What certainly made that more difficult than ever in 1985 was the awareness throughout the league that Glenville had the longest losing streak in high school football in America. "It's gotten so blown up," said Wally Hoyt, the barber. "Everybody thinks, 'We might be the team that gets beat by Glenville!' Who wants to be the team that gets beat by Glenville? That makes it tough."
And no more so than on the players. On the eve of the game at Janesville, Reuvers exhorted his boys to go all out from the opening kickoff. "Let's go at 'em!" he said. "Let's show them we're a good physical team. All right? They've been laughing at us, joking about us, making fun of us. We've got to be ready. If we put it to 'em right away, they're gonna panic and say, 'Hey, we're gonna lose! We don't wanna lose to Glenville. Nobody loses to Glenville!' They're gonna panic and we're gonna get 'em!"
Alas, it did not happen. Only 60 or so Glenvillians braved the wet chill to make the 50-mile trip, but they cheered lustily at any sign of hope, with a dozen vociferous fans chasing the chain marker up and down the field, yelling, "You can do it! Go get 'em, Glenville!"
The Trojans' first big drive swept down to Janesville's 21-yard line. They looked as if they were going to score but the drive sputtered out in penalties and ended in an interception. Another drive faded inside Janesville's 10 when time ran out in the second quarter. In the end, with Janesville leading 13-0 and 13 seconds to go, the Glenville cheerleaders began chanting, "We love our team! We love our team!"
"It hurts to see the looks on their faces," said Wendy Hertges, one of the cheerleaders. "They look like they've just lost their best friends. We're all close because it's such a small school. You know they're trying out there, and it's not easy. Watching Mr. Reuvers, it's just unreal. His face gets all red. There's so much tension. This year it's more intense."
It was even more so the following week, as the season grew shorter, when Glenville took the field at home against Faribault. Some 200 Glenville partisans braced themselves against the cold and mist to see the game, looking for that upset to rid them of this demon, but Faribault manhandled the Trojans. Glenville had scored only 14 points in its six previous games—six against Ellendale and eight against Blooming Prairie—and the very act of scoring had become an event, somehow a victory in itself. This looked like another whitewash until, late in the game, losing 35-0, the Trojans suddenly had the ball on the Faribault 15.
Glenville's Neal Schilling slashed over the left side for five, taking it down to the 10. Several Glenville fans left the stands where they had been sitting under blankets and gathered at the line of scrimmage. "You can do it!" one shouted. "Come on, now!" The next play was Schilling to the right, again over tackle, and he plowed to the two. Now, framed against a cornfield that rimmed the south side of the field, Schilling slanted left and in for the score. Cheers erupted.
In the locker room after the game, the Trojan walking wounded nursed them selves in silence. Lineman Bob Bock, a co-captain, had suffered a dislocated right shoulder. "I got blindsided," he said. The quarterback, Jeff Foss's brother Joey, had wrenched his neck. "It numbed out," he said. Running back Randy Severtson, a cousin of Bill's, the hardest hitter on the team, limped to the shower with a charley horse. "I'll be all right," hi said. And Schilling walked gimpily to his locker. "I hurt my knee and ankle," Schilling said.
In 1985 this was a struggling team in a community that was struggling itself to survive. For all the talk about the football team, the problems facing the farmer put those facing the football team in particularly sharp perspective. Whatever the community's concerns about the out come of a football game, they were low on the totem pole of the town's most pressing priorities. "Football is important," said Hoyt, "but how long are we gonna have a football team, school—a town?"
Lonny Broitzman urged a reluctant pig down a narrow chute that led into a pen, wielding gently what appeared to be a large wrench, but was really a hog-shocker. Not far away, two pigs lay dead. "Pneumonia," Broitzman said. "I had 400 get sick. Lost 10 of them. Spent $400 on medicine. Last week, between the mud and the pigs that died, I was ready to quit."