Galileo’s First: Perfection in 1988

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

Sam Peoples Passing 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

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