The Glory Years
Hornet Football:  1949 - 1980

- The 1968 Season - The Running Backs -

In 1949, after years of frustration, Alameda didn't just begin a slow rise from the depths of football futility, they burst onto the Bay Area football scene in dramatic fashion and refused to let go of their dominance for 30 years.  

Alameda's rise to prominence actually began in 1940, with a seemingly unspectacular 12-6 win over Berkeley.  But for decades, Berkeley had been dominating East Bay football, and the Hornets -- though they'd played the Yellow Jackets tough on occasion -- were just another notch in Berkeley's annual championship belt.  That simple 12-6 victory ended what was half-joking called on The Island "the Berkeley Jinx".  From that point on, Berkeley's mystique of invincibility was over.


It still took another nine years to reach the top, but the year after upsetting Berkeley, Alameda came in 3rd in the ACAL; their best league finish to-date.  Then, the following year, they came in second. A few more second place finishes followed until November 1949 when the Hornets finished the season tied with their former nemesis Berkeley for the ACAL Title.

From that point on -- for the next 30 years -- the Alameda Hornets would rack up an amazing list of achievements, including:

And while it's difficult to compare teams (with different schedules and different levels of competition) and there were a lot of them: 1962, 1968, 1969, 1978...
However, one team stands out as the best Alameda High team ever:  The 1968 Hornets.

The 1968 Season - A Look Back

THE TEAM

The success of the '68 season was not a surprise.  Going in, they knew they had a great team.  The previous season the Hornets had gone undefeated (9-0), had won the league championship and were ranked #3 in the state.  They had 16 players returning from that 1967 team, plus a number of very good prospects moving up from a JV team that had gone 7-1 the previous year.  

Everything was in place for a run at the state title; now all that was left was to channel the will, the focus and determination needed to make it happen.

The 1968 Alameda Hornets

ROW 6: Coaches Dennis Hennessee, John McMillon, Forrest Klein, Leroy Bernadou

ROW 5: Gerry Yamasaki, Clem Rowlands, Dale Norton, Dean Koike, Mike Miller, Steve Mockel 

ROW 4: Mike Lundeen, Walt Brophy, Kirby Eaton, Rick Copeland, Gig Codiga, Randy Crawford, Marc Hansen 

ROW 3: John Nieters, Tim Ooyman, Neil Fletcher, Curt Brohard, Jim Dresser, Harold Silva, Jack Olson, Dennis Peterson

ROW 2: Sherrill Conner, Mike Amos, Greg Cockayne, Ron Coffman, Doug Matz, Ron Damele, Mickey Caldwell, Bruce Bergstrom 

FRONT: Bill Yarbrough, Ben Garfinkle, Mike Reynolds, Duane Hodges, John Galena, Barry Murphy, Eric Cross, Chuck Rhodes, Fred Stone, Steve Krutilek 


THE COACH

Coach Forrest Klein began his career at Alameda as an assistant under former Head Coach Chuck Butler, who had brought AHS it's first undisputed ACAL Crown in 1954.  Klein took over the head coaching duties in 1960 and brought home not only a League Championship, but an undefeated record in that first season. 

By most recollections, Forrest Klein was a focused, determined task master, but he cared about his players and pushed them hard to make them their best.

Dennis Peterson (TE/LB, '68) recalled, "Coach Klein was a fierce competitor who coached with great passion. I believe much of his success was due to the great assistants he had and his ability to oversee their coaching. He was extremely organized during all of his practices with very little wasted time when we were on the field. Times have changed and I'm not sure some of his coaching techniques would be acceptable today, but it's very hard to argue with success. When I was an underclassman, I remember Coach Klein as a very scary and intimidating man. I later grew to understand his intimidating style and respected it."

In his nine years as head coach at Alameda, Klein turned an already impressive football program, into a regional powerhouse, amassing 5 League Championships (as well as 4 second-place finishes) 4 NorCal Championships, 1 State Championship and all but 4 victories in a 35-game winning streak that was, to-that-date, the longest in the state.  

For his accomplishments in 1968, Coach Klein was selected ACAL Coach of the Year (his second such honor in a row).

And while the players were certainly the heart and soul of the 1968 team, Forrest Klein was the master architect.


