It’s not easy to coach at an inner-city high school, especially football.
In a sport where you need at least 25 guys to have a decent shot at winning a few games, all it takes is a couple injuries, a few not make grades, one or two who decide when or if they want to show up for practice and then all of a sudden your team is on the wrong side of very lopsided games.
If it happens a couple weeks in a row then pretty soon the atmosphere in the locker room goes sour. The players and coaches, who are at least putting forth some effort, start hearing catcalls even from their own students. The random fans stop coming to games.
It’s a bad scene.
Just ask the laundry list of guys who have tried to establish something over the past decade at schools such as Florin, Kennedy, Johnson and Mira Loma.
And just ask Dave Filan at Valley.
Only five weeks into the 2015 season – one that started very optimistically – the five-year head coach resigned his position last weekend, not very long after his squad was quashed, 40-0, by the resurgent Kennedy Cougars.
“It was hard to tell (the team) I was quitting,” Filan said. “Especially because I was the one telling them to never quit.”
He says the family needed him more, especially right now.
“I’ve got a young family at home who needs me,” Filan added.
He wouldn’t say much about what was really happening behind the closed doors at Valley, just that he was emotionally wrung out. Filan is also an English teacher at the school and he’s still in his classroom on a daily basis.
Valley was coming off its most successful season in recent memory when it was 6-4 and qualified for the Division III playoffs in 2014. During the pre-season Filan thought his team would be in the thick of things in the Metro Conference.
“We’re growing and while I don’t think we’re really that big a deal, I do know we are headed in the right direction,” he told the Citizen in August. “We are going to be as good, if not better as we were last year.”
Prior to Filan’s arrival in the football office, and even his first couple seasons, the Vikings had suffered through some of its most dreadful campaigns since the 2001, the last time Valley made the post-season.
Most years the Vikings were lucky enough to win just one or two games, all the while hoping to find a glimmer of the success and pride in Vikings football that was there in the late 1980s and most of the 1990s under Coach Dave Hoskins.
Assistant coach Justin Wade will conclude the year as the head coach, but he’s got quite a task on his hands. Friday they’ll take on the five-time defending league champions in Burbank.
Valley is 0-5 this year, allowing an average of 40 points a game. They’ve scored only six points in their first two Metro Conference games of the year.
Wiggins Gets Start For Chargers
Just a little more than two weeks after being re-signed by the San Diego Chargers, former Elk Grove High School and Fresno State offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins earned his first starting assignment in the NFL on Sunday.
“Waited a long time for this day,” Wiggins wrote on his Facebook page. “My first NFL start and we came out with a W. Couldn't have asked for a better game.”
The 6-8 310-pounder started at left guard in San Diego’s 30-27 win over Cleveland. He played in all 65 snaps on offense and was in on all special team plays, too.
Three offensive linemen – Orlando Franklin, King Dunlap and Chris Watt – did not practice last week nursing injuries from the previous weekend’s loss at Minnesota. Wiggins stepped in and played in about half the offensive snaps in that game.
Wiggins was in training camp with San Diego all summer but was cut prior to the start of the season when NFL clubs trim their rosters to 53 players. But, on Sept. 24 Wiggins was re-signed by the Bolts.
Hornets Defense Tough In Loss To No. Colo.
Take away three plays and Sacramento State’s football team would be smiling this week with a likely-win over Big Sky Conference foe Northern Colorado.
But, those plays were the difference for the Bears Saturday night at Hornet Stadium. A 100-yard return of the opening kickoff for a touchdown with two fumble recoveries returned for TD’s allowed the Bears to take a 27-20 win.
Sacramento State, now 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the Big Sky, had held UNC to only 189 yards total offense, but the Hornets did give the Bears five first downs on penalties.
|EGHS' Manny Scott-Anderson (#29)|
Getting his fifth straight start at free safety was freshman Manny Scott-Anderson. The Elk Grove High School grad had three assisted tackles. For the season Scott-Anderson has 28 tackles, second-best on the team.
Former Franklin Wildcat Joey Banks was out of uniform Saturday night. The redshirt freshman had started three of the Hornets’ first four games at rover.
Sacramento State quarterback Daniel Kniffin from Rocklin High School sat out of Saturday’s game with a shoulder injury. Kolney Cassel, a transfer from SMU, who had a solid game with 28-of-44 passing for 294 yards and two TD’s, replaced him.
This Saturday Sacramento State will be at Montana State. They’ll likely be without starting tight end Stone Sander from Placer High School who injured his shoulder late in fourth quarter Saturday.