Monday, August 30, 2010

Week two in Ross football history.....2000


Week two of the 2000 season saw the Little Giants travel to Toledo to take on the Titans of St. Johns Jesuit. The game was played on a very hot Friday night before a big crowd at Rogers High. Ross came in 1-0 after beating Toledo Central Catholic 20-6 while the Titans came in 0-1.

The buildup to this game lasted all week with St. Johns students showing up at Ross High with t-shirts that said, "you'll work for us". That kind of hype combined with the fact that the Titans had beaten the Little Giants the previous season 33-0 ignited a fire inside the entire Ross team that St. Johns players would not soon forget.

The Little Giants were led by Kelly Lytle who got things underway in the first quarter with a 47 yard TD run. Brian McCords PAT was good and Ross led 7-0. The second quarter was more of the same from the Little Giants. Lytle rambled for 45 yard TD run as the quarter began and then bolted for a 20 yard score midway through the stanza. McCord PATS after both Lytle scores put the Little Giants up 21-0. While Lytle was running all over the Titan defense, the Little Giant defensive effort was outstanding, stopping every St. Johns posession before they could get any momentum.

St. Johns attempt to regroup at halftime was futile The Little Giant offense continued to roll and the defense continued to smother the Titans in the third quarter. Aaron Hines scored on a 6 yard TD run at the 9:28 mark of the third. The PAT was not good and Ross led 27-0. That score remained the same until the 9:13 mark of the final quarter when Little Giant QB David Rhodes connected wth Derek Carnicom on a 29 yard TD pass. After the McCord PAT Ross had a 34-0 lead on the shellshocked Titans. But the Little Giants weren't quite finished. With 3:13 left in the game Tyrus Hamilton scored from one yard out. McCord put the kick through the uprights and Ross led 41-0.

How dominating were the Little Giants on this hot late summers night? Ross rolled to 437 yards of total offense while holding St. Johns to just 54. Kelly Lytle had 16 carries for 229 yards on the night as he led the Little Giants to a 2-0 record and St. Johns slipped to 0-2.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday morning thoughts...8/28/10


When is the last time the Little Giant defense won a game? Well they won last nights game at Spartan Stadium. Ross chugged to a 17-0 victory over the Spartans before a quiet crowd dominated by folks in purple and white. The Ross defense allowed the Spartans just three first downs and a total of 115 yards of offense. Twice the Spartans were in the Little Giant red zone, knocking on the door and twice the Ross defense stiffened and held, posting their first shutout since a 47-0 win over hapless Lorain Southview in the fifth week of the 2007 season.

The Little Giant offense finished with 217 total yards in a less than stellar evening. It seemed as though the first game jitters had set in, but coach Kidwell said that he didn't need to open up the playbook to beat the Spartans. We hope that's the case because a very powerful Whitmer Panther squad visits the Don next Friday night, coming in fresh off a 35-6 win over Tiffin Columbian. We're going to need a similar defensive effort and a much more open playbook to beat what may be the best DI team in Northwest Ohio, maybe in region two.

The running of Brown, Stout and especially Trautwein kept the offense moving. Trautwein is one tough kid. #25 was dragging several Spartan defenders along with him as he gained additional yardage on a number of occasions. Stouts helmet came off as he scored his TD and I was impressed as he just got up, very workman-like as if to say, "it's just another play, time to move on". Also very workman-like last night was Greg Brown. The future Wolverine was hammered by Spartan defenders every time he got near the ball. Greg kept his wits about him, got up, walked back to the huddle and played ball. It might be noted here that Ross was penalized just three times last night. None of those were personal fouls. Start was flagged just one time.

Sophomore QB Tyler Wolfs first varsity game was a decent effort. I believe the young man will only get better. One thing about having a former Mr. Football and former QB as your head coach is that you can be sure you're going to have good QB's . I believe Wolf will compare well with the likes of Opelt, Ottney, and Foos by the time his days at Ross are done.

Other notes...
The Marching Little Giants halftime performance was a good one. They never fail to deliver on the field. We get that Ms. Lewis doesn't care that the band is at a football game otherwise, and it shows as the band generally just sits on their hands during the game when their involvement would be appreciated.

There were significantly more Fremonters at Spartan Stadium last night than the home fans. Despite that fact the Ross fans were real quiet. That will have to change next Friday night when Whitmer comes to the Don for a playoff-atmosphere type game.

44 million dollars in the hole, no sports, closing buildings. That's the situation in the Toledo City School District. We are all aware of the plight of public education in the Glass City. You couldn't tell it from the beautiful new building at Start. I realize that building was built mostly by tobacco settlement money but wow, what a facility...the school, not the stadium.

