Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Week ten in Ross football history...1991


Week 10 of the 1991 season saw the Little Giants host state power Fostoria in the first Great Lakes League meeting between the two teams. The game was also the first between the two old rivals since 1961.

The Redmen roared into the game as the number one team in the state of Ohio in division two and were also a legitimate nationally recognized power. Fostoria was 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the GLL. The Rex Radeloff coached Little Giants came into the game at 5-4 overall and 4-1 league mark. Despite blustery conditions earlier in the day 7,000 roaring fans jammed Harmon Stadium for the game.

In the game, the overpowering Redmen offense outgained the Little Giants 300 yards to just 51. Fostoria ran 73 offensive plays to 38 for the Purple and White. Looking at those numbers you might think that Fostoria head coach Dick Kidwells prediction of his team winning by two TD's was on the spot. But as Lee Corso likes to say...Not so fast!

The Joe Siesel coached Ross defense kept the Little Giants in the contest. Siesel felt that his charges performance was the best in a long time. He credited Doug Siesel, Dan Frederick, and Damon Walker with playing a great game and keying the Ross defensive effort.

Fostoria drew blood first. The Redmen put together a 10 play, 56 yard drive that was capped by a Derek Kidwell to Tony Hammond 20 yard TD pass on a third down and five situation. The PAT was good and the Redmen were up 7-0.

The middle of the contest was a defensive showcase as neither team could crack the endzone. The Little Giants changed that with 10:50 to play in the game. The Ross defense held the Redmen, forcing them to punt. Derek Kidwell was at the 10 yard line to punt but fumbled the ball and the Little Giants recovered it. The purple and white quickly took advantage of the star QB's gift and scored on an Allen Dorsey to Nick Wolf pass for 20 yards into the endzone. The PAT was no good and the Redmen held a slim 7-6 lead.

Fostoria scored the final points of the contest at the end of a 64 yard drive. Tom Bretigam had a key 27 yard run to the Ross one to keep the drive moving. Bretigam put the ball into the endzone on the next play. The PAT was good and with :34 left in the contest the Fostorians were up 14-6.

The Little Giants were unable to mount any kind of challenge with the clock quickly ticking down and the Redmen won the contest. Fostoria went on to win the DII state championship and their talented QB Derek Kidwell was named Ohios Mr. Football.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Week nine in Ross football history.....1981


Week nine of the 1981 season saw the Little Giants host long time rival Findlay in a Buckeye Conference game at Harmon Stadium. Ross came into the game with slim hopes for another Buckeye Conference title. The Little Giants were 3-1 in the Buckeye and 6-2 overall.

Findlay got a couple of Buckeye Conference records during the game but the Little Giants got the numbers that counted, a 29-7 win. Findlay QB Bruce Porter was 24 of 34 for 228 yards for the night. That performace gave the Trojan signal called a BC record 1,511 yards for the season breaking the old record also held by a Trojan, Cliff Hite who had 1,475 yards.

Despite the great night by Porter, Little Giant defender Ron Thurn had two interceptions of the Trojan QB. In addition to Thurns picks Porter was sacked twice by both Doug Zink and Craig Forgatch for a total of 46 yards in losses.

For Ross, Eric Bates was the leading rusher. Bates toted the ball 17 times for a total of 130 yards. Ross standout QB Tony Gant had two touchdown passes, both to tight end Dan Bollenbacher. Gant also carried the ball 12 times for 57 yards.

Gant hooked up with Bollenbacher on a 35 yard TD pass with 3:07 remaining in the first quarter. Bates got the second Fremont TD. The Little Giant speedster ran 73 yards for a score early in the second quarter. Bo Johnson who carried the ball for a total of 76 yards got the third Ross score on a six yard run.

The win gave the Little Giants a shot at a Buckeye Conference title. Ross would have to face arch-rival Sandusky the following week for a chance at the crown. Sandusky moved to 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the Buckeye on this night, beating Lorain Admiral King 28-14.

