The tiny school had enough talent to dominate much larger schools, winning five Southern Section major division championships. Raymond Lewis, above left, a playground legend and a three-time section player of the year, was the spark in 1971, ’72 and ’73, and UCLA recruits David Greenwood and Roy Hamilton were the leaders in 1974. Cliff Pruitt, the section player of the year, led the Eagles to their fifth title of the decade, in 1979. With no state tournament, a section title was the pinnacle.
After falling on hard times in the 1980s, Verbum Dei resurfaced as a small school power, making regular appearances in the title game in Division IV. After second-place finishes in 1990, ’91 and ’93, the Eagles broke through by winning the Division IV-A championship in ’94, ’95, ’98 and ’99. Andre Miller, now with the Clippers, above right, led the 1995 team to a Division IV state championship, a feat the school repeated in ’98 and ’99. The Eagles added another section title last season.