Anaheim Colonists celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the historic 1956 CIF Championship game – ranked #6 of the top 100 events in CIF’s last 100 years – by inviting former players back to the campus on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016.
The players were feted by the Varsity Football Team and fans who haven’t forgotten the celebrated game that ended in a 13-13 tie between Anaheim and Downey. Both teams were undefeated with record-setting runningbacks known as the touch-down twins, Mickey Flynn from Anaheim and Downey’s Randy Meadows.
Friday’s celebration started with players and others connected with “The Big Game” being interviewed by “The Last Hurrah” documentary filmmaker Paul Molina.
The film will illustrate how a game of such magnitude could not – and would not – ever happen again due to the changing economics and infrastructure of the southland that would transform the small towns of Anaheim and Downey into entertainment and aerospace capitols. High school football would continue to be popular – but it would never again be king. (Click here for a preview of “The Last Hurrah” documentary.)
The players who returned to the Anaheim High campus, and those who could not, are still kings in the eyes of the the Colony Community.
The anniversary celebration carried over to the cafeteria, where the Varsity Football Team, former players, family and friends, gathered for a meal, to watch the restored film of the 1956 game, and to hear a pep talk from legendary runningback Mickey Flynn, whose #25 is one of only four retired by Anaheim High.
Haller of Famer Jim Fassel (’67) was also on hand to support the team. Fassel is a former NY Giants Super Bowl coach who has been a life-long Colonist supporter, like his father Bud Fassel (’38), AHS equipment manager and right-hand man to Coach Clare Van Hoorebeke.
After a group photo, the Varsity Team left to suit-up, and the alumni contingency toured the newly remodeled campus fitness center (what’s been known as the weight room) featuring equipment donated by Fassel from his two-time UFL champions Las Vegas Locomotives. Fassel served as head coach, president and general manager.
After a refreshment break, the group’s next stop was Glover Stadium for the game and half-time ceremony to honor the former players. Anaheim won the game 38-27 against Savanna. Escorted by student ambassadors, the crowd embraced the 1956 CIF Championship players with applause and adoration.
It was a perfect ending for a special day celebrating a game for the ages, the players who played it, and the fans who still talk about “The Big Game.”
Following are more photos from the day: