Fourteen years ago they were part of Phil Hayford's first couple of wins.
Many of those former players were there again cheering him on Friday night as host Shorecrest scored a couple of late touchdowns to defeat previously unbeaten Temple Heights 19-7 in a key Class 2A, District 6 football game.
Not only were many former players there but the Chargers fans took part in helping Hayford celebrate his 100th victory with a gigantic cake.
"It's a great thing for the school and reflects well on the kids," said Hayford, who has compiled a record of 100-57 in 14 seasons. "When you look over at the sidelines and you see kids that you coached in 1980 it brings a tear to the old coach's eye."
There was a lot of emotion on Friday as the Chargers (8-0) survived a stern test from the surprisingly tough Eagles (7-1). Shorecrest, ranked No. 2 in the Class 2A state poll, solidified its position at the top of the district standings with its victory, but it didn't come easy.
"I think we gained a lot of respect tonight," Temple Heights coach Tom Allen said. "We may have played right with perhaps the best team in the state and were in it until the end."
With the score tied at 7 with more than eight minutes remaining in the game, Bullitt McCoun recovered a fumble at the Eagles' 45-yard-line. Three plays later, tailback Matt Thomas rambled 27 yards down to the 2-yard-line to set up quarterback Fred Meinke's 2-yard plunge and give Shorecrest a 13-7 lead.
"We just had to get in gear and get our offensive schemes down," said Meinke, who passed for 139 yards on seven completions out of nine attempts. "We came out a little flat and didn't do some of things that we needed to do."
Shorecrest secured its win four minutes later when Meinke scrambled around the right end and threw a short pass to Matt Field, who ran down the sideline to complete a 30-yard touchdown and give the Chargers some breathing room.
"We really had three pass plays that worked and set up our offense," Hayford said. "That was a big difference. We stayed with our basic game plan."
Another factor for Shorecrest's success was the dominant defensive line that completely shut down the Eagles' high-powered running attack. Behind a horde of Chargers led by the linebacking corps of Jeff Davis, Matt Thomas, Adam Berry, Joey Lazzara and Field, Temple Heights star running back Nate Dorsey was held to 80 yards on 18 carries. He never really broke open except once in the first quarter when he scored on a 15-yard burst off tackle to tie the game at 7.