The year that tiny Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton, California won the Central Coast Section football championship, I had three friends with boys on the Gunn of Palo Alto team, my alma mater. I attended every game, even on Yom Kippur — I went for the kickoff then hightailed it to High Holiday services. I wrote several article for this blog, Plastic Alto. I tried to contribute to the paper of record here, PAW but they only ran the slimmest amount of my piece. They may or may not have offered me $50 for my time. Gunn won once that year; they had 18 players, 8 of whom played every down. The very minute that I re-introduced myself to a classmate of mine, his boy ran a punt back for 6.
I recall being peeved that the Weekly did not cover the Titans as avidly. I posted on their site complaining about a Palo Alto paper covering a small private school, in the next town.
In retrospect, the Gators’ story was significant. Their top player Burr-Kirven earned a scholarship to Washington, and excelled in Pac-12 football, earning all-conference. (My classmate Chris Strausser, now of the Colts of the NFL, was one of his coaches and helped recruit him – I recall in a text he said something about hoping the kid, known for punching above his weight, would fill out — he did).
What I didn’t realize about Sacred Heart is that their secret sauce was Bill Campbell, the former Columbia Lions great (no, that’s not an oxymoron – his boys were league champions, as players, not later as a winless coach). Just as he did for Columbia, Campbell donated to build up the field and the program. (Just as he did for The Old Pro, at 541 Ramona). Campbell was a two-way player, linebacker and pulling guard, and later coached a trillion dollars worth of Silicon Valley market caps, according to my former neighbor and fellow Dartmouthian Alan Eagle in his recent book, the voice of Big Green football for WDCR.
When St. Francis of Mountain View won the state championship in 2017, I did not pay much attention — my interest in high school sports waxes and wanes. In some ways, the Lancers win can be shrugged off: don’t they win all the time? They’re a power-house. (I know they won State in basketball in 1979, with Pat Rogers and Mike Norman). When I think of St. Francis football I think of two who went on to Dartmouth: Sorenson, a linebacker a year behind me at Dartmouth, who had straight A’s and posed with the Playboy All America team — that was a thing; Also, Zack Walz, who later played for the St. Louis Cardinals (or Arizona?) and runs a tutoring program in Missouri. I may be mis-remembering that Zack’s dad had a store in downtown Los Altos and I would chit-chat with him; I think Charles Tharp carried the ball that year. Wayne Walz.
I’ve recently been reading up on the 2017 season, that I missed. A running back named Darrell Page scored 31 touchdowns and ran for 2,000 yards, to break Tharpe’s records, and or someone named Markee Lockett. He’s related to Lockett, and vowed, as a kid, to break the St. Francis record one day. On the internet, on Youtube, you can see some of Page’s runs, and his interviews on those high school sports focused shows. He seems presentable enough. He attended Palo Alto schools, on the Tinsley Program (that provides for equal opportunity, for kids who actually live in the under-served East Palo Alto and Ravenswood districts. Page is not big, is compactly built, is a nifty runner. Did you already guess that he is black.
Darrell Page did not repeat as a rushing champion for his senior year. He transferred to nearby Homestead of Sunnyvale, a relative doormat. It’s not obvious from the record whether he ever played. There’s a photo on MaxPreps, contributed by an amateur or semi-pro or parent, of Page wearing a white #1 jersey, but you cannot, or I did not, find any stats or honors. It’s possible he suited but was held out of the games, once he became eligible. Someone told me that he did play in an all-star game post-season, a showcase for recruiters, maybe underwritten by a St. Francis booster, but not the North-South game that my former neighbor Matt Currie of Saratoga played in, back in 1982.
It’s a curiosity, to say the least, the dissonance between Darrell Page’s championship junior year and the aftermath.
- Tom Fitzgerald of the Chron, Nov. 2018, on Ben Burr-Kiven:Burr-Kirven is the type of player coaches dream about. He makes his teammates better because of his all-out determination.Now that he’s a senior linebacker at Washington, he has filled out to 6-foot-1, 221 pounds. That’s not huge by inside-linebacker standards in college football, but he’s second in the nation in tackles with 13.6 per game. Only New Mexico State’s Javahn Ferguson has more (14.1), and he’s not playing the competition Burr-Kirven has in the Pac-12.
