For Evan Armstrong, the low point in Verdugo Hills' winless season came three weeks ago, sitting on the bench with a dislocated thumb following the Dons' 37-12 loss to Lincoln.
"I'd been to every practice, every game, never missed one. Quitting never entered my mind," Armstrong said. "But sitting there I really began to wonder if it was worth it."
No team has struggled like Verdugo Hills this season. In nine losses, the Dons have been outscored, 314-61. Even in the Northern Conference, the City Section's weakest, Verdugo Hills has been outscored, 198-54. Two weeks ago, Verdugo Hills had 14 players show up for practice.
Yet the Dons have a player with Division I talent.
Armstrong, a senior tight end and linebacker, played a pivotal role on solid 3-A playoff teams in 1995 and 1996. At 6 feet 4 and 240 pounds, he has the size that attracts plenty of interest from Western Athletic Conference and a few Pacific 10 Conference schools.
But with most of his best friends and teammates graduated, Armstrong was the only experienced player returning to Verdugo Hills. The Dons expected to rebuild, but no one figured on a season like this.
The Dons' chances for victory are especially bleak today, when Verdugo Hills ends the season against Franklin, which has already clinched the conference title and has outscored conference opponents, 280-41.
"I actually thought we would be good," Armstrong said. "Not as good as we were before but I honestly thought we were going to win some games, especially after the first few weeks. But I'm not going to quit."