FB Blasts From The Past (2020 Final)

At left is a portion of a photo of 1940 State Team of the Year Piedmont. At right is one from the early 1980s of Los Gatos football coach Charlie Wedemeyer and wife Lucy. The Wildcats won their only CCS title with Charlie as head coach 35 years ago. Photos: pshof.org & Courtesy Family.

We’d like to say that this post will conclude this series that checks out highlights from around the state from 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years ago. We have also added a few more from even further back. It will be the last one for the 2020 calendar year, but it’s still very uncertain whether there will even be a shortened 2021 winter football season in the state due to the awful situation with the pandemic. We may therefore need to do more Blasts From The Past into February, concentrating on recruiting, all-star honors and more.


We hope you enjoy this free post on CalHiSports.com. All of our annual preseason all-section, all-county and all-region football teams are being delayed in getting done until we’re more certain when the next season is going to start. 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.

Five years ago, lineman Boss Tagaloa helped De La Salle win its sixth CIF Open Division state title in seven years. Photo: Harold Abend.

5 YEARS AGO (2015)
*Defending CIF Open Division state champion De La Salle of Concord once again turned back Centennial of Corona, 28-21, in the CIF Open Division state bowl championship at Sacramento State. It took several microscopic measurements on two fourth downs and three other fourth down stops by the De La Salle defense to overcome Centennial with the offense making just enough big plays. De La Salle (13-1) also won its sixth state title in seven years and was named the Cal-Hi Sports State Team of the Year for the 18th time since 1992. If the Spartans had not lost in their first game 26-21 in Texas to Trinity of Euless, Texas, in which they only had six practices to prepare for and didn’t adjust to some of the Texas blocking rules, they would have ended as a consensus national No. 1 team as well. Centennial, which finished 15-1 and was No. 2 behind DLS in the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings but was No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps and was ranked higher by every national poll, lost to the Spartans for the fourth time in five tries. Facing a Centennial offense that scored 55 points in one half in its last game against another nationally ranked opponent, St. John Bosco of Bellflower, De La Salle’s biggest stop came with 1:04 left on its own 45-yard line. That was on 4th and 11 and came on an incomplete pass. Three plays later, senior running back Andrew Hernandez ran for eight yards and a first down after Centennial had used all of its time outs. Earlier in the fourth quarter, after De La Salle took a 28-21 lead on a 26-yard run by senior quarterback Anthony Sweeney, the Huskies threatened to tie the score but a fourth down pass was broken up on a massive hit by De La Salle’s Antoine Custer, more known for being the team’s top running back. He finished with 18 carries or 120 yards and two TDs.
*Head coach Bob Johnson’s squad at Mission Viejo captured the CIF Division I-AA state bowl title with a 24-0 triumph over Bellarmine of San Jose in the second of two CIF state finals played in rainy conditions on a Friday night at Sacramento State. One week after the Bells ventured up the hill to Folsom and shocked the higher-ranked Bulldogs and ended their 30-game win streak (which was the longest in the state), Mission Viejo dominated up front and extended its win streak to 28 games (which will be the longest in the state heading into next season). Johnson, one of the winningest coaches in state history, wasn’t necessarily happy about going into the CIF state bowls after his team stood at 14-0 following a win against Vista Murrieta of Murrieta in the CIF Southern Section West Valley Division final, but was very happy after Mission Viejo earned its first CIF state football title. Making the night even sweeter was culminating a 16-0 season with grandson Brock as the quarterback. In 1986, Bob Johnson was the head coach with his son, Bret, leading an undefeated squad (that also was State Team of the Year) at El Toro of Lake Forest. Bret’s brother and Brock’s uncle, Rob (the former NFL quarterback), also was on the Mission Viejo coaching staff.

10 YEARS AGO (2010)
*Servite of Anaheim entered the 2010 CIF Open Division bowl game at 14-0 and after winning the vaunted CIF Southern Section Pac-Five Division title. But the Friars were no match for defending champion De La Salle as the Spartans pushed themselves further in front of all other schools in the state at the time with a 48-8 victory. Head coach Bob Ladouceur’s team scored on five possessions in the first half and held Servite to zero first downs in taking a 35-0 lead. Later named to the all-state team, Dylan Wynn (DT) and Blake Renaud (LB) led that defense. On offense, running back Lucas Dunne scored a school record 40 TDs. In the final, RB Joe Te’o rushed for 165 yards and one TD.
*Pulling off what was at the time called one of the biggest upsets in CIF bowl game history, Palo Alto topped Centennial of Corona 15-13 to win the CIF D1 state title. Centennial, like the Vikings, also was unbeaten entering that game and had won a CIF state title in 2008. Plus, the Huskies had one of their most prolific offenses. It was a rainy, sloppy afternoon, but Palo Alto made just enough big plays to lead at halftime and held on in the second half. A 42-yard field goal attempt by Centennial with 35 seconds left wasn’t even close. Linebacker T.J. Braff and defensive end Kevin Anderson led the Paly defense. One of the TDs came on a pass from QB Christoph Bono to Davante Adams just before halftime. Adams is now one of the top receivers in the NFL. Maybe it wasn’t an upset after all but that this group at Paly under head coach Earl Hansen was just that good.
*In the CIF D2 state bowl game final, Folsom completed its first state title season with a 48-20 win over Serra of Gardena. Trailing by one at halftime, Serra head coach Scott Altenberg felt good that his super-talented team could come back in the second half. Two turnovers in the third quarter, however, resulted in Folsom touchdowns and gave the Bulldogs some cushion. QB Dano Graves, later named Mr. Football State Player of the Year, ended the season with 62 touchdown passes and 85 touchdowns accounted for.