Monday, October 10, 2011

This week in Ross football history....week eight


Week eight of the 1951 season saw the unbeaten Little Giants of head coach Mal Mackey make the trip to Elyria to battle the Pioneers. A standing room only crowd of 8,000 fans jammed Ely Stadium for the contest despite the weather conditions which featured an early season snow that piled up several inches in depth on the field.

The weather did not hinder the Fremonters who were led by Little Giant legends Bob Biggs, John Lewis and Jerome Surratt. The three along with a band of fellow Little Giants were pumped up and helped the Fremonters extend their winning streak to 12 games.

Ross scored first taking a 6-0 lead with a little over three minute left in the first quarter. John Lewis scored on a seven yard run. The Big Thunder score came at the end of a 54 yard drive. The drive was started when Biggs blocked a Pioneer punt which the Little Giants recovered at their 46.

Elyria bounced back and took a 7-6 lead. The score came as the result of a Ross miscue. A bad snap from center caused the ball to skid off the fingers of Ross punter Whitcomb. He chased the ball back to the Ross right and booted it but it wound up at the Little Giants 28 yard line. Bill Hopkins scored a few plays later for the Pioneers on a 2 yard run. The PAT was good and the Lorain Countians led 7-6.

Ross scored again with less than a minute left in the half. Big Thunder scored on a five yard run. The PAT was no good and the Little Giants took a 12-7 lead into the locker room.

Second half scores by Ross were Little Thunder on a one yard run. The two point PAT was good and the purple and white were up 20-7. The final Ross TD was on a 68 yard run by John Lewis. The PAT was no good and the Little Giants were up 26-7.

For the night Jerome Surratt ran for 162 yards and John Lewis added 141. The defense led by Biggs held the Pioneers at bay.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Week seven in Ross football history....1961


Week seven of the 1961 football season saw head coach Mal Mackey and his Little Giants make the road trip to Lorain to take on the Steelmen of Lorain Senior at George Daniel Stadium. The state-ranked Little Giants had their hands full with the Gold and Brown Steelmen before winning 20-14. Mackey felt his charges were looking ahead to a league-title showdown the following week with then-powerful Marion Harding.

Junior back Jack Ziemke and Senior quarterback Guy Nufer led the purple and white to a 20-8 lead over Lorain in the first two quarters. Ziemke had a 53 yard run in the first quarter to put the Little Giants in business at the Steelmen 26. The Ross junior put the ball in the endzone from four yards out six plays later. The two point PAT was good and the Fremonters led 8-0 with 4:01 left in the first quarter.

Lorain looked as though they would strike back with a drive deep into Little Giant territory. The Steelmen bulled their way to the Ross 18 yard line. The key play in the drive was a 50 yard pass from QB Chick Breeden to Dave Van Tresca. The Steelers pushed the ball to the Ross 12 where Little Giant defender Jay Mackey snuffed out the threat by falling on a Lorain fumble.

The next Little Giant drive was 88 yards that started in the first quarter and rolled on into the second. The key plays in the drive were a 15 yard Nufer pass to end Russ Sale and a 42 yard Ziemke TD run to put the purple and white up 14-0.

The Steelers got on the board quickly after that when Breeden took the Jerome Brudzinski kickoff back 81 yards for a TD. The two point PAT was good and Lorain trailed 14-8.

Ross answered the Steeler score with a 70 yard drive that was capped by Larry Kelly bulling his way over from the four. The PAT was no good and the Little Giants went into the locker room at the half up 20-8.

The Steelmen controlled the game in the second half with the highlight being a 75 yard drive. The drive was capped by a Fred Wilson score from within the one on a fourth down play. The PAT was no good and Ross led 20-14.

