Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday weekend rememberances

Sitting in my ratty recliner on this Thanksgiving weekend morning has me reflecting on our past.

I read this morning that another part of Fremonts business community has announced that they will be closing up shop. Swint-Reineck hardware has announced that they will be closing after serving Fremont for well over a century. This isn't a blog to blast companies that aren't local, or folks who support them. I'll leave that for other forums and blogs. This simply is just to look back, and remember.

Remember when Swint-Reineck was located downtown? They had department store neighbors like Josephs, Penneys, The Lion Store, Montgomery Ward, and Marconi's. Clothing stores abounded along Front St. Names like Lytles, Lords, Bintz, Richards, and Pfisters provided clothing options to the local shopper. You had the option of eating and drinking at Creightons, and Nickles Cafe, along with the restaurants at the Hotel Fremont. Speaking of "The Fremont" travellers could stay there, or at the Hotel Jackson, or at the Colonial Hotel(before it became seedy). Those three were forerunners of the Fort Stephenson Hotel which later became what we now know as the Fort Stephenson House.

All those businesses survived because folks travelling across Northern Ohio had to go through downtown Fremont to get to their destination. If you were going from Toledo to Cleveland on US 20 you came through Fremont on State Street. If you were headed from the Columbus area to Lake Erie, you came through downtown on SR 53 on Front Street. If you were travelling from Lima to Sandusky you followed US 6 through downtown. And in those days there was only one bridge over the Sandusky River. The State Street Bridge carried all the traffic over the River as the Miles Newton Bridge was not even thought of yet.

I can still recall wanting to go downtown when my parents would head down there for shopping. The streets were busy with folks doing their business. And during the holidays it was a treat to walk from store to store with the snowflakes falling around you.

The long-ago memories didn't just exist downtown. If you needed to buy groceries you didn't have to go to a Super K-Mart or Wal-Mart to do it. All you had to do was go to your neighborhood corner store. They were all over Fremont. Now don't confuse these neighborhood markets with the party stores of today, they are nothing like that. In our west side neighborhood we would patronize Stierwalts Market at Napoleon and Spruce Sts. They were one of literally dozens of neighborhood markets all over the city. If you look closely as you go through town you can see remnants of these little stores. Names like Schwartz, Koebels, the Stadium carryout and more come to mind. And if you wanted a special treat there were the soda fountains that provided good stuff. Behrens at East State and Fifth Sts, Trempers downtown, and my favorite, Falquettes at West State and Franklin Ave, were places where you could get a sweet treat. I still recall Joe Wise calling us all by name as we came into Falquettes as we walked home from Stamm School. You don't get that at Wendys or McDonalds.

The few links to our past are becoming fewer and fewer. Grund Drugs downtown is one of the few links to our history that comes to mind. It's a sad fact that times and memories change.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The roots of a rivalry

Friday night the Little Giants, followed by their loyal fanbase will make the trip east on US 6 to do battle with their ancient arch-rivals from Sandusky High. The game will be the 104th meeting in a series that began back in 1895 when each school played their first-ever football game, and it just so happened to be against each other. Who would have known that at the end of the contest, and a 6-0 Sandusky win, that one of Ohios historic rivalries was born? Or was it already alive?

Let's backtrack 44 years to 1851. The following is taken from a WPA writers program project on the history of Fremont and Sandusky County copyright 1940. The topic is our historic War of 1812 cannon know as "Old Betsy".

Close to the grave stands OLD BETSY, the single cannon available for the defense of the fort. The six-pounder, originally captured from the French during the French and Indian War (1756-1763) , was at Fort Pitt from 1814 to 1851, when Brice J. Bartlett, mayor of Fremont, discovered its whereabouts and made arrangements to bring it back. The War Department missent the cannon to "Lower Sandusky," although the name of the town had long since been changed to Fremont. As a result Old Betsy landed in Sandusky where local patriots, eager to keep the relic, promptly buried it under a barn. When the cannon failed to reach Fremont, Mayor Bartlett hired a detective, who quickly found it. The citizens of Fremont then added another episode to Old Betsys life. They made a night foray on Sandusky and brought the war relic home in triumph.

Now I'm sure the local folk, led by Mayor Bartlett, had no idea when rescuing Old Betsy that not only were they adding another episode to her life that they had also fired the first shot in a now ancient rivalry between the two communities.

Back to 1895 and football. Just as the Mayor couldn't have known in 1851 what would transpire in the future football seasons to come, the young people playing that first game in Sandusky could not have know the length, intensity, and history that would develop between the two schools. But we know, and are so lucky to be a part of it.

From the very early years on Ross-Sandusky became known far and wide as a tremendous rivalry. Big crowds would show up every time the two teams battled. After that intial 1895 contest, the two teams met again in 1896, a 12-0 Sandusky win. The two teams would not meet again until the 1906 season when they met twice. Once again the Erie Countians won, both times. In 1907 Fremont was able to battle Sandusky to a tie. Fremont was finally able to taste victory over Sandusky in 1908 by a 16-11 score. Later that same 1908 season the two teams met again and Sandusky was leading 33-6 when the demoralized Fremont team quit during the second half. Sandusky was awarded a win by forfeit, 1-0. The two programs met again in 1909 and 1910 before missing each other in 1911. From 1912 to 1920 the teams met yearly. The 1921 season would have seen another meeting between the two but a smallpox epidemic shortened the season for both schools, cancelling their annual showdown.

The two rivals were back at it in 1922 and continued playing nonstop until the 1943 season when Sandusky was replaced by Fremont St. Joe for one year. That period of '22 to '42 saw some strong Sandusky teams. Sandusky dominated the Little Big Seven and the Buckeye League. The Blue Streaks ruled the rivalry in the 1930's going 9-0-1 against Ross from '30 to '39. The mid-twenties to late thirties period was when the two met in the final game of the season in their annual Thanksgiving Day battle.

After not playing in 1943, the Little Giants and Blue Streaks met once again in the 1944 season(a scoreless tie) and would meet every year until the breakup of the Buckeye Conference in 1986. The mid-1940's through mid-1980s saw some of the greatest football both schools have played. Ross dominated Sandusky in the late 1940's including the 1949 season when coach Les Binkleys Giants crushed Sandusky 47-7. The 50's were ruled for the most part by the Mal Mackey coached Little Giants which featured Ross going 29-0-1 in 1955, 56 and 57.

Just as the 50's was a great decade for the Little Giants, the 1960's was a monster decade for the Blue Streaks. In fact the Blue Streaks were known as the "monsters of the midway" during that decade. The Blue Streaks crushed a couple of bad Ross teams during that period by scores of 54-0 and 74-0.

From the huge Ross upset, 28-27 over state ranked Sandusky in 1969 to the end of the Buckeye Conference in 1986 the two rivals squared off regularly for the conference title. 1983 was a highlight year for the two. Week 10 of '83 the two unbeaten and state ranked powers battled at Strobel Field for the Buckeye Conference title. Ross won that game 7-0. The following Saturday night at Harmon Stadium the two rivals battled again in the regional championship game. Ross won that one as well 7-0.

Sadly the two schools did not meet in 1987 or 1988 after the Buckeye broke up and they joined seperate conferences. But come 1989 the two schools made up for lost time and staged a battle royale at Strobel Field. Sandusky took a quick 17-0 lead in the game only to see Ross battle back to win 21-17. Since that game the two have met yearly. From 1997 to this year the game has been in week 1o. Since that 1989 game that Little Giants and Blue Streaks have met 20 times consecutively. Ross leads during that time span 12-8.

What rivalry can boast coaching matchups like Jeff Dehaven vs. Les Binkely. Chuck Shuff vs. Gene Kidwell. How about Mal Mackey vs. Earle Bruce? And now we have Derek Kidwell against Mike Franklin.

Thom Darden, Tommy Liggins, Elmer Lippert, Kelvin Lindsay, Rob Lytle, Bob Brudzinski, Orlando Pace, and Charles Woodson, just some of the standout athletes who have played in this great rivalry. The list of players who have played in this historic series would go on for pages, just as the history of this great rivalry would also go on for pages, chapters maybe.

This old series saw a whale of a game in 2008 and the 2009 showdown looks to be a good one as well. And the good news is that despite the two teams parting ways conference-wise come 2011, the series will go on uninterrupted. Beginning in that '11 season the Little Giants and Blue Streaks will meet in week one of the season. I cannot imagine the preseason hype and buildup that will take place beforehand. Maybe that change will breathe new life into the old series.

To date the two teams have met 104 times. Sandusky leads the series 52-43-8. Ross won last years game 26-20. The Little Giants are on a four game winning streak over their rivals. The last Blue Streak win was a 21-12 decision in 2004. Ross has never won five in a row over the Streaks. Could this year be the year that changes? Or do the Blue Streaks finish 2009 on a high note. Find out at Strobel Field this Friday night.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Week nine ticker.....

Finishing up a beautiful late October day with the NLCS on TV. The Phillies and Dodgers are scoreless early on. Speaking of playoffs we're coming into week nine of the '09 high school football season and some teams have already clinched a playoff berth and are working on making sure they are home come week 11. Other teams have a crucial week this week hoping they win to assure a postseason appearance while yet others must be content with playing out the season knowing they will be done after next weekend.

Dodgers up 1-0.

