There’s a saying that goes “sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.” The Brookside Christian High School Knights varsity football team found that out in their first game of the season. In 2010 the Knights won 12 games and did not sustain a loss until the California Interscholastic Federation Division IV State Championship game. This year, their loss came in their first game of the year. On Aug. 25 they faced perennial powerhouse Central Catholic of Modesto in a non-league game at Lincoln High School’s Spanos Stadium in Stockton. The Crusaders rolled in like a veritable bulldozer and crushed the Knights.
Everything that could go wrong for Brookside did go wrong. On one of the Knights’ many punts an assistant coach on the sidelines said under his breath in almost a mantra-like fashion, “he’s going to flub it, he’s going to flub it,” in hope that the Central Catholic receiver would drop the ball. And indeed he did flub it. I watch it thought the viewfinder of my camera. The ball came down and appeared to bounce off his shoulder pads just as a Brookside player neared him. It hit so hard that it rebounded off of the pads and flew out of my camera’s frame. I lost track of it but I figured that the Knights would recover the ball. Then looking up from the camera I saw that another Crusader must have caught the ball because he was running it in for a touchdown at the far end of the field.
That was a sign it may just not be the Knights’ day (no pun intended).
Somewhere in the first half I heard a woman who sitting at about the 50 yard line on the Brookside side say: “Could we just get the ball to here?” referring to the Knight’s inability to venture into Crusader territory. Another woman yelled out:” What have you been doing in practice?”
Brookside Christian could not muster any kind of coherent offense. Fumbles and pass interceptions punctuated field positions that marched backwards. Defensively, the Knights may as well as have been trying to stop a diesel locomotive.
When the score reached 61-0 in the 3rd quarter a man in the Brookside stands yelled out: “OK Central Catholic we’ve got you where we want you now!” which brought a smile and a laugh to the fans sitting around him. Then he rang out to the Brookside sidelines: “Coach, bring out the secret weapon!” That not only brought a chuckle to fans around him but even the coaching staff and the referees as well.
I had another assignment to go to so I left at about the start of the final period. To the Knights credit they didn’t give up. I heard later that they managed to score a touchdown with about a minute left in the game avoiding a shutout with a final score of 68-6.
There’s another old saying that goes: “sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.” It something that Brookside Christian team and fans also found out that day. With some good humor perseverance they all got through a tough and painful game together.