By Brock Stafford | Beacon sports editor
Bass Lake High Canoes wrapped up the 2014 football season a couple weeks ago with a devastating defeat, at home, against nemesis-archrival Nearbytown Birds-of-Prey, 18-12.
Although it was a close game throughout, it was neither well-played or “particularly exciting,” said longtime Canoes backer Joseph A. McConnors, 72.
“What in God’s name was that?” said McConners, 72, who was a standout wing-back for the notorious “Wing-T Canoes” back in the early-’50s, loudly, as the final horn sounded. “I don’t believe what I just saw.”
Bass Lake’s loss in the finale sent the Canoes spiraling to a 1-8 record, including (but not limited to) a basement finish in the Moon-Shine Conference. BL’s only win was a 19-16 slugfest on homecoming against Private Military Academy, which hadn’t fielded a football team in 45 years prior to 2014, and lost every other game this season by an average of 37 points.
Combined winning percentage of PMA’s opponents was .300. Opponents’ opponents won fewer than 27 games among them.
Despite the dismal results of ’14, head coach Zeb Dreppelin was upbeat when the Beacon caught up with him for an interview out on Out-on-the-Highway Road. He & I were traveling in separate vehicles. Traffic was stopped in both directions for nearly 30 minutes during the interview, according to Bass Lake Authority Police.
“These kids learned a lot, and they’re still just that — good kids that learned a lot,” said Dreppelin. “Not to mention, I still have a job doing what I love, which is coaching and teaching football, which is my job,” said Dreppelin. “And everyone else should, too.”
What caused the lackluster autumn on the gridiron? Well, the loss of former multi-sport star QB Vin Diagram to graduation last spring had an impact on this year’s backslide, the coach said, but other key losses were “equally impactful,” as my colleague Chrisopher Byline would say, and did.
Byline did not elaborate.
On the upside, the future looks bright. In 2015, Bass Lake will return almost everyone who made significant contributions to one of the least-effective squads in the history of the school — “as long as they all decide to come out for football next year,” Dreppelin added.
When it came to postseason team awards, Player of the Fall went to No. 30, who rushed for 700 yards on 214 carries. “Big #30” also racked up a lot of the team’s touchdowns, which were sporadically distributed throughout the campaign.
“Like it says in the program, he’s number one in our program, number 30 in our hearts,” Dreppelin said at a postseason team dinner held in his basement.
Bradley Al Sanderstroms was leading tackler for the Canoes (1-8).