(Despite its long drive home after losing yet another game Thursday, San Luis' football team remains upbeat. Photo by Jose Garcia/aia365.com)
San Luis is one loss away from extending its losing streak to 50 games, but don’t feel sorry for the football program.
The players take pride in how they perform, and they are making progress, but they aren’t losing any sleep over the losses that keep accumulating. That’s because the passion for football isn’t present in San Luis and never has been.
San Luis’ fervor is reserved for soccer, the sport that is king at that school and the city of San Luis, located in the southwest corner of the state. When they are freshmen in high school is when San Luis’ players first learn how to play football.
“We (San Luis) are really good at soccer, because we’ve played it since we were little,” San Luis’ senior fullback/linebacker Manuel Gonzalez said. “To them (opponents), football is like their main sport, and they really are good at it. But it’s something new to us. It’s really hard to get a hang of it.”
And it’s also really hard for San Luis to keep up with teams that have some speed.
That was evident Thursday at North High when San Luis was shutout for the 27th time during its losing streak. North High’s football program is familiar with football struggles, but it wasn’t about to take it easy against San Luis, not when North was outscored 129-6 during its first two football games of the year.
North scored 67 points against San Luis.
“You can see the difference in speed,” San Luis’ first-year coach Doug Thompson said after the game. “With that type of speed we are out of our league.”
The 60-year-old Thompson is in his third season teaching at San Luis.
He was recruited to coach the football program this year after a coach that had agreed to take over San Luis during the summer walked away. Thompson grew up playing football in Wisconsin and played in college. He went on to coach high school football, but, prior to this season, he hadn’t coached in the past 17 years.
But right now San Luis just needs somebody to teach its football players the basics such as a forward pass, not the finer details of the read option.
“We’ve got a ways to go,” Thompson said.
It might not show in the scoreboard, but Thompson’s group is maturing.
(San Luis' players continue to get knocked out, but they are also now getting back up. Photo by Jose Garcia/aia365.com)
“They all got off the field all of the time this time,” said Thompson after Thursday’s game. “That’s never happened before. They weren’t lying down and saying they were hurt. They hurt now because they are getting the crap kicked out of them, but they are still getting up.”
That last time San Luis won a game was Sept. 5, 2008, when it beat Carl Hayden 14-6.
Carl Hayden lost 66 games in a row during the 2000s, believed to be the state’s longest losing football streak ever. Despite its long stretch without winning a game, San Luis’ 28 varsity players aren’t really fretting over its winless streak.
They kept their heads up and didn’t seem disappointed about Thursday’s outcome. They were even excited after Thompson decided not to give a post-game speech.
And as corny and unbelievable as it sounds, it was evident that San Luis was having fun Thursday. Gonzalez said his teammates all get along and do enjoy playing football, and that’s what ultimately matters to them.
“We really do get upset about it (losing streak), but who cares,” Gonzalez said. “It’s all about having fun, right? We have fun every play. We do it (football) for the fun of it.”