Lucas Dunne of Concord De La Salle looks for running room during 2010 CIF Open Division state championship game against Servite of Anaheim. Photo: Scott Kurtz.

15 YEARS AGO (2005)
*It wasn’t as easy doing the final No. 1 state ranking as in some years, but earning the nod and State Team of the Year honors was 14-0 St. Bonaventure of Ventura. The Seraphs moved up in the final rankings after previous No. 1 Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks lost in the CIF Southern Section D3 championship to Dominguez of Compton (13-1). St. Bonaventure was the only 14-0 team among the top contenders and had a big win early in the season over a Hart of Newhall squad that had knocked off season-long state No. 1 Mission Viejo in the CIFSS D2 playoffs. Canyon of Canyon Country (13-1) then defeated Hart to win the title in that division. This was the year that De La Salle had two losses and when the CIFSS D1 winner was 10-4 Loyola of Los Angeles.
*St. Bonaventure’s program had been strictly small school until head coach Jon Mack came onto the scene in the late 1990s. By 2005, the Seraphs had become the first team ever from Ventura County to finish at No. 1 in the state. In the title game, St. Bonaventure dispatched Moorpark 27-7, extended its winning streak to 24 game and won its sixth CIFSS title in seven years. Leading players included QB Matt Evans (2,452 yards passing with 28 TDs), junior RB Michael Lee (1,929 yds, 32 TDs), DL Kyle Maddox and DB Adam Liranzo.
*Winning its first CIFSS title in 20 years was Canyon of Canyon Country. The Cowboys had to get past their league rivals from Hart of Newhall in the D2 final and did that with a 21-13 triumph. Junior running back J.J. DiLuigi shined with 43 touchdowns and gave a preview of what he’d do the following season. Head coach Harry Welch was named State Coach of the Year as he earned the school’s fourth CIFSS title in his 17th season. Welch and the Cowboys won their first section title in 1983 and went on a 46-game winning streak into 1986. He was away from coaching from 1994 to 2001.

20 YEARS AGO (2000)
*With De La Salle and its 113-game win streak plus State Team of the Year honor already secured, the final weekend of the 2000 season still offered plenty of excitement, including overtime thrillers that decided the CIF Southern Section and CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 titles. In SoCal, Hershel Dennis caught and 11-yard swing pass from Brandon Brooks and raced for an 11-yard touchdown to give Long Beach Poly a 16-13 overtime win vs. Loyola of Los Angeles. The winning score came after the Cubs took the lead in overtime on a field goal. Loyola also grabbed a 10-7 lead with just over one minute left on a 17-yard TD pass from Matt Ware (later played linebacker in the NFL) to Joe Killifer only to have the Jackrabbits tie it up on a field goal with four seconds left. That field goal was set up by tipped pass that could have just as easily been an interception. In NorCal, Lincoln of Stockton won its first (and still only) section football title with a 35-28 win in overtime against Elk Grove. The Trojans scored first in overtime on a 7-yard pass from Ryan Schreppel to Chris Henderson. Elk Grove then took its turn and on fourth-down from the two-yard line the Thundering Herd were stopped. Lincoln also won the first section title as a Stockton school in the 24 years of the SJS playoffs at that time. Tyrone Gross led the Trojans with 29 carries for 157 yards and three TDs.
*Centennial of Corona topped Elsinore of Lake Elsinore 27-18 to win the CIFSS D5 title, which was the first section title in that program’s history (total is currently at 10). Mike Bass rushed for 133 yards and two TDs on 24 carries to pace the Huskies.
*This also was the season at Helix of La Mesa in which the Highlanders had junior Alex Smith at quarterback and sophomore Reggie Bush at running back. They went 13-0 and in their final game topped San Pasqual of Escondido 24-14. Bush had the biggest play of the night with a 92-yard kickoff return to start the second half. People would be shocked, though, that Helix wasn’t ranked that high with those two players. That’s because at the time Helix was D2 in the San Diego Section and D1 for that season was viewed as superior. Fallbrook (11-2) won the D1 title in 2000 and that also was when the Warriors had Randy Blankenship as head coach. He already had won section titles elsewhere in the state at Nevada Union of Grass Valley and Clovis West of Fresno prior to Fallbrook.
*Stanford-bound QB Kyle Matter had almost a perfect game to close out his prep career in leading Hart of Newhall past Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach 34-11 in the CIFSS D3 championship game. Matter completed 27 of 31 passes for 365 yards and two TDs as Hart won its third straight divisional title. Matter also capped his career with 7,534 yards and 81 touchdowns.

