Rainfall comes in cycles.
For years a drought lingered east of the Big Sandy Creek. The riverbed dried and ran red. The bends stood still as power solidified in the West.
For four of the past five years the Jar of Sand, the prize in the rivalry between Bridgeport and Decatur, has rested in Bull tower.
But Friday night, a deluge struck. The levee broke and the Big Sandy gushed royal blue. Decatur seized the Jar of Sand with authority, as the Eagles bullied the Bullies and delivered one of the worst beat-downs in the 94-year history of the rivalry known as The Battle of The Big Sandy.
Only three games in the series have featured a larger margin of defeat than the 52-7 thrashing Friday night at Eagle Stadium. One of those came in 2008, when the Bulls came out on top 56-7. That was the year when Bridgeport took control of the series for a five-year stretch.
Decatur’s two biggest wins over the Bulls came in 1959 and 1960, when they throttled them 62-0 and 53-0, respectively.
With Friday’s loss, the Bulls find themselves on the brink of a winless season. A tough home test against a much-improved Sanger squad next week might be the only chance for a win before they take the road against a dominant and undefeated Gainesville team.
If they lose, Bridgeport will find themselves 0-10 for the first time since 1992. Current head coach Danny Henson took over the next year in place of Tony Daniel, who managed to win only seven games in four years as head coach of the Bulls and never had a winning record.
Tom Sloan, the head coach prior to Daniel, posted his best season at 5-5 in 1987. You have to travel back in time to when Jimmy Carter was still in the White House and the Bee Gees were still cranking out disco hits to find a head coach who had a winning season. Max Moore’s Bulls went 7-3 in 1979 – but one year later, even Sloan slumped to an 0-10 season.
No coach in Bridgeport history has come close to posting as many winning seasons – a dozen – as Henson has. The same goes for total wins, playoff appearances and winning percentage. You’d have to cobble together half-a-dozen prior coaches to get that many positive season numbers.
It seems grim now, west of the Big Sandy. It appears the flow of the Big Sandy has fully switched back to the favor of Decatur.
But in high school football it’s amazing what a difference a single season makes.
Henson’s first year as head coach of the Bulls – just a year after going winless – he compiled an 11-2 record, an incredible turnaround.
Keep watching. You never know when the cycle is going to shift.