Galileo’s First: Perfection in 1988

By Sam Peoples (QB/S, ‘89) with Mark Huynh (WR/DB, ’90)

To sum up the 1988 season would be a challenge because there were so many intricate factors that came into play. In the end, the key ingredient was team spirit.

Galileo had just come off an average season (4-5-2 overall) with a playoff loss to Lincoln, 32-7. The game right before that was a win in a 3-0 battle with Washington. Naturally, Galileo thought they had a chance in the playoffs but the loss to Lincoln was both devastating and embarrassing. The returning players made a pact to not lose like that again.

During the off-season players took it upon themselves to go to the local parks to work on developing their skills and abilities. Senior, quarterback, Sam Peoples spent many days at Kimball Field and Hamilton Recreational Park with senior wide out, Omar “Sleepy” Lott, working on their passing game. They visualized different scenarios and worked their way out of it.  Other players were participating in developmental activities throughout the off-season like these.

The hard-working lions were able to come together to test their newly adopted skills during the mid-summer passing league held annually at City College. Galileo swept through undefeated, giving them a huge confidence boost. The defense, what Galileo is known for, played excellent but it was on the offensive side of the ball that the lions had shown the most improvement. The passing attack had evolved unlike anyone had anticipated. Galileo were able to equally distribute the ball to everyone and also, went on to beat City College to make it a sweep.

With the season underway in late August, Galileo began the pre-season with their traditional full-contact scrimmage game against Capuchino High School in Millbrae. What made this game interesting is that Galileo’s head coach, George White, had a son who played for Capuchino. In the previous years going down there was usually a tough contest ending in a stalemate. This time around, Galileo was dominant.

NON-LEAGUE GAMES

1-0 (Galileo 20-Westmoor 14)

It was cold and windy as the Lions visited the Westmoor Rams, a traditionally hard-hitting team. The rams featured a big offensive line with a 1-2 running back combo. Junior middle linebacker, Hudari Murray led the lions’ defense in containing Westmoor’s 1-2 punch. Omar Lott pulled in a desperation pass from Sam Peoples in the back of the end zone to end the game, 20-14. This come-from-behind game set the bar for the rest of the season; Galileo’s success in the midst of adversity would continue to shine in close games.

2-0 (Galileo 7-Oceana 0)

The excitement of the season’s first home game coupled with the thrill of last week’s victory at Westmoor was nothing short of electric on campus as the lions hosted Oceana. The sharks featured athletic skills players, unlike Westmoor’s battle in the trenches. The game turned into another defensive nail-biter as neither offense could muster enough momentum to score. Fortunately, Galileo had Gary Little who ran for 118 yards on 13 carries to lead the lions to a 7-0 victory.

3-0 (Galileo 33-South City 0)

The final non-league game was a breakout game for Galileo’s offense unlike the previous two games where defense reign supreme. The offense racked up 33 points as the defense pitched another shutout. Tirrell Burden blocked a punt and Robert Gentry closed the day out with a 31-yard touchdown run. Omar Lott had another great day catching three touchdowns and running for another.

LEAGUE GAMES

4-0 (Galileo 28-Lincoln 7)

Lincoln had high-hopes with a group of returning all-city players.  At 3-0, we remained focused. The student body and the media were starting to gain excitement. They were talk of Galileo as the front-runner for the city championship now. Galileo’s confidence was high and they had “payback” in mind. In his best game of the season, Omar Lott had 10 catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns to help Galileo beat the mustangs, 28-7. The defense, anchored by defensive tackles Ollie Bradshaw and Kung-Ho Ko, held Lincoln to 93 yards rushing and 40 yards passing.

5-0 (Galileo 6-Mission 0)

Traditionally, Mission and Galileo were known for having hard-hitting, low scoring games.  This one was no different.  It was wet and rainy and cold at Kezar Stadium. Sam Peoples connected with Omar Lott to score the only touchdown of the game late in the first quarter as the lions’ defense held on for their third shutout of the season.

6-0 (Galileo 49-Lowell 0)

Lowell’s visit to “the Jungle” was a disaster as the lions dominated every aspect of the game. The offense tallied the most points all season and the defense continued to be stingy with another shutout.

7-0 (Galileo 26-Wilson 8 )

Woodrow Wilson’s visit was no different than Lowell’s as Galileo’s defense had a great afternoon holding the warriors to -7 yards rushing and 63 total yards.  Sam Peoples found Reggie Walker for 2 touchdowns and tight end, Thomas Yi for another. Gary Little ran one in and Dante Collins sealed the game with an interception.  Omar Lott whom up until now had scored in every game was shut out by the warriors’ double coverage.

8-0 (Galileo 22-McAteer 8 )

McAteer was the defending AAA Champions.  All week prior to the game, people were talking about how McAteer would be the team to tarnish Galileo’s perfect record.  A few McAteer players had their girlfriends who attended Galileo wear McAteer jerseys to school. It did nothing but help fuel the fire. The final score was 22-8 with another Gal win.  Sophomore wide out, Dexter Doss scored 2 touchdowns, a 15 and a 23-yard strike from Sam Peoples. Lamont Nubie also scored a touchdown on a 17-yard interception.  Thomas Yi scored in back-to-back games with a 16-yard grab.

