In fact, at least one school in the area is taking heart from a winless season.
So let's take a closer look at four very small schools that have put together very different records, but still are having a good season in some way, shape or form.
Gloucester is 7-0 and heading for the Group 1 playoffs for the first time since 1976. Even better, the Lions will be involved in a playoff atmosphere for at least the next three weeks.
Gloucester plays host to Salem (5-1-1) Saturday in a showdown for the Tri- County Conference, Classic Division title. Gloucester has not won a Tri-Co title since coach Leon Harris was the school's quarterback in 1972.
The first round of the playoffs would come the next week; then there's the annual Thanksgiving showdown with Delsea, which is 7-0 and heading for the Group 2 playoffs.
The last time Gloucester and Delsea both were unbeaten on Thanksgiving Day was 1972, when the game, the final of Harris' career, ended in an 8-8 tie.
"We had three goals coming into the season," Harris said. "The first was to have a winning year. The second was to make the playoffs. The third was to win the Classic Division.
"We've gotten the first two, and the third would be very meaningful to us."
Harris began the season with a good quarterback in Sean McKinney and a promising running back in Gus Hodson. But he had lost 17 senior lettermen, including all six starters from his offensive line.
The Lions filled the gaps with tight end Fred Koenig, tackles Brett Williams and Harry King, guards Jody Flood and Regis Derringer, and center Bob Kotter.
"Center was a big question mark," Harris said, "but Kotter's really worked into the job. And King has come through big at the right tackle spot. Both of them are juniors, and we didn't know how they'd react.
"To have replaced the whole line and have played as well as we have is a major surprise. We knew Sean and Gus would be strong, but the line was a huge question mark."
Gloucester qualified for the Group 1 playoffs in both 1975 and 1976 but has never won a postseason game.
But now the Lions will have at least one crack at a playoff game and, with a victory there, could experience a playoff atmosphere for the next four weeks.
Maple Shade has not had a winning season since 1978, but the dry spell ended Saturday with a 54-0 rout of Riverside. That improved the Wildcats' record to 5-1-1 and not only guaranteed them of being a winner for the first time in more than a decade, but gave them an outside shot at the Group 1 playoffs.
Maple Shade made the playoff final in 1978 and could return to postseason action this year with an upset of Delran (7-0 and ranked No. 3 in South Jersey by The Inquirer) this Saturday.
"We're just happy to be able to play a meaningful game this late in the season," said coach Jack Betterly. "It's been a long time since we had this level of enthusiasm in the school or the community. This past Saturday was the first time I can remember arriving for the game and seeing fans already lined up waiting to get in."
Maple Shade's strength this fall has been a rock-ribbed defense that has earned five shutouts in seven games (including a 0-0 tie with Moorestown).
According to Betterly, defense was something Maple Shade had neglected the last few years.
"We had played the 4-4 defense years ago, and for some reason or other, we got away from it," he said. "We were able to move the ball in the past, but we couldn't stop anybody on defense.
"So this year we decided, as a staff, that we would have to spend much more time on defense. We've done that, and the kids are playing it pretty well."
Defensive tackle Ting Cosper, defensive end Matt Rodgers and outside linebacker Anthony Cerasi have led the defense, and all start on offense, too.
"They've really set the tone for the team," Betterly said of the three seniors. "We have a large group of juniors who form the nucleus of the team, but the three seniors were really a key."
Clayton has been rebuilding longer than the Detroit Lions. The last time the Clippers enjoyed a winning season was 1959 - a long-ago time when there were only 12 NFL teams, six NHL teams and 16 major-league baseball teams.
But Saturday's 30-12 victory over Salem raised Clayton's record to 3-3-1 this fall, after the Clippers had gone 1-17 the last two years. It also makes this week's game at Glassboro (3-4) very interesting.
"This is going to be an intense game," said first-year coach Jim Barron, ''because the towns are so close and a lot of the kids know each other.
"But we go with the same approach no matter who we're playing because every game is big to us. We just want to play well every time out. It was nice to beat a team like Clearview, because they've been one of the established programs that's good every year. But I try not to look back at what's happened in the past here. I want to look to the future."
The new coach stressed his experience, and that of his assistants, in winning programs as a big factor. Barron, an Audubon grad, played for the Green Wave in the early 1970s, when Audubon's program was known as a spawning ground of coaches.
Under head coach Tom Curley, Audubon produced future head coaches Tom Brown (Washington Township), Joe Bendorf (Audubon), Mike Narducci (Audubon) and Bob Barikian (Collingswood).
Barron most recently was an assistant at Paulsboro under Gerry Taraschi (the 1986 Inquirer coach of the year) and current head coach Glenn Howard.
Clayton's staff includes Jim Hall (an Auburn graduate who played in the Canadian Football League), Alan Robbins (a former Paulsboro assistant), Mike Maccarello (a Cherokee grad) and Vic DeFrance, who has rebuilt the Clayton midget program.
For years, Clayton has battled two different numbers problems. It's a small school to begin with, so turnout frequently has been low. But the team usually would get a decent turnout of freshmen and sophomores, then would have to throw them into varsity action prematurely because of a lack of upperclassmen. After being pummeled by other club's seniors, many would not come back.
So the next year Clayton would have to start with sophomores again, and the cycle would continue.
Barron is starting seven sophomores this fall because Clayton has only three seniors, but he now has 35 players in the program.
"I doubt very much if these kids will quit," Barron said, "because we're not getting beat like we used to. Plus, you can't measure heart and commitment, and I think we're very fortunate in the kind of kids we have."
Barron has made numerous position switches this year. He says it's an indication of the team's unselfish nature that no one has complained and no one has quit.
Willie Taylor (5-foot-8, 150 pounds) moved from defensive back to middle guard. Victor DeFrance moved from running back to linebacker. Ceasar Simms moved from fullback to offensive guard. Those moves made room for two good sophomore running backs, Derrick Crenshaw and Robert Marshall.
"These kids are willing to sacrifice," Barron said. "They're not afraid to move to help the team. So far we've been very fortunate."
The Rams are 0-7 and have taken a few thumpings along the way.
But second-year coach John Miranda remains optimistic that the program has taken root.
"We knew before the year that we were only a couple of key injuries away
from a disaster," he said. "Well, it happened. Now we're a program mostly composed of freshmen and sophomores, so it's a matter of waiting till they come along in a year or two."
Riverside has lost all three of its senior co-captains to injury. Quarterback John Garbe, lineman Robert Giannone and tight end Derrick Maruski all are out.
"But next year we finally should have nice numbers for a change," Miranda said. "This is the first time in years and years here they've been able to run a true freshman team, a JV team and a varsity."
Riverside also has a realistic goal to shoot for this month. With Thanksgiving Day rival Florence also 0-7, the town already is talking up the game as Riverside's first shot at beating the Flashes since 1981.
"The kids are in pretty good spirits," said Miranda, who coached at Florence two years ago. "They're a good bunch. They'll give it their best shot."
QUITE A KICKER
Millville's Scott Shea tied a South Jersey record by kicking his eighth field goal of the season.
The record was set by Mainland's Jim Cooper in 1980, then tied by Paulsboro's Tom Paulsen in 1986 and by Lenape's Rob Juliano last year.
Juliano, a junior, already has seven this year. His career total of 15 broke Cooper's area career record of 14, set over four years at Mainland.