There’s been an edge to George Paton ever since he was growing up in La Cañada Flintridge, and for good reason. He always had to battle two older brothers at home. “We competed every day,” he said. “They were five, six years older, so we competed in everything, and I lost a lot because they were older. That’s all we did, is compete.” It’s also what the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League have done while Paton worked behind the scenes since 2007. In his time as director of player personnel and later assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel, the Vikings drafted 16 Pro Bowl performers, and the former La Cañada High School student hopes to carry that spirit and success into his new role as general manager of the Denver Broncos.
‘‘And Greg Dulcich continues to make big plays!” The familiar voice of Josh Lewin, play-by-play announcer for the UCLA football team, made that declaration on the warm Sunday morning of Nov. 15 as the Bruins squared off with Cal in the Rose Bowl and the tight end hauled in a 44-yard reception against the Bears. Though a college football game being played on a Sunday morning on the West Coast was a rarity, one consistent theme of Lewin’s narrative was Dulcich’s playmaking. The observation was repeated over and over as the season progressed, so much so that the Glendale resident and St. Francis High School graduate ended the campaign by being named to the Associated Press 2020 All-Pacific-12 Conference second team. Dulcich enjoyed a breakout campaign this past fall, hauling in 26 passes for team highs of 517 yards and five touchdowns. He turned in 167- and 126-yard-per-game performances, while no other tight end in the conference eclipsed 108 yards in a single game. His average of 73.9 receiving yards a game was tops in the Pac-12 at the position – pretty impressive for the redshirt sophomore who totaled eight receptions for 111 yards and one touchdown in his first two seasons combined.
Much has changed in the area since 2000, with local football programs having their ups and downs and coaches on the move. The sport of football and its players have certainly evolved in the past two decades, but there remains one constant in St. Francis High School football.
The Golden Knights are a consistent power in the football world, with 18 CIF Southern Section playoff appearances in the last 19 years — a remarkable feat for Jim Bonds, who is entering his 20th season as St. Francis’ head coach.
“A few people had asked me about how many years, and I had to go back and do the math,” he said. “I saw that it’s going to be 20. I can’t believe it.”
That kind of loyalty to one school is rare nowadays, and Principal Tom Moran is glad Bonds chose St. Francis in 2000.
“It’s remarkable,” Moran said. “I’m sure he has had opportunities and will continue to have them. We’re very blessed he’s decided to make St. Francis his home.” Continue reading “Knights’ Tale: Bonds Marks 2 Decades as Head Coach”