It sounds like an over-used sports cliche, but learning from a loss can be important in the maturity of a team.
For the Foothill football team that learning moment came three weeks back when the Falcons lost 34-20 to Vanden of Fairfield.
For the Amador Valley team, that moment may have come when they fell 21-17 to Foothill last week.
In the loss to Vanden, the Falcons were overwhelmed in the first half, but rallied in the second half, with the game being closer than the final score indicated.
"I said right after (Vanden) that we needed that loss," Foothill coach Greg Haubner said. "I told the kids afterwards that I wanted to take that team from the second half of the game and move forward."
Against the crosstown rival Dons, the Falcons fell behind 14-0 early, and with the Amador defense having not allowed a touchdown in four games worth of quarters played, it didn't look good.
"It was no fun being down 14-0 to your rival with the entire town watching either in person or on TV," Haubner said.
Then something happened for Foothill as they went out and did something no team had done to Amador this year -- they ran the ball and controlled the clock.
First it was a long drive at the end of the first half, followed by a long drive to open the second half with both ending in touchdowns to tie the game at 14-14.
It put the Dons in a new position they had not been in at any point in their first four games.
"We had never been there before," Amador coach Danny Jones said. "It's tough to win a game when a team scores at the end of the first half, then comes back and scores to open the second half."
The Dons responded with a drive back down the field, with one of the key plays of the game coming when Amador had it third-and-goal.
Amador quarterback EJ Thomsen, who had been running well all night, got a leg cramp after being brought down at the Foothill 2-yard line on third down.
Because Thomsen required medical attention, he was forced to leave the game for a play with Amador facing a fourth down at the two.
That forced Jones' hand to kick the field goal instead of going for the touchdown.
"I had a play ready, but I wasn't going to go for it with the backup quarterback," Jones said. "I love taking the lead and playing defense from there."
Hard to blame Jones for the decision since the Amador defense has been so good the whole season. But when it's a rivalry game, often the norm goes out the window.
The Falcons put together a nine-minute drive to win the game. There was a big third-and-long pickup and the touchdown came on a fourth-and-goal.
Let the learning process begin for the Dons.
"We have to learn how to finish and get off the field," Jones said. "We've got great leadership with this team. It is a tough loss, but we will learn from it and move on."
To me the real winners on the night were the city of Pleasanton as well as the players on both teams. Throughout the game, players were helping players on the other team get up or pat each other on the helmets. Great sportsmanship from both teams.
"It's a great rivalry, great kids -- a great game for everyone," Jones said. "I was proud of all the kids on both sides. It was great to see us back to normal and have so many people at the game. Both teams left it all out there on the field."
You can't make this up!
On the negative side of the Foothill-Amador game was an incident in the visitor bleachers.
Every school in the East Bay Athletic League has smaller bleachers on the visitors' side, and that usually leads to parents and students cramming into a much smaller area than usual.
And it always goes off without a hitch -- well almost always. It seems Friday night there was a small group of Foothill parents who did not appreciate the students standing up during the game.
The small group asked the students to sit down or move so they could see. The kids in turn asked the parents to find another seat because they wanted to stand and cheer.
The Foothill administration explained to the adults -- and in this case I use the term adults loosely -- that the students had every right to stand and support their team.
Remember, these are the same students who have been held hostage by the pandemic and this was the first full Amador-Foothill game in two years. It's their game and school to support.
Well, the admin's response to the group didn't sit well with what has been described as a belligerent Foothill parent who opted to find her own solution by calling 911.
That's right, she called 911 at the police department! The officer at the game, who also works with the school, was on hand and explained there was nothing they could do.
For what it's worth, I think the caller should have been arrested for abusing the 911 line. Like I said above, you can't make this up!
Foothill girls water polo
The Falcons kept their winning streak alive with a 14-4 varsity win over American.
Top scorers were Elizabeth Williams with six goals, followed by Anna Taylor with three goals. Valentina Avalos had two goals, as did Claire Gersich. Anna Berhard had one goal.
Shristi Rath had eight saves, with Jane Ruby adding two.
In the JV game, Foothill won 14-0. Addison Southern led the way with four goals, with Kennedy Morgan adding three. Clare Alexander and Maanya Raghuram got their first goals of the season.
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email [email protected]