PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles native Sonny Luke knows a little bit about sports history. He has lived it.
The 67-year-old longtime millworker, who has lived all but about 20 years of his life on the North Olympic Peninsula, attended the first “super bowl” 41 years ago.
That was the game for pro football’s “world championship” between the two rival National Football League and American Football League.
It was before it was officially called Super Bowl and took on Roman numerals, and long before it became America’s most popular TV event.
But Luke knows a little bit about football and about sports history because he played for three years at Port Angeles High School for a little-known football coach named Jack Elway.
Luke, a 1960 Port Angeles High School graduate, began playing for the late Elway when he was a sophomore.
Port Angeles was Elway’s first coaching job. The young man was just out of college and was “broke” at the time, his own word, according to Luke.
Elway, though, immediately displayed his talent for coaching by leading the Roughriders to some of their best years in football.
Luke remembers losing just one game each year during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons when the Riders were consistently ranked fourth or fifth in state.
The Riders won the Olympic League all three years, and were one of the first teams to beat powerhouse East Bremerton High School in several years, Luke recalled.
They never got the chance to play for a state championship, though.
“I wish they would have had the state playoffs back then,” Luke said.
Without a playoff system, the Riders didn’t have the chance to show how far they could go.
And Luke believes Port Angeles would have gone a long ways.
“Jack was ahead of his time,” Luke said. “We had a wide-open offensive attack.”
Luke, a running back, was all-conference as a sophomore and junior, and all-state his senior year.