For the night Ziemke had 191 yards on 19 carries. The win put the Little Giants in line to win their first Buckeye Conference crown since 1957. Ross was 4-0 in the league and 6-1 overall. The Little Giant would face Marion Harding the following week for the BC crown.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Week six in Ross football history....1971


Week six of the 1971 football season saw one of the biggest games Harmon/Don Paul stadium has ever seen. The unbeaten and state ranked Little Giants hosted the undefeated and state ranked Pioneers of Elyria in a huge Buckeye Conference showdown. Both teams were 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Buckeye. For Elyria coach Bill Bartons charges this was just another big game in a line of big games for the Pioneers who were a state power in the era. For the Little Giants of head coach Chuck Shuff this was the first huge game since his rebuilding effort began showing results.

The game was one of those that live up to all the hype. An overflow crowd that is still the largest to date jammed Harmon Stadium for the contest. The attendance was estimated at anywhere from 10,000 to 13,000. Remember back in those days the concession stands in the northwest corner were not there and both endzones were empty. Bleachers ringed both endzones and were full. The area in front of the old home side was full of standing room only attendees.

The names associated with this great contest are a who's who of football. Bill Barton, Chuck Shuff, Les Miles, Bob Brudzinski, Tommy Liggins, Rob Lytle, Chuck Lindsey, Ike Maxwell and more were involved with this game.

Maxwell was the star of the show as the Pioneer back had 219 yards on 30 carries. The Little Giants struck first on a Ben Lopez to Dale Shoemaker 18 yard touchdown pass. Tommy Liggins kicked the PAT and the Little Giants were on the board first with a 7-0 lead. The score was the result of a drive that started at the Pioneer 46 yard line.

Maxwell first score for the Lorain County visitors was on a three yard run in the second quarter. The tough Elyria back also carried the ball into the endzone for the two point PAT and the Pioneers led 8-7.

Four minutes later Maxwell dazzled the Harmon Stadium crowd with a 76 yard touchdown run. The PAT kick was good and Elyria went into the locker rooms at the half up 15-7.

The second half saw both teams threaten but both defenses hold. For the game the powerful Elyria defense held Fremonts talented backs mostly in check. Tom Liggins had 48 yards rushing and Rob Lytle was held to 80.

Elyria went on to win the Buckeye Conference title with a 7-0 league mark and a perfect 10-0 overall record. Many considered the '71 Pioneer football team the best ever at Elyria which is saying a lot considering the programs great history.

The tough loss was the only one of the season for the Little Giants. Ross finished second in the Buckeye at 6-1 and the Purple and White finished 9-1 overall.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week five in Ross football history.....1951


Week five of the 1951 season saw the unbeaten Little Giants taking on the unbeaten and fifth ranked Blue Streaks of Sandusky. The Erie County rivals had what many thought was the best Sandusky team in 15 years. Ross had revenge on their minds as the Blue Streaks has knocked the Little Giants off in 1950 by a 29-7 count.

A record crowd to that date, over 7,000 fans, jammed Harmon Stadium for the rivalry game and they got their moneys worth. Well, the Fremonters got their moneys worth. Sandusky fans may have wanted a refund after the contest ended.

The powerful Blue Streaks took control early and rolled out to a 14-0 lead. The first Sandusky score came after a 78 yard drive. The drive was capped by a Jude Thelbert to Chuck Acierto touchdown pass of six yard. The PAT was good and the hated rivals led 7-0. With 3:26 left in the first quarter Sandusky defender Dee DeVees intercepted a Ronnie Whitcomb pass and returned it to the Ross 38. Thelbert capped the short drive with a run into the endzone and the Streaks led 14-0 at the end of one.

What would be an amazing Little Giant comeback started in the second quarter. Ross capped a 79 yard drive on a great play. Ross great John Lewis took a pitch from Whitcomb. Big Thunder then lofted a pass to Jerry Porczak in the endzone. The PAT was no good but the Little Giants had trimmed the Blue Streak lead to 14-6 which was the halftime score as well.

