High School Team Snaps 32-Game Losing Streak
by Randy Snow
Originally posted on Yahoo! Voices, Tuesday, September 27, 2012
October 10, 2008. That was the last time that the Galesburg-Augusta Rams won a varsity football game. The football team from the two small communities in Michigan, located between the more well known cities of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, had fallen on hard times in recent years. But it wasn't always that way.
In 1951, Bill Maskill became the head varsity football coach at G-A. He was a fixture on the sidelines there for 40 years, leading his teams to four state titles. In his final season, 1990, he took led team to the Class C state championship game, but lost 21-6. G-A did not field a team in 1991 because not enough kids came out for the team, so Maskill retired.
G-A had its share of success in the 90's, making the playoffs twice. But in 2008, the team's losses began to mount. Their only win that year came in week seven. They then dropped their final two games and finished the season 1-8.
Over the next three seasons, the Rams did not win a single game. 2009 was also the same season that I began working on the stats crew for the G-A JV and Varsity football teams. The varsity team went 0-8 in 2009 (the final game of the season was cancelled when a flu epidemic sidelined many students in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek area). 2010 and 2011 also saw the team also go winless, posting 0-9 records both years.
This year, a new head coach took over and through the first four weeks, the Rams continued their losing ways, going 0-4. But on Friday night, September 20, on the last official day of summer, the Rams hosted the Delton-Kellogg Panthers at Maskill Field. Delton had a similar 0-4 record. Someone was going to get into the win column that night and G-A fans turned out for the game, in spite of a steady rain, hoping for the best,
On the opening drive of the game, the Rams drove down the field and scored a touchdown, taking a 7-0 lead. Delton scored on their first possession also, but they missed the extra point. G-A led 7-6. The Rams continued to score as the rain continued to fall. The players didn't mind and neither did the fans. It was as if the years of losing were finally being washed away from the team and the field. G-A never trailed in the game and with each down, the players and fans could tell that this was going to be a special night.
In the fourth quarter, the rain stopped and the fans got to put away their umbrellas. As they watched the final seconds tick off the scoreboard a cheer, the likes of which had not been heard in four years, erupted in the stands. G-A won the game 48-28.
Was it a prefect game? Of course not. There were plenty of missed tackles and blown coverage's by the Rams, but on this night, none of that mattered. The student section stormed onto the field after game and celebrated the win with their classmates. For the seniors, it was the first football win they had ever witnessed by their team since they became high school students.
New G-A head football coach Tony Smith and his offensive coordinator Bob Verduzco (a former Yale quarterback) gave the community what they had long been waiting for since 2008, a win. What was even more remarkable was the fact that the Rams only dressed 15 players that night. Delton, on the other hand, dressed 24.
For a team and a community with a rich football tradition, one win may not seem like much, but it was just what they both needed.