By Jimmy Durkin
Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 at 9:13 pm in East Bay Football.
I did some more digging through the library at the Oakland Tribune today while researching some stuff for Friday’s Silver Bowl. Namely, I was trying to confirm that McClymonds is seeking to become the first team in school history to go undefeated. That’s what I had been told by coach Curtis McCauley, but a couple calls filtered in to refute the claim. A caller claimed the 1961 team went undefeated. So I did some digging. I believe our caller was actually referring to the 1960 team, which did win the Oakland Athletic League title.
However, reports mention that team was winners in seven of its eight games. It doesn’t confirm if that one game was a loss or a tie, but it is worded to assume it was a loss. Mack went undefeated in league play that year, so maybe that’s where the confusion lies. Outside of that, I can’t find any evidence of a McClymonds team going undefeated, so I’m pretty comfortable saying this would be the first time in school history, if of course they can beat Fremont on Friday. It seems it would at least be the first perfect team (no losses, no ties).
It also appears a 12th win would set an Oakland Section record for wins in a season. Skyline went 11-0-1 in 2002, but I can’t find another OAL team winning 12 games. It wasn’t even until 1989 that any OAL teams could’ve played as many as 12 games. Before 1989, the league champion was simply determined during the regular season. Even from 1980-88, the Silver Bowl was awarded to the team who won the league champion through the regular season. That’s why the first several years list the score of the Skyline-Oakland game for the Silver Bowl, since those were the top two teams in the league and it was their regular season game to end the year that usually decided the Silver Bowl. The four-game playoff format began in 1989 and finally added postseason games to the schedule.
Some more nuggets I found during my research include this from the 1983 season. That year, Oakland beat Skyline 27-14 to win the Silver Bowl, but initially wasn’t interested in accepting the trophy. It was a protest in response to not being able to participate in the North Coast Section playoffs and have the potential to play a championship game in the Oakland Coliseum. Oakland eventually accepted the trophy, after it had been tossed in some mud. He’s what was reported in the Tribune.
“We really did want it (the trophy),” Oakland quarterback Lonnie Hosley said, “but we want to go to the Coliseum more. We think we belong there. But now, this trophy is ours and it’s going to stay ours.”
NCS officials have invited the OAL several times in the past to join the section, but OAL Commissioner Lou Jones said several months ago that his league prefers to be a section unto itself.
The players, however, apparently do not agree. “Playoffs mean more to us than a trophy,” said senior John Lewis. “I mean, we’re satisfied with this, but we really reject the idea.”
That’s pretty interesting stuff, considering the debate about whether or not the OAL should join the NCS continues to rage on. It’s a little bit different nowadays, because at least the OAL does have a postseason now. Back then, as soon as the regular season ended, the Silver Bowl was awarded and the season was done while the NCS had playoffs. But it’s interesting to see how passionate the players were back then about wanting to participate in NCS. Nearly every story mentioning the Silver Bowl, particularly around the beginning of it, mentions something about the OAL teams not being able to participate in the NCS playoffs, so obviously it was a hot topic.
I also learned that in 1984, Skyline went 10-0 to win the title and finished ranked No. 1 in the East Bay. Among their nonleague wins were against NCS 2A champion and the No. 2 team in the East Bay, De La Salle. They also beat No. 4 ranked Miramonte. I think it’s safe to call them the best team in the OAL in the past 30 years at least.
Probably the best info I gathered from my time in the library is a comprehensive list I compiled of every OAL champion since 1931. OAL football began in 1921, with Fremont winning the title. I couldn’t find records for 1922-30, but I have every year after that. Here goes that list.
1931: Oakland Tech/Oakland
1935: Oakland/San Leandro
1938: Oakland Tech
1940: San Leandro
1943: Castlemont/San Leandro
1946: San Leandro
1947: San Leandro
1948: Oakland/San Leandro
1950: Oakland Tech
1951: Oakland Tech
1955: Castlemont/San Leandro
1998: no winner, game ppd. due to fighting
2003: Oakland Tech