We begin the ticker in Region 2 with the only team to have clinched a playoff berth so far, the Panthers of Toledo Whitmer. Whitmer(7-1), the current #1 team in R2 hosts the Bowsher Rebels Friday night. Bowsher(3-5) shouldn't be much of a problem for the Panthers in this CL game. A win and Whitmer moves one step closer to playing in their beautiful stadium come week 11.

Perrysburg(6-2) currnently sits in 8th in R2. The Yellow Jackets, 15-14 winners over Springfield last Friday night can't slip up this week at Sylvania Northview(3-5). Perrysburg needs to continue to win to stay ahead of ninth ranked Hudson. Northview may give the Jackets a battle but this one should go P-Burgs way.

Sylvania Southview is not out of the R2 playoff race but may need some help to get in. The Cougars(5-3) currently sit in 10th place but have games left against Bowling Green(2-6) this week, and crosstown rival Northview next week. Assuming Southview wins, and they should, they are not going to garner a lot of points from beating the two.

Toledo St. Johns(5-3) is still sniffing the playoffs in R2. The Titans currently sit in 11th place and are at Toledo Waite(3-5) this week. Not many points to be gained with a win there but win the Johnnies must if they want to have a shot at the postseason going into their game against Central Catholic next weekend.

In R6 Toledo St. Francis controls their own destiny. The Knights currently sit in first the the region. SFS(7-1) takes on Toledo Scott(2-6) this weekend and should have no problems handling the Bulldogs.

Toledo Central Catholic(6-2) currently sits in third in R6. The Irish host Toledo Libbey(1-6) on Friday night. Central is coming into the game on the heels of a 14-7 loss last week to Whitmer while the Cowboys were shut out by Waite last week 28-0. CCHS names the score in this one.

The Rogers Rams(7-1) can assure themselves of a week 11 appearance by knocking off Oregon Clay(4-4) on Friday night. Rogers sits in fourth in the region and would get some decent harbins by winning over the D1 Eagles. Rogers wins 41-14.

Maumee(7-1) clings to the eighth spot in R6 this week. The Panthers, 34-6 victors over BG last week take on the Blue Devils of Springfield(3-5). Maumee doesn't want to slip up with a huge rivalry showdown next Friday against D1 Perryburg.

We cannot forget the current 13th ranked team in R6, the Blue Streaks of Sandusky. A win Friday night for the Streaks(4-4) over Napoleon would catapault Sandusky near the top eight, if not into it. The Wildcats are ranked first in R10 and would provide a lot of computer points if they were to lose. Should be a good GBC showdown at the Buck.

Speaking of R10, the Perkins Pirates hope to rebound from that 27-13 loss to Clyde last weekend by beating Port Clinton(4-4). Perkins is currently fourth in the region and need a win to help assure a home game in the first round. PC is currently 17th in R18 and would garner a lot of points with an upset win this week. Combine that with a win over Huron next weekend, along with a little help and who knows.

Those same Clyde Fliers who knocked off the unbeaten Pirates last week are in ninth place this week in R10. Clyde will need to win out to get into the playoffs. The Fliers face Oak Harbor(2-6) this week and then travel to Milan next weekend to take on the Edison Chargers who currently sit at 7-1 on the season.

Bellevue(4-4) is currently in 12th in R10. The Redmen who were shocked in OT by Upper Sandusky last week, 41-34 will not get a lot of points this week by beating 0-8 Norwalk but the Redmen cannot afford any slipups and can't be looking ahead to next weeks game against current undefeated Galion(8-0). Bellevue wins out and who knows what the postseason could hold.

The those same Tigers of Galion can assure themselves of a home game in the first round of the playoffs with wins the next two weeks. Galion host Willard(2-6) before travelling to BAF next weekend to take on the Redmen. Galion is currently in first in R14.

The second place team in R14 are the very powerful Genoa Comets(8-0). No opponent has come close to challenging Genoa this year. The Comets can name the score this Friday night against Otsego(0-8), and probably next weekend against Elmwood(3-5). Genoa will need both wins to chase down a home field advantage in week 11.

The Crimson Streaks of Fremont SJCC currently sit in fourth place in R22. The Crimson Streaks(7-1) take on the Tigers of Seneca East(4-4) this Saturday night at the Don. SJCC cannot look ahead to next weeks showdown at Carey or the could slip up and miss out on a home game in the first week of the postseason.

Enjoy week nine. Go out and support your favorite team. Support the kids.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week eight ticker....

Week eight already and the games keep getting more important.

In R2
Let's start right here in Fremont. The Little Giants playoff hopes have been badly damaged by two consecutive losses. But amazingly Ross is not out of it. Things really have to go our way for the playoffs to be a possibility. A win over a very good Napoleon team this Friday night is a must. The Wildcats(6-1) are ranked 1st in R10 and the Little Giants (4-3) are in 13th place in R2. For the 'Cats a win would go a long way towards helping to clinch home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Next we move to the Little Giants new conference, the Toledo City League. A big battle on Alexis Rd tomorrow night as Whitmer(6-1) hosts Central Catholic (6-1). The Panthers are #1 in R2 and coming in after a 38-0 win over Clay. The Fighting Irish are the top team in R6 after beating St. Francis 10-0. Whitmer Memorial, which has seen some great contests already this season, will be rocking once again. Panthers win.

Another R2 team that has lost two in a row, Massillon Washington has yet another big game Friday. The Tigers (5-2) host Warren Harding (4-2-1). Massillon, currently in third in R2 has dropped games to Cleveland St. Ignatius and Steubenville in consecutive weeks. The Raiders are currently ranked 7th in R1 and lost last week to Cleveland St. Ignatius 10-7. Tigers win.

Another Tiger team, this time the one out of Twinsburg(6-1) have a big showdown at Hudson(6-1). The Explorers are currently 8th in the region after beating Elyria 10-0 last week. Twinsburg rolled Cuyahoga Falls last week 45-7 and sit in 4th. Tigers win.

Canton GlenOak and Boardman tangle in a Fed showdown tomorrow night in Canton. The Golden Eagles(6-1) have rolled along after losing to Massillon and now sit in 5th in R2. GlenOak was a 21-14 winner over Uniontown Lake last weekend. The Spartans sit in 11th in R1 and can really use the points from a win over GlenOak. Spartans win.

North Canton Hoover(5-2), 31-20 winners over Austintown Fitch last weekend host the Canton McKinley Bulldogs Friday. McK(4-3) blasted Massillon Perry 54-21 and sit in 17th in the region. McKinley is still not out of the playoff picture but must win out. Hoover sits in 6th in R2 and would remain stable in the top eight with a win. Bulldogs win.


The Clyde Fliers are in a must-win situation this weekend against Perkins. The Fliers(4-3), regular playoff qualifiers of late sit in 16th in R10. Clyde hosts the powerful Perkins Pirates(7-0) at Bishop Field. Perkins is in 3rd in the region and would provide Clyde a lot of points towards a playoff spot. Clyde is coming into the game after beating Sandusky St. Marys 28-0 while the Pirates roll in after beating a good Huron team 21-7. Pirates win.

The Golden Bears of Bryan(5-2) are the #7 team in R10. Bryan would really like to bounce back big after losing to Patrick Henry last week 28-21. It won't be easy as another tough Henry County team pays a visit. Liberty Center(5-2) rolls into Bryan after beating Otsego 48-0. The Tigers are 10th in R18. Tigers win.

The powerful Genoa Comets(7-0), the #3 team in R14 visit the Flyers of Lake(5-2). For Genoa it's all about clinching a home playoff berth while the Flyers need this game to have any shot at the postseason. Lake gave a good Eastwood team a battle before falling last week 9-7. Genoa continued their winning ways, 47-0 over Gibsonburg. It won't be any different along Route 795 tomorrow night. Comets roll.

A big NWOAL game tomorrow night in Archbold(5-2) as the Blue Streaks entertain the Patriots of Patrick Henry(7-0). PH is the top team in R18 while the Streaks sit in 14th. Archbold edged Delta last week 17-15. Patriots win.

In R22 a titanic battle take place tomorrow night in Delphos as St. Johns(7-0) hosts Coldwater(7-0) in the MAC. The Blue Jays beat Parkway last week 42-7 while the Cavs beat St. Henry 17-0. DSJ sits in first in their region while the Cavaliers are tops in R20. Cavaliers win.

Bundle up and enjoy this weeks games. Support your team, support the kids.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Toledo City League

Weeks and months of instability and uncertainty came to an end yesterday when the Toledo City League admitted Fremont Ross as a member. Now there is still some official things that need to take place before we actually become members beginning in 2011 but without a doubt those are technicalities that will take place easily.

Make no mistake about it this is great news. Becoming a member of the CL offers Ross and it's athletic programs longterm stability. Even if the long-rumored closing of Libbey becomes reality the number of schools in the league will still guarantee the kind of stability that we have not had since the days of the Great Lakes League. Heck even if two of the Toledo publics were to close, which is a possiblity with declining enrollments in the Toledo City School district, there would still be stability that we would not have had as a member of any other league including he Northern Ohio League.

One of the reasons that Ross was voted in is the fact that we have a long history of competition against CL schools, in all sports, both boys and girls. And Little Giant athletic teams are very competitive with the current CL schools. Look at the attendance at this years Ross-Whitmer football game. Now that won't be the case in all games in the CL but you can be it will be when we face Clay, Whitmer, or any of the parochials.

