A three season-long, 27-game losing streak came to an end last Friday night when the Van-Far football team defeated MMA 46-6.
In spite of playing in rainy weather brought to Vandalia in a front filled with the remnants of Hurricane Isaac, the Indians took care of the ball to dominate the Colonels.
They even earned a chance to be on the other side of the mercy clock in the fourth quarter.
I am so happy for the players, both the Van-Far R-I and Community R-VI school districts, and for the coaching staff in them ending a long losing streak while getting their first victory together.
With an increase in numbers and the establishment of younger players at the Junior High level, this should be the beginning of something special for this program.
While there are some tougher opponents ahead in the schedule, the confidence gained in getting this big of a monkey off their backs carries from the top to the bottom of the program.
In 1994, I was making my first start at tight end for my high school team entering a game against Bethesda Chevy-Chase with 28 straight losses.
We had seniors on our squad that went on to play college football and these guys had a deep love for the sport. Our group wanted nothing less than getting at least one win to reward them for their efforts.
During the game, I made a diving catch on the sideline on a waggle pattern designed for me and the wide receiver. I later learned in the huddle that the pass was intended for the receiver behind me but I didn’t see him and made my lone catch diving for a 12-yard first down passing play.
At the end of the game, we let BCC score on the final drive as time expired to close our lead to 20-19. They went for two and I can still remember Chad Crowl diving to tip the pass attempt that hit the ground in the endzone.
We celebrated like we had won the Super Bowl. My cousin Paul drove to this inner city school to watch my first start and was one of the few on our sidelines making that trip. It was special to share that experience with him as well.
You can read about it at http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1994-11-06/sports/1994310254_1_beltz-carroll-football-rumbaugh.
That win shook our program from the varsity level to the pee wee ranks. We beat our rivals on Homecoming during my senior year and three years later our program dominated the county, eventually sending one player to shine at the University of Maryland before eventually landing an NFL tryout with the Washington Redskins.
I know this is just one win for Van-Far on Friday night but I believe this one will be the start of something special for the rest of this year and the next three or four seasons. Congratulations goes to those involved in helping this cooperative program become a reality in picking up this first victory with many more to hopefully be coming in the near future.