Seconds before Super Bowl XXXV concluded with Baltimore set to knock out the New York Giants, 34-7, Ravens’ coach Brian Billick called the team’s water boy over and told him to empty all the water containers.

“Andrew,” he said joyfully, “you know I’m in charge around here.”

Billick, a Redlands High product from its 1972 graduating class, was trying to avoid the Gatorade/water bath in celebrating a championship. Those wet showers can be uncomfortable.

In that game, Patrick Johnson, California’s prep sprint champion for Redlands High over two decades after Billick, caught an 8-yard pass from quarterback Trent Dilfer. He also made a diving attempt to snag a touchdown pass in the end zone.

 “I touched it,” Johnson told me that night. He ran past New York Giants’ defender Jason Sehorn. “It bounced off my fingers.”

Didn’t matter. Johnson’s team danced its way over the Giants on Jan. 28, 2001 in Tampa Bay, Fla.

The presence of Johnson and Billick in connection with Baltimore proved one thing. The Super Bowl era has vital connections to this area.

It might be part of the fun for any Super Bowl, chalking up the area icons that played in pro football’s biggest game.

There’ve been a few area Super Bowl connections in the past.

Banning’s Alvin Walton is a celebrated part of two Super Bowl-winning rosters in Washington, especially in 1987 against Denver.

The onetime Banning Bronco, who played collegiately at nearby Mt. San Jacinto and at Kansas, was a rookie safety for the Redskins in the 1987 Super Bowl, a 39-20 victory.

Walton, a third-round draft pick, was guarding against Denver quarterback John Elway’s passes. He also sacked the Broncos’ Hall of Fame quarterback twice. Walton got to him a third time on a 3rd and 22, but the former Banning star was flagged for roughing Elway – automatic first down.

The Redskins got to Elway for five sacks, losing 50 yards that day.

It might be part of the fun for any Super Bowl, chalking up the area icons that played in pro football’s biggest game.

Remember Ronnie Lott, the 49ers’ Hall of Fame cornerback and safety?

Or Anthony Munoz, the Bengals’ Hall of Fame left tackle?

The two USC teammates from the late 1970s played against each other in high school – Lott for Rialto Eisenhower and Munoz for Ontario Chaffey. Both players had lined up against each other in the Citrus Belt League.

Lott and Munoz came together again in two Super Bowls, both 49er victories in 1982 and 1989.

San Bernardino Pacific High’s Mark Collins played cornerback on a pair of Super Bowl titles with the New York Giants – beating the Broncos in 1987 and Bills in 1991.

Then there’s Jim Weatherwax, a 1960 Redlands High product who went off to Cal State Los Angeles and, eventually, concluded his collegiate career in Texas – drafted by Green Bay in 1965.

The backup defensive end played in the first two Super Bowls, Packers’ victories over the Chiefs and Raiders.

A Cajon High product, six-foot wide receiver Charles Johnson drafted by Pittsburgh in 1994, caught 354 passes over a 9-year NFL career, playing on the 2001 New England Patriots’ Super Bowl team – but didn’t snag a single Tom Brady pass in that 17-14 win.

Norm Schacter’s refereeing career began in 1941 while, as an English teacher at Redlands High, started officiating. Beginning in 1954, he reffed 22 years in the NFL, including the first-ever Super Bowl. His final on-field assignment was Pittsburgh’s win over Dallas in 1976 – Schachter’s third Super Bowl.

When the NFL expanded its on-field officials from six to seven in 1977, Rialto’s Al Jury made the cut. Jury, a back judge and a field judge, has refereed a record-tying six Super Bowls.

This guy broke his leg in 2004, forcing him to retire after 27 seasons.

Closest we can come to area connections to this year’s Super Bowl between Philadelphia and New England is Eagles’ backup running back Kenjon Barner. All he did as a senior at Riverside Notre Dame was scoot for 3,124 yards and 43 touchdown for an 8-5 Titans’ team in 2007.

Neither Banning nor Beaumont could stop him in Mountain Pass League games.

Beaumont, 2-8 in 2007, surrendered 201 yards to Barner in a 48-20 Titans’ win. Notre Dame’s 50-35 win over Banning (3-7) was backed by a 265-yard performance.

The season before, he burst for 1,759 yards (26 TD) on an 8-3-1 squad.

In a 28-21 win over a 2-8 Beaumont team, he scooted for 140 yards on 18 carries. Two weeks later, he touched the ball twice against Banning (3-7) for 79 yards in a 48-14 win over the Broncos.

Then it was off to Oregon before getting drafted by Carolina in 2013.

Speaking of NFL referees:

Weatherwax himself told a story reflected by Packers’ quarterback Bart Starr. The AFL and NFL each provided three officials for the inaugural championship at the Los Angeles Coliseum in January 1967.

During the game, Waxie said, an AFL official threw a flag against Green Bay.

Waxie said that Starr complained to Schachter, an NFL official, “Hey, Norm, wasn’t that was one of their guys that threw the flag?”

Waxie said Schachter picked up the flag. No penalty.

As for Billick, it turns out he wasn’t “in charge” enough. Led by defensive end Rob Burnett, the former Terrier was showered with an unemptied bucket.

It’s all part of the Super Bowl.


More from this section

Rebuilding a State championship team was tough … Scholarship opportunities are created … Top area players are wearing Lady Eagles’ colors … Thomas, Brown surfaced at historic Cal Baptist.