SDFNL MAGAZINE  Jan 2016 

“The Final Chapter” 

IntroTheTommyGExperience

ThispastMay,aguycametomyschoolsiteasasubstuteteacherintheSpecialNeedsclassIworkin.He
introducedhimselfasTommyandtoldmehewasfromOceanside.BeingthehugesportsfanthatIam,I
immediatelystruckupaconversaonaboutOceansideHighSchoolfootball.ItoldhimIgrewupinSan
MarcoswatchingandroongforboththeGrizzliesandKnights,sothetwoofuskindoflookedateach
otherreadytobaleforasecond.Butthenforthenextthirtyminutes,wediscussedthehistoryofprep
footballinSanDiegoCounty.The“G”inTommy’snamestandsforGuerrez,butaerourrsttalkIknew
rightawaythe“G”shouldstandfor“Guru”becausehehasstoriestotellfordays.Infactwhenitcomesto
knowledgeaboutprepfootballhistory,the“G”inTommy’slastnameshouldstandfor“Genius”because
themanhasboundlessintellectforthegameoffootballbothincurrentmesandfromdecadespast.

AerlisteningtoTommytalkaboutthestoriedpastsofboththeElCaminoandOceansidefootball
programs,IinsncvelybroughtuponeofOceanside’snewestcountyrivals,theMissionHillsGrizzlies.He
kindofsnickeredatme,andIsaidsomethinglike,“TheGrizzliesplayyouguysathomethisseasonbro.
YouknowMissionHillshasbeenplayingyouguyswellathome!Theycouldgetyouthisseason.”Tommy
lookedbackatmewithaglarethatcouldhavecomestraightfromcoachJohnCarrollhimself,andthenhe
beganremindingmeofthegreataccomplishmentsthePiratesfootballprogramobtainedunderthe
legendarycoach:250wins,13SeconChampionships,21straightappearancesintheCIFsecon
seminals,andtwostatebowltles.HeremindedmethatthePirateswere141lastseasondominang
thecompe

oninSanDiegoleadinguptoyetanotherStateBowlappearancebeforecoachCarroll

rered.TommyGliterallybleedsgreenandasasportsfanIcanappreciatethatalot.

Aerthetwoofustalkedalilesmacktoeachother,Tommysaidhehad
alsobeenwringforanonlineprepfootballmagazinecalledSanDiego
FridayNightLights.ItoldhimthatIalwayswantedtogetintosportsmedia
andjournalism.Iwasreadytomakeacareerchange,andTommycould
sensethatsoheaskedmetocalladudebythenameofRubenPeñawho
putstogetherSDFNL.“Youneedtoemailhimrightawayman.Heis
lookingforwriterslikeyouwhohaveapassionforthegame,”Tommysaid.
ItoldhimIwouldcheckthewebsiteoutandseewhatitwasallabout.
Aeraweekorso,Tommycamebacktomyworkagainandaskedme.
“DidyouemailRuben?He’slookingforwriters.”Isaid,“No,butIlookedat
thewebsiteandthoughtitwasgreat.”Tommythenproceededtocall
Peñaonthespotandtellhimhehadaguywhowouldwriteforhim.When
theyhungup,TommyhandedmeapaperwithPeña’scellphonenumber
andtoldmetocallhimassoonaspossible.

By:EricWilliamsfollowonTwier@WBKsports