The Glory Years
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 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.
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
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.
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:
1968 Team Honors
1968 Individual Honors
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.
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 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.
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
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 ]