Happy 50th, WCAL

Discussion in 'Football' started by colhenrylives, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. colhenrylives

    colhenrylives Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    495
    Next month, with the opening of the 2017-18 academic year, the WCAL, originally a boys-only arrangement, marks its 50th anniversary. The league is a direct outgrowth of the old CAL and was created in 1967 to accommodate the inclusion of St. Ignatius (reluctantly forced out of the AAA) and Mitty (which was in the process of commencing a varsity athletic program). Sacred Heart (also out of the AAA) would join a bit later as well. Valley Christian was added as the new millennium got under way. When it comes to football, the WCAL remains the only all-private-school league in Northern California, making it unique in that half of the Golden State. The WCAL added female sports to its growing purview at about the same time VC came on board. The CAL was retained by its East Bay members but finally gave up the ghost when the NCS mandated that CAL teams be distributed to public school leagues a generation ago.
     
  2. jordan24

    jordan24 Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    2,654
    Likes Received:
    355
    Background on the first WCAL Commissioner, Riordan's Ed Fennelly:
    Ed joined the initial faculty at the newly opened Riordan High School in 1949. While teaching business and math courses, he was the first coach for their football, baseball, basketball, track and cross country teams. He had an impressive record, with the baseball team finishing 2nd in its first year. The Varsity basketball team never finished lower than 3rd in the 8 years he was at the helm. In his longest coaching stint, Ed's track and field teams took seven league championships in his 10 years, while his cross country teams won 3 CAL titles. In 1957 Ed started Riordan's golf team, and in 1958, a swimming team. In 1958, Ed retired from coaching and became the Director of Athletics at Riordan, which he held until 1965, when he became assistant commissioner for the Catholic Athletic League. In 1967 the West Catholic Athletic League was founded, and Ed became their first commissioner. Through his guidance and leadership, the WCAL became the most esteemed, prestigious prep organization in the state.
     
  3. colhenrylives

    colhenrylives Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    495
    Ed Fennelly was a key factor, if not THE key factor, in the creation of the WCAL. He had extensive personal connections with all of the decision-makers at SI, SH and throughout the CAL back in the day. His vision was critically important as the forces of change swept through the Bay Area's Catholic high school scene in the 1960s. His contributions to Riordan, the CAL and the eventual WCAL have not been forgotten.
     
    jordan24 likes this.
  4. colhenrylives

    colhenrylives Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    495
    In memory of the long-gone CAL and its most vibrant football years in the late 1950s and early 1960s, a ten-year period, here are some names of former players who stood out during that era prior to the creation of the WCAL. The list isn't close to being comprehensive. With abject apologies, here goes:

    Bellarmine: Dan Pastorini, Jim Josephson, John LoCurto, Phil Burton, Dick Imwalle.
    Riordan: Mike Carson, Dennis DiRicco, Mike Kish.
    Serra: Jim Fregosi, Clay Stephens, Rick Bianchina, Bob Kane, Bob Lotti.
    St. Mary's: Mickey Ording, Calvin Guillory, Tim Grasso.
    St. Francis: Tim Rossovich, Mike Antonelli.
    St. Elizabeth's: Kevin Hardy.

    An irony: Hardy, a massive specimen as a teen and later on, didn't play football at St. Elizabeth's. He was a baseball and basketball star. He wound up as a three-sport guy at Notre Dame and finally focused on football and played professionally for the Green Bay Packers.

    Some further notes: St. Vincent's of Vallejo and St. Mary's of Stockton were out of the league by 1952. Marin Catholic left the league in the late 1950s. St. Elizabeth's left in football, but not in other sports, at about the same time, leaving St. Mary's of Berkeley as the sole East Bay football-playing member of the CAL. Bellarmine didn't join the CAL in football as a consistent participant until 1957. The Bells then won seven WCAL football titles (at one point capturing 31 wins in a row _ the 1965 team permitted just a single TD) prior to the WCAL's inception in 1967.
     
    4 colhenrylives, Jul 19, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  5. colhenrylives

    colhenrylives Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    495
    It's time for a WCAL 50-year football team. You can name as many guys as you like. Go for it. Do it by positions. NFL players have obvious priority.

