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A Look at Some Grande Offenses : It's Not Easy Comparing Statistics With Legendary Touchdown Teams

November 25, 1987|TOM HAMILTON | Times Staff Writer

In the world of high school football, "The Italian Stallion," "The Blair Pair" and "The Dream Backfield" still have their place in the record books.

Ron Cuccia, a Los Angeles Wilson High School quarterback; Blair running backs James McAlister and Kermit Johnson, and the San Fernando backfield of Charles White, Kevin Williams, Kenny Moore and Raymond Williams were gifted athletes who had no problem finding opponents' end zones.

When it came to scoring, few could match the exploits of these former prep stars and their teammates, who made headlines as easily as they scored touchdowns.

Wilson ranks second on the state's single-season scoring list with 589 points in 13 games, averaging 45.3 points per game in 1977. Blair amassed 580 points in 13 games for a 44.6 average in 1969. San Fernando scored 416 points in 13 games for a 32 average in 1975.

Bolsa Grande, featuring 1,000-yard rushers Damon Fisher, Ricky Lepule and Travin Lui, is the lastest scoring machine. The Matadors have amassed 448 points in 11 games, averaging 40.7 points per game. They have won 20 consecutive games over two seasons.

How do the Matadors rate among some of Southern California's legendary scoring teams?

Marijon Ancich of Tustin, the winningest active coach in the Southern Section, questions whether the Matadors could compete with larger schools.

"You have to admire Bolsa Grande's athletes and the fact they have beaten nearly everybody they have played over the past two years," Ancich said. "But put them on the field with the big boys and they wouldn't be the same.

"I wonder how effective Damon Fisher would be against Loyola or Fontana. I don't think he would last a half. The same was true with Cuccia. I tried to get his dad (Coach Vic Cuccia) to play me at St. Paul for two years, and he wouldn't do it.

"You look at what Blair did back in '69 against top-caliber competition and you can appreciate the school's accomplishments. That was the best combination in a backfield I've ever seen in high school."

Pete Yoder, the Esperanza activities director, who coached the Blair team in 1969, said the present conference setup has tainted some marks and created some high-scoring mismatches.

"When we won the title at Blair, there weren't any third-place teams in the playoffs and maybe only one or two second-place teams," he said. "You played five rounds against top competition to win the title.

"I think people tend to get provincial and fail to see the overall picture. I'm sure Bolsa Grande is a fine team and does a great job against their level of competition. But few teams will ever equal that Blair team, or for that matter, the Bishop Amat team with (quarterback) Pat Haden and (wide receiver) John McKay that we beat in the championship game."

Here's a closer look at some the legendary scoring teams:

L.A. WILSON

Ron Cuccia, 5-feet 9-inches tall and weighing 160 pounds, was a blond kid who played at Wilson in the El Sereno area of northeast Los Angeles.

Wilson's offense was dubbed "The Cuccia Circus" in 1977, when the Mules scored 589 points in 13 games. Wilson won three City Section 3-A division titles and went 39-0 as Cuccia set eight national career passing records.

Cuccia played for his father, Vic, who loved big statistics. One day, the Mules built a 63-0 lead over outmanned Lincoln in the first half. Lincoln coaches and administrators, angered and humiliated, refused to let their team play the second half.

Cuccia rejected a few small college scholarships to attend Harvard University, from which he graduated with honors in 1982. Now he is attending chiropractic school in Los Angeles. His father retired from coaching but continues to teach physical education at Wilson.

BLAIR

McAlister and Johnson are still recognized by most prep experts as the greatest backfield combination in Southern Section history. They were certainly the most publicized pair of prep athletes in section history.

The Blair Pair led the Vikings to a 13-0 record and the section's 4-A division title in 1969. Blair totaled 580 points that season, with McAlister scoring 31 touchdowns.

Both were nationally recruited and signed with UCLA. Westwood fans immediately began arguing about who would win the Heisman Trophy. Neither did and later they signed with the Southern California Sun of the World Football League.

After one season with the Sun, they received unconditional releases and drifted to several National Football League teams, where neither had much success. Today, Johnson is a fireman in Pasadena and McAlister owns a carpet cleaning business.

SAN FERNANDO

The Dream Backfield was the talk of the 1976 season in Southern California. San Fernando High was ranked No. 1 in the nation in several preseason publications with White, Kevin and Raymond Williams (no relation) and Moore in the backfield.

Moore was the quarterback, White was the fullback and the Williamses were halfbacks in the Tigers' wishbone formation. Speed was their greatest asset.

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