Legendary Little Giant coach Mal Mackey undoubtedly gave his charges a rousing halftime talk because they came out with a full head of steam in the second half. The purple and white narrowed the Blue Streak lead to 14-13 in the third quarter. Jerome "Little Thunder" Surratt capped a 78 yard drive with a 31 yard TD run.

In the fourth quarter the gritty Ross defense halted a Sandusky drive at the Little Giant 14 yard line. That's where the winning Giant drive started. Big Thunder, hampered the entire game by injuries bulled his way in from the one yard line to give the Little Giants a 19-14 lead. Mal Mackeys defense held the Blue Streaks at bay the rest of the game and the Little Giants won their ninth straight game.

Despite his injuries Lewis led all Little Giant rushers with 137 yards. Surratt wasn't far behind with 114 yards toting the ball. Thelbert led Jeff DeHavens Blue Streaks with 101 yards.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A great night.....a terrible night

The opening night of football play of the new Three Rivers Athletic Conference was expected to be a memorable one. Memorable yes, and one we should not ever forget.

The showcase game of the TRAC opening night took place right here in Fremont. The Don was packed with a big crowd primed to support the 3-0 Little Giants in a big battle against 3-0 league foe Toledo St. Johns. It was what many hoped would be a great night and beginning of a great era for the new league.

The game did not disappoint. A double overtime thriller that was packed with tremendous players and great plays. As in any big game the emotion of the night got to the players and in some cases on both sides, those players overreacted. The Little Giants and Titans were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and personal fouls on a number of occasions.

There are three different guilty parties responsible for what ended up a terrible night. Those three parties are the officials, the Titans, and our Little Giants.

The officials let this game get out of their control quickly. As some people have mentioned the refs may have let the emotion and physicality of the night overwhelm them. The number of personal fouls should have been dealt with. At some point the refs should have started cracking down on the offending players. The officials do have that ability. They can eject players when personal fouls get out of control. They did not do that. At one point a referee actually pushed a Ross player on the field. The officals did such a questionable job that the forum was told by a reliable source that at the end of the game the guys in strips were told they may want to leave the field as soon as possible for their own safety.
Questionable calls by officials are always going to take place. Sometimes they will go our way, sometimes they won't. We cannot control the officials.

The St. Johns Titans were not innocent of wrongdoing Friday night. The Titans had a large number of personal fouls as well. The forum was informed by a parent of a player that Little Giant players were the subject of racial slurs hurled at them by Titan players. Our kids know these kind of things will happen. It has happened before. The kids should turn their backs and walk away from this disgusting behavior, but honestly, if I were an African American or Latino player being subjected to a racial slur, I cannot say that I would be able to walk away without responding.
After the Little Giants made it clear there would be no after-game handshake, the Titan players held a team meeting on the 50 yard line, sitting on our logo, staring into the Ross locker room. What did they hope to achieve by doing this? We can't worry about the Titans and what they did or why they did it.

And that brings up the handshake issue. After the game our Little Giants did not shake hands with their opponents. After a Saturday of phone calls and discussions with folks in the know it was determined that the referees did not tell the kids to not shake hands. What cannot be determined is if one ref told the Ross players to "stay off the field" while the Titans celebrated. A players parent informed the forum that such a statement was made and that the Little Giants took that to mean "go to your locker room".

We CAN and SHOULD be concerned about what our Little Giants do. By not shaking hands with their opponents on Friday night the boys in purple and white displayed a serious lack of class and sportsmanship. Fremont fans were outraged and had a right to be. We pride ourselves in being a class opponent and class host. Fridays actions tarnished that reputation. This is an issue that should be addressed. We expect our Little Giants to play hard, and play with emotion. What we don't want or expect are displays of poor sportsmanship and no class. We care about what happens. The folks in charge may want to get this under control before the fans stop caring. If they stop caring, they stop coming. No attendance=no revenue.

Let's not forget this past Friday night. And let's learn from it.