It’s just a small step.
But it is a step forward.
Cannon County snapped a 22-game losing streak last week with a 28-25 win over host Red Boiling Springs in a non-district contest featuring the 3A Lions and the 1A Bulldogs.
“It’s huge for us,” coach T.J. Daniel said. “We’ve been looking for that win for two years. Now, we know how it feels.”
The victory takes Cannon County off a notorious list of teams across the state garnering the longest active losing streak. The Lions entered the game with the fifth-longest in the state among TSSAA programs.
Fayette Ware, of West Tennessee, owns the state’s current longest losing streak at 54 games. Another West Tennessee program, Gibson County, has lost 46 straight. Memphis Northside’s streak reached 31 this past week.
Hunters Lane snapped a 29-game losing streak this past week, and Heritage broke its 20-game drought.
“I’m happy for the guys,” said Daniel, who is in his first season as Cannon County’s head coach. “They earned it — not me. I’m happy for the boys. They got to feel what a win feels like. It feels pretty good.”
Daniel has been on Cannon County’s coaching staff throughout the losing streak. He said this is the first time in four seasons that the Lions held a lead at halftime.
Cannon County racked up 347 yards against the Bulldogs. The Lions didn’t clear 100 in each of their first two games — losses to Middle Tennessee Christian School and Jackson County.
Cannon County improved to 1-2 with the win. The Lions head to rival DeKalb County on Friday in their first District 8-AA contest. DeKalb County is 3-1, falling to Class 5A White County this past week. DeKalb County hasn’t lost to Cannon County since the Lions won 26-23 in 2007.
Daniel said despite the first win since 2010, the team didn’t celebrate too loudly on the bus ride home from the Macon County school on Friday night.
“Our coaches talked about that,” Daniel said. “They were not as enthusiastic as you thought they’d be. They were excited and thrilled, though.
“They laid everything out. We celebrated, though. It was totally different after a loss than a win.”
Daniel gave his team simple instructions when the bus arrived in Woodbury around 12:30 a.m. Saturday from the game.
“We sent them home and told them to enjoy it,” he said. “We will go to work (today). But the boys need to enjoy this.
“The playoffs are still in reach.”
Well, that might be a bit of a reach with what is left on this year’s Cannon County schedule. After all, this is the first win in more than two seasons.
There is still plenty of work remaining. Let’s not forget this Red Boiling Springs program once held a 54-game losing streak a few years ago.
But this is a step forward — a chance to step closer to being a player in the District 8-AA race.
Tom Kreager is prep editor of The Daily News Journal. Contact him at 615-278-5168 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Kreager.