Much credit for this acceptance goes to Ross AD Art Bucci. Bucci has reportedly been working hard behind the scenes for some time to make this happen. His efforts have led to the Little Giants becoming members of an league that has been around for decades and will be around for a long time to come. His work has given Ross athletic teams longterm league stability.

The downside of yesterdays good news for Ross was the fact that Findlay, and Lima Senior were denied membership. Travel has been cited as the main reason. For the Trojans, Spartans, and Marion Harding the stress of trying to find a league continues. I hope for the best for them.

Now that the big decision has been made let's focus on our remaining time in the Greater Buckeye Conference beginning with Friday nights game against Napoleon. Let's go out and keep our playoff hopes alive with a win over the Wildcats.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Week seven ticker......

Week seven has rolled around already and it's time for the ticker....

In region 2......

An old rivalry that doesn't get as much attention as it should takes place this weekend at Oregon Clay as the Eagles host the Panthers of Toledo Whitmer. Clay (4-2) is the current #12 team in R2 while the Panthers(5-1), despite losing to Toledo St. Francis last week 21-17 remain the top team. Clay comes in after losing to Toledo Central Catholic 29-14. If the Eagles have any hope at all of getting into the post season they must beat the Panthers. While the Eagles will put up a fight, Whitmer should prevail.

A blast from the past type game takes place on Friday night as the #3 team in the region, the Tigers of Massillon Washington(5-1) take to the road to visit Death Valley in Steubenville. Awaiting the Tigers will be the Big Red(6-0), the current top team in R11. The Big Red are coming into the game on the heels of a 39-14 win over Wheeling(WV) Park. Massillon dropped their first game of the season last Saturday night in a controversial 26-21 decision to Cleveland St. Ignatius. Fridays game will be the first time the Tigers and Big Red have met since the breakup of the powerful All American Conference in 1978. The two teams have met 42 times and Massillon has a 37-3-2 lead in the series that began in 1930. The Tigers should win this weeks encouter too. A overflow crowd of 10,000 plus will attend.

The Blue Devils of Brunswick(5-1) currently 4th in R2 will visit the Comets of Solon on Friday night. Solon(6-0) is currently ranked 2nd in R1. The Comets dealt Mayfield their first loss of the season last week 27-20. Brunswick rolled over Nordonia 48-13. Look for Solon to beat the Blue Devils.

North Canton Hoover(4-2) the #7 team in R2 has a big game against Austintown Fitch(5-1) on Friday. The Fitch Falcons are currently 10th in R1 and need this one to move up. Fitch was a 45-37 winner over Massillon Jackson last week while the Hoover Vikings lost to Boardman 16-7. I think Fitch pulls out the win in this one.

Sylvania Southview(4-2) the current #9 team in R2 has a chance to move into one of the top 8 spots if they can beat Maumee(5-1). The Panthers were an easy 42-20 winner over Rossford last week and are currently ranked 8th in R6. A lot of folks may have written the Cougars of Southview and their playoff chances off just a bit early after their first two games. Southview will win at Maumee and greatly improve their chances at the postseason.

In other games....

The 50th battle for the IrishKnight Trophy takes place at the Gallagher Athletic Complex at Toledo Central Catholic Friday night as the Fighting Irish(5-1) host the Knights of Toledo St. Francis(6-0). CCHS is currently ranked 5th in R6 while the Knights are the top team in the same region. I think SFS has proven themselves this season as the real deal and they'll solidify their top spot in R6 with a win.

A huge Northwest Ohio Athletic League battle will erupt in Hamler Friday night as the unbeaten(6-0) Patriots of Patrick Henry host the upstart Golden Bears of Bryan (5-1). Bryan is currently ranked 7th in R10 while the powerful Patriots are ranked 3rd in R18. PH was a 52-10 winner over Delta last Friday while the Golden Bears shut out Wauseon 35-0. PH wins this one.

In the Western Buckeye League the Titans of Ottawa-Glandorf (5-1) host the Roughriders of St. Marys Memorial(4-2) on Friday. O-G is the #3 team in R14 coming in on the heels of a 35-10 win over Elida. St. Marys beat Wapakoneta last week 28-17 and are currently ranked 14th in R10. The Roughriders really need this one if they have any hopes of getting into the postseason. WBL battles are always good ones and this one could go either way.

A big neighborhood battle takes place in Crawford County Friday night. The Redmen of Bucyrus(5-1) visit the Royals of Wynford(6-0). Bucyrus is currently 10th in R14 and need a win over the Royals who are the current #2 team in R21. Look for a big crowd and a fairly easy Wynford win.

Eastwood and Lake both 5-1 hook up tomorrow night along SR 795 in Wood County. The Eagles are the #11 team in R14 while the Flyers are back in the #15 spot. The winner of this game will move up nicely.

A big battle in Lima tomorrow night as the Thunderbirds(5-1) host the Silver Knights of Columbus Bishop Ready(5-0). LCC is the #5 team in R18 and they'll face a Bishop Ready squad that sits in 3rd place in R10. Ready was a 30-0 winner over United Military Academy last week while LCC humbled Spencerville 59-14.

A huge Midland Athletic league battle takes place in Bacsom on Friday night as the Cheiftans(5-1) host the Blue Devils of Carey(6-0). H-L is the 6th place team in R21 while Carey is currently 2nd in R22.

Edgerton(6-0), the #6 team in R22 host the Apaches of Fairview(4-2) on Friday. Fairview is in 11th place in R18 and really needs the points from a win over the Bulldogs to move into a playoff spot. Edgerton is coming into the game after beating Holgate 54-32 last week while the Apaches were 30-19 winners over Antwerp. I look for a Fairview win.

A Blanchard Valley Conference showdown take place on Friday night at Cory Rawson as the Hornets(4-2) host the Panthers of McComb(4-2). Cory Rawson is the current 8th place team in R22 while the Panthers are 10th. Should be a great game in Hancock County.

As always, lots of great games this weekend. Get out and support your favorite team. Support the kids.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Week six ticker.....

....Region two

>>Two huge battles this weekend featuring the top two teams in the region. Current #1 Toledo Whitmer has a big City League showdown with the Knights of Toledo St. Francis. Both teams are 5-0. Whitmer is coming off a 20-7 win over Toledo St. Johns while SFS blanked Toledo Woodward 50-zip. St. Francis is the current #1 team in R6. Another playoff atmosphere expected at Whitmer Memorial. Whitmer should win a close one.

Saturday night will see another bigR2 battle, this time in Northeast Ohio when the Tigers of Massillon Washington(5-0), the current #2 in R2 visit the Wildcats of Cleveland St. Ignatius(5-0) at Byers Field in Parma. The Wildcats are the current top team in R1. Iggy is coming off a 30-14 win over Buffalo NY St. Francis. Massillon beat Akron Garfield last week 44-13. I hate to do this to my many Massillon friends but the Wildcats will win.

#3 Wadsworth(5-0) has a game at Copley(4-1) on Friday night. The Grizzlies beat Green 49-21 last week. Copley the #3 team in R5 are 4-1 after a 31-14 win over Cloverleaf last Friday. Wadsworth could really cement their top 8 status with a win over the Indians . Wadsworth wins.

North Canton Hoover (4-1) can get some good points with a win over Boardman Friday night. The Spartans are currently 15th and could make a jump towards the top eight with a win over the Vikings. Boardman is 3-2 after a 34-16 win over Massillon Perry last week. Hoover beat Uniontown Lake 35-20. Hoover wins.

Canton GlenOak and Canton McKinley hook up Friday night, both teams coming in 3-2. Glenoak is 9th in R2 and McK is 14th.

As we leave R2 just a reminder that our Little Giants are currently in 11th in R2. Ross is less than a full point out of the #8 spot right night. Looks like this....

8. Perrysburg 7.9000

9. Canton GlenOak 7.7000

10. Oregon Clay 7.350

11. Fremont Ross 7.0778

In other games...

A big R6 battle at the Gallagher Athletic Complex up on Cherry St. in Toledo two 4-1 teams hook up. The Fighting Irish(4-1) hosts Oregon Clay. The Fighting Irish were 38-0 winners over Toledo Bowsher last week while the Eagles edged Toledo Satrt 27-24. A lot of playoff points on the line here. CCHS wins.

This weeks "are they for real?" team are the 5-0 Edison Chargers. Edison hosts unbeaten Gary Quisno coached Perkins Pirates(5-0). Edison is currently the #2 team in R14 and shellacked Port Clinton last week 50-9. The Pirates are well sitting in the #3 spot in R10. Perkins of Sandusky St. Marys last Saturday night up at Strobel 57-0. Perkins wins.

Bryan and Wauseon hook up this week at the home of the Golden Bears. Bryan sits in 7th place tie in R10 while The Indians are in 12th place in R14. Bryan can help solidify their spot with a win over Wauseon. The Golden Bears (4-1) beat Montpelier 49-6 while the Indians (3-2) lost a tough one to Liberty Center 7-3. This one should be a great game. I look for Bryan to win.

