S.I. wants to party like it's 1967

The "Summer of Love" was in full bloom in The City, prompting something called a "Be-In" in Golden Gate Park. Also that summer, the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic was founded and the Monterey International Pop Festival was held. That event had a pretty fair lineup that included Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding.

The year 1967 was an interesting one in San Francisco and surrounding environs.

 

The "Summer of Love" was in full bloom in The City, prompting something called a "Be-In" in Golden Gate Park. Also that summer, the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic was founded and the Monterey International Pop Festival was held. That event had a pretty fair lineup that included Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding.

 

Also assembling an impressive lineup in ‘67 was coach Vince Tringali and the St. Ignatius Wildcats. Having just joined the newly formed West Catholic Athletic League that season, S.I. made a strong first impression, going unbeaten in league behind quarterback Dan Fouts, running back Bob Giorgetti and a tremendous offensive line.

 

"They had a huge line that year," current athletic director Bob Vergara said. "Dan Fouts barely had to pass at all."

 

It's been nearly 40 years since that season in the sun for S.I. The school has moved to the Sunset District of San Francisco. Beloved teacher J.B. Murphy died and has had S.I.'s field named in his honor. And Fouts is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is a well-known sportscaster for ABC after a splendid career with the San Diego Chargers.

 

The one thing that has eluded the Wildcats in the ensuing years is another WCAL title. There have been some close calls, but no closing of the deal. On Saturday all that can end, though, as S.I. hosts San Jose Bellarmine Prep at 1 p.m. in the league finale for both teams.

 

An S.I victory will give the Wildcats a co-title with San Mateo Serra. The Padres defeated S.I. 28-16 last month and have a bye this week.

 

Meantime, a Bellarmine victory will put the Bells (5-4-1, 3-2) in the Central Coast Section playoffs, Bells coach Mike Janda said.

 

The prospect of a co-title after 39 years of futility has S.I. revved up.

 

"We're really excited," Vergara said. "This is something we've been shooting for all year. Our league is one that's very hard to compete in and to be successful in. We're proud to be able to play for a WCAL championship."

 

The Wildcats have certainly impressed Janda.

 

"They have a huge offensive line and an aggressive defense," he said. "They're one of the best teams we'll have played all year."

 

S.I. quarterback Chris McCaffery has thrown for 1,348 yards and 12 touchdowns, with five interceptions. He also does the placekicking.

 

Able targets for McCaffery are wideouts Tom Barth (17 receptions, 390 yards, four TDs) and Miles Suter (19-232-3).

 

Ryan Kirkpatrick is the Wildcats' leading rusher with 794 yards and four touchdowns. Ryan Brown is faster than Kirkpatrick and has added 251 yards and two scores.

 

Highly recruited Matt Summers-Gavin (6-5, 270) paces a big offensive line.

 

The Bells are hardly a soft touch, though.

 

Quarterback Jordan Vargas has thrown for 1,366 yards and 11 touchdowns, with five interceptions. He has outstanding wideouts in Kevin Gonzales (39-794, six Tds) and Mark Canha (16-312).

 

Canha, better known for his baseball exploits, missed the Bells' first four games with mononucleosis.

 

Sophomore Usua Amanam (51 carries, 468 yards, two scores) and Mitchell Knauf (53-298-8) lead the ground game.

 

Janda expects a typical WCAL donnybrook on Saturday.

 

"It will be a challenge for our players," he said. "We're taking on a team with the league's top defense that is playing for a league title and on its home field. They have a lot to play for, but then we do too."

 


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