Anaheim Celebrates 50th Anniversary of 1967 CIF Championship

Football players, past and present, along with fans, friends and family, gathered on Friday, Oct. 6th, to celebrate the 50th anniverary of  Anaheim High’s  1967 CIF Championship and the 99th year of Anaheim High football.
After a tribute dinner in the Anaheim High Cafeteria, those gathered continued on to Glover Stadium for the varsity game against Katella. Team members from the 1967 Championship Team were presented with commemorative caps and tshirts and applauded during a half-time ceremony.
 Click here to see photos of the event and continue scrolling to read an article about the 1967 season, along with photos and newspaper articles that recorded this championship year.
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     Throughout its nearly 100 years of proud football history, Anaheim has won many games with many great players and many great coaches. But perhaps no Colonists team had a greater journey than the 1967 squad, which won an unprecedented CIF championship.
     The 12-1 campaign, capped off by a memorable triumph over Santa Ana at Anaheim Stadium, forever certified the Colonists under legendary head coach Clare Van Hoorebeke as the finest program of its era in the midst of its finest hour.
     The beloved “Van,” already Orange County’s all-time winningest head football coach by that time, was in his 18th season at Anaheim, winning or sharing 13 Sunset League crowns. The 1956 team with Mickey Flynn had earned a co-championship, but the Colonists had come up just short twice more in 1962 finals against Loyola, and in a crushing 35-14 loss against El Rancho in the 1966 championship game.
     Though ready to hit the field with an amazing array of talented players, the Colonists entered the 1967 season with much uncertainty. Rising star quarterback Chappy Looney, who had been expected to assume a starring role in the Anaheim offense, died unexpectedly the previous spring. Additionally, many doubted that ferocious senior fullback/linebacker Tom Fitzpatrick could recover from a torn ACL injury suffered during the 1966 playoffs.
     But Van and his esteemed coaching staff, led by veteran assistant Brant Cowser and highly motivated young coordinators Bill Miller on offense and Bob Salerno on defense. Wayne Atkins, John Balaam, and Marty Hicks rounded out the staff that had Anaheim ready to compete, and the Colonists opened up with shutout wins over Chaffey and Redlands in non-league play.
     However, Anaheim looked sluggish in a 9-7 win over Marina in its Sunset League opener. Then, the bottom fell out as the Colonists were humiliated in a 28-0 wipeout at the hands of Santa Ana, the worst loss of Van Hoorebeke’s coaching career.
     Seeking a spark on offense, Van Hoorebeke and Miller elevated sophomore George Fraser to the starting quarterback position, while Tom Fitzpatrick was cleared to play full time once again. The results were immediate, as Anaheim dominated its next five opponents by a combined score of 130 to 33. Though Santa Ana claimed the Sunset League title, Anaheim’s 8-1 record was good enough for an at-large berth in the 4-A playoffs.
     In the first round, Fraser ran for two touchdowns, while cornerback Dave Maas had a team-record four interceptions and end Kym Salness added two more picks to lift Anaheim past Long Beach Wilson 35-13. Rematching in the quarterfinal round against El Rancho, the Colonists dethroned the defending CIF 4-A Division champions in a solid 28-14 win. Halfback Walt Smith ran 20 times for 137 yards as Anaheim totaled nearly 400 yards in total offense against El Rancho’s formidable defense. Fitzpatrick, Fraser, and Maas all scored TDs to push Anaheim into the semifinals.
     At the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Anaheim faced off against undefeated Santa Barbara. The Channel League champion Dons appeared invincible, having scored nearly 500 points on offense with explosive quarterback Grady Hurst and punishing tailback Sam “Bam” Cunningham, while Santa Barbara’s defense boasted the “Four Teen Tons” led by Bob “Big Man” Pointer, who was arguably the biggest prep football player in history, tipping the scales at 447 points.
     The Colonists showed no fear, as Fraser threw for over 200 yards and three touchdowns. Fitzpatrick caught one TD pass and ran for two more scores as Anaheim carved up the enormous but slow-footed Dons defense for a 42-7 win.
     The Semifinal victory set up a rematch with Santa Ana at the Big A, where 26,383 fans filled the stadium for the 4-A title showdown. Following a scoreless first quarter, Anaheim’s running game went to work as halfback Eric Janes, Smith, and Fraser ran behind the blocking of Fitzpatrick, who then finished two scoring drives with touchdown runs in the second quarter and a 14-0 lead. Janes, who was the star of the game with 136 yards on 15 carries, added his own touchdown on a 33-yard scoring run in the third quarter. The Saints and vaunted flanker Isaac Curtis were held to a single score, while Fraser put the finishing touch with a touchdown pass to Rod Schorr in the final minutes of the 27-6 victory.

Fitzpatrick was named the CIF 4-A Division Player of the Year, while Fraser became the first and only sophomore player ever named to the All-CIF 4-A Division team, while linemen Wayne Bugbee and Larry Golden also earned All-CIF honors.

    Following the game, the jubilant Colonists gathered on the field and celebrated as CIF commissioner Bill Russell handed the championship trophy over to coach Van Hoorebeke, who took pride in his typical, understated way. “We didn’t necessarily have the greatest talent in the world this year, but there was no one with more desire. Yes, sir, they’re champions.”
ANAHEIM COLONISTS FOOTBALL – 1967
Head Coach – Clare Van Hoorebeke
Offensive Coordinator – Bill Miller
Defensive Coordinator – Bob Salerno
Assistant Staff – Wayne Atkins, John Balaam, Brant Cowser, Marty Hicks
Won 12, Lost 1
(6-1) 2nd Place Sunset League
CIF 4-A Division Champions
24    Chaffey         0    W
21    Redlands         0    W
9    Marina*         7    W
0    Santa Ana*        28    L
24    Huntington Beach*     0    W
39    Newport Harbor*     7    W
34    Santa Ana Valley*    13    W
6    Westminster*         0    W
27    Western*        13    W
35    LONG BEACH WILSON    13    W
28    EL RANCHO        14    W
42    SANTA BARBARA     7    W
27    SANTA ANA         6    W
ALL-CIF 4-A DIVISION
Tom Fitzpatrick, Back – Player of the Year
George Fraser, Back
Wayne Bugbee, Guard
Larry Golden, Guard
ALL-SUNSET LEAGUE
Wayne Bugbee OG – 1
Tom Fitzpatrick RB – 1
George Fraser QB – HM
Larry Golden DG – 1
Jim Johnson LB – 1
Marc Kemp DT – HM
Dave Maas DB – 1
Pat Mahoney C – HM
Richard Perez DE – 1
Rod Schorr DT – 1
Walt Smith RB – 2

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