Coach David Ramirez knows all about Sand Creek’s short and sad football history.
The Scorpions have won 31 games and lost 99 since the program’s birth in 2004. This woeful record includes 19 losses in their past 20 games. They were outscored 332-106 last season.
The past, no doubt, has been bleak.
But, Ramirez insists, that darkness has nothing to do with the potential of his 2017 team.
“The history of this program isn’t the history of these kids stepping out on the field,” Ramirez said this week as he prepared to face Palmer Ridge and its mega-talented quarterback Ty Evans.
Could a bright future await the Scorpions? Teams sometimes zoom from weak to strong in a 12-month flash. Sand Creek players hope they are ready to shock everyone but themselves.
Ramirez is starting his second season as the Scorpions' head man. When he took the job, he knew the immensity of the task ahead. He welcomed, and welcomes, the challenge.
“We know the history of this school doesn’t represent the kids on the field Friday night,” he said again, with feeling.
He has reason for hope Friday night. Last season was almost entirely a disaster, but the 2016 Scorpions remained within sight of Palmer Ridge, and Evans, for much of the game before falling, 28-12.
The Scorpions return 13 starters, and each wants to bury the bad memories of last season. This is the blessing of bad times. If a team handles pain the right way, that past agony can provide fuel for revival.
Senior receiver/defensive back Brandon Galvan is honest. It was tough last season, and the season before. He’s weary of losing.
“It’s been pretty tough,” he said, “but we managed to get through it. I think we’re ready. I have a lot of confidence in my team. That’s kind of what you’ve got to have to have a great season.”
Senior Damon Murdock, who plays quarterback, took a break from running sprints to talk about the 2017 season.
“Hands down, this the best team that we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Murdock said. “Everyone sees us on the schedule and thinks, ‘That’s an easy win.’ They’re not expecting to see what we have this year.”
Sand Creek knows what to expect from Evans, who collected 3,130 yards passing and 30 touchdowns in 11 games last season. Evans, a junior, already has committed to play at Arkansas. He’s not only one of the top players in the state, he ranks among the elite quarterbacks in the nation.
Senior inside linebacker Nick Quarles respects Evans, but don’t mistake that respect for fear.
“He’s a good athlete,” Quarles said. “There’s no doubt about that. He’s fast. He’s tall. He’s got a good arm. He has a good wide receiver corps. But he’s nothing that we can’t handle.”
He stopped to watch his teammates, who were laboring under the direction of Ramirez on the practice field. They were working diligently. He was quietly watching.
Quarles believes he sees a vastly improved version of a program that has struggled. He looks forward to fans at the Sand Creek stadium seeing that same version Friday.
“It’s going to be a harder game for Evans, for sure,” Quarles said.