Touching down at Ontario International Airport in the summer of 1992, my first stop en route to a job interview at the Victorville newspaper was at a convenience store. There I noticed for sale all the newspapers in the area. I didn’t know I’d someday work at most of them.

It’s been a long, strange trip as the Grateful Dead once sang, but with today’s efforts I have now made it to seven Inland Empire publications – the Victor Valley Daily Press, San Bernardino Sun, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Redlands Community News, Highland Community News, Banning-Beaumont Record Gazette and the Yucaipa/Calimesa News Mirror. Whew.

Early in my tenure in Victorville I met my iconic predecessor here, Obrey Brown. Some of the High Desert high schools were in the Citrus Belt League at the time. Following games, I’d sometimes send my stories via an old Radio Shack device from the former Redlands Daily Facts office to Victorville. Then Obrey and I would yuk it up long into the night, discussing the old CBL and the newspaper business.

I also soon met the late Harvey Cohen, the former sports editor of the News-Mirror. He operated a thrift store close to my home in San Bernardino and we also worked together at the San Bernardino Sun. Harvey didn’t have a key to the old, downtown Sun building; after games he’d throw pebbles at the window in front of my second-story work station to gain entry. Classic guy.

Nearly 30 years ago when I began my IE newspaper odyssey, there were fewer schools to cover and things were theoretically easier on a sports journalist. Now there’s more of everything and only one me, but I’m eager to give it a go.

BROTHERS NOW AT IMG: Football standouts Francis and Francisco Mauigoa transferred from Aquinas High to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Francis, a sophomore, is a two-way lineman who is the No. 4 prospect nationally in 247 Sports’ 2023 class. Francisco was Aquinas’ starting quarterback in 2019 but played outside linebacker at IMG. The duo left the Inland Empire after the 2019 season and played at Tafuna High in American Samoa. Then they made the move to IMG, a national powerhouse, which went 8-0 in 2020.

“I'm thankful to the coaching staffs at Tafuna and Aquinas high school for helping prepare me and bringing more knowledge to the game,” Francis Mauigoa told 247 Sports.

Aquinas opens its season at 7 p.m. Friday, March 19, against visiting Lancaster Paraclete. San Gorgonio High opens at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 27, against visiting Rim of the World.

ANNIVERSARY: April 23 is the 100th anniversary of USC sprinter Charley Paddock setting four world records and tying a fifth in a 1921 meet against host University of Redlands.

Paddock was known as the “world’s fastest human” after winning the 100-meter Olympic gold medal in Antwerp, Belgium in 1920. Look for more about Paddock’s big day in a future issue.

GOT TIPS?: Athletic directors or coaches in the area who have human-interest story ideas, news tips, personnel changes etc. may contact me. I’m excited to get to know you, if I don’t already.

John Murphy may be reached at berdooman@gmail.com.

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