A lot of local football fans may be rooting for Bakersfield Christian to win a state championship Friday in Carson when the Eagles play Modesto Central Catholic.
But one Taft man is going to be pulling for the team up north – and with good reason.
Business owner and City Councilman Orchel Krier played football for the Central Catholic Raiders back in the early 1970s.
Krier got his first taste of politics there, too – he was student body president in 1973, his senior year.
Krier was a defensive end and linebacker under head Coach Mike Glines, who went on to become
one of the winningest coaches in California history.
Glines was a young coach back in those days, a Vietnam veteran and former Army drill instructor.
Glines coach for 45 years in Modesto, mostly at Central Catholic (1970-78 and 1995-3007) but also for a few years at Modesto Junior College where his team won the Junior Rose Bowl and mythical national championship in 1980.
His overall prep coaching record is 204-31-4 and under Glines the Raiders won 12 Sac-Joaquin Section championships.
The didn't play for state championships back in Krier's day, but Central Catholic was a winner back then, too, winning league championships nearly every year.
It was David vs Goliath in most of the games.
“We were playing schools with 2,500 to 3,300 students. But we only had 250 to 300 students.”
“We didn't lose too many games,” Krier recalled “I think out of 43 games (during Krier's high school career from 1970-73) we lost like three games. We hardly ever lost.”
That's because – in part, at least – under, Glines, losing had dire consequences for the team:
They ran – and ran and ran and ran.
“One time when we lost we came back on Monday and coach Glines said 'You know what losers do? They run,'” Krier recalled earlier this week.
Running met starting at a goal line and running to the five yard line and back five times, then to the 10 and repeating it and so on all the way up to running to the other goal line and returning five times.
That's a lot of running.
Losing was costly in other ways, too, Krier recalls
Assistant Coach Stan Galas owned a restaurant, and, each week, the team ate a pregame meal there.
Usually it was prime rib – but not when the Raiders lost.
“Coach said you know what losers do for a pregame meal – hot dogs,” Krier recalled.
Page 2 of 3 - The team learned – losing is no fun.
“We hated to lose. We learned not to lose,” Krier said.
Playing for a team with Central Catholic's winning reputation meant everyone else was gunning for them.
“Everybody was after us,” Krier recalled. “Every school we played, it was their homecoming. We were a heart-breaker for all those games because they always lost,” Krier recalled with a chuckle.
Back in the day, there were no excuses for missing practice. If you did, no matter what the reason, you ran, or you got kicked off the team.
Krier has followed the family tradition of working in agriculture, and when he was attending CCHS, he did a bit of beekeeping. He had brought a colony of bees into a hive. One day, he went to check on them, and, when he removed the top of the hive, the bees swarmed and attacked.
Krier ran, but not before being stung numerous times.
He still went to practice the next day.
The coach took one look at hime and sent him home.
Anyone who attended parochial schools back in the day also remembers the discipline.
Central Catholic was not different.
“The nuns were really good with those rulers, wackin' you on the knuckles,” Krier said..
Krier was no angel – either on the field or off.
He and his teammates got in fire extinguisher fights in the showers, and Krier admits to placing the tack in the seat of a priest – Father Aldo.
He got away with it.
Everybody got blamed but me,” he said.
He said he had to change uniform numbers several times during the season when he was on the junior varsity.
He had earned a reputation as a hard hitter, and sometimes not exactly the most well behaved player.
That reputation even extended to practice. When he was an underclassman, who scrimmaged with his teammates against the varsity.
He laid into a varsity player once and both “got their bells rung,” in the vernacular of the day.
“Both of us got knocked out and I was the first to get up,”Krier said the CCHS coaches had contacts with Notre Dame University, and Fighting Irish Coach came by the Raider practices in the preseason to offer some tips.
Krier even got a used Notre Dame helmet.
Krier's playing days ended with his graduation from CCHS, he went into the family business, which includes farming and manufacture of farm implements which have been sold around the world.
Page 3 of 3 - It was that agricultural background that helped him come up with a theme for his successful campaign for student body president.
“I compared people to a vegetable garden. Like an onion, you want to come on strong and stay strong,” he said.