Football Blasts From The Past

Actor John David Washington (left) was once a star running back at Campbell Hall (North Hollywood). At right is former career state passing yards record holder Michael Herrick of Valencia, who had the record in 2005. Photos: &

Here’s another look back in time to approximately the same week 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, check out what rising actor John David Washington did 20 years ago as a running back at Campbell Hall of North Hollywood. Twenty five years ago this week also was when De La Salle of Concord broke the state record for longest win streak by winning its 48th in a row. Plus, see which career state records were broken on back-to-back nights in 2005.


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5 YEARS AGO (2015)
*In perhaps the best game ever in the long rivalry in Contra Costa County between Antioch and Pittsburg known as the Big Little Game, Antioch rallied from deficits of 28-14 and 35-24 to grab a 44-42 victory over Pittsburg. The Pitt stands were packed to capacity with other people standing two deep along the fence around the track. Antioch hadn’t won on the series since 2006 but was unbeaten and had junior RB Najee Harris (who even that early already had committed to Alabama). Najee had a 53-yard TD run in the first half, but the Pirates held him down until the fourth quarter. He had an 80-yard TD run in that quarter that gave the Panthers their first lead of the second half, 38-35. Harris ended with 37 carries for 268 yards and four TDs.
*Passing for five touchdowns in the first half is a great night but during Newport Beach Corona del Mar’s Chase Garbers’ lone half of play in a 58-13 win over Irvine he was a perfect 23 for 23 throwing the football with those completions going for 335 yards. Garbers, the current Cal quarterback who was a junior at CdM in 2015, tied the state record of best perfect passing performance in a game set in 2012 by Tucker Mendonca from Mt. Whitney of Visalia. He also set a CIF Southern Section record for most consecutive completions during a game. The previous record was 20 set in 1978 by Paul Gagliardi of La Canada and tied in 2000 by Hudson Gossard from Crescenta Valley of La Crescenta. Hudson is the current head coach at Crescenta Valley.

Corona del Mar’s Chase Garbers throws during Elite 11 event as an incoming senior in the summer of 2016. Photo: Tom Hauck/

10 YEARS AGO (2010)
*Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) graduate River Cracraft nearly got his first career receiving TD in the NFL last week for the San Francisco 49es. Many in SoCal heard his name for the first time 10 years ago as a sophomore with two huge defensive plays he had in a wild-and-wacky 41-40 win over St. John Bosco of Bellflower. One of the reasons the Eagles were able to come back from a 20-0 deficit was an interception and return by Cracraft that set up a touchdown. Then later after the Braves scored with 1:35 left, they went for two points and a possible win, but it was Cracraft who knocked away a pass.
*Talk about getting stone-walled. State No. 1 Grant of Sacramento faced Laguna Creek of Elk Grove running back Don Jackson (averaging 250 yards per game and the reported among the state rushing leaders) and not only held him to nothing but in a 56-0 win he was reported with 14 carries for -17 yards. Puka Lopa led the Pacer defense with four tackles for loss, two sacks and set up a score with a blocked punt.
*In a 38-12 victory by Rosemead against Mountain View of El Monte, senior RB Matt Fregoso had a huge night with 34 carries for 401 yards and three touchdowns.
*Carrying the ball just 16 times, Sun Valley Poly’s Kevin Ervin still blasted through the defense of Verdugo Hills to the tune of 381 yards and four TDs as he led the Parrots to a 68-21 victory.