The best game in Northwest Ohio could be tomorrow night in Genoa. A titanic Suburban Lakes League battle between the Comets(5-0) and the Eastwood Eagles(5-0). The powerful Comets are currently ranked 6th in R14 while the Eagles are in the 8 spot in that same region 14. Genoa rolled Northwood last week 48-6 while the Eagles slapped Woodmore around 76-34. Standing room only in Genoa tomorrow night. Comets win.

In R14 this week Tinora and Wayne Trace hook up at the home of the Rams. Tinora(4-1) is the current #3 team in the region. Wayne Trace comes into the game ranked 14th. The Raiders(3-2) lost to Hicksville last week 39-9. Wayne Trace needs this one if the want to get into the playoffs. Tinora wins.

Down in the Bucyrus area the Wynford Royals(5-0) host the Bucks of Buckeye Central(4-1). Wynford is the #5 team in R21 while Buckeye Central sits in 11th. The Bucks really need this to get in. Wynford wins.

Also in R21 Hopewell-Louden is at Seneca East. H-L(4-1) will want to prove they are past the OT loss to SJCC last week. Seneca East(3-2) needs a win to keep their playoff hopes going. Cheiftans win.

The Red Devils of Arlington out of the Blanchard Valley Conference travels to Leipsic tomorrow night. Both teams are 4-1 on the season. Arlington is ranked 6th in R22 while Vikings of Leipsic are in 7th. Should be a great game. Red Devils win.

Gonna be another great night of high school football all over Ohio this week. Support your favorite team. Support the kids.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A tale of two rivals

Many football programs have more than one rival. Michigan has Michigan State and Ohio State. MSU has the Wolverines and Notre Dame. ND has Michigan, MSU and USC, to name a few. On the high school level the Massillon Washington-Canton McKinley rivalry is Ohios oldest and one of the most recognizable rivalries in the entire country. But Massillon also counts Warren Harding as a big rival.
Locally our Little Giants take part in Ohios second-oldest rivalry with the Sandusky Blue Streaks. It is a series that has been going on since 1895. It is also one of the nations oldest high school football rivalries. It means a lot to both communities, even in times when one of the two programs, in this case Sandusky, is really struggling.
But like the aforementioned programs with more than one rival, Fremont Ross also has a second intense rivalry. That would be with this weeks football opponent, the Findlay Trojans. And as much as we want to beat that team from Erie County, we also point to and want to beat Findlay.
Just seven years after the Ross-Sandusky series started, Fremont Ross and Findlay began their historic football series. The year was 1902, 107 year ago, and the Trojans won the first ever game between the two schools 41-11. The next time the two teams met was the sixth game of the 1906 season and once again the Trojans won 58-0. After those two drubbings the two teams would not face each other again until the third game of the 1917 season and the result was much the same as the previous two meetings, Findlay won 30-6. Fremont Ross would wait until the 1919 season before getting a taste of victory over their Hancock County foes with a 22-0 shutout win.
Coming into this Friday nights homecoming game at the Don the two rivals have met 86 times since that inital game at the start of the 20th century. Despite the early Trojan success, the Little Giants have a commanding 52-31-3 lead in the series. The two teams have met on the gridiron every year from 1930 on. That surpasses the Ross-Sandusky rivalry which has seen interruptions twice, in 1943 and again in 1987 and 1988.
The Ross-Findlay rivalry has seen some interesting streaks. The most recent was a six game win streak by the Trojans from 1998-2003. That matched the win streak the Little Giants had from 1992-1997.
We all know the great players and coaches that have taken part in the Little Giants side of this rivalry. Well Findlay too, has seen its share of noted players and coaches in the series. Rothelisberger, Schramm, Iriti, Walker and more have made stellar plays for the Trojans, while coaches such as Hite and Bill Jones have piloted Findlay on the sidelines.
There have been some incredible games between the two teams. In this fans mind the 1974 game was probably the greatest in the history of the rivalry. The 7-0-1 Little Giants visited the powerful Trojans at Donnell Stadium in the ninth game of the '74 campaign. 11,000 fans ringed Donnell for that game and they saw the Tom Hollman coached Little Giants slug out a 12-7 victory enroute to another Buckeye Conference title. In 1975 the unbeaten Trojans came into Harmon Stadium to face the 6-1-1 Little Giants. 10,000 were on hand to watch Findlay win 22-13.
So that brings us to 2009 and the 87th renewal of this old rivalry. Findlay comes in 1-4 while our Little Giants are 4-1. Both teams have been pointing to this game. The Trojans pin their hopes on turning their less than successful campaign around with a win over their hated rivals. Their team and fans have been pointing to this game from the preseason on. The Little Giants meantime, have also been pointing to this game, remembering what happened to them and their playoff hopes in a 37-34 heartbreaking loss to the Trojans in 2008 at Donnell Stadium.
Some folks seem to think that a team can only have one major rival. Well the facts and history points to another point of view. At Fremont Ross we are fortunate to be a part of two historic rivalries in the story of Ohio high school football. We'll take care of that team from Erie County in week 10. But before that let's take care of the other rival by knocking off the Trojans this Friday night at the Don.

Be there. All the goals are still there.



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week five ticker....

We're coming into the midway point of the '09 football season and the games get bigger and bigger in relation to the playoff race.

In region 2...
Toledo Whitmer(4-0) the current #1 team in R2 takes on Toledo St. Johns(2-2) at Toledo Starts Spartan Stadium. St. Johns is currently 14th in the region and coming in after losing to Toledo St. Francis last weekend 7-6. Whitmer rolled over Toledo Rogers 43-20 last weekend. The Titans would roll up some serious harbins with what would be an upset win but I don't believe that will happen. Whitmer is the real deal this year.

#2 Brunswick(4-0) hosts #8 Twinsburg(3-1) Friday night. This is a huge R2 battle with the winner cementing their presence in the top 8. Brunswick was a 43-22 winner over Garfield Heights last weekend while the Tigers easily knocked off Parma Normandy 27-7.

#5 Hudson has a big battle with the Comets of Solon(4-0) at home. The Explorers were 35-34 overtime winners over winless Strongsville last weekend while Solon, currently the #4 team in R1 was a 42-6 winner over Parma.

As far a our Little Giants go it would helpful if Twinsburg and Solon were to win. #7 Perrysburg and #9 Oregon Clay, two teams ahead of #11 Ross face winless teams. The Yellow Jackets take on 0-4 Bowling Green while the Clay Eagles face winless Toledo Start. Look for a mild upset in that Start-Clay game as I expect the Spartans to pull out the win.

In other games of interest this weekend....
The Napoleon Wildcats of the Greater Buckeye Conference, currently 4-0 and the #1 team in R10 take to the road to visit the Irish of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary(3-1). SVSM is ranked 4th in R9 this week. I know Napoleon fans see red when people criticize their non-conference schedule as weak, but frankly, it is compared to who SVSM plays in the first part of the season. Because of that I look for the Irish to win this one.

This weeks "are they for real" team is the Galion Tigers(4-0). The Tigers are enjoying some football success after a long drought. Galion is currently the #4 team in R14 and will be seriously tested by the Tornadoes of Tiffin Columbian(2-2) this Friday night in Galion. Columbian is currently 15th in R10 and a win would help them move up handily, not to mention how much it would help teams that have beaten the Tornadoes, such as Fremont Ross. I expect Tiffin will win this one.

The high-flying Comets of Genoa(4-0), currently 5th in R14 visit the 2-2 Northwood Rangers on Friday night. Genoa has outscored their opponents 228-7 in their first four games. This weekend should be no different up along I-280.

A big battle will take place Saturday night in Delphos when the Jefferson Wildcats(4-0) host the Thunderbirds of Lima Central Catholic(3-1). Jefferson, the "other" team in Delphos is currently ranked 3rd in R18 and are coming off a 17-7 win over Allen East. LCC is 10th in the same region and hammered Columbus Grove last weekend 43-0. A Thunderbird win would move them up nicely in R18. Look for that to happen.

Hicksville(4-0), currently the #5 team in R18 visits Wayne Trace(3-1) the #12 team in R18. The Aces were 48-19 winners over Antwerp last weekend while the Raiders were edged by Edgerton 33-32. This one could be a great one to watch for folks in far Northwest Ohio.

Lakota(3-1), a 16-0 loser to Fremont SJCC last Saturday night continues their buzzsaw introduction to the Midland Athletic League this weekend. The Raiders, currently #7 in R18 despite losing to the Crimson Streaks take on unbeaten Carey(4-0) on Friday night. The game is at Lakota. Carey was a 14-8 winner over Tiffin Calvert last weekend. The Blue Devils are currently ranked 5th in R22.

Then there is the huge MAL battle between two 4-0 team in Bascom on Friday night. The Cheiftans of Hopewell-Loudon host the suprising Crimson Streaks of Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic. H-L is currently in 4th in the R21 playoff chase after beating Mohawk 28-6 last weekend. SJCC is sitting in 3rd in the R22 playoff chase after knocking off Lakota last Saturday night. SJCC can make a big statement with a win in this one but it won't be easy. We'll be rooting for the Streaks to get the win.

Ashland Crestview hosts Monroeville on Friday night. Both teams come into this one at 3-1 and in the playoff hunt in their respective regions. The Crestview Cougars, who lost their first game of the '09 campaign last weekend to Norwalk St. Paul 27-7 are currently ranked 6th in R18. Monroeville is in 7th place in R21 and was a 60-18 blowout winner over New London last Friday night.

