1989 Bulldogs recall near perfect season

FRESNO, Calif.

Chicago Title county manager Mark Barsotti has always had his eye on huge chunks of real estate.

On December 9, 1989 the then Bulldog quarterback connected with Stephen Shelley for a 91 yard score in the California Raisin Bowl. Fresno State beat Ball State 27-6 to end one of the best seasons in school history 11-1, but that's not what Mark remembers most.

Barsotti said, "The first thing that I think of when you say 1989, how about that season, is losing that one game to New Mexico. You talk about kind of letting your guard down"

The Bulldogs took a 10-0 record into Alburquerque - only to lose 45-22.

Sanger High athletic director Jesse Hardwick was an offensive lineman on that team. Hardwick recalled, "Having that journey of staying undefeated was always in the back of your mind. We had the one hiccup on week 11 that overshadowed a little bit of the whole season."

The '89 team featured future NFL players like JD Williams, Ron Cox, Aaron Craver and Marquez Pope.

With Bulldog football drawing so much national attention this year, former players like Barsotti are getting random requests.

Mark said, "I get this letter from this guy from Cannon, Georgia, just came in the other day just because I think it was on ESPN. He sends me my old playing card and says will you sign it?"

Hardwick and Barsotti believe the Bulldogs can do what they couldn't and go undefeated. Hardwick said, "The planets have to align right sometimes for you to get there."

Barsotti added, "You've got to be mentally prepared because in those situations you're taking everybody's best shot."

Bringing up the New Mexico loss still hurts members of the 1989 team. But Barsotti and Hardwick are fired up over this year's squad. Both wore black at Saturday's game vs. Nevada.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.