    Here are three NFL QB's from the WCAL:

    Dan Fouts, SI
    Jesse Freitas, Serra
    Tom Brady, Serra
     
    5 colhenrylives, Jul 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  6. jordan24

    jordan24 Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    2,654
    Likes Received:
    355
    OL - Kevin Gogan, SH; Olshansky SI
    DL - Will Powers - Bellarmine
    LB - Clay, Ebertin Bellarmine; Sloan - Mitty
    WR - Lynn Swann, Serra; Jason Hill SHC, Chase Lyman-St. Francis
    RB - Derek Loville, Steve Sewell RIordan; Markee Lockett-St. Francis; Usua Amanan-Bellarmine; Joe Peterson-SH
    DBs - Eric Wright, Donald Strickland-Riordan
    PK - Frank Jordan, Steve Jordan-Riordan
    PR/KR - Aidan Verba-Hamilton-Riordan
    Utility - Leki Nunn - Serra
     
    colhenrylives likes this.
  7. dcpanda

    dcpanda Superstar
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2011
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    20
    FYI, Will Powers went to Serra. Also consider Craig Bragg of Bellarmine at WR and Byron Marshall of VC at RB.
     
    jordan24 likes this.
  8. Irish_Cheers

    Irish_Cheers Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Messages:
    3,178
    Likes Received:
    266
    Don't leave out Joe Peterson from Sacred Heart. Played for the Patriots.
     
  9. ARHS Stats

    ARHS Stats Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2001
    Messages:
    1,246
    Likes Received:
    16
    David Bakhtiari (Serra 2009) T [Green Bay] 5th season Colorado

    Doug Cosbie (St. Francis 1974) TE [Dallas] 10 seasons Holy Cross & Santa Clara

    Scott Collie (Bellarmine 1977) WR CFL [Hamilton] 2 seasons Brigham Young
    1 of his boys is Austin Collie NFL/CFL WR

    Dave Diaz-Infante (Bellarmine 1981) G-C [Denver, San Diego, Philadelphia] 6 seasons San Jose State

    Rhett Ellison (St. Francis 2007) TE [Minnesota] 6th season USC

    John Faylor (Mitty 1981) DB [San Francisco] 1 season Santa Clara

    Jesse Freitas Jr. (Serra 1969) QB [San Diego] 2 seasons Stanford & San Diego State

    Erik Howard (Bellarmine 1981) NT-DT-DE [New York Giants & Jets] 11 seasons Washington State

    Kevin Jurovich (Valley Chr. 2004) WR [San Francisco] 2 pre-seasons San Jose State

    Randy Kirk (Bellarmine 1982) LB [7 NFL teams] 13 seasons San Diego State

    Byron Marshall (Valley Chr. 2012) RB [Philadelphia] 1 season {2016} Oregon

    Donald Schwartz (Mitty 1974) DB [New Orleans & St. Louis Cardinals] 4 seasons Washington State

    Tom Scott (Serra 1969) WR CFL[3 teams] 11 seasons Washington CFL Hall of Fame

    Sean Scott (Riordan 1983) LB Dallas 1 season Maryland

    Vince Stroth (Bellarmine 1978) T [San Francisco & Houston] 3 seasons Brigham Young

    Will Ta’ufo’ou (St. Francis 2004) RB [Jacksonville] 3 seasons California
    Will caught passes mostly in NFL, special team player

    Jim Wahler (Bellarmine 1983) DT [Phoenix & Washington] 6 seasons UCLA

    Jim Walsh (Serra 1975) RB [Seattle] 1 season San Jose State
     
    Streak One and colhenrylives like this.
  10. colhenrylives

    colhenrylives Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    495
    Outstanding list. Nice work.
     
  11. jordan24

    jordan24 Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    2,654
    Likes Received:
    355
    I got Peterson in my post. Game-breaker back in the day
     
    Irish_Cheers likes this.
  12. colhenrylives

    colhenrylives Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    495
    Mike Ryan, OL, SI and USC. Very good. Protected Fouts at SI.
     
  13. SpeedCity51

    SpeedCity51 Sports Fanatic
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    68
    I know he didn't do much at USC and SJSU, but I remember Jeff Schweiger was a beast in high school at VC.
     
    Defense_Rules likes this.
  14. berdooman

    berdooman Sports Fanatic
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2005
    Messages:
    416
    Likes Received:
    6
    Tim rossovich, st francis and phila eagles
    Vince Tammaro, serra and usc
    Paul Jones, mitty and cal
     
  15. colhenrylives

    colhenrylives Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    495
    He did very little in college. Not sure what happened. But he was indeed a force on the DL for Mitty.
     
