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September 19, 1966
The Miracle
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September 19, 1966

A Slumbering Midget Woke Up

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Coach Taube, now the school's football and baseball coach, and athletic director as well, vividly remembers that night and his team. "Those boys were an unusual group," he says. "Four or five of them were Phi Beta Kappas, and many are now ministers. Most of them went on to get extra degrees. And look at that Bob Scott, our quarterback. He's a doctor in Vietnam now. One of them, I won't mention his name, was a fellow you'd never think would have remained in school—but now he's outearning most of his former teammates.

"You know, it sure would be nice to have a season like that again, now wouldn't it?"

Sure would be, but Coach Taube might as well stop dreaming. In the happy world of small-college football, where there are numerous unbeaten teams, Carleton will be among them only in spirit this year. St. John's of Minnesota, San Diego State and Akron may be the ones this time to enjoy the kind of season every coach prays for.

The West

Just a fly pattern down the San Diego Freeway from the major-college powers at UCLA and USC is simmering what could be the small colleges' best football team of the year. In his sixth season at SAN DIEGO STATE (which, with 16,132 students, is not really a small college) Coach Don Coryell has the sort of native wealth his neighbors to the north might envy. There is, only to begin with, Don Horn, who in his first year as a starter last season completed 123 of 206 passes for 1,688 yards and 21 touchdowns. As Coryell puts it, "There's really no telling what he'll do now that he has some experience." What he most likely will do is rely even more than he did last year on a withering running game. Nate Johns and Don Shy, who combined for 1,796 yards on the ground, are back and, what's more, neither is as good as Ted Washington, a newcomer, who was the Aztecs' best ballcarrier in the spring game. Craig Scoggins (48 catches for 597 yards and eight touchdowns) and Tom Nettles head up a fine set of returning receivers which will not be hurt in the least by the presence of 6-foot-1, 218-pound Ron Flisher, a tight end who blocks with authority. And the line is its customary big, fast self. Guard Dennis Aiken, in his second year, will play alongside 6-foot-3, 216-pound Dave Ogas. Jeff Staggs, 232, has switched from defense, where he starred at linebacker, to offensive tackle, where he'll team with 6-foot-3, 235-pound Steve Duich, a junior with an exceptional hankering to do well.

But with the points coming freely—as they always do at San Diego—it still will be up to the defense to carry this Aztec band over North Dakota, North Dakota State and the rest of the best of the small colleges. Coach Coryell at last appears to have the players he needs. Bob Howard, Hershel Whitefield and John Williams all played together in the secondary last year. They will be joined by Ambrous Jacobs, who may be the best of all. Up front there will be four new faces, all impressive in the spring, to help the defensive end, 6-foot-6, 250-pound Leo Carroll. The linebacking will be there to smooth over any mistakes of the newcomers, with most of the leveling to be done by smart, experienced Jon Wittler and Ray Schamutz.

With that much talent it is only right that Slate will be playing its toughest schedule in years. The Aztecs meet four teams that finished in the nation's top ten last year—North Dakota State, Los Angeles State, Weber State and Long Beach State.

What makes San Diego State's picture rosier and LOS ANGELES STATE's dimmer is the defection of Coach Homer Beatty, who led the Diablos to three California Collegiate Athletic Association titles and 25 wins in 27 games. Homer walked out of his coaching job because, as he put it, "I've never seen an athletic department that was so apathetic to athletics. Around here they don't seem to care whether you win or lose."

To further complicate life for the new coach, Red Williams, he will be without the services of Quarterback Ray Jones, Fullback Ray Chavez and Tackle Don Davis, who graduated. Jones passed and ran for 1,159 yards last year. Slight Alex Sotomayor, a transfer from Arizona State via East Los Angeles JC, will try to fill his shoes. Other help must come from Halfbacks Phil Spiller and Tom Rainey and Tackles Rich Cooper, 260, and Ernie Horn.

Fresno State, in the pass-happy CCAA, has Quarterback Dan Robinson. He probably was the most effective sophomore on the West Coast last year when he completed 117 of 211 passes for 1,177 yards and seven touchdowns. For targets he has Gil Mendosa, a big end with fine hands, and Bill Aston, who switched from fullback. Tackles Gary Cohagen, 245, and Bill Valoff, 225, are tough. The Bulldogs are defense-poor, however. If they get enough good junior-college transfers, they have a chance to win the title.

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