15 YEARS AGO (2005)
*With 273 yards passing in a clockwork like 34-7 win over Saugus, Valencia quarterback Michael Herrick moved to the No. 1 spot on the all-state state career passing yards list. Herrick broke the previous state record of 9,971 yards set in 1993 by Keith Smith of Newbury Park. He put his total at 9,996 yards and the following week became the state’s first-ever 10,000-yard quarterback.
*One night earlier in the same week, Norco’s Toby Gerhart became the new state career rushing leader. He had 34 carries for 299 yards in a 22-15 triumph vs. Corona and put his career total at 8,794 yards. Gerhart, playing for head coach and dad Todd, went past the previous state record of 8,495 yards set by Lorenzo Booker from St. Bonaventure of Ventura in 2001. Toby went on to finish second in Heisman Trophy voting at Stanford and played in the NFL for several teams. His state record still stands, although Herrick’s for passing yards has been somewhat overwhelmed by some of the QBs in recent years.
*This also was the week in which state regular season stat champions were determined. Jordan La Secla of Newbury Park wrapped it up for passing yards with 3,322 in 10 games, but for rushing yards a monster outing from Oakland Bishop O’Dowd’s Louis Arnold helped him move to the top. Arnold piled up a Bay Area season best 411 yards on 22 carries and scored four times in a 49-18 victory over Moreau Catholic of Hayward. Since Moreau was winless, then O’Dowd head coach Paul Perenon took out Arnold after he scored on a 66-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half. It turned out later that that final 66-yard run for Arnold was enough to move him past Ben Estill of Taft (CIF Central Section) to become the 2005 regular season state leader. Estill finished with 2,245 yards while Arnold came in at 2,284 yards.

20 YEARS AGO (2000)
*One of our state stat stars of the week was running back J.D. Washington from Campbell Hall of North Hollywood, who rushed for 201 yards on 16 carries and scored four TDs in a 48-14 win against Fairmont Prep of Anaheim. J.D. was one of the top small school backs in the state. He improved quite a bit at Morehouse College and was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2006. He’s now known by his acting name John David Washington, star of the recently released feature film Tenet and the son of course of two-time Academy Award winner and acting icon Denzel Washington.
*In this feature last week for 25 years ago, we wrote about a big upset with San Clemente toppling Mater Dei of Santa Ana. This time, for 20 years ago, it’s another upset of the Monarchs as they fell in 2000 to Santa Margarita 21-14. In fact, Mater Dei’s previous loss in Orange County was that one to the Tritons in 1995. This time, the state’s third-ranked team was hurt by turnovers. Ashton White, the son of Heisman Trophy running back Charles White, scooped up a fumble and ran it back 42 yards to set up the first score of the game for the Eagles. Later in the game, White blocked a punt that was recovered at the 1-yard line to set up Santa Margarita’s third score.
*Senior Dru Foster of San Diego High was credited with six and a half sacks and forced a whopping four fumbles as the Cavers blanked Clairemont of San Diego 27-0. Foster also led a defense that held Clairemont to minus four yards for the game.

Former De La Salle head coach Bob Ladouceur talks with former DLS player Patrick Walsh after team Walsh coached at Serra (San Mateo) lost in 2019 CIF D1-A final to Corona del Mar. Walsh was a running back on 1992 team that began 151-game winning streak in 1992. Photo: Mark Tennis.

25 YEARS AGO (1995)
*Before more than 7,000 fans, four Bay Area TV trucks and 15 to 20 media members cramming both sidelines, De La Salle of Concord broke the state winning streak state record that had lasted 18 years and several previous assaults on it. The Spartans, who were 8-0 and No. 1 in the state, defeated previous 8-0 and previous state No. 7 James Logan of Union City 41-8 to set the record. They won their 48th straight game to move past the previous state record of 47 set between 1972 and 1977 by Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa. Leon Callen rushed for 179 yards on 24 carries and scored the team’s third and fourth TDs. Rashad Floyd also led DLS with a fumble return TD and by going 71 yards to the end zone on a pass from Jon Kirkham. “We tried not to talk about it earlier in the season, but we figured as long as we’re this close, let’s go ahead and do it,” said head coach Bob Ladouceur. “It’s a great record for our school and our program. And it’s a record that should stand for a while.” Two years later, Lad’s forces would set the national record and continued to win until the streak reached 151 in 2004. That’s a national record that should stand for a while.
*Also from the East Bay this week in 1995, Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland RB Ricky Walker took over the state lead in scoring and moved to No. 3 in rushing after amassing 325 yards on 26 carries and scored five TD to lead the Dragons past Richmond.
*A team turning heads in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section was Turlock as the Bulldogs scored 41 points in the fourth quarter of a 55-21 win over Atwater. Turlock was led in its big quarter by Jacob Roberson, who scored on runs of 51 and 54 yards, recovered a fumble and caused a fumble.

