Steve Dann doesn't want pity. But your prayers wouldn't hurt.
Dann is the coach of the Santa Clara High football team, which plays nationally ranked Crespi High in Encino on Friday night at 7:30 in a nonleague game. Santa Clara's 3-1 record compares with Crespi's 3-0-1 mark considerably better than its physical ability.
Crespi, last year's Big Five Conference champion, is a team laden with Division I talent. And, most importantly, the Celts have Russell White, the state's top running back (2,339 yards) as a sophomore last season.
White (6-0, 190) has 649 yards and 9 touchdowns on only 69 carries this season. He alone could make a good team great, but Crespi has numerous weapons.
"Russell White is a superstar, but Crespi's defense is superstar, too," Dann said. Crespi has outscored its last two opponents, 99-0.
This is the second consecutive season that Santa Clara, which plays in the Desert-Mountain Conference, has faced Crespi in a nonleague game. The Saints lost, 48-0, last season as White rushed for 153 yards and 3 touchdowns on 12 carries. Such a lopsided score makes one wonder why a small school such as Santa Clara would take on a powerhouse like Crespi.
Out of necessity, Dann said. When teams were releagued two years ago, Santa Clara had to schedule five nonleague games each season.
"Both of us were looking for games," Dann said. "Crespi had had marginal success the year before. I had never heard of Russell White."
Dann's game plan: "We're going to go out and give them hell."
Quarterback Tim Gutierrez, a 6-0, 170-pound sophomore, completed 12 of 15 passes for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 41-6 victory over Bishop Diego last week.
Quinn Knight, a sophomore safety, might be the team's most exciting player. He has returned three punts for touchdowns.
Now, all Santa Clara has to do is force Crespi to punt.