It takes patience to build a sports program at any level or in any sport. And when a team comes out and loses its first two games, sometimes maintaining patience is a bit tougher.
Such was the case for the Amador Valley varsity football team and first-year head coach Danny Jones. That the Dons lost their season opener to De La Salle wasn't a cause for concern, and in fact Amador did a lot of good things in the game.
But when the Dons dropped a 34-21 game to a Deer Valley team they should have beaten in the second week, it was a tougher pill to swallow.
"We came out flat and they beat us," Jones said. "I told the kids we could have started practice the day before the first game and been 0-2. I know we didn't want to go 0-3."
They didn't. In fact, the Dons came out firing on the way to a 42-0 win over Dougherty Valley.
"It was great for me as a first-year coach, but it was great for the kids as well," Jones said of the first win. "They have all bought in to what we are trying to do and the direction we are headed."
One big help came in the form of transfer student Ndem Okoro. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior turned a season worth of stats in the first half alone. Okoro hauled in 230 yards worth of passes and accounted for four Amador touchdowns in just one half.
"We just got him the ball outside and he made guys miss," Jones said.
The Dons did not throw a pass in the second half, but still moved the ball easily.
"Our offense was good, but we did commit too many penalties," Jones said.
Jones had high praise for Alex Crepeau and Jason Severance on defense.
Up next for the Dons is another San Ramon opponent, a road game tonight at California (3-0).
On the other side of Pleasanton, Foothill did fall to 0-3 with a 35-16 loss to Monte Vista.
I have never been a silver-lining kind of guy, but if there was ever a case to find the positives in a loss, it was last Friday night for Foothill.
Coming into the season, Foothill coach Matt Sweeney rightly fully expressed his concerns with the lack of game experience for a number of his players. The Falcons are green in a number of key areas, and there was no doubt there would be a learning curve as they opened with San Leandro, California and Monte Vista.
Each week, there has been improvement. Monte Vista is by far the best team Foothill has played this year, and the Falcons battled throughout, turning in some solid defense and moving the ball some on offense. And this without Dylan Walsh, a two-starter on the line, out with an injury.
Jake Jackson had a tremendous game from my point of view, running well on offense and being in on a number of tackles on defense. Jackson even threw some big blocks to seal the corner for other Foothill runners.
Things look tough for Foothill right now, but things will get better. Game experience and the bounces will start going in Foothill's direction.
The Falcons host San Ramon Valley (2-0) -- the Falcons third home game in a row.
Foothill defeated Dougherty Valley 20-8 in boys varsity water polo last week, moving them to 2-0 for the season.
Foothill jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead in the first quarter of the Sept. 8 match-up. Standouts were senior Aaron Li with five goals and an assist and sophomore Nathan Williams with eight goals and four assists.
Also contributing were senior Fabio Salvioni with two goals and three assists, junior Matthew Dotson with two goals and two assists, junior Dylan Pottgieser with two goals and three assists and senior Matthew Kim with one goal.
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact Miller or submit local high school sports scores, game highlights and photographs for his weekly Pleasanton Preps column, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.