Trying Times for Two Coaches

The football season is only two weeks old, but already two veteran coaches are facing tough adjustments.

After a successful run as a top college assistant, Gary Bernardi is trying to rebuild a Burbank Burroughs program that went 0-10 last season.

Finding ways to win is also a top priority for Ed Paculba, who began his coaching career at Wilmington Banning in 1969. After years as a dominant team in the City, Banning is 0-2.

The coaches have spent the last couple of weekends wondering what comes next.


Bernardi, 38, last coached in high school as an assistant at Fountain Valley in 1979. The Sepulveda Monroe graduate moved on to college coaching in 1980 at Arizona under Larry Smith, then went with Smith to USC, where he coached the tight ends, offensive line and special teams.

When Smith was fired last winter, Bernardi had to start over. His return to high school coaching has not been easy.

“Let’s just say things are very different,” he said. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the college scene, but I am enjoying my new job very much. It’s still 11 players against 11 players, but now I have a chance to be involved in more facets of the game then when I was an assistant. Hopefully, I’ll teach these kids how to win.”

He accomplished his first goal last Thursday, when Burroughs ended a 15-game losing streak with a 28-7 nonleague victory over Burbank Bellarmine-Jefferson.


“Only one of the 40 or so kids we have on the varsity this season had ever experienced a victory before Thursday night,” Bernardi said. “I feel so happy for the kids. This is a tremendous confidence booster.”

At Banning, teaching players how to win never used to be a problem. The Pilots have been regular visitors to the City title game, last appearing in 1991, when they were beaten by Dorsey.

Paculba, promoted from assistant to head coach last year, is a Banning graduate and remembers the glory years under Coach Chris Ferragamo. Changes in busing and the makeup of the student body have resulted in a gradual decline of the program, he said.

“I can’t remember the last time Banning started the season 0-2,” he said. “I’m sure it has been a very long, long time. I do feel bad about our start, especially for the people in the community who remember the past. They think about how things used to be.”


Banning has 50 players on the varsity this season, half the number that came out 10 years ago. Paculba said the team has also been hurt by the dropping of the junior varsity program two years ago and the difficulty in finding experienced coaches.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes in the last 20 years,” Paculba said. “Some have been difficult to watch. I’ve done a lot of moaning.”


Willie Brown, a four-time Pro Bowl defensive back with the Oakland Raiders, worked as a volunteer assistant for L.A. Jordan during the Bulldogs’ game against Locke last Wednesday.


Jordan, winless the last two seasons, is without a head coach. Interim coach Albert Wiley urged Brown to offer his support last week. Brown, who was coach at Cal State Long Beach before the program was disbanded, is a member of the school’s booster club.

“This is a team without a coach, a program that needs equipment,” said Brown, who played on the Raiders’ 1977 Super Bowl team. “I just wanted to help out in any way I could.”

Locke beat Jordan, 14-6.



The City has not fared well against the Southern Section football teams this season.

The Southern Section has won 10 of 14 games, six by shutout. The City has been outscored, 266-95.

Banning and Granada Hills are both 0-2 against the Southern Section. Banning lost to Pasadena Muir, 16-6, and Long Beach Poly, 16-0. Granada Hills lost to Lynwood, 28-7, and Simi Valley, 35-0.

“It is obvious the City is not what it used to be,” said Banning’s Paculba. “I think the district has gotten too big and we are no longer able to maintain our past standards. Good young coaches go elsewhere.”



The largest high school in California is Belmont in Los Angeles with 4,327 students. . . . Sepulveda Monroe has won more boys’ gymnastics sectional championships than any other school in the state. . . . Erik Affholter of Agoura Oak Park has the longest field goal in CIF history, a 64-yard kick against Carpinteria in 1982.

Those are a few of the notes found in a new state record book by Cal-Hi Sports Inc. of Anaheim. The company was started by Nelson Tennis in 1979 as a bi-weekly newspaper covering high school sports throughout California.

Tennis began compiling statistics and records of prep sports in 1969. Because the CIF does not keep many state records, Tennis’ work has been invaluable. Years of research have been put together in the 130-page record book. It contains team and individual records on every sport sanctioned by the CIF. The book, which costs $10, can be ordered from Cal-Hi Sports at 800-660-1334.


Prep Notes

Oxnard Hueneme ended a 22-game losing streak last Friday with a 13-12 victory over Oxnard Channel Islands. Hueneme (1-1) stopped a two-point conversation attempt on the final play to preserve the victory. . . . Dave Holland, Corona del Mar’s football coach, gained his 100th victory Friday as the Sea Kings beat Huntington Beach Marina, 10-7. . . . Most City football games will be played Thursday this week because Friday night is Yom Kippur.

Santa Ana Mater Dei, top-ranked in Orange County last week, was routed by Anaheim Esperanza on Friday, 33-7. The Monarchs were held to three first downs in the second half. . . . Inglewood Morningside, which enjoyed several successful seasons with Stais Boseman at quarterback, is 0-2 now that Boseman has graduated. The Monarchs lost to Hawthorne on Friday, 59-0, and managed only five yards of offense.

The Times’ Top 20 Football Poll


The Times’ top 20 high school football poll, with teams from the City and Southern Sections.

School Sect. Div. Rec. LW 1. Loyola SS I 2-0 1 2. Bishop Amat SS I 2-0 2 3. Eisenhower SS I 2-0 3 4. Muir SS II 2-0 6 5. Hart SS II 2-0 5 6. Los Alamitos SS II 2-0 7 7. Newbury Park SS III 2-0 8 8. Sylmar City 4-A 1-0-1 9 9. Irvine SS IV 2-0 13 10. Capo Valley SS I 2-1 10 11. Hawthorne SS III 1-1 11 12. CC Canyon SS II 2-0 12 13. Antelope Valley SS I 2-0 15 14. Norco SS V 2-0 14 15. Saugus SS II 2-0 NR 16. LB Poly SS I 1-1 16 17. Esperanza SS II 1-1 NR 18. Taft City 4-A 2-0 19 19. Canyon Springs SS IV 2-0 NR 20. Dorsey City 4-A 2-0 20