SACRAMENTO — Brookside Christian football players will probably remember Saturday's afternoon game at Hiram Johnson for more than claiming their first victory of the season.
Before their 26-6 win, there was a 40-minute delay of game to fill a number of potholes. Players’ feet would disappear into the otherwise soggy field.
Outside linebacker Christian Williams donned an offensive lineman's jersey to replace injured teammate Ronell Gabriel rather than risk a forfeit due to too few players on the field.
From early in the second quarter, in 87-degree heat, none of the Knights' available 11 suited players came off the field. Officials instituted a running clock in the second half, but that didn't prevent a number of cramping issues on both sides in the final minutes.
"We definitely needed a win," Brookside Christian coach Jordan McGowan said. "We've had a couple heartbreakers. So getting a win is big even though their school, they have a low number of guys as well, but it's a Division II school so it plays somewhat to strength of schedule if we reach that point in the season."
McGowan told the Knights (1-3) the rest of the season is a six-game playoff, starting with two-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII champion Merced-Stone Ridge Christian (3-0). They have a full week to prepare for Saturday night's 7 p.m. game at Lincoln High.
Sophomore quarterback Quincy Glasper connected with senior wide receiver Justin Williams for three touchdowns and Tyrone Williams returned a punt return 85 yards for a score to give the Knights some momentum heading into Week 4.
Williams caught scoring passes of 45, 5 and 74 yards, all in the first quarter. He would have liked a couple more, but Glasper targeted other receivers, joking that he didn't want his best friend to develop a big head. Brookside Christian also ran and threw short passes sparingly after halftime.
"I just know I was tired after all of them," Williams said of his touchdown receptions. "It feels really great. It's one of the best feelings you can have, especially if you have a game-winning touchdown."
McGowan said it was important for Glasper to meet his potential on long passes. Saturday, with the offense clicking well in the first half, was good for Glasper's his confidence. The Knights didn't need to keep throwing long with the game in hand.
"The kid can do it, but he has to see it, you know?" McGowan said. "Now he's seen it. So I think he understands what it looks like. I think he knows where he needs to throw the ball. That's what we could have, should have, need to do all season. We're extremely fast on the edge. We have some of the best skill players in the area."
Glasper talked about his team having heart and executing to their potential. When Gabriel went down, McGowan initially worried the Knights wouldn't be allowed to play with a 10-man line. Officials later said the minimum is eight players.
But Williams put a lineman's jersey on over his and relied on teammate John Dumlao to tell him what to do before each play. Dumlao volunteered to help when Williams was pressed into an unfamiliar position, replacing a teammate twice his size. Gabriel is listed at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds. Williams is 5-8 and about 130.
For Williams, it was just the second football game he'd ever played. He came out after the start of the season due to encouragement from friends on the team and McGowan, who had seen Williams in spring practices.
"I joined because I figured if they can do it, I can do it," Williams said. "All my teammates are my brothers. If one of our guys goes down, I want to be there for him."
Brookside Christian will get some reinforcements next week as four more players will be able to suit up. Two joined the team late and needed to participate in at least 10 practices to play. Another missed Saturday's game due to a death in the family.