Even Dan Carmazzi admits it took some getting used to.
The man who elevated Big Red football at Jesuit from doormat to a power is back in blue. Carmazzi is in his second season as an assistant coach at Christian Brothers, his alma mater, after heading the Jesuit program for 30 seasons. CBS was the only place Carmazzi said he would consider finishing his teaching and coaching career, and the man practically bounces across campus and the practice field these days with exuberant strides.
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And the Holy Bowl? Its the 43rd annual meeting between the rivals Saturday at Hughes Stadium and the old coach offers up a youthful grin. Carmazzi has been involved in more Holy Bowls than anyone with Saturday's contest marking his 40th game as a player, assistant coach or head coach. He played quarterback in the first two Holy Bowls in 1969 and '70. He was an assistant coach at CBS for several seasons after his UC Davis playing career. He was hired as a Jesuit assistant coach in 1977 by Red Smith and replaced Smith following the 1980 season.
Carmazzi lost his first six Holy Bowl showdowns as the Jesuit head coach in the 1980s when CBS was a regional power. The streak ended in 1986 when Mike McIntee hit Dan Cahill for a late touchdown, prompting Carmazzi to say years later that the triumph "saved my soul."
Carmazzi coached three of his sons in the Holy Bowl in the 1990s -- Gio, Matt and Dominic. All told, he went 22-10 as the Jesuit coach in the Holy Bowl.
He said he is rejuvenated and healthy after a cancer scare. Perhaps the most humble 200-game winner you'll ever find, Carmazzi said he's just glad CBS has welcomed him -- students, faculty and coaches. Head coach George Petrissans offered an emphatic, "We got a steal in getting Dan Carmazzi here."
"People have been so receptive and nice, and George has been outstanding to work with," Carmazzi said. "I'm doing some athletic director things, weight lifting classes, some (social studies). Keeps me busy and out of trouble."
Carmazzi said he's forever indebted to CBS.
"This is where it started for me, the great mentors I had as a player and a young coach here like Dick Sperbeck, Dave Hoskins, Mel Fontes, John Fletcher," Carmazzi said. "It's still a special place. The neat thing, like Jesuit, is the kids are so talented and smart. They're the model of student athletes. It keeps you young."
Carmazzi's old friend at Jesuit, longtime assistant Ross Evans, said he'll be sure to offer a bear hug before and after the game.
"Dan's as good as they come, and he had a great career here," Evans said. "It's neat to see him enjoying CBS. Hope he does well. Except Saturday."
Here's a closer look at some great Holy Bowl moments (Jesuit leads the series 26-14-2):
1970: A win with McGinn
The lad had one play all season, and he's still a legend for it. On the last play of the regular-season finale between league champs at soggy American River College, Jesuit sophomore Dano McGinn came off the bench to run in a two-point conversion for an 8-7 win, dashing CBS' run at its first perfect season since 1936.
1973: Scoreless but not painless
CBS came in 8-1, star-studded with quarterback Jeff Tisdel and tight end Eason Ramson. But a driving rain storm and a soupy field at Sacramento State played into the hands of the gritty Marauders, who came in at 5-4 and managed a 0-0 tie.
1974: Amen, Brothers
In a battle of top talents, Jesuit's Matt Bouza broke up a second-half end-zone pass meant for All-America wide receiver Dan Farrell, prompting the Jesuit rooting section to yell in unison, "Some All-American, CB!" One play later, Farrell caught a pass in stride, just beating Bouza -- who went on to the NFL -- as CBS scored on every possession in a 53-28 win, prompting the CBS students to chant, "Amen! Amen! Amen!"
1975: Drive, Marauders
In another meeting of league champions facing off in the season finale, the Marauders passed on the city playoffs for a shot at CBS and used a 99-yard drive to win 7-6 behind runners Tim Lee and Joe Riehl. A Steve Sules touchdown run pulled CBS to within a point in the closing seconds but a 2-point run attempt was stopped and Jesuit prevailed 7-6.
1981: Road Warriors
Played at Woodland High of all places due to facility usage issues, Rob Delgado won it for CBS 17-10 on a 60-yard punt return. Dave Jablonsky, John Arbuckle and Bill Callaghan also played well for CBS, which went 13-1 and won its first Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship. Jesuit was led by running back Scott Lippi.
1982: Vince Patrol
A year after his brother Rob Delgado beat Jesuit with a punt return, junior standout tailback Vince Delgado rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns for a 21-0 victory. It was 0-0 at the half.
1983: Block Party
Two blocked punts by John Foster set the tone - and set up two touchdowns as CBS won 34-14. Vince Delgado rushed for 204 yards and a score, Keillan Mathews scored twice and Rob Quintero hit Ken Omlin for two touchdown passes for CBS, which went 13-1 as one of the great teams in section history, with Delgado setting section rushing records that were broken later by James Kidd of Elk Grove in 1991 and Onterrio Smith of Grant in 1998.
1986: Streak busters
CBS, a heavy favorite, led 10-0 at the half before the Marauders rallied behind a Mike Walter score and a Mike McIntee touchdown pass to Dan Cahill to win 13-10 and halt the Falcons' seven-year winning streak in the series. It was Dan Carmazzi's first Holy Bowl win. He had been 0-5.
1989: Charlie, angel
Charles Alimena caught a late 40-yard touchdown pass from Chris Bradford, and sealed it with an interception at the 3-yard line for a 21-14 Jesuit win. He said he never hugged so many people after a game in his life.
