To know the feeling of true helplessness is to know what Coach Dave Wilde felt about 20 seconds into Fillmore High's football game against Bishop Diego last Friday.
There he stood on the sideline, watching Jaime Guillen give the opposition a 6-0 lead by returning the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.
"It was kind of like watching a TV show for the third time," Wilde said. "It was, 'Here we go again.' "
This was not to be another horror flick, however. For the first time in 10 games, Fillmore would come back to win a football game.
The Flashes--don't be fooled by the name--took advantage of a botched onside kick, drove 50 yards for a touchdown and held on to win, 7-6.
Rod Peck, Fillmore's plodding, 6-1, 165-pound fullback who has managed 331 yards on 169 carries this season, scored on a one-yard dive. It was only the fourth touchdown the Flashes had scored this season. Fernando Meza, who doesn't get much practice, kicked the point-after that held up as the game-winner.
It should have been a night to remember for the Fillmore players, who equaled their highest point production of the season. It was homecoming and the stands were full. Who would have guessed that the night's theme, "Enter the Magic Kingdom," would have been so appropriate? Yet the feeling was fleeting.
"The kids got excited, but it didn't last long," Wilde said. "We haven't had a good season and one game doesn't make up for that."
Wilde, Fillmore's coach of four years, wasn't even that pleased with his team's performance.
"Bishop is a lot like us," he said. "They have a lot of inexperienced people and they're not very fast. We probably could have scored three or four more times, but it just didn't happen."
It seldom does. The Flashes have been outscored, 218-28, this season. David Sherrell, a 5-6, 140-pound tailback, had 110 yards against Bishop Diego, the first 100-yard game for a Fillmore back this season.
Perhaps Fillmore's reserve in celebrating had something to do with its next opponent--undefeated Carpinteria, the top-ranked team in the Inland Conference. That light at the end of the tunnel? It's a rapidly approaching train.
"You like to say anything can happen, but we also try to be realistic," Wilde said. "We like to kid around. Who knows, maybe it'll rain Friday night. We can always pray for that.
But things may get better. The junior varsity team is 6-2 this season. "We want to take those kids and their winning attitudes and turn this program around," Wilde said.
That, together with a homecoming victory, isn't a bad start.