The defending state champion Rams entered the title game as one-touchdown underdogs against Fullerton College -- and that was before word came that Stanford-bound running back Vic Lamanuzzi would miss the "JC Super Bowl" because of a back injury suffered in practice.
But with "win it for Vic" as their battle cry, the Rams rolled to a 28-9 victory over Fullerton in the "Fog Bowl" at Anaheim. Continuing a season of myriad twists and turns for the Rams, the championship showdown was played on a Sunday after the game was postponed a day because of fog.
Though loaded with talent, the Rams started the season 1-3 despite playing their first four games in Fresno. Once they jelled there was no stopping them, as they blew through the conference season undefeated. The Rams had only one close call, knocking off American River, 23-16, at home. And they served notice that they would be formidable in the playoffs by concluding the regular season with a 54-7 shellacking of College of the Sequoias in Visalia. The romp avenged a 22-19 home loss to the Giants in October.
Quarterback Mike Rasmussen earned JC All-American honors and a ticket to Michigan State in a season in which he set season schools records for for passing yards (2,734), completions (184) and attempts (331) - - marks that still stood at the time of the team's FAHOF induction. His top target was flanker Chuck Davidian, who wrapped up his Rams career with two-year totals of 85 receptions, 15 TDs and a 19.5 yards per catch average.
The running game was powered by Lamanuzzi and Steve Bisceglia, the bruising fullback who later starred for Coach Bear Bryant at Alabama.
Jim Merlo was named all-conference at center, but made his mark at Stanford and for six seasons with the New Orleans Saints as a linebacker.
All-conference lInebacker Roger Huntington anchored the defense and inspired Coach Clare Slaughter to declare, "He's as fine of a linebacker as we've ever had. He was to our defense what Rasmussen was to our offense." Huntington played the following two seasons at Fresno State.
For Slaughter and his Fresno City coaching staff, it was the second of what would be four California Community College state championships. Slaughter was named Coach of the Year by the California JC Football Coaches Association at the conclusion of a 9-3 campaign that also included playoff victories over LA Harbor and Chabot.
Team members: John Behrens, Jerry Benefield, Steve Bisceglia, Phil Borjas, Mike Brock, Danny Brown, Tom Broad, Pat Cleary, Greg Cox, Brian Cunnings, Chuck Davidian, Marshall Doris, Terry Driscoll, Mike Duncan, Chuck Eller Jr., David England, Chuck Fink, Chuck Glenn, Charles Green, Roger Huntington, Donn Imrie, Steve Imrie, Rick Jacobsen, Demmoine Johnson, Seno Karagosian, Vic Lamanuzzi, Tom Lucero, Mike Mendes, Fred Merlo, Jim Merlo, Harry Mestijian, Carl Moler, Steve Nelson, Alan Parker, Joe Pettit, Richard Ramirez, Mike Rasmussen, John Rivera, Phil Ruiz, Monty Schultz, Curtis Scott, Jayne Scott, Joe Serna, Gene Shimizu, Louis Stoetzl, Dennis Tripp, Ken Warkentin, Jim Wilkins, Larry Willis, Randy Woods, John Yavasile, Bob Yovino
Head coach: Clare Slaughter. Assistant coaches: Bill Musick, Jack Mattox, Bill Wayte. Student assistant: Gus Short. Enshrined