Tickets are available at the Sierra Star and from Yosemite High School football coaches for the Aug. 13 inaugural class of the school’s football Wall of Fame Induction Dinner.
Four former Badger- standouts - Chris Mullins (class of 1984), Bonner Cunnings (1991), Roosevelt Cooks (2001), Cole Popovich (2003) - and retired coach (1979 - 1989) Steve Raupp will be honored at the 6 p.m. dinner at the Masonic Lodge (across the street from the CHP office).
The five are the first to receive he honor in the 40-year history of the school. The event is sponsored by the Yosemite Football Booster Club.
Mullins was the three-year starting quarterback/linebacker under Coach Raupp who lead the team to the school’s first two league championships (’83 and ‘84). Both years, the Badgers upset the top ranked small school in the state, the Dos Palos Broncos.
The 10-6 Badger home win in ‘83 ended the Broncos 29-game winning streak, the longest in California at the time. The next year, the Badgers again beat the Bronocs at Dos Palos, ending the team’s 67-game home winning streak.
Mullins’ play that season earned him the 1984 Cal-hi Sports California Small School Player of the Year honor.
As a three-year varsity running back, Cunnings compiled 2,401 yards rushing, 25 touchdowns and was twice named the North Sequoia League’s Player of the Year.
In his senior year, he was named to the Cal-hi Sports All State Small School team and was a finalist for the CIF State Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.
He played for St. Mary’s College in Moraga for four years, ending his college career as the fourth all-time leading rusher at the school with 1,689 yards.
Cooks was a tailback/middle linebacker who was named first team All-League at both positions and was the league’s Co-Offensive Player of the Year his senior year, after running for 1,580 yards and 21 TDs.
Cooks played two years at Fresno City College, leading the team in tackles (111) and sacks (10) his sophomore year, while being named to the All State Junior College team.
He went on to play two years at middle linebacker for the University of Nevada Wolf Pack, and was co-captain of the team his senior year when he leads the team in tackles (98) and was named WAC Second Team All Conference.
Popovich, a three year starter on the offensive line, was a First Team All-League selection twice, and was a major factor in the Badgers winning the Sequoia Large School division championship with a 12-1 record in 2003.
Recruited by the likes of Nebraska and UCLA, Popovich decided on Fresno State - the first YHS player to receive a D-1 scholarship.
In 2005, he was a unanimous selection for First-Team Freshman All American, and the 6-foot-2, 295 pounder played a key role in Fresno State’s 40-28 win in the 2007 Humanitarian Bowl over Georgia Tech.
Popovich began his coaching career in 2010 at Valley College, and worked his way through the ranks via Fresno City, Utah State, and Minot State before landing a position as an assistant offensive line coach with the New England Patriots.
Raupp coached the Badgers for 11 seasons (64-48-4) prior to becoming the school district’s assistant principal, principal, and superintendent before retiring in 2012.
Raupp lead the Badgers to three league championships, two second place finishes and three CIF Central Section semi-finale appearance.
He was named NSL Coach of the Year three times, and was selected to coach in the 1985 North-South All-Star football game and the 1989 City-County All-Star game.
It were Raupp’s teams that beat the No. 1 small school team in the state (Dos Palos) in 1983 and ‘84. The ‘84 team (9-2-1) was ranked the No. 1 defensive team in the state with seven shut-outs while giving up just 815 yards and 53 points in 12 games.
YHS Football Booster Club President Erik Peterson said the decision was made to have a Wall of Fame for Yosemite football due to the long list of talented athletes that have been a part of Badger football history over the school’s first 40 years.
Tickets: $40 each at the Sierra Star or by calling Erik Peterson, (559) 760-3331.