THE RECORD

It's hard to improve on perfection.  The 1967 team had gone 9-0 and won the ACAL crown.  So what was the goal for 1968?  To repeat of course.  But in doing so, the '68 Hornets not only repeated, going 9-0 and retaining the ACAL crown, but they also did it in record fashion.  The 1968 Hornets put together a string of impressive victories that amassed a school record 348 cumulative point total for the season.

Here's the game-by-game breakdown of how they set that record:

Alameda Opponent

Berkeley

Encinal

De Anza

Pinole

El Cerrito

Kennedy

Pacific

San Leandro

Richmond

47

61

27

41

19

34

47

32

40

348

12

0

0

14

7

21

6

13

0

73


THE AWARDS

  1968 Team Honors

  • "Island Trophy" winners over Encinal (61-0)

  • ACAL League Title

  • Northern California Championship

  • State Championship

  • #23 National Ranking

 

  1968 Individual Honors

  • ACAL Coach of the Year:  Forrest Klein

  • ACAL All-League Selections:
       First Team...

    • Eric Cross - running back (unanimous)

    • Barry Murphy - linebacker (unanimous)

    • Kirby Eaton - guard 

    • Mike Amos - split end

       Second Team...

    • John Galena

    • Marc Hansen

    • Curt Brohard (only Jr. on the team)

  • All Northern California, First Team:  Eric Cross


NOTE:  Detailed records regarding Hornet history have been hard to find, so we've pieced together this information like a jigsaw puzzle with a lot of missing pieces.  If you see any information that appears inaccurate, or you have information that will fill in some missing gaps, please feel free to notify us so we can update the website accordingly.  Thank you.


The Running Backs:  The 40/40 Club

Over the decades, Alameda has had some truly great teams, with many outstanding position players -- from QBs to lineman, and from linebackers to receivers -- but the Hornets have always been most noted for the outstanding stable of running backs they've fielded over the years; runners like Herman Pete (waiting for stats), Dan Reynolds (1,127-yds in '72), Mike Floyd (1,691-yds; 20 TDs in '78; Trib Player of the Year), Bob Arnold (1,201-yds in '80), Dan Nguyen (2,181-yds in 1993; All-State), Tavis V'ee (1,600-yds in '03; League MVP) and Jonathan Ve'e (404-yd game in '05; League MVP). 

But out of all those all-league performers, two runners stand out amongst the rest:  Eric Cross (#40) and Rob Kahuanui (#40).

Eric Cross...

Eric was a three sport star at Alameda; was a gifted receiver as well as running back, and was the cornerstone of the highest-ranked Hornet team of all-time in 1968.
  • 1967 All ACAL 1st team
  • In the 1968 season:
    • Season scoring record 150-pts (25 TDs/9 games)
    • In The Big Game, ran for 115-yds and scored 4 TDs
    • All ACAL 1st team
    • All Northern California, First Team
      1968 AHS football team was ranked #1 in the state and #8 in the nation.
  • 1969/NorCal All Star Shrine Game, where he set a then Shrine Game record of 4 TDs
  • Played for:
    • Stanford University
      • Went to back-to-back Rose Bowls.
      • Holds Stanford record of most receptions in a game (14).
    • 1974 - Played briefly with the Dallas Cowboys until he was accepted into Stanfordís Graduate School of Education.

 

Rob (The "Hawaiian Punch") Kahuanui...

"Robbie" played the '74 season as a receiver, but then converted to running back in 1975 and proceeded to have one of the best Hornet seasons on record - rushing and receiving - despite missing several games.
  • In the 1975 season:
    • In The Big Game, rushed for 261 yards and two TDs while also throwing for two more scores.
    • All ACAL 1st team
    • Ran for 1,472 yards
    • Scored 21 touchdowns
    • Averaged 210 yards per game with an 8.9 rushing average
    • Threw for 5 touchdowns
  • Northern California Offensive Player of the Year.
  • Voted All-State Running Back (along with future Heisman Trophy winner Charles White)
  • Coach & Magazine 1st Team All American.
  • Top 5 high school football recruits in 1976.
  • Played for:
    • BYU and was part of the WAC championship team.
    • 1981 signed free agent contract with the Oakland Raiders.
    • Played semi-pro ball in Yuba City where they won the national title, and was voted league MVP, rushing for over 1,000 yards.


** Hornet Scoring Record:  The 1968 Hornet squad still holds the Varsity scoring record 
for Alameda High (348).  However, the 2002 Frosh Hornets had a great season themselves, 
going 9-0 and amassing a new school record
406 point total.
[ Other Records ]