven TD passes in the first half (he also tied the county record for TD passes in a game) when the Highlanders posted a 62-13 romp past Fullerton. He also ended 21 of 31 passing for 350 yards.
*Junior RB/DB Byron Thomas of Vallejo had not even had a 100-yard game as a running back prior to a game against Fairfield, but in a 45-42 loss to the Falcons he exploded for a reported state single game high of 467 yards on 28 carries and scored four touchdowns. Isaiah Tenette from Highlands of North Highlands, who had 465 yards in one game, had the previous state lead in that category at that point for this season. Thomas’ single-game total also was high enough to get his name into the state record book.

10 YEARS AGO (2010)
*The NorCal single game TD pass record at the time fell on this week to senior Tony Rodriguez from Brookside Christian of Stockton. Rodriguez threw for nine TDs during Brookside’s 68-21 win vs. Jim Elliot Christian of Lodi. Rodriguez, who later got a scholarship to Washington after going to a JC, finished 14 of 18 in the game for 441 yards. His total also came just one short of the still current state record of 10 TD passes for one game. Teammate Shaquille Hill caught five of the TD passes to put his name into the state record book as well.
*Senior RB Steven Manfro of Valencia rushed for a school record 418 yards while scoring five touchdowns in a 55-28 triumph over West Ranch of Valencia. The school’s previous record for rushing yards was previously held by NFL running back Shane Vereen, who had 352 yards in a game for the Vikings in 2006.
*During these years, the rivalry between Concord High and Clayton Valley of Concord was going strong and it was not a shock when Concord had the stronger club. The Minutemen not only won the 2010 game, but won big 50-14 behind senior QB Ricky Lloyd. The commit to Southern Mississippi passed or 439 yards and four TDs while he also rushed for two more scores.

15 YEARS AGO (2005)
*Dominguez of Compton two-way standout Richard Sherman caught three touchdown passes when the Dons improved to 7-1 with a 49-7 victory over league rival Lynwood. Sherman finished with three catches for 122 yards. He would go on of course to win a CIF state title in the triple jump and then became an All-Pro DB in the NFL.
*It was a good week to select Cordova of Rancho Cordova RB James Montgomery as a state player of the week. Montgomery piled up 449 yards rushing on 28 carries and scored five TDs in a 42-28 win against Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills. Montgomery, who put his name into the state record book in 2004 with nine touchdowns scored in one game, had scoring runs of 90 and 75 yards. Montgomery’s 449 yards rushing at the time set a new Sacramento area single-game record. He surpassed the previous best at the time of 427 yards set in 1999 by Shannon Spagner from McClatchy of Sacramento.
*In front of more than 20,000 at East L.A. College, Garfield of Los Angeles squeaked past Roosevelt of Los Angeles, 27-26 in overtime, in one of the most thrilling East L.A. Classic games that has been played in that rivalry. Roosevelt clearly was the underdog coming in at just 1-6 on the season while the Bulldogs were sitting at 4-4. The two teams were tied, 20-20, heading into the extra session. The Roughriders then scored first, but missed on a two-point conversion. Garfield answered with Bobby Sanchez scoring on a six-yard run, his third TD of the game. Edgar Gonzalez then booted the PAT for the one-point triumph. Sanchez also rushed for 86 yards while linebacker Jesse Juarez came through with 13 tackles.

20 YEARS AGO (2000)
*Senior slotback Dwayne Taylor from Hueneme of Oxnard kept alive his team’s playoff hopes in the CIF Southern Section by leading the Vikings past Camarillo 40-36. With 59 seconds left, Taylor hauled in a pass from Gordie Pinedo and raced 68 yards for a go-ahead score. Then he ended the Scorpions’ chances by intercepting a pass with just seconds left to play. For the game, Taylor caught eight passes for 277 yards and four TDs. He also rushed for 75 yards on 13 carries, including a 5-yard TD run.
*In a matchup between two state top five ranked teams, No. 3 Mater Dei of Santa Ana outlasted No. 5 Loyola of Angeles 24-21. Bryan New, who earlier in the season missed a game-tying field goal with seconds left that would have enabled the Monarchs to force overtime and perhaps end De La Salle’s national record win streak, connected on a 31-yard field goal vs. the Cubs. Loyola had a chance to break the tie in the last two minutes, but fumbled on its own 17-yard line. Five plays later, New drilled the field goal. Matt Leinart of Mater Dei passed for 252 yards, highlighted by a 78-yard screen pass TD to teammate Jeff Diulio.
*Senior RB Tyler Ebell of Ventura continued his record-breaking mission as the state’s leading rusher as he broke loose for 389 yards and six TDs on 21 carries in a 48-7 victory over San Marcos of Santa Barbara. It was Ebell’s sixth 300-yard game of the season.

25 YEARS AGO (1995)
*This was the week in 1995 when there was a change at the top of the state rankings and there wouldn’t be another one until the first week of the 2004 season. At the time, Los Alamitos was No. 1 when it suffered a 21-17 loss to Esperanza of Anaheim. The Griffins also were USA Today’s No. 1 team in the nation. Esperanza took a 21-17 lead wit 5:02 left on a 29-yard TD run by junior RB Jamal Footman and prevented Los Al from scoring on its last possession. Sean Jarne and Bo Bryant both had three sacks for Esperanza’s defense.
*Moving up to No. 1 that week was previous No. 2 De La Salle (Concord). The Spartans won their 46th straight game with a 67-13 romp past Pinole Valley of Pinole. They were then looking at the state record win streak of 47, but no one at the time could imagine it wouldn’t be until 2004 when they’d eventually have that streak broken.
*Rosamond RB Jamar Day carried 29 times for 452 yards and scored four times to lead the Roadrunners to a wild 66-45 victory over Bishop. Day’s single-game total ranked No. 5 at the time on the all-time state lists and was the most in the state since 1991 when David Dotson from Valley View of Moreno Valley had 507 yards .
*Eventual Mr. Football State Player of the Year Chris Claiborne from J.W. North of Riverside had one of the top games of his prep career to lead the unbeaten Huskies past Rubidoux of Riverside 29-25. On defense, the future NFL first-round pick (and future head coach at Calabasas) blocked a two-point conversion pass, raced 57 yards for a touchdown on a fumble return and was all over the field making tackle. On offense, Claiborne carried 17 times for 115 yards and one TD and he caught a pair of TD passes. The second of those TD catches came on a 20-yarder from teammate Robert Farias with just 29 seconds left.

30 YEARS AGO (1990)
*Future NFL player Ricky Whittle from Edison of Fresno was one of the leading defensive backs in the state. Also among that group was Reggie Reser from Muir of Pasadena, Tim Ross from Royal of Simi Valley, Demond Thompkins from Eisenhower of Rialto, Mario Mattison from Fairfax of Los Angeles, Richard Washington of Long Beach Poly, Irwin Lincoln from De Anza of Richmond, Tarriel Hopper of Carson, Jerald Henry from Serra of Gardena, Robert Gooden from Oak Grove of San Jose and Demetrius Boykins of Gardena.

35 YEARS AGO (1985)
*One of Northern California’s biggest rivalry games in the early 1980s was Cordova of Rancho Cordova vs. Christian Brothers of Sacramento. The Lancers and Falcons played in late October of 1985 and Cordova rolled 41-3 to improve to 7-0 and stay at No. 2 in Northern California. They were led in that win by QB Troy Taylor, who rushed for 188 yards and passed for 111 yards. In the first seven games, Taylor had nearly 2,000 yards of offense and had accounted for 20 TDs. He later became co-head coach at Folsom and is currently the head coach at Sacramento State.
*Senior nose guard Trent Barnes from Clovis West of Fresno, who was the 1984 CIF state heavyweight champion in wrestling, debuted as a fullback in football during a 20-7 win by the Golden Eagles over Clovis before more than 10,000 fans. Keep in mind that not even Buchanan (the third high school in Clovis Unified) had not even opened yet, so this was a true crosstown rivalry. Barnes scored on a two-yard run in the third quarter to break a 7-7 deadlock. This also was during the time when a lot of teams were emulating the Chicago Bears with William “The Refrigerator” Perry being used in goal line situations.
*A big upset took place in the Inland Empire when state No. 2 and unbeaten Fontana fell in a 21-16 contest with San Gorgonio of San Bernardino. The Spartans scored touchdowns on an 80-yard run by QB Tony Kounas, a 33-yard run by tailback Joe Abreau and a fumble recovery in the end zone by Chuck Robinson.

40 YEARS AGO (1980)
*The first stunning death we remember ever having to deal with involving a major college recruit occurred on Oct. 20 of the 1980 season when 6-foot-6, 225-pound defensive end Ray Warrick from Cordova of Rancho Cordova was killed in a car accident. Warrick had been named to the 1979 all-state underclass team and had that unbeatable combination of quickness and strength coming off of the edge. Cordova played the following week and defeated Johnson of Sacramento 16-0. We still to this day wonder how far Ray would have gone.
*Banning of Wilmington and Carson drew 20,000 fans to their annual regular season showdown. Banning was No. 5 in the state, while Carson was No. 10. The Pilots won 26-14 as Michael Alo rushed for 143 yards on 17 carries and scored the decisive points on a 43-yard run. Banning also won its 15th straight game.

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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