9-0 (Galileo 21-Washington 14)

Though both Galileo and Washington were undefeated, the eagles were favored to win despite losing 0-3 to Galileo last season.  This year, however, the lions traveled to the Sunset District to play.  Washington featured a physical running back, Gerald Griffin, who was virtually unstoppable. Galileo’s defense, put to the test, showed that it’s not a fluke that they have been doing so well. They shut down Griffin who eventually left the game in the second quarter. Gary Little made a bold statement for AAA Back of the Year over Griffin as he led the lions offensively. Sam Peoples found Omar Lott for a touchdown to give the Galileo the neighborhood bragging rights for another year. There were numerous players from both teams who had grown up living next to and across the street from each other.

10-0 (Galileo 33-Balboa 0)

Hudari Murray had a monster game in this shutout. This game also had special meaning to Galileo; they completed a 10-0 regular season, the first time since 1938 for Galileo.  Gary Little rushed for 122 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown.  Hudari Murray scored a touchdown on a 19-yard fumble recovery.  Sam Peoples had 2 touchdown passes to Omar Lott and 1 rushing touchdown.

PLAYOFF

11-0 Playoffs (Galileo 49-Balboa 0)

Balboa’s 4th place finish in the league, gave Galileo a favorable rematch for the playoffs. Though many say that “beating a team a second time is tough to do”, the lions took it to another level by shutting the Bucs out again and scoring 2 more touchdowns than last time to punch their ticket with destiny. The lions, filled with confidence, were ready to play the biggest game of the season; an undefeated season and a city championship were on the line. McAteer had beaten Washington in the other semi-final match.

CHAMPIONSHIP

12-0 Championship (Galileo 32-McAteer 12)

Sitting at 11-0, with a perfect season and AAA history hanging in the balance, the stage was set to take on McAteer in the championship game at Washington High School.  The last team to go undefeated in the AAA did it in 1938, exactly 50 years prior.  No Galileo football team had ever gone undefeated in the history of the school.

“I remember some players who spent the night at my house the night before the big game and discussing what we had done so far and what we had left to do.  It was a very emotional and heartfelt moment for everyone.  Our confidence was high but we knew that McAteer is more than willing to spoil our season. We weren’t about to let them take something that we were destined for and that we had spent all season earning.

That next morning in the locker room, it was dead silent.  The room was filled with intensity.  We all knew what was at stake and we all wanted to go out perfect.  It was our time to make a statement about who we are; our history, the Galileo pride, the championships won, our neighborhood, families and friends – it was something that no one had done before and we wanted it!  It was the pinnacle of generations of lions past, present and future.

Without a doubt, we trampled McAteer, beating them 32-12 to cap a perfect season.  We met them on every level in their intensity, resolve and will.  Though the game was lop-sided, by no means were McAteer pushovers. They pushed us every part of the way and we had to answer every time.

And the testament of our great season was about being one team with no egos, being unselfish, understanding what the coaches want and sacrificing for each other as we work towards our goal.”

– Sam Peoples (QB/S)

In the end, where perfection lay, Galileo was recognized with the following awards: Sam Peoples (player of the year), Gary Little (back of the year), All-City First Team; WR-Omar Lott, WR-Reggie Walker, OT-Lionel Robinson, FB-Tirrell Burden, LB-Hudari Murray. Cornerbacks, Dante Collins and Richard Harris, along with center, Doug Hale, all earned second team honors.

Players that went on to play college football included Omar Lott, Hudari Murray, Doug Hale, Sam Peoples, Reggie Walker and Gary Little. Sam Peoples also went on to play football in the NFL and CFL.

This perfect season started a 3-peat in which Galileo only lost 1 game: the 1990 season was also an undefeated season.

1988 ROSTER

Number Name Class Position Height Weight
1 Sam Peoples Senior QB/FS/P 6’1 165
7 Reggie Walker Senior DE/WR 6’4 185
11 Bryon Nguyen Senior K 5’7 125
14 Dexter Doss Soph QB/WR/FS 6’0 150
22 Mario Clemente Soph RB/CB 5’11 165
24 Billie Pennington Senior TE/DE 5’9 165
26 Richard Harris Senior RB/CB 5’6 150
28 Dante Collins Senior RB/CB 5’7 150
32 Tirrell Burden Junior FB/LB 6’0 180
34 Gary Little Senior RB/CB 5’9 175
36 Donald Anderson Junior RB/CB 5’7 160
37 Mark Huynh Junior WR/FS 5’7 140
44 Lamont Nubie Senior FB/LB 5’11 175
46 Robert Gentry Senior WR/FS 5’9 160
48 Nick Fontanu Soph TE/DE 6’0 180
51 Hundari Murray Soph OL/LB 5’8 198
54 Paul Ybarra Junior OL 5’5 165
60 Zeke Lyles Junior C/DE 5’8 170
62 Kun-Ho Ko Junior OL/DL 5’9 195
64 Lionell Robinson Senior OL/LB 5’9 198
65 Ollie Bradshaw Junior OL/DL 5’7 180
70 Bret Ybarra Junior OL/DL 5’4 170
71 Patrick Siu Senior OL/DL 5’9 180
72 Doug Hale Senior C/DL 6’0 230
74 Ronnie Villar Senior OL/DL 6’0 240
78 Antione Hollman Junior OL/DL 5’7 160
80 David Chin Junior WR/FS 5’7 150
81 Omar Lott Senior WR/DB 5’10 165
83 Thomas Yi Senior TE/DB 5’8 170
85 Jamal Smith Junior OL/DL 5’8 180
86 Warran Auyong Junior TE/LB 5’11 160
88 Maceo Houston Soph TE/DL 6’0 190