Breen Hofmann was part kid and part man in high school. He was one of those guys that never tried to be cool; he just was. The other kids looked up to him, not because he was a “rah-rah” type of leader, but because he was Breen, a teammate you didn’t want to disappoint. He practiced as hard as he played and his level of effort was always beyond what one would think possible. The entire team tried harder as a result.
Breen began his high school career as the MVP of the frosh-soph football team. He progressed to MVP on the junior varsity soccer team and then finished off the year behind the plate with the frosh-soph baseball team. He was so good at football and already so physically big and strong, that he was moved up to the varsity football team as a sophomore. He ran the ball on offense and led the defense as a linebacker. He was the MVP of that team, also. Breen traded his soccer shoes in for wrestling shoes that winter and continued to play three sports as a member of the frosh-soph baseball team that spring.
In his junior and senior years, Breen continued running the ball and backing up the defensive line. By his senior year, he had amassed some impressive honors. In football, he was named MVP, First Team All-League, All County and All Bay Area. Breen was the unlimited weight league champion in wrestling, completing the season undefeated. And he closed out his high school career as team captain and First Team All-League in baseball.
After high school, Breen continued playing football at the College of San Mateo and baseball at Skyline. He has been very active in the Coastside community, coaching youth soccer, baseball and football. He has been president of Coastside Pop Warner football for the past six years. Because of his extensive work with Coastside youth, Breen was recently awarded the Perry Yonamine Unity Award by the San Francisco 49ers.
Breen credits his father, Breen Sr., for his support throughout his career. He also acknowledges his former coach, Jack Coolidge, who was the head football coach at Half Moon Bay High School during Breen’s career. Says Breen, “Jack Coolidge was a great motivator. I often use his style of coaching when I am leading a team.” Bob Gaines, who coached Breen for five years, taught him to always compete above my abilities.
Breen and his wife Emma live in Half Moon Bay with sons Chase and Tristan.
George Molina was a champion wrestler even before he entered Half Moon Bay High School. He was the 8th grade county champion at 81 pounds while a student at Cunha in 1974. Coached by Jack Coolidge, and assisted by Steve Calvin, George became a sensation on Cougar Hill. As a sophomore he was named the Most Valuable Wrestler, and wrestled on varsity all four years.
George recorded an overall record of 84 wins and 24 losses with six ties. His junior and senior year totals were 48 wins and eight losses. George enjoyed a fabulous senior year on the mat. He was the North Peninsula League (NPL) champion, CCS Region One champ and third in the CCS finals. He set the individual season record of most escapes with 45 and the career record with 119. George Molina was an important component of the Cougars varsity wrestling team that won the NPL title in both his junior and senior seasons.
George wrestled beyond the interscholastic program with equal success. In 1977, while still a high school student, he was the AAU California State freestyle champion, second in the state in Greco and first in Greco at the Junior Olympics National Championships. He also continued wrestling at the College of San Mateo.
George was not a one-dimensional athlete. He excelled equally on the Cougars cross-country team. During his frosh-soph season, the Cougars won the NPL and Region I championship. When he was a junior, the varsity team placed second in the NPL and went on to become league champions during his senior season. In addition to wrestling and cross country, George was also a member of the Cougars track and field team that finished his senior year with six wins and only one loss; the best record in HMB history at that time.
During George’s career, he amassed the following titles: Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Wrestler, League Champion, State Champion, Outstanding Wrestler, Most Loyal and County Champion. The titles and awards do not describe what a fantastic team member George was and how he encouraged, and supported other Cougar athletes. George Molina was a true champion.
George Molina lives in Half Moon Bay, where he operates his own plumbing business.
Rachel Pacheco was one of the most overpowering fast-pitch Cougar pitchers of all time. She ruled the infield with her aggressive, tough, take-no-prisoners attitude. She had the whole package: she was a tremendous competitor and very talented. The leg injury that slowed Rachel down during her junior season was mended by serious physical training. Her senior year was stellar. By the end of the league season, she compiled a record 18 wins and only five losses with an ERA of 0.23. She struck out 214 batters in 155 innings and as a batter she was a team leader at .425. Rachel earned First Team All-League honors in all four years of play, and was twice named her team’s MVP.
Rachel began her college career at College of San Mateo under legendary coach Tom Martinez. She was named a community college All-American and North Pitcher of the Year. Her great rise ball drew the attention of the coaches at Virginia Tech University where she continued her winning ways. During her senior year for the Hokies, Rachel’s pitching record was 13 wins and 6 losses with an era of 2.11, with seven complete games and 123 innings pitched. She was also an outstanding batter for the Hokies hitting .312 as a designated player her junior year and making All-Big-East honors and hitting .253 as a senior. Rachel was also named to the Big East Academic All-Star team.
