Here’s my column from Saturday, in case you missed it.
One could look at the South Hills High School football team’s 34-31 loss to Charter Oak in overtime on Friday night as a cruel ending to a cruel season.
I’m still not sure what to make of it yet, but I’m leaning toward it being anything but a cruel ending. A cruel season, yes. A cruel ending, no.
How the Huskies were two fourth-quarter leads away from making it to the CIF Inland Division playoffs is beyond me. How they beat Claremont, then took Charter Oak to overtime is total mystery unless your judging heart.
On Friday night, two of what would have been South Hills’ biggest offensive threats were wearing Charter Oak blue. Several zip codes away, three more Huskies starters were wearing Amat blue during a loss to Alemany.
As for the players who didn’t seek greener pastures, South Hills’ best offensive threat and defensive back Jamie Canada was in street clothes, as he’s been all season due to a knee injury.
That’s OK, because there was still a hobbled Jamel Hart, a cagey Jordan Gutierrez, a gutty Vince Hernandez, several exhausted linemen and a sharper-than-ever head coach all using heart to try and stun the Valley and reach the playoffs.
Raise your hand if you thought in October that this motley crew was going to come within a whisker of extending their season to an 11th week. Most teams, when faced with such circumstances, would have packed it in. It appeared the Huskies were doing just that after they dropped five consecutive games earlier this season.
Then something happened, just when everybody had them dead and buried, they turned to playing with heart. That’s what should happen with a powerhouse program. Pride kicks in when physical skills cannot handle the full load.
Why there was a mass exodus this offseason makes less and less sense as it stands now. Was the grass really greener? No transferred player won a league title. True, Amat and Charter Oak will be dancing next week while South Hills turns in gear.
The record books will show 3-7 next to the 2010 South Hills team. It won’t say anything about what led to it and how it almost ended with an improbable 11th game. But those who there know the immeasurable qualities, the ones that numbers can’t describe, were there at the right time and that made this ending anything but cruel.