As always lots of great games to choose from this weekend as the playoff races begin to take shape. Get out and support your team. Support the kids.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our out of state opponents

With the Little Giants entertaining the Knights of Bloomfield Hills Lahser this coming Friday night I thought it would be a good time to look back at our history with opponents from outside the state of Ohio.

The first time Ross took on an out of state team was back in 1952. The Little Giants hosted Hammond (IN) Bishop Noll in the ninth game of the '52 campaign and won 33-26. Bishop Noll made another appearance on the Little Giant schedule in the second week of the 1955 season and once again Ross won, this time by a 7-0 count. That win was #2 in what turned out to be the historic 29 game win streak that ran from 1955-1957.

The next time the Little Giants took on an out of state team was in the 1960 season. Ross got the ok to play an 11th regular season game that year and travelled to Louisville (KY) to take on Bishop Flaget High School in the first week of the season. It was a long trip back to Fremont as the Little Giants lost that one, 25-7.

The Little Giants would wait 31 years before playing another team from outside the Buckeye state. That team was the Mules of Bedford(MI). Ross and the Mules played nine times when the two were members of the Great Lakes League. The Little Giants won all nine of those contests.

To review here how we have fared against teams from outside Ohio...
1952...Ross 33 Hammond(IN) Bishop Noll 26
1955...Ross 7 Hammond (IN) Bishop Noll 0
1960...Louisville (KY) Bishop Flaget 25 Ross 7
1991...Ross 20 Bedford(MI) 12
1992...Ross 28 Bedford(MI) 14
1993...Ross 46 Bedford(MI) 16
1994...Ross 34 Bedford(MI) 10
1995...Ross 28 Bedford(MI) 12
1996...Ross 51 Bedford (MI) 0
1997...Ross 34 Bedford(MI) 7
1998...Ross 28 Bedford(MI) 6
1999...Ross 27 Bedford (MI) 14

12 games against opponents from out of Ohio with a record of 11-1. 9-0 against Michigan teams. Granted all those wins were against one team but that unbeaten string against the Wolverine state is worth keeping intact, don't you think?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Week four ticker....

Week four brings the following games of interest in region 2.

Brunswick(3-0) has a big game against Garfield Heights(3-0). The Blue Devils were 37-21 winners over Massillon Perry last weekend. Garfield Heights, currently ranked 11th in R1 knocked off Parma Heights Holy name 28-14.

There is a big battle of 3-0 powers at Whitmer Memorial Stadium in Toledo tomorrow night. The Whitmer Panthers host the Rams of Toledo Rogers. Whitmer is currently the #2 team in R2 while Rogers is the number one team in R6. The winner of this one will pile up a lot of harbins. I look for a disciplined Whitmer team to win this one.

The Elyria Pioneers, currently in 7th in R2 host the 3-0 Mayfield Wildcats. Mayfield is currently in 4th place in R1. Elyria is coming off a 48-15 loss to Avon Lake while Mayfield was a 31-6 winner over Olmsted Falls last weekend.

North Canton Hoover and Massillon Perry two 2-1 teams hook up tomorrow night in North Canton. The winner of this one will move up in R2.

Canton McKinley(2-1) will host Austintown Fitch(3-0) on Saturday night at Fawcett Stadium with the winner getting a lot of points as well.

There is a great rivalry game at the Glass Bowl in Toledo tomorrow night between Toledo St. Francis and Toledo St. Johns. The Knights(3-0) are coming off a 31-18 win over Dayton Carroll and are ranked third in R6. The Titans are coming in after beating Sandusky 42-21. The Titans are 11th in R2.

In other games of interest...
A big battle of 3-0 teams looms tomorrow night at Buckenmeyer Stadium in Napoleon. The Wildcats host the surprising Golden Bears of Bryan. Napoleon was a 35-0 winner over Bowling Green last week while Bryan rolled to 3-0 with a 43-14 win over Delta. This one could be a great game and I would not be suprised to see Bryan pull off a bit of a shocker.

The Edison Chargers are currently ranked fourth in R14. They can pile up some playoff points with a win over the Huron Tigers tomorrow night. Edison is hosting the 2-1 Tigers and is coming off a 44-6 win over Wellington. Huron is coming in after being shellacked 42-3 by Norwalk St. Paul. I look for Huron to win.

There is a big battle coming Saturday night at Don Paul Stadium between two 3-0 teams. The newest member of the Midland Athletic League, the Lakota Raiders pay a visit to the Crimson Streaks of Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic. Lakota is currently in third place in R18 while the Streaks are ranked fourth in R22. Lakota was a 38-28 winner over Margaretta last week while the Crimson Streaks beat Gibsonburg 21-6. This one should be a dandy.

Tomorrow night folks in Henry County get to see the latest renewal of the bitter rivalry between Patrick Henry and Liberty Center. Patrick Henry is 3-0 after hammering Montpelier last week 48-6 and is currently in a tie for fourth in R18. The Tigers of Liberty Center are 2-1 after edging Evergreen last week 21-20. LC is in in 10th in R18.

Another R18 battle tomorrow night, over in far Northwest Ohio pits two 3-0 team against each other. Wayne Trace and Edgerton hook up at Edgerton. Wayne Trace was a 14-12 winner over Convoy Crestview last weekend while Edgerton, currently fifth in R22 was a 20-10 winner over Oregon Cardinal Stritch.

A huge battle will take place in Ashland County tomorrow night as the Flyers of Norwalk St. Paul(3-0) , fresh off their blowout win over Huron visit the Cougars of Ashland Crestview(3-0). The Cougars beat Lucas 49-7 last week. NSP is currently in second place in R21 while Crestview sits in second place in R18.

Another big Midland Athletic League battle takes place in Bascom tomorrow night. The Cheiftans of Hopewell-Loudon(3-0) host the Warriors of Mohawk(2-1). H-L beat Northwood 41-22 last week while Mohawk was a 26-3 winner over Upper Sandusky.

If you want offensive fireworks tomorrow night you may want to make the trip to Toledo to watch Toledo Christian(2-1) host Ada(3-0). Both of these team put up a lot of points. Ada beat Columbus Grove last week 56-28 while Christian lost to Fort Loramie 30-27.

As always there are a lot of great high school football games in our area and all over Ohio this weekend. Go out and support your favorite team. Support the kids.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Forty years ago....Week four of 1969

Forty years ago, it was September of 1969. Richard Nixon was President. The Vietnam war was still raging creating hardships for the families of the brave men giving their lives, and creating controversy for the people who vehemently opposed our involvement in Southeast Asia. Gas was cheaper, food was cheaper, and overall prices were cheaper than they are today.

Locally, Joseph Tipton was Mayor of Fremont. People still shopped downtown at stores like Joseph's, Penney's and Montgomery Ward. Fremonters were considering whether to build a flood control system on the Sandusky River. And on the football field, the Little Giants of Fremont Ross were still in a rebuilding mode after the retirement of legendary Mal Mackey after the 1966 season.

Chuck Shuff was in his second season as the Ross head coach. After a 1-9 campaign in 1968 the Little Giants were 0-2-1 after their first three games in '69 with losses to Toledo Rogers and Toledo Bowsher on either end of a 26-26 tie with Cleveland Lincoln-West. Week four of that 1969 season would see the Little Giants opening up Buckeye Conference play at home against the Tygers of Mansfield Senior. The Little Giants beat the Tygers on that fall night 24-22 giving Coach Shuff his first Buckeye Conference victory ever, but just one of only two wins in the '69 season.

A sixth grader at Stamm school got to see his first ever Ross football game that night. You see, the young man had often looked over at Harmon Stadium many times during recess and thought how big that stadium looked. He thought about much fun it would be to attend a game there. He had heard all the stories from family members about the great games that had taken place there. The great players, coaches, and the historic rivalry with that school in Erie County. He heard how much we were supposed to hate Sandusky.

And finally he was there. Inside the stadium, sitting there watching the players during pregame warmups. Watching the band march onto the field. Staring at that big scoreboard in the Northeast corner of the stadium. When the game began he could not believe how loud it was, how intense the people around him were. They were yelling real loud, urging the Little Giants on, wanting them to win. And the Little Giants did win. They beat Mansfield 24-22. The people around him were happy, the students were cheering, the cheerleaders were ringing the victory bell. That little boy was hooked. In his sixth-grade mind he vowed that he would come back, and often. He felt the tradition and the pride that was Fremont Ross football. He knew it was important to all those people there that night. He could feel that it would become important to him...and it did.

Forty years later, that little boy has seen many changes in our world. Prices are higher, a different President is in the White House and unfortunately brave men and women are still putting their lives on the line for their country in a different part of the world than they were in 1969. But one thing has not changed. He still loves and follows his Little Giants. Every Friday night in the fall he can be found in Don Paul Stadium or whatever stadium Ross may be playing in, rooting on the team he learned to support on that fall night back in '69.

By now I'm sure you have figured out that the little boy is me. I've been fortunate to be able to spend the last forty years supporting our Little Giants, through the good times and bad. Through wins and losses. Just like all of you. Generation after generation of Fremonters, who make their way to the corner of Miller St. and Woodson Way on Friday nights in the fall. It's where we belong. It's what we do.

I'm looking forward to the next forty years.

Let's GO Little Giants

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Benedictine week...

