Dear PPR Viewers:
While most of the civilized world focuses on standing, kneeling, or linked arms of the National Anthem controversy, I thought we might move on to something we can all agree upon - how about them Cavers, Colts and Komets?
Raise your hand if you thought at this point in the season that (3) superpowers of the San Diego section (Oceanside, Cathedral and St. Augustine) would be a combined 4-9, while San Diego, Crawford and Kearny would be a perfect 14-0?
“No!” said a laughing Will Gray, 3rd year head coach of the Kearny Komets, when I asked him that very question. The Komets have opened the season with 5 straight wins, with eyes on making Coronado their 6th straight victim (next week). “We have 3 goals: win league, earn a first round bye, and win CIF. We likely can’t win the title without the bye, we can’t get the bye without winning league and we have to be undefeated to win league. So it’s all connected.”
Over at San Diego High Charles James has the Cavers sitting on a perfect 4 and 0 record, their best start since 1994 - the year James was a freshman at the school. “We had low numbers back then too. I was a freshman playing on varsity,” remembers James. The current Cavers roster numbers 30, varsity and JV combined. But more help is on the way. “We have 27 kids on our freshman team. We’ve been able to keep kids from playing elsewhere. It’s cool to be Caver again.”
Which brings us to the Crawford Colts. Under 6th year head coach Mike Wright, Crawford has had its share of success and hard times. 2017 is one of the good years, as the Colts have galloped to a 5 and 0 start. Not bad considering Crawford hasn’t hosted a home game in 3 ½ years. Crawford have been perennial road warriors as they wait and wait and wait for construction to be complete on their new athletic facility.
“Our seniors have never seen a home football game,“ says Colts offensive coordinator Matt Marquez. “We walk around school in our shoulder pads and helmet and kids look at us like we’re crazy.” And while some county coaches complain about not having a kicker on their roster, Coach Marquez adds a dose of Crawford reality. “We don’t even have goalposts.”
One of the heroes in this story has to be the CIF’s power rankings. Gone are the days of throwing of undermanned programs up against their geographical rivals simply because the map says so. “The power ranking system allow smaller programs like ours to flourish. We just don’t have the numbers to compete with the Madison’s of the world. But put similar sized programs together and we can play,” says Gray.
As the PPR Game of the Week committee looks down the road, the possibility does exist that Kearny could meet San Diego High in a battle of potentially unbeaten teams. “Coach James and I are good friends. It’s been awhile since a Kearny vs San Diego match-up has meant anything. This time around it could mean a lot; it could decide a league title,” says Gray.
“I just wish the game was on our field” adds a smiling James.
Whether or not these Unlikely Three are able to run the table is unimportant. What is important is the fact that three football programs that have a history of struggling here in San Diego County are now experiencing a renaissance. A rising football program floats all boats at school. It’s no secret that success can be as valuable a teaching tool as defeat. So when you’re sitting at home watching the PPR this Friday night, give a silent cheer for the Cavers, Colts and Komets. There is no denying they have earned it.
Paul W. Rudy/ PPR