Los Gatos Football History Highlights

Los Gatos head coach Mark Krail (left) needs just a handful of wins this season to move up to second on the school’s list of winningest coaches in its more than 100 years of football. At right is 2022 all-state linebacker Jake Ripp. He is now playing at Boise State. Photos: Jonathan Natividad / Los Gatan & Twitter.com.

One of the winningest schools in Northern California history is the Wildcats. They have more than 100 years of archived scores now in their possession thanks to the Cal-Hi Sports card collection compiled by the late Bruce McIntosh. Los Gatos football has 264 of its wins under one coach, but will always be known as being the home of the most incredible coach we’ve ever covered in any sport.

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Whenever dealing with the history of a very old school like Los Gatos (Santa Clara County), the numbers can be hard to believe.

But with Los Gatos, it’s still all the emotion that comes out of what happened in the 1984 and 1985 season that have always been what many old-timers (like us at Cal-Hi Sports) think of first. Those were the final two seasons when the Wildcats were still guided by head coach Charlie Wedemeyer, who was battling Lou Gehrig’s disease at the time.

In 1984, Los Gatos had one of its best teams ever and looked poised to win its first CIF Central Coast Section title. In a semifinal game against St. Francis of Mountain View, however, the Lancers battled back to force a tie. It’s still listed as a tie officially, but in those days the CCS had a tie-breaker in which the teams ran plays from the 50-yard line. In a heartbreaker, Los Gatos essentially was eliminated by a holding penalty and St. Francis went on to win the CCS title.

That contest was as difficult to cover after a game as one could imagine. It was thought by many that Charlie would not be able to return. At that point, all he could really do was call plays and communicate with his team through the efforts of his wife, Lucy, reading his lips.

The 1985 season, though, wasn’t Charlie’s last. He was actually a little better due to some feeding tubes he was using. The Wildcats were not as strong and in fact they lost their first game. But they got improved as the season went along, came up with a big win in the CCS semifinals over Gilroy and got a rematch with St. Francis in the final. The Lancers were the favored team this time and it looked like they were going to crush the hearts of the Wildcats again when they lined up for what would have been a game-winning field goal. Instead, the kick was blocked and Los Gatos had won its first CCS title with a 14-12 win over the Lancers.

After that game ended and the St. Francis bus was about to leave, head coach Ron Calcagno spotted Charlie getting into his medical van. The bus stopped. All of the players then came out of the bus and went over to shake his hand. We didn’t see that and didn’t actually see the game as we picked a different one for that night, but Merv Harris of the San Francisco Examiner was there and wrote: “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”

Charlie Wedemeyer is shown coaching the Los Gatos football team at some point in the early 1980s with his wife, Lucy. Photo: Courtesy family.

Wedemeyer did step aside for the 1986 season, although he didn’t necessarily want to, because then assistant coach Butch Cattolico was looking to be a head coach somewhere and he was an outstanding math teacher. Butch took over as the head coach for 1986 and Charlie stayed on to help with the freshmen. Cattolico then stayed on for nearly 30 years and won 264 games, pushing Los Gatos to success that the school never had before, including a 38-game win streak (39-0-1 unbeaten streak) from 2000 to 2002. Butch also still ranks as one of the state’s top coaches ever based on winning percentage among those with 150 wins or more in a career.

Charlie went on to live with Lou Gehrig’s disease for many years and once got to meet another longtime survivor, the great physicist Stephen Hawking, before Charlie’s death in 2010 at age 64.

This brings us to the upcoming 2023 season. Wedemeyer is still the second-winningest head coach in Los Gatos history with 78, but likely moving up into that spot will be current head coach Mark Krail. He was the one who took over when Cattolico retired and might have already been ahead of 78 if it weren’t for the pandemic in 2020 only enabling the team to play five times (all wins). Krail starts 2023 with 74 wins and has many top returnees from last year’s squad that lost in overtime to Archbishop Mitty in the CCS Open Division semifinals.

One of the teams that Los Gatos played in the 2020 pandemic season, Santa Clara High, has a special history with the school. We have a score in our files from 1904 in which it was reported that Santa Clara defeated Los Gatos, 36-0. The school itself didn’t get established until 1908, but there were reported scores for an organized football team from students in the town from before that.

The first full season of scores for the Wildcats is from 1922. Santa Clara High was an opponent then as well and it was a 6-6 tie. The first game for 1922 was a 43-0 loss to San Jose State (college and high school teams played each other in those days), which is still one of the five most lopsided losses that the Los Gatos has ever had.