The Bengals of Cleveland Benedictine come calling this Friday night. Benny is 1-2 on the season with losses to Chardon NDCL and Mentor Lake Catholic. The Bengals win was this past Friday night, 28-0 over Chardon. The series between the Little Giants and Bengals began in 1980 and look like this....

1980...Benedictine 21-12
1981...Benedictine 12-10
1982...Benedictine 14-7
1983...Ross 16-6
1984...Benedictine 31-14
1985...Benedictine 28-21
1986...Benedictine 23-0
1987...Benedictine 14-13
1988...Benedictine 17-12
2003...Benedictine 49-10
2004...Benedictine 34-26
2005...Benedictine 31-0
2006...Ross 34-28
2007...Benedictine 30-0
2008...Benedictine 12-0

So yes, Benny has a 13-2 lead in the series. But look at the scores. Very few of the games were blowouts. Seven of the Little Giant losses were games that could have gone the other way. But those games are all in the past.

So we have a Benny block. At least that's what some say. We are intimidated by the Bengals. We can't beat Benedictine. They have our number. Maybe, maybe not. But let's end that this year.

It's time for the Little Giants to come out and play hard, every play, every down. Remember they are a program that has lost two games this season in blowout fashion. This is a team that can be beat. Let's put the past behind us and end this whole benny block. Let's beat the Bengals this Friday night.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week three ticker....

Three weeks into the 2009 season and here are the big games in Region 2.

Wadsworth(2-0) takes on Medina(1-1). The Grizzlies were 37-29 winners over Nordonia last week. Wadsworth currently sits in a tie for fourth in R2 with Perrysburg. The Bees of Medina are currently in 14th place in the region.

The current #7 in the region, Brunswick(2-0) hosts Massillon Perry(2-0) tomorrow night. The Perry Panthers are the #9 team in R2. The winner of this one will vault much higher in the playoff race.

Twinsburg(2-0) has a tough task ahead of them with a game at 2-0 Aurora. Twinsburg easily handled Parma Valley Forge last week 42-0. Aurora was a 44-19 winner over Crestwood.

North Canton Hoover(1-1) makes the trip to Richland County to take on powerful Lexington. The Minutemen are 2-0 and looking to make a statement with a win over the Vikings. I think Lex wins this one.

Other games of interest.....
The Fighting Irish of Toledo Central Catholic(2-0) host Penn High from Mishhawaka, IN(3-0). Should be a great battle between Ohio and Indiana football. CCHS wins.

Holland Springfield (1-1) can gain some good harbins by knocking off Oregon Clay. The Blue Devils are currently ranked in 11th in R5 while Clay(1-1) is 10th in R2.

In this weeks "are they for real " catagory, we put the Golden Bears of Bryan(2-0). The Bears are coming off a 35-10 win over Archbold and take on Delta(1-1) on Friday. Bryan is currently in 6th in R10.

The Oak Harbor Rockets have a big task ahead of them tomorrow night. OH is coming off a 51-0 thrashing by the Comets of Genoa. The Rockets are at Eastwood (2-0). Oak Harbor currently sits in 8th place in R10 and if they could somehow pull off the win over the Eagles they would move up nicely. Eastwood wins.

Genoa travels across Route 163 to pay a visit to the Port Clinton Redskins. Both teams are 2-0 and the winner will get a load of playoff points. Genoa is currently in 2nd in R14. PC is 10th. A Port Clinton win would be a huge upset.

Bucyrus(2-0) hosts their longtime rival Galion(2-0) for a nonconference game. In a couple of years this one will be a league tilt again. This one could be a fun one.

In Bascom the Cheiftans of Hopewell-Loudon(2-0) will host the Rangers of Northwood(1-1). A win by Northwood, currently ranked in an 11th place tie with Delta in R18 would move them up. They aren't going to knock of H-L. The Cheiftans are currently in a third place tie in R21.

There will be a whale of a game at Huron Friday night. The Tigers(2-0) host the 2-0Flyers of Norwalk St. Paul. Huron was a 42-18 winner over Norwalk last week while NSP was a 37-13 winner over Tiffin Calvert. This one has classic written all over it.

The high powered offense of Toledo Christian(2-0) will be on the road at(2-0) Fort Loramie. Christian has had some high-scoring battles so far this season with wins over Delta 50-43, and Holgate 62-49. Ft. Loramie is coming off a 14-7 win over New Bremen.

Over in Hancock County Ada(2-0) hosts Columbus Grove (1-1). The Bulldogs are currently in 5th in R22.

Saturday night at the Don the Crimson Streaks of SJCC(2-0) renew an old rivalry by hosting the Golden Bears of Gibsonburg(1-1). SJCC knocked off Sandusky St. Marys last week. SJCC wins a close one.

Plenty of great games to chose from this weekend. Go out and support your team. Support the kids.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Columbian week...

Friday night will be the 55th meeting between Fremont Ross and Tiffin Columbian. The series between the two schools began 102 years ago in 1907. The two teams actually played twice in the inaugural season. Columbian won both games that year, 5-0, and 28-5. Ross has since taken a 35-17-2 lead in the series. The last 10 Ross-Columbian results look like this...

2008..Ross 28-6
2007...Ross 35-7
2006...Ross 17-7
2005...Columbian 21-7
2004...Columbian 35-13
2003...Columbian 56-7
2002...Columbian 47-7
2001...Columbian 35-7
1994...Columbian 21-13
1993...Ross 27-0

Columbian is 1-1 on the season. The Tornadoes were beaten by Toledo Whitmer 35-7 in week one. Tiffin evened their '09 record with a 39-23 win over Mansfield Madison last Friday night. The Little Giants are also 1-1. Ross opened the season with a 24-7 win over Toledo Start in week one and lost to the same Whitmer team that beat Tiffin, 29-25 last week.

Last years game between the two at Frost-Kalnow Stadium in Tiffin saw The Little Giants play their best game of the season enroute to a 28-6 win. Some folks say the '08 edition of the Little Giants lost focus after that win. I don't think that will be an issue in '09. This teams seems very focused on winning. Let's get back to it at the Don Friday night.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Football eve thoughts....

As the sun sets on this beautiful late summer day some thoughts heading into week 2....

As I write this I've got the Massillon-Canton GleOak game on and the Tigers are out to a 14-0 lead. This is another big game in region two this weekend. Perrysburg and Clay at BGSU's doyt Perry Stadium will be interesting. The Yellow Jackets and Eagles both opened the season with wins. The loser of this one will gain some second level points down the road for the winner.

Tomorrow night in Northeast Ohio Wadsworth(1-0) takes on Nordonia(1-0). The Grizzlies are coming off a 21-7 win over Stow-Munroe Falls while Nordonias week one win was over Tallmadge 34-19.

Another big game in R2 taking place tonight is North Canton Hoover(1-0) against neigborhood foe and D2 power Louisville. A lot of points to be gained by the winner in this one.

And then of course, theres the R2 battle tomorrow night at Whitmer Memorial Stadium. the Little Giants of Fremont Ross(1-0) visit the Panthers of Toledo Whitmer(1-0). Ross is coming off a 24-7 win over Toledo Start while the Panthers were 35-7 winners over Tiffin Columbian last Friday night. This one just got a bit more interesting as ESPNU announced today that Little Giant junior Greg Brown has announced his intention to attend the University of Michigan. Earlier this week Whitmer junior defensive end Kenny Hayes verballed to Ohio State.

Massillon now leading GlenOak 21-0 sounds like a good crowd at PBTS.
Louisville leading North Canton Hoover 19-0

There are also some great games in our area of Ohio this weekend.

Is St. Francis for real? A big win over Findlay would go a long way in proving that yes, they are. Findlay on the other hand is hoping they are able to turn things around.

Also in the "are they for real" catagory lets talk about the Lima Senior Spartans. 49-14 winners over Celina last weekend. I think the Spartans have a shot a beating the John Snoad coached Gahanna Lincoln Lions.

The Perkins Pirates of the SBC will pay a visit to Strobel Field in Sandusky tomorrow night. The Pirates have many appearances at Strobel but this time they taking on the Blue Streaks. Look for a Pirate win tomorrow.

The Crimson Streaks of Fremont SJCC will be at Strobel Field Saturday night in their annual showdown with the Panthers of Sandusky SMCC. St. Joe is coming off a win over Oregon Cardinal Stritch 40-7 while the Panthers lost to powerhouse Norwalk St. Paul. The Crimson Streaks will win the 75th meeting between these two old rivals.

Toledo Central Catholic(1-0) hosts Dublin Scioto at the Gallahger Athletic Complex tomorrow night. This one is a battle of "Figthing Irish" teams. Sciotos Irish were losers to Pickerington North last week, 12-7.

We can't forget about the battle for the "Celestial Ball" between Genoa(1-0) and the Oak Harbor Rockets(1-0). While it was good to see OH win last week, the Comets will come out on top in this one, handily.

Shelby and Lexington hook up tomorrow night at Shelby. Both teams are 1-0. Lex should win that one.

Edison visits Monroeville tomorrow night. The Chargers of the SBC were winners last Friday night over Norwalk 35-19 while Monroeville were 33-24 victors over Keystone. Should be a great game. Monroeville wins.

