May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

It’s ugly and beat up but football players in Irvine still covet the Fence Post Trophy

University assistant football coach Dick Roche points to the year that the Trojans won the first Fence Post Trophy. Roche, still an assistant at Uni, was the Trojans head coach then.

Woodbridge High’s football team will get a chance to take home the Dennis Toohey Fence Post Trophy for the second year in a row when it plays University Friday night in a Pacific Coast League title at University.

The Warriors (5-3, 3-0) will be out to capture the PCL title and with a victory would also win the Fence Post, which is a trophy reflecting Irvine’s ranch heritage. It was renamed the Dennis Toohey Fence Post Trophy in honor of the late former Irvine youth football coach, who had a big impact on local players.

Dennis Toohey died on Nov. 2, 1990 of cancer at the age of 56.

It’s often been referred to as an ugly trophy and the original trophy is still in place with nameplates of the winning team added each year. But it is a long-running trophy that football players in Irvine cherish. The winning team typically has a boisterous celebration when claiming it.

The winner of the Fence Post is the Irvine team that has the best record against city opponents, including Beckman. Beckman is located in Irvine but part of the Tustin Unified School District.,

University took home the first Fence Post in 1978. Dick Roche, who was the head coach of that team, is still coaching. In fact, Roche will be in the press box Friday night calling plays for University.

If you have pictures of past winners you would like to share with OC Sports Zone; please email to: and make sure and include the team and the year.

Here’s a look at the past Fence Post winners:

  • 1978: University
  • 1979: Irvine
  • 1980: University
  • 1981: University
  • 1982: Irvine
  • 1983: University, Irvine and Woodbridge (3-way tie)
  • 1984: Irvine
  • 1985: Woodbridge
  • 1986: Woodbridge
  • 1987: Woodbridge
  • 1988: Woodbridge
  • 1989: Irvine
  • 1990: University, Irvine and Woodbridge, (3-way tie)
  • 1991: Irvine
  • 1992: Irvine
  • 1993: Irvine
  • 1994: Irvine
  • 1995: University
  • 1996: Irvine
  • 1997: Woodbridge
  • 1998: Irvine and Woodbridge, tie
  • 1999: Irvine
  • 2000: Irvine
  • 2001: Woodbridge
  • 2002: Irvine
  • 2003: Northwood
  • 2004: Woodbridge
  • 2005: Northwood
  • 2006: Woodbridge
  • 2007: University
  • 2008: Irvine
  • 2009: Irvine
  • 2010: Northwood
  • 2011: Beckman
  • 2012: Northwood
  • 2013: Irvine
  • 2014: Woodbridge
  • 2015: Woodbridge
  • 2016: Beckman
  • 2017: Woodbridge
  • 2018: Woodbridge