Rachel acknowledges her dad’s significant contribution to her career by catching her during the off-season. She also credits family friend Bob Gaines, who she says was “the best coach I ever had.” Rachel reported how thankful she is “for everyone who supported me through this crazy dream. I know without everyone I wouldn’t have been able to be the athlete I was and the person I am.”
Rachel is currently a full-time faculty member of DeAnza College where she is the head women’s softball coach.
Gina Magagnini was a highly accomplished athlete in two sports. She was a starter on the varsity basketball team all four years at Half Moon Bay and in three of those seasons she was the MVP. She was named First Team All PAL three times for her high level of play. She was also named the North Peninsula and San Mateo County Player of the Year, and was named to the second team of the All-Metropolitan team.
Gina was named to the all-tournament team in every one of the nine basketball tournaments she played in as a Cougar. She was a very important part of the Cougars success in 2001 when the Lady Cougars had a 22-game winning streak and reached the third round of the CCS playoffs.
Gina started each school year playing volleyball — what she considered a “warm-up” season before basketball. Many people probably thought volleyball was her best sport, until they saw her play basketball. Gina was a four-year starter on the varsity volleyball team and was named MVP three times. She was also named First Team All League three times, and Honorable Mention All-County.
The significant people in Gina’s career, beyond her mother and father, Julie and Tony Magagnini and brother Dominic, were basketball coach Kevin Ostenberg, high school math teacher Chris Coulter and her teammates.
Gina attended Foothill College where she continued to excel on the hard court helping the Owls to reach the state “final eight.” She graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Child and Adolescent Development, and now serves as a branch director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of greater Sacramento.
Jerry Murphy was the head coach of one of the most exciting Cougars football teams ever on Cougar Hill. Peninsula sportswriters coined the team, the “Cardiac Kids,” because of the nail biting endings that became synonymous with this team. Seven of the team’s 10 wins came in the final one or two minutes of the game, this from a team that often only had 18 to 24 players at game time. “Where’s the rest of your team?” was always the question posed by opposing players as they sized up the “kids” that got off the Cougars team bus. Before school size became a consideration in league membership, the 1977 Cougars posted a 9-1 overall record before losing a hard-fought Region One playoff game 14-0 to the eventual CCS Champion Saint Francis Lancers. Six games were won by a touchdown or less. Murphy was named the NPL Coach of the Year.
This special group of players began their winning ways with a freshman championship in 1974, under coaches Neil McNevin, Johnny Francis and Ron Stockman (HMB alumnus). When beloved Coach Francis unexpectedly died immediately following the season, these boys solidified into a determined core that would become the “Cardiac Kids.” Coached by McNevin and Scott Yeaman in 1975, they went on to win the NPL Frosh/Soph title.
For a small town, with only one previous football champion in 1972, there was a great sense of anticipation leading up to the 1977 football season. Coaches Jack Coolidge and Tim Oppezzo conditioned the team using four separate conditioning sessions at each practice. This “Four Quarters” of training consisted of sprints and distance training and practice always ended with a “fourth quarter desire run” that prepared the players to be able to push beyond their limits when called upon in the fourth quarter. The Cardiac Kids would never outnumber the opposition on the field, but they were certain to have more desire and endurance. They never considered themselves the underdog.
The highlight of the 1977 season was a game under the lights at rival Terra Nova in Pacifica, a game that would ultimately decide the NPL league championship. Terra Nova had the ball and was down by a touchdown with the last seconds of the game ticking off the clock; there was not enough time for the Tigers to line up for another play. The game should have been over, but an injury timeout granted Terra Nova one more play. Terra Nova’s quarterback dropped back to pass but was unable to find an open receiver. He scrambled toward the end zone and would have scored the winning touchdown except for the heroic tackle made by Cougars defensive back Jim Edwards. Although Edwards was much smaller than the charging ball carrier, he sacrificed his body to drop the Tigers opponent just inches short of the goal line. The Cardiac Kids won again!
Most of the last-minute wins that year came on the last few plays of the games and usually when it appeared the Cougars were worn out. Despite being few in number, the Cougars substitutes played valiantly to help save a number of wins. It was all part of the plan.
National Football Foundation Hall of Fame
San Mateo County Back of the Year
Lineman of the Year
NPL All League
Dave Bradley, DT
John Galvin, LB
Alvin Jepson, LB
Phil Pettingill, DE
Barry Short, CB, MVP
Grant Walters, LB, Captain
NPL Honorable Mention
All County Honorable Mention
NPL Coach of the Year
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