Chris Claiborne, the Mr. Football State Player of the Year for 1995 at J.W. North (Riverside), recently was head coach at Calabasas. He’s now on the staff at USC. Photo: @CalabasasFtball / Twitter.com.

25 YEARS AGO (1995)
*The team that moved up the most in the final state rankings was Hart of Newhall. Revenge was sweet for the Indians in the CIFSS D2 championship as they beat Antelope Valley of Lancaster 35-28. Hart had lost in the same game to the same team one year previously with a 13-0 record. This year, Antelope Valley was 13-0 and had risen to No. 2 in the state behind De La Salle of Concord (which had wrapped up its season the week before). The Indians (12-2) went up from No. 16 to No. 6 in the final rankings. Future College of the Canyons head coach Ted Iacenda capped a stellar prep career with 30 carries for 163 yards and three scores. He had 99 TDs in three seasons. Future Antelope Valley head coach Jermaine Lewis was equally spectacular. He had 28 carries for 270 yards and two TDs. He had 2,510 yards and 35 TDs for the season.
*Bishop Amat of La Puente, which had lost in the 1994 CIFSS D1 championship to Mater Dei when it was No. 1 in the nation, won the CIFSS D1 crown at the L.A. Coliseum with a 14-10 triumph over Loyola of Los Angeles. Ralph Brown, who would later play many seasons in the NFL as a DB, scored Amat’s first touchdown on a 64-yard pass from Brian Russell, added another TD on a run in the third quarter, finished with 110 yards rushing on 21 carries, and sealed the win on defense by intercepting a pass.
*One night before Bishop Amat head coach Tom Salter guided the Lancers to that CIFSS D1 title, his brother, Tim, did the same in the CIFSS D6 final in Upland’s 33-13 victory over Rancho Cucamonga. Deonce Whittaker of Rancho Cucamonga entered the game as the state’s leading scorer, but was held out of the end zone by the Upland defense. The Highlanders featured Andre Bishop on offense, who rushed for three TDs.
*A former Bishop Amat head coach, Mark Paredes, also celebrated on that same weekend. He was coaching at J.W. North of Riverside and his team won the CIFSS D5 title with a 21-18 victory. The Huskies also wound up 14-0 and were selected as our D2 State Team of the Year. That was the J.W. North team led by eventual NFL linebacker and 1995 State Player of the Year Chris Claiborne. He had more than 100 tackles that season on defense. On offense, Claiborne rushed for more than 2,100 yards.

30 YEARS AGO (1990)
*Merced and its high-octane Fly offense under head coach Mark Speckman completed a two-year run atop the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs with another 14-0 record and was named State Team of the Year. The Bears had gone 14-0 in 1989 and were even better in 1990, capping the campaign with a 21-12 victory over Nevada Union of Grass Valley. With also having a 50-21 victory over Central Coast Section champ St. Francis of Mountain View, Merced’s argument to be No. 1 was strengthened. The team took a 28-game win streak into the first game of 1991, but it ended with a loss to De La Salle of Concord. The Bears lost to DLS to start the 1992 season as well, which has always allowed Speckman to joke about being the first of 150 straight head coaches afterward to do the same. Merced’s 1990 squad, which averaged 50 points per game, included speedy running backs Jhay Roland, Anthony Volsan and Stephen Jackson. In 2007, tragically, Jackson was murdered. The late John Rushing, who was a longtime assistant coach in the Pac-12 and who died earlier this year at age 48, played on Merced’s 1989 team.

