Maybe there was just something in his eye or the glimmer of the Moyse Field lights struck him a little funny, but it appeared as if he was just a bit glossy-eyed a week ago when Glendale High’s football team held on for a 28-21 overtime win against South Pasadena in a game that it likely should have won by something like 30 points.
But there was Eb — the realist, the honest-at-all-times, longtime football coach — talking about a win being a win.
Of course he admitted that it wasn’t pretty. He even admitted that he questioned if he or his team was cursed as his superior squad struggled to score after taking a 21-0 lead and, instead, kept watching as the game slipped and twisted from Glendale’s grasp.
In a box score and a newspaper story, for the most part, it read like a nailbiting, dramatic contest. And it was. But it was also poorly played.
It was a Nitros squad that on paper was better than South Pasadena and, once the game began, was far superior, as well.
For a team that has struggled to replace an overwhelming number of departed seniors and labored to just as great an extent to play within a new offensive and defensive scheme, it almost struggled its way to squandering a game that at one point seemed destined to be a rout.
But sometimes all that just doesn’t matter. Sometimes, even if you make the trip all that much more difficult, the destination is still just as much to celebrate.
Eberhart is a football guy. He knows what he’s doing. He knows that his team was supposed to win and was supposed to win in far easier fashion than it did. That’s why, as two of his players gathered a water bucket to douse him with, I thought for sure the sentiment would drive him crazy. It was a nonleague win against a team the Nitros were expected to beat.
But for a team that has gone through more than its fair share of growing pains through the spring and the summer and then through a lopsided 0-2 start, any reason to celebrate was a long time coming.
And for the big softy they call Eb, it’s been even longer.
His last victory as a head football coach came with Crescenta Valley in September of 2006.