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Football community mourns loss of former Hart quarterback Jim Bonds

Jim Bonds. Photo courtesy of St. Francis High School.

The Southern California football community is mourning the loss of Jim Bonds, 51, a former Hart High School and UCLA quarterback who died after his battle with multiple myeloma on Wednesday. 

Bonds led Hart High School to a 1986 CIF championship and had coached St. Francis High School in La Canada for 20 years. 

“Rest in peace Coach Bonds,” wrote the Golden Knights official football team Twitter account, followed by lyrics from a Bruce Springsteen song.

“Coach-Bonds, the epitome of a Golden Knight,” wrote St. Francis’ athletic department. “Rest easy brother.” 

UCLA football’s official Twitter account described Bonds as a “great Bruin,” and “a pillar of the local coaching community.”

At Game 3 of the World Series, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts honored Bonds by holding up a sign during the broadcast that read, “I stand up for Jim Bonds,” a reference to the MLB’s Stand Up to Cancer campaign. Roberts himself is a cancer survivor. 

Santa Clarita Valley community members, whether former teammates or rivals, also expressed their condolences on the loss of a Foothill League legend. 

“One of the Hart greats, former QB 1986 CIF (Southern Section) champion, and beloved friend to our coaches and community,” wrote Hart’s football social media account. “What an incredible legacy. We will miss you Jimmy.” 

The Canyon High School football account called Bonds an “amazing coach and man,” after expressing condolences on behalf of the Cowboys family. 

“I think about how powerful an example he was even in the smallest moments,” said Friar Christopher Iwancio, the St. Francis chaplain, during a prayer service for Coach Bonds held Wednesday night. “He was the type of person to make sure the smallest piece of trash was picked up after a game or after the team dinners.”

“He was a very thoughtful and caring person,” added Iwancio.  

At the time of Bonds’ run to the CIF Northwestern Conference championship with Hart, the senior had amassed 3,204 yards on the season, and 5,590 yards between his two seasons as the starting Hart signal caller, both of which were school records at the time. The stats were not the only acclamation Bonds earned his final year in the red and black, as he had garnered enough respect within the league to be named All CIF, and be spoken of highly by coaches around the conference.  

“I think the team with Bonds has the best chance,” said Hart High School’s head coach, Rick Scott, when asked if the team could win the championship in 1986.

“If Bonds wasn’t playing I wouldn’t pick them,” said San Gabriel’s head coach Terry Cox, when asked halfway through the season the same question about Hart’s chances to win it all.  

In the 1986 CIF Southern Section championship game versus Temple City played at Citrus College, Hart opened the game with three fumbles in the first 14 minutes. However, Bonds, who apparently needed only some time to warm up, orchestrated a number of connections between him and his receivers, which led to a 19-0 run late in the game. 

At one point during the harrowing game, Signal staff writers who published the story of the championship, wrote that Bonds, in order to put the final nail in Temple City’s coffin, had to dodge, weave and evade in order to “escape a fierce rush” by the Rams’ defense, before throwing a 40-yard reception down to the Rams’ 8 yard line.  

Bonds ended the game with 278 yards through the air, having chalked up 182 of them before the end of the first half.

Bonds is survived by his wife and two children. 

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