  16. colhenrylives

    colhenrylives Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    495
    Rossovich played in the CAL.
     
  17. jordan24

    jordan24 Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    2,654
    Likes Received:
    355
    Jabari Jackson (Riordan 94-95); USC 2 seasons
    Terrence Wood (Riordan 95; Colorado
     
  18. Rmbr26

    Rmbr26 Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Messages:
    4,396
    Likes Received:
    491
    I think we forgot about Dan Pastorini of the Bells who played QB for Houston for a number of years.

    Ryan Gardner of VC about 6-7 years ago was 3 time All WCAL, 2 years on highly selective All Metro Team incl 1rst team and made at least one CA state team listing. Went to Air Force on scholarship and played until his graduation and still in the service.

    Tom Scott listed and one of the best WR/Utility players I'd ever seen in WCAL. I believe he was a 2-time MVP in the Canadian League [which unfortunately made him an unknown in the U.S.]. He was the flanker opposite Lynn Swann the Pittsburg Super Bowl MVP, Scott who returned punts instead of Swann was in the state 100 finals his senior season.
    Swann was elusive and fast, while Scott was just plain fast!
     
  19. joebl

    joebl Sports Fanatic
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    51
    Always tough to come up with all-time lists. Do we list out best in HS, or best post HS career? Good example is watching Bells team from early 80s where they had 4 NFL players on same team, Kirk 13 NFL seasons, Wahler 6 NFL season, Diaz-Infante 6 NFL seasons and Howard 11 seasons. However, hands-down their best player was George Ebertin who was derailed after HS by injuries.
     
  20. sierrafoothillking

    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    20
    happy 50th to the wcal! great league with great tradition
     
  21. colhenrylives

    colhenrylives Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    495
    Pastorini was a CAL guy.
     
  22. observer22

    observer22 Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    3,755
    Likes Received:
    427
    In addition to the Oilers, he also started for the Raiders in 1980 until he broke his leg, and Plunkett filled in for him and won the Super Bowl. He finished up with the Rams and Eagles. A Santa Clara grad, he was also an accomplished drag racer.
     
  23. colhenrylives

    colhenrylives Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    495
    Another WCAL football note:

    SF and Bells utterly dominated the league from 1975-1999, winning or sharing the title every year for 25 seasons, an entire generation. Things really began to change when two key events happened shortly after the turn of the century. Patrick Walsh was hired at Serra and Valley Christian joined the league. From 2002 on, VC has won or shared six crowns; Serra has shared six; SF has won or shared three; and the Bells have won six. Clearly, the Walsh-VC combination has evened out the competition, at least somewhat. It has become very hard to win a WCAL football title outright. Just ask Walsh. In spite of producing several of the best teams in Serra history dating back to 1946, he has yet to grab an outright league championship. And, again in 2017, it would be no shock if, yes, the title turned out to be a shared affair. Three early favorites (no surprises here) are VC, SF and Serra. However, until the esteemed Rambling Man does his usual outstanding pre-season analysis, I would tend to defer any firm predictions to that hard-working sage. No one knows the league better than this gentleman-scholar.
     
  24. SpeedCity51

    SpeedCity51 Sports Fanatic
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    68
    Wow, I didn't realize the WCAL had been dominated like that by those 4 schools. Other then Mitty in the early 2000s, when was the last team not in that big 4 to win or share a WCAL title?

     
  25. colhenrylives

    colhenrylives Hall of Famer
    Expand Collapse

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,483
    Likes Received:
    495
    From 2002 to 2016, Mitty has tied for the title twice. SI has a tie as well. That's it. Again, the Walsh-VC combo has proven to be a game-changer for WCAL football. Riordan and Mitty won WCAL titles in 2000 and 2001 respectively. It's worth pointing out that, of the usual WCAL powerhouse programs, SF probably has felt the impact of Walsh/VC most significantly. The Lancers, still quite strong, have been unable to sustain their former league superiority when they and the Bells simply ran roughshod over everyone else. That's not necessarily criticism at all. The Walsh-VC arrival has altered the WCAL equation big-time.
     
    25 colhenrylives, Jul 24, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017

Share This Page