A season after snapping a state-record 49-game losing streak on the field (the Giants won twice via forfeit during a stretch that began in 2002) the Ganesha High School football team ended a 35-game Valle Vista League losing streak on Friday with a 16-10 victory over none other than defending league champion Covina Northview.
After not only breaking a streak that was cutting into its seventh year last season, but winning TWO games in 2008, even considering Friday’s victory it would appear Ganesha is taking a step backward this season.
That’s not the case.
If Ganesha is to turn things around, it has to start with the head coach. I don’t need any more evidence than two weeks ago when coach Dave Fleming, who was hired prior to last season, was just as focused in the fourth quarter of a 63-0 loss to San Dimas as he likely was in Friday’s fourth quarter.
First of all, it is apparent Fleming is driven by his willingness to even take the head coaching job of a program fresh off consecutive 0-10 seasons; he could have just kept his assistant coaching job with a burgeoning Diamond Ranch program. It was easy to be upbeat as Ganesha made visible progress last season, but its a year like this one when Fleming’s will has really been put to the test.
The Boston native – his accent is awesome – vented a little off the record after Ganesha allowed San Dimas to score on every single possession of that game two weeks ago. But he is already talking about next season, how much its going to benefit Ganesha to be part of a new league (and he’s absolutely right about the Giants move into a league that will include many programs of the Giants’ caliber).
Fleming is in this for the long run and it’s that stability that can aid progress. He can’t make kids want to come out for football and he can’t keep them from quitting; he’s got to make the program such there is a measure of pride in being part of the team. It’s the student body’s perception of the football team that is as important as anything.
Ganesha still has a long way to go but this win on Friday was no small step. Granted, Northview is having a shockingly horrible season but Ganesha took advantage. Speaking of perception, how does beating the defending league champions sound?
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