Grover was varsity quarterback at Antioch High for his junior and senior years in 1954 and 1955: a “potent factor” in the Panthers’ most successful football seasons since 1948, coached by Brooks Golden. He scored three touchdowns in one game and made several dramatic 40-plus yard runs in his senior year, which earned a spot on the All-Contra-Costa team. As a junior he was named First Team All-League in basketball and played on the 1953-54 Panther “B” team that won the DVAL championship. After switching to half back and kick returner when he attended what was then East Contra Costa Junior College (which became DVC in 1958), Grover was named First Team All-League. During his time at DVC, Grover scored three touchdowns in a spectacular game against the San Jose State freshman team: a four-yard run, a 21-yard reception and an 80-yard punt return. He was a walk-on for the University of California, Berkeley team in 1957 and 1958, later earning a scholarship. Grover also belongs to a rarified group; as a junior he played in the very last Rose Bowl appearance by Cal. In that storied game against Iowa on New Year’s Day 1959, Grover had four carries for 32 yards, one reception for 31 yards, and nine tackles as a defensive back in the loss to Iowa. Grover’s name still appears in the Pac-10 record books for a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown against Washington State in 1959. He was the top player at Cal for punt returns and kickoff returns in 1959, averaging 17.1 and 23 yards respectively. That amazing Cal team led by quarterback Joe Kapp also beat Stanford two years in a row. Grover was selected to play in the 1959 East-West Shrine Game at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, led by quarterback Don Meredith, later to be a Dallas Cowboys player and Monday Night Football TV commentator. Following his Cal years, Grover tried out as a free agent for the Los Angeles Chargers in 1960 and played in four preseason exhibition games. Coaching became Grover’s occupation following Cal; five years at Berkeley High and a total of nine years at Merritt College in Oakland for football; four years as head track and cross country coach at College of Alameda, two years coaching golf at Merritt, where his men’s team won the Northern California championship, and 16 years of women’s basketball at Merritt prior to his retirement in 2001.
Pat Zech’s legacy is nearly 60 feet long; that’s the shot put distance he almost cleared in his senior year at Antioch High in 1974. His 59’ 10 1/2” throw still stands in the Panther record book. Pat’s fantastic shot toss came right when it counted - during the California Interscholastic Federation finals, making him only the second athlete from Antioch to ever place in the top five in the state in the 56-year history of the CIF meet and the first Panther to make state finals twice. In June 1974, Pat was named to the All Nor-Cal Track and Field team - the only DVAL athlete chosen - and was voted as East Bay Athlete of the Year, picked by sportswriters and coaches. Pat was Outstanding Athlete of the 1974 AHS Invitational and the 1973-74 Fitzpatrick Chevrolet Super Sport of the Year. Pat became the 1974 Antioch High Athlete of the Year and was named a high school All-America in football, as well as being recognized by Who’s Who of High School Athletes nationwide. Local sportswriter Rich Waters said Pat was “the greatest athlete to come out of Antioch High in many years.” Besides his record-setting shot put performance, he placed sixth in California in wrestling and won several other competitions in the heavyweight division. Pat was All-DVAL, All-East Bay and All-Nor Cal in football. He turned down a full-ride offer to play at Notre Dame and accepted a football scholarship to the University of Arizona. Pat’s prowess didn’t end in the gym or on the field, he also carried a 3.6 GPA and was president of the Panther Block A Society. Pat was named California’s Outstanding Recruit for the “Devil Pups” program, a nonprofit organization that trains 600 high school students each year in Camp Pendleton, Calif. He lettered in football his freshman and sophomore years of college at UA, but was permanently sidelined with ankle and knee injuries in spring training.