HIGH-FLYING SPIRIT RALLY UPLIFTS HART'S 0-3 FOOTBALL TEAM.
NEWHALL - Hart High School's legendary varsity football squad may have stumbled over a rough patch - three straight losses since the season began - but Indian pride still swelled Thursday at a campus rally.
While the rally in the Hart gym showcased all the season's athletics including golf, volleyball, cross country and tennis, all eyes were on the football team as players try to break their losing streak in this evening's match against Birmingham of Lake Balboa.
``We're trying hard to win,'' said Syd Surratt, 14, who came out to support the home team. ``We just have to go out there and come back with a win.''
The Indians, who began the season ranked No. 1 by the Daily News, have had one of the toughest nonleague schedules in the area. They lost close games to Los Alamitos, ranked No. 3 in the nation at the time by USA Today, and defending Southern Section Division IV champion St. Bonaventure of Ventura.
Last week, Hart lost to Westlake 25-24 in a game decided by a controversial two-point conversion with just 41 seconds remaining, handing Hart its first 0-3 start in 18 years.
But Hart fans remain undaunted. When footage of Indian football action appeared on the darkened gym wall to strobe light effects and metal-rapper Kid Rock's pounding beats and crunching guitars, the standing-room-only crowd erupted in cheers.
``Any time we can get the entire student body behind the team and stand up and cheer, it's definitely going to benefit the players in the field,'' student government director Zack Schranz said.
Senior John Vincent, an Associated Student Body representative, believes the Indians are due to come back to form.
``We were playing those were really good teams,'' said Vincent, 17. ``(Playing them now) is just going to help us later on in the season.''
For Rachel Carleton, 17, taking down Birmingham shouldn't be a problem.
``We can't lose tonight,'' said Carleton, a senior. ``They lost to Valencia (High).''
Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253
(1 -- color) Junior varsity cheerleaders at Hart High take to the air Thursday for rally before tonight's game against Birmingham.
(2 -- color) Varsity cheerleaders, wearing jerseys of Hart High's football players, get ready to cheer at the rally Thursday.
David R. Crane/Staff Photographer