Two 1-0 teams meet at Tru-Lay field in Port Clinton tomorrow night. The Redskins are hosting the Gibsonburg Golden Bears. The Golden Bears hope to go 2-0.

Massillon 21
GlenOak 3

Louisville 27
Hoover 6

Over in the far Northwest part of Ohio tomorrow night the Blue Streaks of Archbold host the Golden Bears of Bryan. Both teams will come in 1-0.

And an interesting game will take place tomorrow night in Delphos as the Blue Jays of St. Johns(1-0) host the Rams of Tinora(1-0). The 'Jays were 21-14 winners over Lima CC last week while Tinora beat Liberty Center in impressive fashion 35-7

Gonna be a great night in Northern Ohio tomorrow night for high school football. Go to a stadium and support a team, support the kids.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Whitmer week....

Friday night the Little Giants continue their City League audition tour with a visit to Whitmer Memorial Stadium to take on the Panthers. Coming into Fridays game both teams are 1-0 on the season. Whitmer knocked off Tiffin Columbian 35-7, while Ross scored a 24-7 win over Whitmers bitter rival, the Start Spartans.

Fridays game will be the 22nd meeting between the two programs in a series that began in 1930. Ross leads the series 14-7 and the Little Giants won last years game 34-14. The series results so far....
1930....Ross 13-6
1931....Whitmer 3-0
1932....Ross 32-0
1989....Ross 35-0
1990....Whitmer 27-7
1991....Whitmer 34-7
1992....Whitmer 26-20(OT)
1993....Ross 21-14
1994...Ross 45-0
1995...Ross 29-13
1996...Ross 23-17
1997...Ross 17-0
1998....Ross 38-14
1999....Ross 6-0
2000...Whitmer 10-0
2001...Ross 10-0
2002...Whitmer 35-7
2006...Ross 35-21
2006....Whitmer 21-17
2007....Ross 23-21
2008...Ross 34-14

Both teams have been hyped all preseason as two of the best in Northwest Ohio. Whitmer is expected to challenge teams like Central Catholic, St. Johns and St. Francis for the Toledo City League title. Ross has been mentioned as the favorite in the Greater Buckeye Conference. Both teams are mentioned as contenders in the playoff race in region two.

The winner of this weeks game will get a huge load of playoff points as the season goes on as the loser will go on to win a lot of games.

In the pre-game talk this week many folks are picking Whitmer to win. Citing the Panthers size and how physical they are. People have mentioned how much Whitmer pushed Columbian around in week one. There are questions however, about just how good, or bad, Columbian really is this year. The same can be said of our Little Giants. Some folks say Start really wasn't that good a team and they gave Ross a bit of trouble.

Al talk notwithstanding, the two teams will kick off at 7pm Friday night. You can be sure a big crowd will be in attendance. Make sure you are there too.

Make no mistake about it. Fridays game is BIG. GO TO WHITMER. GET BEHIND YOUR LITTLE GIANTS! BE LOUD!

Let's GO Little Giants!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Northwest Ohio top 10

Beginning today I'll post my top ten football teams in Northwest Ohio regardless of division.

My definition of Northwest Ohio is that area north of US 30 and west of US 250.

Agree, disagree, comment, tell us who you think belongs in the top ten. It's all in good fun.

Here we go....

1. Sylvania Southview
The defending DII champs move up to the big school division this year. Despite the divisonal change the Cougars will not miss a beat. Southview will want to prove they can compete. Week one has them hosting Toledo St. Francis.

2. Toledo Whitmer
The Panthers are expected to be one of the challengers for a playoff spot in region two. Whitmer has fared well in their preseason scrimmages against Findlay and Perrysburg. Friday night finds the Panthers at Frost-Kalnow Stadium in Tiffin battling the Columbian Tornadoes.

3. Toledo Central Catholic
A familiar face in the DII playoffs of late the Fighting Irish want to wipe away the memories of their quick exit in the 2008 postseason. CCHS opens the season Friday night at Bowling Green.

4. Fremont Ross
The Little Giants really want to wipe away the near-miss label they have achieved in the past two seasons. Ross just missed the postseason in '07 and '08. Many folks believe this talented Little Giant squad could make a playoff run. Ross hosts Toledo Start at Don Paul Stadium Friday night.

5. Genoa
The Comets, a team that pushed Kettering Alter in the playoffs in '08, are back and are the favorites in the Suburban Lakes League. Genoa opens the season at Rossford on Friday night.

6. Bellevue
The Redmen, a playoff qualifier in 2008 return some talent and have high hopes in 2009. Bellevue would like to take the NOL title away from Tiffin Columbian and return to the playoffs in 2009.

7. Clyde
The Fliers, defending champs of the Sandusky Bay Conference are the favorites once again.
Clyde will need to hit the ground running as they will be at always tough Eastwood on Friday night.

8. Kenton
The Wildcats have a familiar, and talented, name at QB. Sophomore Matt Mauk will lead the offense for his fathers Kenton squad. Kenton will find out quick just how good they are with a Friday night contest at Coldwater.

9. Defiance
The Bulldogs won the Western Buckeye League title in '08 and made a playoff appearance. They'd like to repeat that this season. The 'Dogs are a favorite along with Kenton in the WBL.

10. Eastwood
The Eagles will once again challenge Genoa for the SLL title. The Eagles open the season against a very tough Clyde squad on Friday night.

On the radar screen...
Toledo St. Francis
Toledo St. Johns
Bowling Green
Tiffin Columbian
Norwalk St. Paul
Patrick Henry

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And it begins again...for the 115th time

The dog days of summer begin to wind down. The sunlight becomes dim at an earlier hour. The crickets chirp louder and the desperate bees become more aggressive.
Ah yes, the signs of seasonal change. Another summer begins to fade into fall. We know that soon enough the leaves will begin to change and the thoughts will become the cold and snow.

But before all of that our thoughts are focused on one thing and one thing only, Little Giant football. The 115th edition hits the field very soon and that means new memories will be added to the old ones that live forever.

You know the memories I am talking about. We've all experienced them. We remember them well.

The anticipation of the game all week
Walking down Woodson way amid the giant footprints
Seeing the lines at the gate buying tickets
The sound of the Marching Little Giants coming down Franklin Ave. before the game
The smell of Heinz Ketchup in the air
The sound of the big crowds of the past
The Marching Little Giants running onto the field for pregame
Standing and singing the alma mater
Gary Kaltenbachs voice announcing halftime
Larry Jacksons recognizable voice announcing "touchdown Fremont Ross!'
The Pioneers sugar towers in the distance
The ghosts of Tiller, Lewis, Liggins, Lytle, Woodson and more haunting the field
Remembering Binkley, Mackey, Shuff, and Moore prowling the sidelines
The old scoreboards at the northest and south ends of the field
Memories of Harmon Stadium and the "junior high" section in the south endzone
The crowd spelling F-R-E-M-O-N-T after the band plays The March of the Little Giants
The church steeples off to the southeast
The great days of the Buckeye Conference
The memorable battles with Sandusky
...and the happy walks back to our cars or home after another Little Giant win.

Yes the 114th edition of Ross football is just around the corner and the excitement that comes with it is in the air.

Sure the cold and snow are coming closer and closer. But we'll think about that later, we have more important things to consider. We're Little Giant fans.

See you at the Don!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ross and the NOL....a good match

Fremont Ross belongs in the Nothern Ohio League. Now I realize that many regular forum visitors will say whoa there buster, You've been against this for most of this year. Why the change now? That is a fair question and I hope to effectively answer it here.

As the league-change dominos began to fall last year with the move by Fostoria St. Wendelin out of the Midland Athletic League we all saw the writing on the wall. That simple move would eventually create a sea-change in league and conference memberships in Northwestern and North-Central Ohio. Next came Lakota, then Galion and Upper Sandusky, followed by the collapse of the Suburban Lakes League, and on and on.

In the meantime Little Giant fans, including myself were wondering, what would happen to us? Where would Fremont Ross wind up? The Northern Lakes League? Nope. The move by Napoleon from the GBC to the NLL, paired with the fact that the brief talk of an NLL expansion to 10 or 12 teams went nowhere eliminated that possibility. The Toledo City League? Not so far. The fact that Oregon Clay was told no by the NLL and will for now remain in the TCL seems to have wiped that chance away. A new league made up of Ross, Findlay and the TCL privates?
Seems like that long talked about dream will remain just that. An expanded Greater Buckeye Conference? No way in heck that will ever happen as only four teams remain and no one is beating down the door to get in.

That leaves the Northern Ohio League. With todays announcement that NOL member Fostoria has been extended an invitation to join the Northern Buckeye Conference, which is a given, the NOL will drop back to six members. New member Sandusky joins Tiffin Columbian, Norwalk, Bellevue, Willard, and Shelby. A six team league can work, but as the GBC has discovered it's not as easy to function with six members as it is with eight.

Some long time NOL folks are holding out hope that some way, somehow, they can lure Clyde and Perkins out of the Sandusky Bay Conference. The Fliers and Pirates were two of the programs that were sent letters of interest from the NOL this past spring. The answer to those letters was a resounding no, we're fine right where we are. The SBC is a stable league. Sure, some folks will point to Margarettas current financial state and the possiblity that there will be no Polar Bear sports teams soon. But that situation, much like what happened in Huron will resolve itself and things will be fine in Castalia.