30 YEARS AGO (1990)
*Some of the state’s leading medium school players included record breaking junior running back David Dotson from Valley View of Moreno Valley. He would end his career in 1991 as the state record holder for career rushing yards with more than 7,200. Also on the list were two who led Alhambra of Martinez to a 13-0 record and to the state’s top ranking among Class AA schools: QB Mark Rueb and DL Joe Dunn. Others included WR Mike Johnston of South San Francisco, WR Chang Weisberg of Rosemead, OL Don Willis from Cabrillo of Lompoc, OL Kono Soong of Dublin, OL Phil Lafler from Del Oro of Loomis, RB Ulysses Trammell from Rancho Alamitos of Garden Grove, DL Bryan Greeley from La Sierra of Riverside, LB Chris Lopez from Placer of Auburn, LB Roger Blake from Hoover of San Diego, DB Jerry Reese from Mt. Diablo of Concord, DB Marvin Green from Lincoln of San Diego ad QB/RB/K Armando Avina from East Union of Manteca.

35 YEARS AGO (1985)
*In another Trinity League showdown (we just mentioned Servite vs. St. Paul last week), the 1985 season also featured a classic the very next week with 8-0 Bishop Amat (ranked second in the state) playing 8-0 Servite (ranked sixth). The Lancers trailed 21-14 in the fourth quarter, but came from behind for a 26-21 triumph. A 26-yard TD run by Lee Barrett followed by a one-yard plunge by junior Eric Bieniemy (currently the offensive coordinator for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs) put Bishop Amat on top. Bieniemy ended with 34 carries for 205 yards and three TDs.
*It also was a great week for players, teams and fans in California’s Redwood Empire. With still one game left in his regular season, senior Todd DiCello of Healdsburg broke the state record for career receptions. DiCello, who had 85 catches as a junior, had eight for 105 yards and one TD in a 29-0 win by Healdsburg over Piner of Santa Rosa. That gave him 211 for his career and surpassed the previous state record of 209 set in 1984 by Billy Satterfield of Arvin. Bishop Amat’s legendary John McKay Jr. had the record at 207 set in 1970. Also from the Redwood Empire that same week, 5-foot-9, 175-pound QB Kolya Hardy from Tamalpais of Mill Valley went for 390 yards passing and two TDs (22 of 37) in a 28-12 win against Drake of San Anselmo. In the same game, Hardy also intercepted a pass and returned it 60 yards for a score and he caught a 23-yard TD pass on a trick play. Yet another highlight from the Redwood Empire on the same week was Santa Rosa Montgomery’s Albert Higgs getting credited for 90-yard punt (wind-aided but still in the state record book) and kicking a 51-yard field goal in a 20-0 victory over Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa.

40 YEARS AGO (1980)
*Future University of Illinois standout and future nine-year NFL QB Jack Trudeau had perhaps the best night of his high school career at Granada of Livermore. Trudeau hit on 11 of 21 psses for 354 yards and five TDs to lead the Matadors past previously unbeaten Monte Vista of Danville 35-20. Trudeau’s favorite receiver was Randy Grant, who caught six balls for 228 yards and three of the TDs (including one for 93 yards).
*Future eight-year NFL defensive back Vestee Jackson took over the lead for rushing yards in the CIF Central Section for McLane of Fresno. Jackson picked up 187 yards on 20 carries and scored three times in a 33-7 win vs. Hoover of Fresno. Vestee also went over 1,000 yards in his ninth 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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