Longtime staffer Jim McConnell is trying to the impossible, pick the best Valley team in football history. A week ago he named the best teams ever, and now he’s in search of a champion with his own mythical playoffs.
By Jim McConnell
Let the games begin.
Our mythical high school football playoffs produced a couple major surprises in round one. Here’s the rundown, straight from the Then & Now computers – which look suspiciously like a dartboard and a Ouija board.
1970 Bishop Amat-1991 Baldwin Park – The upstart Braves stay with the Pat Haden-John McKay Jr.-led Lancers for a half, Amat leading 21-14 at intermission. However, Haden passes for three touchdowns in the second half and the Amat defense finds a way to stop the Baldwin Park passing game.
Final score: Amat 45,
Baldwin Park 14
1996 HH-Wilson-1926 Covina – Using the quick kick out of the Single Wing formation, the Colts’ Gus Shaver averages over 50 yards a punt on five punts, keeping Wilson in poor field position the entire first half. Neither team scores in the first 24 minutes. Covina finally breaks the scoreless spell on a sensational 65-yard punt return for a touchdown by Shaver. From there, Wilson finally gets its high-powered running game going, two long drives culminating in touchdowns.
Final score: Wilson 13, Covina 6
1942 Bonita-2000 South Hills – Undersized Bonita struggles with South Hills, and actually trails 14-7 late in the first half. After that, it’s the Glenn Davis show. Davis returns a kickoff 95 yards to tie the game at 14 going into halftime. He then returns the second-half kickoff 97 yards for another TD. Later in the third quarter, he has a 60-yard return of a pass interception. He caps his night with a 54-yard run from scrimmage, setting up what proves to be the winning TD.
Final score: Bonita 32,
South Hills 24
1955 San Marino-2002 La Habra – An undersized San Marino team provides the surprise of the opening round. Running its pro-set offense to perfection and using a bend-but-don’t break defense, Coach Vic Schwenk’s Titans upend La Habra. San Marino takes a 14-0 lead after one quarter and the Highlanders can’t catch up, despite two long scoring drives in the second half.
Final score: San Marino 28,
La Habra 14
1984 Claremont-1964 Whittier – The Cardinals stay with the Wolfpack for a half. The game is tied 14-all at halftime. Two plays by the ‘Pack’s Travis Watkins turn the tide in the third quarter. He returns the kickoff starting the half 75 yards, setting up a short TD drive. Later, he outjumps three Whittier defenders in the end zone to haul in a 30-yard pass. Whittier’s George Buehler has a huge game, sacking Claremont quarterback Dan
McGwire three times, recovering a fumble and catching a TD pass. But it’s not enough for Whittier, as Wolfpack kicker Steve Bayer answers with three field goals, including a 45-yarder.
Final score: Claremont 37, Whittier 20
1986 Muir-1982 Los Altos – In one of the most entertaining games of the opening round, quarterback Vince Phillips rallies the Mustangs. Los Altos, using the pitch-and-catch combo of Mike Smith and Matt Stark, takes a quick 14-0 lead and leads 17-7 at halftime. Phillips then guides the Mustangs on two impressive scoring drives in the second half, and the Muir defense manages to shut down the Conquerors’ passing game. Ricky Ervins scores the game-winner with less than a minute to play, and Muir comes away with a hard-fought victory.
Final score: Muir 27,
Los Altos 20
1984 Diamond Bar-1985 Charter Oak – Easily the wildest game of the first round. The Brahmas and Chargers go round and round, trading scores all night. Charter Oak winds up outgaining Diamond Bar. However, special teams make the difference. The Brahmas get second-half touchdowns on a kickoff return, a punt return and an interception return and manage to outlast the Chargers.
Final score: Diamond Bar 48, Charter Oak 39
2000 Los Altos-1995 Diamond Bar – In a battle of defenses, Los Altos gets the game-winner late in the fourth quarter when Shaun Cody forces a fumble, recovers it and dashes 50 yards for a touchdown. Cody finishes with 10 unassisted tackles, three QB sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Final score: Los Altos 14, Diamond Bar 7
1992 Bishop Amat versus 1984 Claremont
1939 Alhambra versus 1970 Bishop Amat
1951 Pomona versus 1996 Wilson
1965 West Covina versus 1955 San Marino
1966 El Rancho versus 1984 Diamond Bar
1969 Blair versus 1942 Bonita
1971 Bishop Amat versus 2000 Los Altos
1972 St. Paul versus 1986 Muir
NEXT WEEK: Second-round results and semifinal pairings for our mythical “Best in the Valley” playoffs.
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