Recently a Toledo Blade sports article quoted Ross AD Art Bucci as saying that back in April we sent a letter of interest to the NOL. As of this time there has been no response by the Northern Ohio to that letter of interest. Why is that? The simple answer is the Fremont Ross and the NOL are a good match and in the long run we will need each other.

Ross has a history of athletic competition with the six teams that will remain in the NOL once Fostoria leaves, and I am not just talking about football here. While the pigskin is a huge part of the scenario it is not the whole story and must not be the determining factor. Little Giant athletic teams play NOL teams in many sports. We play Willard in basketball, Norwalk in soccer, Bellevue in baseball, and Columbian in all sports. We are competitive with those programs. We do not dominate them.

Then there is the issue of travel and ecomomics. Fremont is centrally located to almost all of the remaining NOL schools. The cost of travel for them and us would be drastically reduced. It's a win-win situation. When Fremont comes to town the gate receipts would go up as we all know Little Giant fans travel well. If we can take 1,000 fans or more to Reynoldsburg, image how many would show up in Bellevue or Norwalk.

I believe there is a reason the Northern Ohio League has not responded yet to the letter of interest from Fremont Ross. I think they too, realize that in the long run if they want their conference to survive they will need us as we, quite frankly, need them. I urge the athletic department and administration to continue to court the NOL. In the long run it will be a good match.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

So are we arrogant?

"Your attitude precedes you". "Leagues won't admit you because of your attitude".

These are two comments that some of us have encountered on a statewide sports forum from a few fans of other schools in the past few weeks. Their intent is to make us, and others, believe that somehow Fremont Ross fans as a whole have a bad attitude. We supposedly think we are better than everyone else, or in laymans terms, we think our "stuff" doesn't stink.

Is it true?

I've been doing a lot of thinking about this topic, about what has been said, and about the people who have been saying it. In my humble opinion the answer is a resounding NO, it is not true.

What attitude are they talking about? Sure, we have fans who are more vocal than others. what program doesn't? There are folks out there who live, eat and breathe Fremont Ross athletics who cannot see anything but purple and white and believe our athletic program is better than everyone elses. Show me a program that does not have fans like that. I can direct you to posts on statewide internet forums by fans of other programs that are just as bad. Some of those posts are from people from other GBC schools. Some are from NOL and NLL schools. Yes, the same NOL and NLL that some people say don't want us because of our attitude. I continually read posts by a particular Findlay fan that makes things Fremonters say look meek in comparison.

I've been following Ross athletics for four decades now and in all honesty can tell you that I rarely, if ever, run into a Little Giant fan who doesn't understand that showing class and sportsmanship is key. Respect your opponent and expect the same in return. That is what I learned early on from my fellow Ross fans. Are we perfect? Of course not. Do we sometimes get riled up? You bet. Are there times when we get carried away with our success and tradition? Yes. Those things are not specific to Fremont. Fans of all programs get that way. Saying that just Fremont Ross fans do these things is flat out wrong.

Then there is the whole issue of other leagues allegedly not wanting us because of the attitude of our fans. Our fans? Really? A potential new league is going to avoid us because we allegedly have fans who are too boisterous? Too proud? The example I was given involved supposed comments to an individual from two NLL programs that we have had very few athletic events against. A potential new league is going to ignore the great tradition, the great facilities, the big gate receipts they would get when Ross comes to town because of our fans attitude? What are we supposed to do? Sit on our hands? Stop being proud? That's ridiculous. After all aren't they supposed to be concerned about the attitude of our AD? The administration? The coaches? In other words, the people they'll be dealing with regularly?

Now not everyone out there thinks we Ross fans have bad attitudes. Many folks have come to our defense. Fans from Whitmer, Findlay, Lima, Marion and yes, even Sandusky have stepped up to say that this whole bad attitude stuff in unfounded and not true. And these are people who we have a long and proud tradition of competing against. People who would know better than anyone.

So yes, we have fans with attitude, and probably some fans who could be defined as arrogant. But none more than any other program. And the bottom line is that it is unfair and just plain wrong for others to be accusing us of anything more.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

An then there were three. Another league change story

But it's not 2009 that I am referring to. Not even close. It's the late 1940's and early 1950's. During some recent research for the upcoming football season I stumbled upon some interesting articles concerning teams leaving the Buckeye League. During that time period the Buckeye League consisted of the following schools...

Bowling Green
Fremont Ross
Marion Harding
Tiffin Columbian

Fremont Ross was a football powerhouse in the late 40's. Head Coach Lester "Legs" Binkleys teams piled up win after win. Soon after the Little Giants decimated Tiffin Columbian 78-0 in 1949 the folks in Tiffin announced that they would be leaving the league. The Tornadoes wanted to find a league where they thought they could better compete. As my research went on I discovered as the 1940's dissolved into the early 1950's not only Columbian, but Fostoria and Bowling Green made their intentions clear. They too, would be leaving the Buckeye League. This would leave just Findlay, Fremont Ross and Marion Harding....sound familiar? Adding to the league-change scenario was the fact that News-Messenger sports editor Al Coxon was reporting in his sports columns around this same time that Toledo Libbey wanted to join the Buckeye. At that point in time Libbey was a good football school and was looking to play in a league that they felt would make them stronger. Coxon reported that Libbeys AD had told him several times via phone conversations that the Cowboys were interested in possibly joining the Buckeye. Later a Blade reporter disputed the Coxon story saying Libbey had no intention of leaving the Toledo City League. Nothing ever came of the Libbey story and the Cowboys remained in the CL.

Meantime the Buckeye League was falling apart and Ross, Findlay and Marion had to do someting or they would be playing an independent schedule. As time went on Columbian replaced Crestline as a member of the Northern Ohio League. Fostoria and BG went their own ways as well. This all spurred the creation of the Buckeye Conference. Al Coxon, Ross AD John Titsworth, Coach Mackey, along with folks from Findlay and Marion got on the ball and worked hard to bring Elyria, Lorain Senior and Sandusky into what would become one of Ohios strongest athletic leagues. Lorain Admiral King and Mansfield Senior joined in the early 1960's to create the powerhouse eight team Buckeye Conference that many of us remember fondly.

What does all of this have to do with our current situation? Maybe not much, other than a reminder that we have previously been here and we survived. I realize that 2009 is not 1949 and gas prices, the ecomony, among other factors make things different. What happened then is that some folks who cared got involved and helped push the process along. The situation was not just left in the lap of the athletic director to handle. The result was 30 years of league stability.

What I know is this. Fremont Ross will survive this latest league-change drama. We've been here before and made it through. Will we eventually become a member of the Northern Ohio League? The Northern Lakes League? The Toledo City League? A new conference that currently doesn't exist? Or will we be independent? No matter what happens, Ross athletes will continue to compete, and win.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Welcome to the forum blog

So it begins. The Fremont Ross Forum blog. The idea of creating this is so we can occasionally expand on topics being discussed on the forum and elsewhere. Non-sports related topics may make their way into the blog as well. At first the writing will be done by yours truly. Eventually however I'd like to open the blog up to others who have an opinion to express. After all the forum, and this blog I hope, is about all of us, all of our opinions. This blog is not meant to replace the forum, it is just meant to expand on some forum topics. So welcome. Things may start slowly at first, but I have some ideas and are working on them.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Why the forum? Tradition is the answer.

Nine years ago I created the Fremont Ross Forum. At the time it was on another server and has since moved to its current location at Family and friends at the time asked why? Why create, maintain, and moderate a forum dedicated to Ross athletics? The answer is a simple one word response. Tradition. Many folks already know where I am going with this, but for those who don't, let me expand on the answer.

You see, we have an incredible athletic tradition at Fremont Ross. And I am not just talking about football. It is much more than the pigskin. We have state titles in golf, tennis, many state championships in swimming. We have a national championship in swimming. How many programs can claim a national title in any sport? We can be proud of that. There are many great non-football names that have graced our athletic past. Zerman, Reardon, Lewis, Gruse, Voggenthaler, Ziemke, Flower, Farbach, Baumann...and so many more.

And then there is football. Make no mistake about it, Fremont Ross is a traditional football school. Oh I know they'll wave our playoff history in our faces like it's something new they discovered and something we didn't already know. Newflash...we know our playoff record is abysmal. We know and we're working on it. But as I have said a million times before, high school football in Fremont and all around Ohio began in the mid to late 1890's, not in 1972 with the advent of the playoffs. Our overall football record speaks for itself...and it says tradition.

You see, tradition is not just something you can say you have. Tradition is something you build over decades. Decades of wins and yes, losses. Decades of great names and memorable games.

Once a great athletic traditon is built you have to maintain it. While most of that maintenance is done on the fields and courts of athletic competition, some of it must be done by you and I, the fans. We must talk about our great traditions. Talk, means just that, it does not mean embellish. The young people coming up need to be reminded about our tradition. It helps them understand what they are playing for, what they are defending. Tell them about the great games, the great players, the great rivalries. Same thing goes for newcomers to the community. Help them understand why we love the Little Giants so much. Educate them on the great athletic tradition that Fremont Ross has.

So the reason I started the forum was to promote our tradition. You can do the same thing. Remember our traditions, talk about our traditions, never, ever forget our traditions. Make sure our great athletic tradition at Fremont Ross continues for generations to come.