My first year at Lomaland Drive on Point Loma, San Diego, California was 1962. I transferred to California Western University from Pepperdine when the Waves dropped their Football Program. So I was a member of the last team coached by Pence Dacus.
Cal Western was affiliated with the Methodist Church and the school’s President, Dr. William C. Rust was a Bible thumping enforcer of his version of propriety. University policy was prohibition of any and all alcoholic beverages at any time.
In fact there were students expelled for drinking while I attended CWU.
Some folks think that Football Coaches and College Administrators favor athletes. I agree with that concept. At least they did favor Jocks when I was there. We played a 9 game schedule in 1962 and we were close to being a good team when we played the Pumas.
We had won 2 games in a row to bring our record to 3 and 5 and we hoped to finish the season with a victory over the toughest team on our schedule. Any game vs. a team playing at home in front of 40,000 fans at 7,000 feet in the Olympic Stadium had to be a knock-down and drag out fight.
There are questions in America about Hispanic people now as there were in 1962. I want to say that Mexicans are stellar in my book. They had guts, and six strings of players that substituted every set of downs. They were fresh and just naturally mean. We had our hands full.
San Diego was a hot bed of football in those days with Don Coryell at San Diego State, Scotty Harris at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) and our coach Al Lewis at Cal Western.
MCRD was a service team that played top college teams in the 1920s, 1930s, 40s, 50s and in the sixties. Scotty Harris, a Marine Officer coached MCRD’s football team that beat San Diego State in 1962 and 1963 to rule football in San Diego.
We scrimmaged MCRD each year and we played State in 1964. Both of those teams were in a higher league than Cal Western. MCRD played Mexico in 1962 and won the game 10-0. Scotty told our line coach, Buddy Lewis, a former Marine, that the Pumas would slash us.
Now for the trip: We flew Aeronaves De Mexico from Tijuana to Mexico City in a DC-7 four prop Douglas Airliner. The flight had one stop on the trip. The Flight Crew were a fun bunch. I had never flown an airplane before.
Maybe I was not really flying it since the Co-pilot was still there, but I sat in the left seat with my hands on the yoke so I zoomed down 500 feet then back up 500. The Stewardess laughed and I went back to get another Tequila .
The Stewardess were hot and it was so crazy that we drank like sailors. This was very interesting because Dr. Rust was on the plane with us. Soon we had finished off the liquor and beer so when we landed in Guadalajara they filled up the supply again.
We killed the second batch of booze before we got to Mexico City.
The Coaches finally caught on to our Flight Crew sponsored party and they were pissed. Who knows what Dr. Rust was feeling? We were feeling no pain, Hell, it was the last game of the season. There were 31 drunk players out of our 33 man travelling squad.
When we got to Mexico City the Coaches took us to the practice field of the Pumas. We suited up and scrimmaged! The Pumas stood around and watched us with wide eyes. That was the hardest hitting I ever experienced in 9 years of football.
We had 11 vs 11 scrimmaging while the other 11 ran wind sprints and did up/downs. Then we switched around and kept going. That was the longest 90 minutes of football practice I ever had.
Everyone was yelling, snarling, and barfing. Then Jack O’Brien started laughing and hitting and laughing and we all did it. It was laugh then hit. I was plenty sore after we finally got to our hotel.
This was Thursday, 2 days before the game. We scrimmaged again on Friday. Saturday we rode a bus to the Olympic Stadium for the game to start at noon. It was high noon and the Westerners were ready for a fight.
The rules were limited substitution, the NCAA rules of that era. I started at fullback, a running back position then, and I played left cornerback on defense. I played 55 minutes and tied for 3rd place in duration behind O’Brien and Spaulding, both 60 minute men.
The game was still easier than our scrimmages. We had oxygen on the sidelines and a 30 minute halftime to allow the pageants for this
International Football Match. It was 21-0 at the half and they finally scored but missed the extra point. Then we stopped them on our 10 yard line and Larry Toledo hit Terry Greeson on a double move up the left sideline for 90 yards and 6 points.
Later I got loose for 41 yards down to the 4 yard line. Toledo called my number in the huddle, “34 Blast on two” but I was so winded that I switched with Roy Dohner, our 2 back, and Roy scored standing up.
We got ten more and the final was 38 to 6. That was the third win of our 8 game winning streak, the longest in Cal Western history.
After the trip home Jack and I had dates with 2 of the Stews in Tijuana.
Jack O’Brien is still coaching the outside linebackers at Bakersfield J C in Bakersfield, California.
Anson #30 Avery