Here are some other Los Gatos High football records that the school now has in its possession courtesy of this archive initiative:

(Starting in 1920s)

1920s: 13-21-6

1930s: 31-28-7

1940s: 39-25-10

1950s: 41-37-2

1960s: 50-41-2

1970s: 69-31-1

1980s: 97-17-2

1990s: 77-28-0

2000s: 108-17-3

2010s: 84-39-2

2020s (so far): 23-4-0


632 wins, 292 losses, 35 ties

(adding pre-1922 seasons that are obviously incomplete the total is 634-295-35)

67.7 all-time winning percentage (counting half win, half loss for ties)

Former Los Gatos head coach Butch Cattolico (right) didn’t stop coaching after he retired in 2012. He was helping his son, Joe, at Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove in 2013 and has continued helping with Joe at his other stops. They are shown above after a win against Rocklin and its QB at the time, Logan Webb. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Best Records For Single Season

13-0 – 2000
13-0 – 2001
10-0 – 1975
7-0 – 1945
11-0-1 – 1985

Note: 5-0 in the short pandemic season of 2020.

Worst Records For Single Season

0-5 – 1925
1-8 – 1955
1-7-1 – 1966

Records Against Notable Opponents

24-8-0 Vs. Palo Alto
42-17 Vs. Saratoga
24-11-1 Vs. Wilcox (Santa Clara)
30-15-8 Vs. Santa Clara
35-23-3 Vs. Mountain View

Notes: First documented game vs Santa Clara played in 1904. Probably other scores from before 1922 are missing. There was a 26-game win streak vs district rival Saratoga that ended in 2010 and nine wins in a row since then. There is a current 23-game win streak vs. Mountain View, but that school was dominant in the 1930s and into the late 1940s.

Most Points Scored (Single Game)

75 – Vs. Gunn (Palo Alto), 2004
63 – Vs. Santa Clara, 2002
63 – Vs. Homestead (Cupertino), 2003
63 – Vs. Palo Alto, 2005
63 – Vs. Los Altos, 2011
63 – Vs. Monta Vista (Cupertino), 2014
63 – Vs. Santa Clara, 2014
62 – Vs. Leland (San Jose), 1984
62 – Vs. South San Francisco, 2001
62 – Vs. Cupertino, 2004
62 – Vs. Homestead (Cupertino), 2004
62 – Vs. Gunn (Palo Alto), 2005

Most Lopsided Wins

75-0 Vs. Gunn (Palo Alto), 2004
63-0 Vs. Los Altos, 2011
58-0 Vs. Los Altos, 2008
63-6 Vs. Santa Clara, 2002
56-0 Vs. Cupertino, 1995
62-6 Vs. Gunn (Palo Alto), 2005
56-0 Vs. Mountain View, 2009
56-0 Vs. Fremont (Sunnyvale), 2018
56-0 Vs. Mountain View, 2022
63-7 Vs. Santa Clara, 2014
62-7 Vs. Cupertino, 2004
55-0 Vs. Mountain View, 2008
55-0 Vs. Homestead (Cupertino), 2022

Most Points Allowed (Single Game)

56 Vs. Menlo-Atherton (Atherton), 2017
53 Vs. Campbell, 1968
53 Vs. Live Oak (Morgan Hill), 1986
52 Vs. South San Francisco, 1924
49 Vs. Blackford (San Jose), 1981
46 Vs. South San Francisco, 1925

Most Lopsided Losses

46-0 Vs. South San Francisco, 1925
52-7 Vs. South San Francisco, 1924
44-0 Vs. College of Pacific Academy, 1903
49-6 Vs. Blackford (San Jose), 1981
43-0 Vs. San Jose State, 1922
42-0 Vs. Palo Alto, 2010

Longest Winning Streaks

38-0 – 2000 to 2002
18-0 – 1985 to 1986
15-0 – 2020 to 2021
13-0 – 1974 to 1975
13-0 – 1991 to 1992

Note: The 38-0 win streak ended with a tie in a CCS title game that was followed by another win to start the next season and then there was a loss. The 38-game win streak thus also extended to a 39-0-1 unbeaten streak. The win streak is second longest in CCS history after 42 in a row for Willow Glen of San Jose 1958 to 1962.

Longest Losing Streaks

0-9 – 1924 to 1925
0-9 – 1955 to 1956
0-7 – 1966 to 1967

Note: Nine-game losing streak ended with a tie in 1925 followed by three more losses for an 0-12-1 winless streak. There have been only two five-game losing streaks since 1967 and none that long since 1997.

Remember, any school in the state can have this research finished in a customized fashion in return for a reasonable fee. For details, CLICK HERE.

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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