35 YEARS AGO (1985)
*There were a lot of tears on the sidelines at the end of the CIF Central Coast Section D1 football playoffs after Los Gatos had upset St. Francis of Mountain View, 14-12. The tears weren’t just for St. Francis, which its three-year reign as CCS champion end plus hopes for an unbeaten season. Instead, those emotions were director toward Los Gatos head coach Charlie Wedemeyer, who could not talk and could not walk due to the ravages of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), but still called all of the offensive plays. Wedemeyer’s team won its title with 42 seconds left when a possible game-winning 29-yard field by St. Francis was blocked. It was the first and only CCS title for Wedemeyer at Los Gatos, which had an arguably stronger team in 1984 that lost to St. Francis in the playoffs and had to replace most of the starters. Wedemeyer’s wife, Lucy, was on the sidelines for each of the games and read her husband’s lips for the play calls, then relayed the plays to the assistant coaches. As was written when Wedemeyer was named State Coach of the Year, he would have been the choice regardless of having ALS. After the game, as Wedemeyer was getting loaded into his specially-built van, the entire St. Francis team exited its bus and went over to congratulate the opposing head coach.
*CIF San Diego Section champion Vista (13-0) was selected State Team of the of Year two weeks after it won the section crown, 35-7, over Helix of La Mesa. The week before that, head coach Dick Haines’ club rolled over previously unbeaten Granite Hills of El Cajon, 43-9, while Helix had topped unbeaten Sweetwater of National City. QB Sal Aunese, who went on to star at Colorado but who died of stomach cancer before he could finish there, and running back Roger Price both rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the Panthers.
*Considered as runners up to Vista for the final No. 1 state ranking were three top teams from Northern California — 13-0 Clovis West of Fresno, 14-0 Cordova of Rancho Cordova and 12-0 De La Salle of Concord. Clovis West won its final game, 21-9, over arch-rival Clovis in the CIF Central Section Yosemite Division final. Cordova, led by current Sacramento State head coach Troy Taylor, won the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 title, 17-7, over Vacaville. De La Salle at the time had still not moved up to the top division of the CIF North Coast Section playoffs and was No. 1 in the final Class 3A state rankings.

40 YEARS AGO (1980)
*Banning of Wilmington (12-0) was selected as State Team of the Year after winning its fifth straight CIF L.A. City Section 4A title with a dominating 34-12 win over El Camino Real of Woodland Hills. The Pilots were only ahead 7-6 at halftime, but took over in the second half behind running back Danny Andrews and fullback Michael Alo. Andrews rushed for 93 yards on 13 carries and intercepted a pair of passes on defense. Alo had nine carries for 65 yards and was all over the field on defense.
*After entering the CIFSS Northwestern Conference playoffs at just 5-4-1, San Luis Obispo went on a run of upsets all the way to a championship. The Tigers had upset Blair of Pasadena, La Canada and Burroughs of Burbank to reach the final and had to go up against 13-0 Lompoc in that game. SLO not only got another upset, but it was by shutout in a 7-0 contest.
*Schurr of Montebello actually had to win a CIFSS title twice. Before the Spartans were supposed to play Serra of Gardena in a championship game, Serra was ruled ineligible for the game. This came about because a couple of Mary Star (San Pedro) players had participated in an informal workout with several Serra players. A few days later, however, a judge ruled in favor of Serra and ordered the title game to take place. Meanwhile, Schurr’s players had already turned in their uniforms thinking they had already won the championship via the forfeit. The game then happened and the Spartans won it on the field, 21-13. QB Joe Jordan tossed two TD passes for Schurr and had 25 for the season.

60 YEARS AGO (1960)
*South Tahoe of South Lake Tahoe defeated Moapa Valley of Overton, Nev., 12-7, to win the Nevada Class A state championship. The Vikings became the first team located in California to capture a Nevada state title. They repeated in 1961, but were back to California competition in following years before going back to Nevada. Coleville, Tahoe-Truckee of Truckee, Needles and North Tahoe of Tahoe City are among other schools located in California that have won Nevada state high school football crowns.

70 YEARS AGO (1950)
*Junior running back Bob Foley of Willows was the state’s leading rusher with 1,566 yards in just nine games. Foley came back as a senior for the Honkers in 1951 to rush for 1,860 yards, which was the state record at the time before it was broken in 1954 by Vallejo’s Dick Bass, who had 1,964 yards in nine games.

80 YEARS AGO (1940)
*Etched forever as the 1940 State Team of the Year is Piedmont. The Highlanders of that season are still considered that school’s greatest team ever. They outscored their eight opponents by a whopping 274-6 and the only team that scored against them, Jefferson of Daly City, lost 50-6. At the time Berkeley was well-known for football, but that season it lost to Piedmont 46-0. Junior RB Billy Agnew is listed as State Player of the Year for 1941, but in 1940 the selection has always been future Hall of Fame receiver Tom Fears from Manual Arts (Los Angeles).
*Sophomore running back Glenn Davis from Bonita of La Verne was the state’s leader for touchdowns despite being so young. Davis scored 14 touchdowns in seven games. He came back as a junior and senior to lead the state as well with 20 and 27 TDs, respectively. Davis led Bonita to an 11-0 record in 1942 and he later would win the Heisman Trophy as a running back at Army.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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