John Rawlins attended Napa High when it was a two-year high school, and he was a standout player in three major sports for both years. In football, Rawlins was a wide receiver and tight end and did the punting on the 1957 Indian team. In his senior year, he was the team leader in points scored from his wide receiver position and he led the North Bay League in punting average. He was named to the All-North Bay League team. Rawlins was starting forward on the Napa High basketball team as a junior, and his stellar play and scoring ability earned him All-North Bay League honors. He repeated as an All-NBL player as a senior, when he led the 1958-59 Indians to a 21-4 season. Rawlins played third base for the baseball team as a junior. In his senior year, he converted to shortstop and had an outstanding season, leading the Napa High team in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. He was named to the All-North Bay League baseball team and he was further honored by being named to the San Francisco Examiner All-Northern California team. He earned All-League honors in all three sports as a senior and was also the 1959 Block N Athlete of the Year.