The players on the Oilers varsity football snapped a streak that had plagued the seniors for their entire career.
By beating Albany 12-6 last Friday, Richmond snapped the Bay Area’s longest current losing streak at 39 games.
The last time Richmond won was Sept. 7, 2001 with a 43-20 win over Fremont-Oakland.
And trust me fellas, I have an idea of what you went through.
As a freshman at Valley High, we went 0-13 in basketball that year. It got so bad that people stopped asking me if we won and started asking how many points we lost by.
But we persevered, and my sophomore year we finished 14-14. Junior year, we were 21-5 and made it to the Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals. And in my senior campaign, we had a bit of a letdown and went 15-10, I think, and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
But back to Richmond.
Thanks in large part to a new attitude by first-year coach Lee Fletcher and the play of Orlando Arnold, the Oilers threw — pardon the cliche — a huge monkey off their backs and into San Pablo Bay.
Arnold is an imposing force, if you have seen him play or been run over by him you know what I mean. The senior caught a pass from Chris Caluya between three defenders, broke two tackles and scampered 63 yards to give his team a MUCH needed victory.
And who knows if Arnold keeps it up, Richmond just might have another tight end playing on Sundays.
It was also a very good night for Fletcher.
A former coach for the Richmond Steelers for 20 years, Fletcher helped his alma mater (he is a former lineman and a 1972 grad), regain a little glory.
Some Steelers alumni, Kenneth Adams at Berkeley and Carlos Proctor at Hercules also had good nights. And Fletcher’s nephew Deaundre Butcher also rushed for 111 yards in Pinole Valley’s win.
And don’t be surprised if Fletcher leads the Oilers into Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League play with a 3-0 mark.