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Last Update: 07/21/05
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OH, BROTHER - CHECK OUT THESE ALL-STARS
Article in 2005 All Star Football Program by Dick Sparrer
Kurt Heinrich had nowhere to go.
His brother Kyle has just finished an outstanding collegiate career that included a trip to the Rose Bowl in 1978 with the University of Washington, and his other brother Mike was the starting quarterback at Santa Clara University.
But Kurt was only 5-foot-9 and weighed a buck and a quarter, so no college was interested in the youngest Heinrich.
It's not that he wasn't a talented wide receiver. Like his brothers, Kurt was an all-leaguer for a Saratoga team that won a Central Coast Section championship. And, like his brothers, he was selected to play in the Santa Clara County All-Star Football Game.
He just seemed to be too small for college football.
Still, he had that football name. His father, Don, played at the University of Washington and in the NFL for the New York Giants, and his brothers were both collegiate standouts. So when UOP went shopping for a wide receiver, they found a kid named Heinrich playing for the North Squad in the 1981 All Star Football Game.
"I had huge luck," said Kurt Heinrich, now the head coach at Saratoga high School where he starred as a prepster. "I was just going to West Valley College. But the All Star Game proved to be very special for me."
Fremont's Rainey Meszaros, who had played in the summer classic in 1978, was at UOP at the time and was the nation's top receiver. But a freak off-the-field injury sidelined the former Fremont star, and "UOP needed to get a receiver," said Heinrich. "They were going to the all-star games to try to find someone."
Terry Malley, the former Santa Clara University head coach and current general manager of the San Jose Sabercats, had friends at UOP and suggested that they check out the wide receivers in Santa Clara County.
Mike Martz, now the head coach of the St. Louis Rams, was on the UOP's staff at the time and "he looked at me in practice," added Heinrich. Martz must have liked Heinrich's pass routes, his quickness off the ball and his hands, because the coach singled him out for the Tigers.
"[Head Coach] Bob Toledo authorized them to sign me right out of the All-Star practices," said Heinrich. "So two days before the game, they signed me." Toledo came out to the game that summer at Spartan Stadium to get a look at his new receiver.
"They sold me at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, and here I was 5-foot-9 and all of 125," laughed Heinrich.
Toledo couldn't have been too disappointed. Heinrich caught a half dozen passes in the game and went on to start for four seasons at UOP and earn All-American honors.
"The lesson I tell our guys is that you never know what can happen," he said. "You've always got to prepare yourself." "Here I was, undersized," he added, "but sometimes, if you work hard, good things can happen."
They certainly did for Kurt Heinrich, who went on to star at the collegiate level after playing in the summer of 1981 in what would become known as the Charlie Wedemeyer All Star Football Game.
Kurt was the third of the Heinrich brothers to play in the summer classic.
"I remember watching my brothers play and I remember them bringing home their jerseys," said Heinrich. When he was selected to play in the game a few years later, "everything sort of fell into place."
The Heinrich clan was one of six trios of brothers to play in the All Star Game. The sixth threesome in that group includes a player competing in this year's classic - Burton losefa of Oak Grove. Burton was preceded in the game by Leone in 2002 and Lancer in 2003.
Strangely, three of the brother trios hailed from Saratoga High. Along with the Heinrichs, Larry (1975), Steve ('78) and Rick ('81) Worman played for the North Squad, as did Kyle ('95), David ('97) and Daniel ('99) Goni.
The Mornhinweg brothers of Oak Grove - Marty ('80), Shanon ('85) and Brad ('86) - played for the South Squad, and the Scharrenberg brothers of St. Francis - Eric ('86), Mark ('87) and Matt ('95) - played for the North.
The Murdocks of Pioneer would appear to have the All-Star Game record with four members of the family playing in the summer classic, but appearances may be deceiving. Oh, they're brothers all right - two sets of brothers. Kyle ('97) and Jason ('99) Murdock each played in the game, and so did their cousins Grant ('99) and Travis ('00).
There have been 14 other brother tandems who have played in the All Star Game, and two more twosomes will join the list this summer.
Erik Rollin of Los Gatos and Matt Ravadge of Cupertino will play for the North this year, following in the football footsteps of their brothers Alex Rollin and Andrew Ravadge, who were teammates for the North in 2003.
Two sets of brothers were teammates in the game - Tim and Tom Nelson of James Lick in 1978, and Richard and Tony Randall of Overfelt in 1985.
Other all-star brothers include Brady ('99) and Scott ('02) Moran of Saratoga; Matt ('01) and Mike ('03) Manoukian of St. Francis; Kyle ('98) and Kasey ('01) of Leigh; Timi ('01) and Tolu ('03) Wusu of Palo Alto; Bob ('84) and Gary ('85) Gatiss of Saratoga; Pat ('94) and Richard ('99) Tillman of Leland; Steve ('88) and Scott ('90) Savage of Fremont; Steve Aimonetti ('79) of Campbell and John Aimonetti ('82) of Blackford; Eric ('84) and Chris ('86) Volta of Santa Clara; Joe ('88) and Gus ('95) Farwell of Los Gatos; Robert ('82) and Mike ('88) Fortino of Gilroy; and Lonnie ('80) and Lin ('83) Klinkhammer of Oak Grove.