- In October, 1985 I briefly interviewed by phone, for an unpublished manuscript, for The D, Willie Bogan, a Rhodes Scholar and Corporate Secretary and Associate General Counsel of McKesson Corporation, currently ranked 5th on the Fortune 500.3. Run to Daylight is also the title of a memoir by Vince Lombardi the famous coach for the Packers legendary Super Bowl victors. Jerry Kramer, pictured above, blocked for him. ( A previous draft here included the phrase “check your head” which referenced the CTE epidemic associated with pro football).
- I bought for one dollar in old Sports illustrated from the 1970s with Julius Erving of the nets on the cover but I noticed it had an underwear ad with Ed Marinero and 11 other athletes mostly football players. It says he’s on the Vikings but he is also remembered for being the star of a very good Cornell team and winning the Heisman Trophy. When I interviewed Murray Bowden of Dartmouth undefeated Lambert winning team he claimed that they really did a great job of shutting down Marinero and that Ed Marinaro remember specific hits and bruises Marinero later starred in Hill Street blues the TV show where as Bowden is a real estate investor in Houston. Lynn Stegner in my memoir class suggested I should explain why I keep referencing Dartmouth parentheses here I have three or four references already parentheses. One, it is a cross section or microcosm of America; Two, it is an idealized version of such; it was said perhaps apocryphally that one out of every five Dartmouth students was captain of his football team. I joked earlier in this blog about Murray Bowden potentially still willing to square off with Marinero: how long would it take him to hogtie or rope him like a steer and get him to say ‘uncle’ or sing the Dartmouth alma mater .
- I also want to talk about Shon page of Oakland who was the 1990 Ivy League player of the year;
I remember talking to Chris Wanger of Dartmouth who went to Head Royce: I didn’t know Wanger well; I recall sitting with him one day in the dining hall, Thayer. He was a receiver. Freckles, nice guy; not big. I remember him telling me he met Shon Page of Oakland (and St. Mary’s Prep) at an East Bay All Star game — Shon Page was the star of the show. He said he was surprised that when he got to Dartmouth’s h there was Shon Page. Dartmouth has had six Bushnell Ivy MVPs, nowadays they go offensive and defense two awards. Jim Chasey shared the Award with Marinero; I think he’s from Los Gatos; Dartmouth has a QB from Los Gatos; the premier back in my day was Ernie E-Train Torrain; or Richie Weissman, the New York real estate broker and playboy(small p), half a goy, like Fiddler, I mean Fiedler. .
- I met Randy the bar tender today from Green Hazel or Hazelgreen Alabama, out side of Huntsville. I was telling him about seeing Roll Tide Roll at Legion Field in Birmingham min 1991, October 5, 1991, during the Anita Hill – Clarence Thomas fiasco, actually. I have a picture that I put on my cell of local kids waiving hankees to get Yankees to park in their yard, and Mary Francis Spatola Sabo getting out of the car, as well. Alabama recenty had a Heisman back, Corey Henry I want to say, although there are also two Cory Henry’s in music.
- I’m working up to a serious discussion of Darrell Page: also Gale Sayers, I am Third, Billie Dee Williams and James Caan as “TK”[Brian Piccolo] on TV. Archie Types. Archie Moore? Joe The Jet Perry. Hank McElhenny. Ken Williard. Delvin Williams of Los Altos Hills; Wendell Tyler; Roger Craig; Bar None Floyd; Ricky Waters;
- Boze (Dick Foran) in Petrified Forest, 1935, is a womanizing footballer and gas station diner jerk who confronts the villain Duke Mantee (Humphrey Bogart) — it’s an archetype:8. I posted here earlier about how touching it was that when I wrote as a 10-year-old to a leading running back yet obscure player for the Philadelphia Eagles that he wrote a nice personal note on his publicity photo, Tom Sullivan:
edit to add, a few months later: Derrick Henry has 153 touchdowns in high school, 45 touchdowns in college, and 23 so far in the pros.
andand: at the first Stanford game I ever attended, the star running back was named John Winesboro. A couple years before Darren Nelson. I mean John Winesberry who was a hero of the Rose Bowl; he later changed his named to Shaheed Nuriddin, got a law degree, worked in government in Washington State but died of lung cancer at age 52.
Ken Willard was 8th all time in rushing when he retired but is now 84th. Born in Virginia, played for North Carolina, football and baseball, drafted ahead of Gale Sayers.