When I was coaching football, if someone asked me which team that I have coached is my favorite, I would always say the team I am coaching right now, but after you have coached 36 of them it is hard not to have a favorite. I have three. The first would be the 1967 team from Twentynine Palms, which featured Conrad Dobler, who went on to be an All-Pro for the St. Louis Cardinals. The second would be the 1969 team from Yucca Valley High School that won all their games except the Southern Section Championship game, and the third would be my all-time favorite, the 1986 Warriors.
This group was just plain fun to coach. It was a group of young men that any parent would be proud to have as their sons. Kevin Holben, who played split end on this team, made things exciting. Blaine Lopez was setting a new league passing record, and Kevin had a part in making Blaine so successful. While Kevin was second to Max Keyes in number of catches, he was first in yards per catch. Kevin had good speed and great hands and knew how to get open. If the ball came near him, he would catch it.
Kevin started his Warrior career as a starting wide receiver for the JVs as a freshman on a team coached by Steve Schultz. He continued this role as a sophomore. Watching him those first years, I knew he was going to be an impact player on the varsity team, and he was. I can still see some of the catches Kevin made in Eureka his senior year when the Warriors defeated the Loggers and Blaine set a new single game passing record, throwing for over 300 yards. Kevin was also our kicker, and I can’t remember him ever missing an extra point. After graduation, Kevin moved on to College of the Redwoods, where he continued his career as a receiver and kicker.
Off the field, Kevin was a very popular, friendly young man, which I am sure contributed to the senior class selecting him as the class’ Biggest Heartthrob. He is one that was fun to have as a player and a privilege to coach.