Back then, the Longhorns dominated the San Diego Section in the school's second and third years since opening as Vista's second high school. They did it with record-breaking running backs and overpowering linemen.
There may not be much sizzle in the Longhorns now, but they're back in the San Diego Top 10 for the first time this year, ranked No. 9 in this week's Union-Tribune poll. RBV won its second straight last week by dominating previously unbeaten and eighth-ranked Mission Bay, 34-7.
"We're a blue-collar team," said head coach Tom Haman, successor to the powerhouse Craig Bell established. "We have no superstars. We just scrape together."
Together is the key word.
"We've just been plodding along and executing," said running back Alex Squires, who ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns in the Mission Bay win. "We've got good chemistry. Coach Haman motivates us. We do it for ourselves, but we do it for him, too. He's a coach who helps us with our problems."
Another image change taking place will come about next year. The Longhorns have been the New York Jets of the Meadlowlands, sharing Dick Haines Stadium with Vista, but RBV will open a new stadium next year on its campus.
Maybe in the future the talent-laden Longhorns of old will return in their new home. But for the last year at Dick Haines Stadium, Haman's Longhorns resemble the RBV of old only in scores and maybe the final record.
Every time I hear NFL players or fans complain about the league's rules against celebrating, taunting or even its strict uniform dress-code violations, I think about how little they know beyond their world. They should be made to walk in a high school coach's shoes.
Kids want to imitate what they see on television, and too often that means mimicking bad behavior. With fewer and fewer veteran coaches in high school sports, incidents can turn embarrassing quickly.
That's not the case at Mission Bay, where Dennis Pugh, the Vietnam veteran with the Purple Heart, remains in command.
When Mission Bay running back Arian Foster grew frustrated from being limited to 25 yards rushing on 13 carries against RBV after gaining 500 in his first two games, Pugh pulled him from the game. An assistant grabbed Foster on the sidelines and effectively convinced him to calm down.
Serra's coaching staff knew it had a run-stuffer in nose guard Feavai Ahmu, a 6-foot-2, 300-pounder with quick feet. But instead of drawing a center and guard, Ahmu is being triple-teamed. He was drawing the center and both guards against Mira Mesa, although the Marauders found other ways to score in a 29-0 win.
THIS WEEK'S FIVE-PACK
Marian Catholic (3-0) vs. Bonita Vista (2-1) at Southwestern College: For the last two weeks, the San Diego Section's No. 1-ranked team has fallen. Not this week. Running back Patrick Gates is too much for Bonita Vista.
Chula Vista (4-0) at Castle Park (1-2). Chula Vista rises to meet the emotional challenge of getting up again for a traditional rival after last week's rout of then-No. 1 Carlsbad.
Carlsbad (2-1) at Rancho Bernardo (3-0). Rancho Bernardo's more experienced lineup takes advantage of a bye week to hand the defending Division I champions a second straight loss.
Fallbrook (2-1) at Torrey Pines (4-0). Any sportswriter who picked La Costa Canyon to beat Torrey Pines last week (Torrey routed the Mavericks) must be a rookie. Ed Burke-coached teams have never lost to La Costa Canyon.
Oceanside (2-1) at Vista (1-2). Vista's defense has the edge against an Oceanside lineup that is talented in spots but inexperienced overall.
Editor's Note: Tom Shanahan is in his first year as San Diego correspondent for Cal-Hi Sports. He worked for 18 years for the San Diego Union-Tribune and won numerous awards for sportswriting.