I probably said it a hundred times during the past Miami Springs football season and I’ll say it again.
In order to understand where you are, you have to know where you’ve been.
And while nobody could have been very thrilled over a 1-8 record for the Miami Springs Golden Hawks football team when they wrapped up their 2012 season a few weeks ago, compared to where we were and what I was writing on these pages 12 months ago feels like two separate ends of the universe.
At the risk of belaboring the point and beating a dead horse for the umpteenth time, the 2011 football season at Miami Springs was not only the worst in the 45-year history of the program as the Hawks went winless (0-10) for the first time, it may have been the worst in the history of the entire nation.
According to a report on Rivals.com, Springs’ point differential of being outscored 556-49, or an average of roughly 56-5 every single week, was a new NATIONAL record. Whether the report was entirely accurate or not is a moot point — 56-5 is 56-5. After an opening 34-21 loss to Westland Hialeah, it was nine consecutive “mercy rule” running-clock games.
By the end of the season, between injuries and players quitting, just 22 players were in uniform for the season-closer against Edison. Miami Springs was the butt of jokes countywide and to say it was a program in dire straits would be understating the issue.
OK, we’re done rehashing.
Like we said, that’s where things were and what new head coach Darryel Bethune was left to inherit when he became the new head coach last January. As a former Golden Hawks player in the ’80s and assistant coach (he was an assistant on the staff of Buddy Goins) in the ’90s, he had plenty of Hawks blood in him. After three years of head coaching experience at North Miami High School, the move to Springs seemed like a natural fit.
Eleven months later, the jury would still appear to be out, but at the very least Bethune appears to have stopped the hemorrhaging.
Looking back at the season, perhaps the worst thing Bethune could have done was knock off Westland Hialeah, 21-19, in the season opener back on Aug. 30.
While Westland didn’t scare anybody, a win was a win and suddenly there was talk of a .500 season and maybe even a playoff berth since only three other teams (Beach, Goleman and American) resided in Springs’ district.
Then came Miami High in the second game and a night when the Hawks clearly outplayed their opponent but shot themselves in the foot too many times and suffered a brutal 7-0 loss on a turnover deep in their territory in the last 30 seconds. Still, it left some thinking the team should have been out of the gate 2-0.
Two weeks later came a lopsided 46-0 loss to Norland and the reality of the situation began to settle in as we, at least in my case, came to realize that the bridge between the butt of jokes around the county and respectability was a big one and one that still needs to be crossed.
But what followed over the course of the last six games, at least from what I observed, was a team that played hard each week and was never once blown out.