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Another Father-Son All Star Experience
Article in 2001 All Star Football Program by Dick Sparrer
Football coaches Butch and Joe Cattolico will be together for tonight's Silicon Valley Youth Classic Football Game. Then, that's really nothing new . . . they've been there before. The two led the North All Stars to victory back in 1992 as a father-son team - Butch as the head coach for the North squad and Joe as his starting quarterback.
Their role will be much different when they return for the 27th renewal of the of the All Star rivalry, though. The Cattolicos will be spectators sitting in the Independence High School bleachers. But they will still view the game with special interest.
Special because Joe, the head coach at Independence, has two of his players on the South squad, and special because Butch, the headman at Los Gatos, has four of his Wildcats playing for the North. But their interest in the game will go much deeper than just the X's and O's, and the performances of their own players. They'll watch with special interest as Ken Padia leads the North squad into action, because for the first time since the Cattolicos did it in 1992, a father and son return to the game as a head coach and player. Padia will lead a North team that includes his own son, defensive lineman Kasey Padia. And both the Cattolicos know what a special experience that is.
"I thought that was probably the most fun I ever had in coaching," said Butch of the opportunity to coach his own son in the All Star classic. "It was an awful lot of fun, and even more enjoyable because it was an all-star game. There was not quite the pressure of a regular season game." Cattolico never had the opportunity to coach his son in a regular season game. He coaches at Los Gatos and Joe was a star quarterback down the road at Leigh. "It was the one opportunity in my life to actually play football for my dad," added Joe. "It was real exciting, and fun to do in an all-star game because it was a little less of a pressure situation."
For Padia, the experience may be a little different. Kasey was a member of his squad at Leigh last fall, so the two are very familiar with one another on the football field.
But the situation of playing for his dad was not completely foreign for Joe. "I was familiar with his offense and the Los Gatos offense," said Joe. "Usually it's tough (in an all-star setting) because you only have two weeks to get everybody to learn the terminology and come together. But I had an advantage. I spent a lot of time on the practice field at Los Gatos and scouting with my dad while I was growing up."
"It was a fun opportunity," said Joe of his unique all-star experience.
It might have been even more than that for the elder Cattolico. "It was something I always wanted to do," Butch admitted. "I gave up a chance to coach the North-South Shrine Game to do it. But it was very unique, and I wouldn't trade it for all the world."
Cattolico earned another shot at the North-South Shrine Game a year later and took advantage of the opportunity to coach at the State All-Star level. But his 1992 summer all-star experience created memories for a lifetime.
"I had a great time," said the coach. "Because he (Joe) was the quarterback, I was coaching him constantly. We would go home and talk about the offense, and also talk about personnel. It's part of the game that Joe and I enjoy and have always enjoyed. It was special, especially because he was the quarterback." The experience may have led to a career choice for the younger Cattolico. Football is something the father and son have always shared, and that is true even more now that they are both varsity coaches.
"Coaching was something I had grown up with," said Joe. ""Once I started coaching, it was a lot of fun for me and my dad. We spend a lot of time watching each other's films and talking football."
Football is obviously an interest that Padia shares with his sons, too. The elder Padia will coach his son Kasey in this year's All Star Game, just three years after having the opportunity to watch his son Kyle play quarterback for the North All Star squad in the summer of 1998. Ken and Kasey Padia will be the first father-son to serve as a head coach and player since the Cattolico pair back in 1992. But Butch and Joe weren't the only father-son team represented in the game that summer.
Fred Morales of Gunderson stood across the field as the head coach for the South team that year with his son, Gunderson's Mike Morales, starting at quarterback. Like Padia, Morales was watching a second son play in the summer classic. Fred Morales, Jr. was a quarterback for the South in the summer of 1986.
There have been only two other father-son combinations in the summer game. Lee Evans, an All Star assistant many times, worked on the South coaching staff in 1989 when his son Brent Evans of Oak Grove played quarterback for the squad. Tragically, Brent died this past year. And the late Ray Goni, who first worked as a North assistant in 1974, was on the staff in 1995 when his son, Kyle Goni of Saratoga, played in the North's defensive secondary. His sons David (1997) and Daniel (1999) followed their older brother into the All Star Game.
But the summer relationships don't end with father-son combinations. Retired Saratoga football coach Benny Pierce will be in the stands tonight. But Pierce, a local coaching legend who served as the North head coach in 1974 and again in 1995, won't be there in any professional capacity - he'll be watching the game as a proud grandfather. You see, Nick Skrabe of Los Gatos is a linebacker for the North squad . . . and Nick is Benny's grandson.
The relationships are just part of what makes the Silicon Valley Youth Classic such a special football game.
"It's a great game for a great cause, and it has a rich history," said Butch Cattolico. "I'm glad to have been part of it."
And he and Joe will be part of the game again this year.
"We'll sit together and watch the game," said Butch.
And that's how it should be.