There wasn't much doubt in 1942 when Hal Sheflin & Co. rumbled to
a 9-0 regular season record and the Sunset League championship before
bowing out in the CIF Small Schools Final to the Glenn Davis-led
Bonita Bearcats. Over the next 18 years only Al Irwin's '49 team,
which went 8-1, and Ernie Johnson's 8-2 Sunset League co-champions
gave rise to speculation.
And for the past 19 years Coach Jeff Brinkley's Sailors have been
pounding away with a steady procession of "Teams to Remember," as in
the 11-3 team of '92; the perfect '94 (14-0); the explosive '96
(12-2) and '99 (13-0-1) teams, which rolled up over 35 and 31 points
a game, respectively, with '99 claiming the CIF crown; the 10-3
outfit of '97; and the back-to-back double-digit winners of '00 and
'01 (11-3 and 10-2-1).
There is one other group, and the one which I'd like to focus on.
Don Lent's last team and Bill Pizzica's first in a storied era of
1973 and '74 when the Sailors racked up back-to-back Sunset League
championships with records of 9-2 and 10-2.
What sets this group apart from the rest? The sheer number of
players who would go on to play in college circles.
No two teams have ever produced in terms of talent as did these
two when you consider the rosters.
Lent's coaching staff included Sid Shue, Larry Doyle, Hank
Cochrane, Jud Brown, Rocky Ford, Jim Bratten and Pizzica; and
Pizzica's coaching staff consisted of Doyle, Bratten, Ford and
A competent staff?
"I played under Dennis Green, Bill Walsh and Rod Dowhower at
Stanford," said '73 and '74 starter Vinnie Mulroy, "and I didn't
learn one thing from them that I hadn't already learned from Hank
Quarterbacks Steve Bukich and Gordon Adams went to UCLA and USC.
Bukich was betrayed when the Bruins failed to live up to an expected
drop-back attack; Adams, a walk-on who was never considered for even
a second-team all-league berth in high school, blossomed into a
starter, leading the Trojans to Rose Bowl glory.
Mulroy was a standout receiver at Stanford, and placekicker Art
Sorce, with CIF record-breaking efforts, appeared to be headed for
big things before falling out of grace at USC.