1990: Go West, young man
In a defensive slugfest with forced fumbles and goal-line stands, it came down to a Cornel West interception in the closing moments on fourth and goal at the Falcons' 7 to preserve a 3-0 CBS win. Julian Gutierrez kicked a 28-yard field goal.
1992: McKechnie's moment
Jesuit stormed to a 16-0 halftime lead, prompting CBS coach George Smith to ditch the game plan and unleash dynamic passer Kevin McKechnie, who a year after throwing three interceptions in a loss to Jesuit staged the most dramatic Holy Bowl rally. He tossed three second-half touchdown passes -- two to John Hooper -- and ran for another score for a 28-16 win. Adam Gates rushed for 115 yards for Jesuit.
1993: Big Red for 2
Jesuit beat CBS 14-0 in the regular season with Mike Cassagrande hitting Matt Carmazzi for a touchdown and Nigel Burton powering in for a rushing score late after a scoreless half. The rematch was in the playoffs that same season, with Jesuit rolling 33-13 as Andy Stanton scored three touchdowns as the Marauders secured the program's first playoff victory.
1995: Warming up
Jesuit rolled CBS 38-14 and then never slowed down, capping a 13-0-1 season with the program's first Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship. It was on full display here as Monte Franks rushed for two scores, and J.T. O'Sullivan passed for two scores to offset Sean Donalley, who had two touchdown passes for CBS.
2001: Matt and Mel prevail
Behind team leaders Matt Traverso and Mel Cuckovich, CBS halted an overall nine-game skid to Jesuit. Traverso had 11 tackles and Cuckovich knocked down a two-point conversion pass with 1:03 left to preserve a 14-13 victory.
2005: Tie goes to the winners
The first tie of this series was 0-0 in 1973. This one ended 19-19 and was a lot more entertaining. CBS rallied from a 13-0 hole behind Curtis Raulinaitis, who threw two touchdown passes and rushed for a score to offset Jesuit leaders Kevin Novick and Evan Reuter.
2007: Big Red nerves
Two late fourth-down conversions made Jesuit coach Dan Carmazzi nervous, and then he was just plain proud as son Dominic helped steer a rally to offset the versatility of CBS ace Asa Jackson, tossing three touchdowns to Isaiah Frey. The capper was Frey scoring on a 20-yard run late, after Jesuit was successful on two fourth-down conversions in Jesuit's 32-29 victory. Marcus McDaniel returned the second-half kickoff 92 yards for a 21-12 CBS lead.
2008: Late game drama
CBS led 19-6 with four minutes remaining only to turn it over twice and allow the Marauders an open-door to opportunity. Thomas Blocker scored on a diving touchdown reception and Chris Piwinski hit Travis Snider on a screen pass that Snider broke for the winning 45-yard score for a 20-19 win. Coach Carmazzi recalled how a good number of Jesuit fans left early.
2010: Hrin is in
Dan Hrin powered in for three touchdowns to offset CBS quarterback Ryan Peabody, who scored on a sneak and tossed a touchdown to Bryan Lane. CBS students flooded the field to celebrate.
2012: Thank God for TS
Thomas Sperbeck of Jesuit had one of the all-time great Holy Bowl games, tossing a 28-yard touchdown to Jason Elenberger, racing in from 72 yards out for a score and returning a fumble 85 yards into the end zone for a 28-23 victory. Said Jesuit first-year coach Marlon Blanton after the game, "Thank God for Thomas Sperbeck."
Holy Bowl at a glance: Series scores
1969: CBS 20, Jesuit 13
1970: Jesuit 8, CBS 7
1971: CBS 40, Jesuit 7
1972: Jesuit 21, CBS 0
1973: CBS 0, Jesuit 0
1974: CBS 53, Jesuit 28
1975: Jesuit 7, CBS 6
1976: Jesuit 13, CBS 6
1977: No game
1978: No game
1979: CBS 53, Jesuit 14
1980: CBS 40, Jesuit 7
1981: CBS 17, Jesuit 10
1982: CBS 21, Jesuit 0
1983: CBS 31, Jesuit 14
1984: CBS 17, Jesuit 6
1985: CBS 35, Jesuit 7
1986: Jesuit 13, CBS 10
1987: Jesuit 24, CBS 6
1988: CBS 11, Jesuit 0
1989: Jesuit 21, CBS 14
1990: CBS 3, Jesuit 0
1991: Jesuit 39, CBS 7
1992: CBS 28, Jesuit 16
1993: Jesuit 14, CBS 0
1993: Jesuit 33, CBS 13*
1994: Jesuit 28, CBS 0
1995: Jesuit 38, CBS 14
1996: Jesuit 23, CBS 0
1997: Jesuit 34, CBS 14
1998: Jesuit 56, CBS 6
1999: Jesuit 63, CBS 14
2000: Jesuit 49, CBS 7
2001: CBS 14, Jesuit 13
2002: Jesuit 28, CBS 10
2003: Jesuit 42, CBS 7
2004: Jesuit 55, CBS 7
2005: CBS 19, Jesuit 19
2006: Jesuit 21, CBS 6
2007: Jesuit 32, CBS 29
2008: Jesuit 20, CBS 19
2009: CBS 21, Jesuit 6
2010: Jesuit 18, CBS 15
2011: Jesuit 36, CBS 12
2012: Jesuit 28, CBS 23
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PHOTO: CBS football assistant coach Dan Carmazzi watches the offense run a play on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at Christian Brothers High School as the team prepares for Saturday's Holy Bowl again Jesuit. Jose Luis Villegas/The Sacramento Bee