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John Pemberton, 80, is set to begin another football season as a referee

John Pemberton, 80, is set to begin another football season as a referee
John Pemberton has been officiating since the 1960s. He turned 80 last week. (Robert Gauthier)

Friday's high school football game between Taft and Canoga Park will mark another season of officiating for John Pemberton, who turned 80 last week.

He has been officiating since he started doing intramural games in the early 1960s at the University of Idaho. He spent 25 years as a football official in the Pac-10.

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"I'm going to do it until I get it right," he said.

He's a referee in football. He also has been an umpire for baseball and softball games. He's a fixture in the Southern California high school scene.

He even listens to sportswriters who complain about too many holding penalties being called.

"I've cut down on my holding calls," he said.

Officials are under appreciated but important in making sure high school sports competitions go off smoothly.

Pemberton has been one of those reliable, dedicated individuals helping pull it off year after year.

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