So now it's on to the home opener at Don Paul Stadium next Friday night against Whitmer. We all..the team, the band, the fans... are going to have to turn up the intensity to beat a very good Panther team. Are you ready? Can we do it?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Week one in Ross football history...1960

Louisville(KY) Bishop Flaget 25
Ross 7

Saturday night 9/10/60 the Little Giants made what is to this date, their longest road trip. Ross traveled to Louisville, KY for the first game of that season, losing to the Braves of Bishop Flaget High School 25-7. The game itself was not the best performance in the history of our program but the history behind it holds a few treasures of Little Giant lore.

In the 1960 preseason the OHSAA decided to allow teams to play an 11th regular season game. Ross already had seven home games scheduled for Harmon Stadium so the athletic dept wanted to schedule a road game. Thanks to connections that head coach Mal Mackey had, Ross found a week one game with the Bishop Flaget Braves.

Mal Mackey grew up in New Albany, Indiana, a suburb of Louisville. Through connections Mackey was able to set up the contest between the Little Giants and Braves. Once the game was set decisions had to be made as to how to transport the team to Kentucky. The decision was made easy by generous Fremont businesses and industries, as well as once again, Mal Mackeys connections.

Prior to the 1960 season many of Ohios more prominent programs had taken on out of state opponents. Those trips were all made by train or bus. The News-Messenger reported that Fremont Ross became the first Ohio high school to have its team fly to an out of state game. The Little Giants boarded chartered planes used by the Purdue University football team to fly to Louisville. It is worth mentioning that the Purdue athletic director at the time was Red Mackey. Does that last name sound familiar? Connections help.

The game was scheduled for the 14,000 seat stadium at Louisville Manuel High School, and played in a light rain. Flaget drew first blood on an 8 play 51 yard drive capped by a 12 yard TD run by Sophomore Sonny Alexander. Ross took over after the score and committed the first of two first half fumbles. The Braves took advantage and punched in their second score to lead 13-0. Ross closed the Flaget lead to 13-7 thanks to two Brave penalties. The Little Giant scoring drive was a 64 yarder capped by 2 yard touchdown run by Maurice Gnepper.

After Flaget took a 19-7 lead the Little Giants moved the ball to the Brave 24. Two Ross pass attempts fell short and the half ended 19-7 Bishop Flaget. The Braves put the final points of the game on the board capping a 56 yard drive to go up 25-7 in the second half.

Jim Ohms led Little Giant runners with 68 yards on 10 carries. The Little Giants completed no passes to 4 completions for Flaget. Ross outgained the Braves on the ground 199-163.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday morning thoughts 8/21/10

It's been a loooooong time since I've taken the time to post some thoughts but this muggy Saturday morning is as good a time as any to get back at it. This brief scrimmage edition of my Saturday morning thoughts looks at last nights Jamboree at Don Paul Stadium.
As I pulled into the parking lot at the Don it was heartening to see so many people already in their seats. Fans from four schools, Ross, SJCC, Lake, and Toledo Waite, were all there to watch their favorite squad in preseason action. I bought my $5.00 worth of 50/50 tickets not caring if I won at all. I knew the money was going to a good cause, the recovery of Lake High School from the devastating tornado damage suffered in June. I dropped some cash at the booster store buying a new Ross flag to fly from my home up here in Michigan, as well as some new shirts. I also bought one of the jamboree shirts to benefit the Lake recovery effort. Sales looked brisk and that was a good thing to see as well. When the 50/50 was drawn, the Fremonter who won showed his Little Giant class by donating his winnings to the Lake Schools.

Moving onto the Ross-Waite scrimmage the word dominant comes to mind. The Little Giants allowed the Indians to cross the 50 just two times. In two quarters Ross rolled up 35 easy points. The offense Coach Derek Kidwell has chosen to run this season was put on display and was very effective against a weak Indian defensive effort. Greg Brown put the first points on the board with a 55 yard run for a TD in the first quarter. Brown was then on the receiving end of a 65 yard pass from T.J. Wolf for the second Little Giant score. Trent Stout and Tyler Trautwein both had good nights with strong runs. Trautwein, as well as Jared Ballenger scored TD's. I must admit I do not have the young mans name but our kicker this year is an exchange student from Brazil and he did a good job last night. His kickoffs were crisp and he made all but one PAT.

Back to Greg Brown for a moment. Most of last season and into the postseason, the young man was the subject of a lot of criticism for his attitude both on and off the field. Fans from Fremont as well as other communities(including myself) were hard on the young man for what was seen as selfish behavior. Well last night the future Wolverine provided some proof that he has grown up and moved beyond that kind of attitude. The Greg Brown I witnessed last evening was a TEAM leader. I saw him working hard, slapping his teammates helmets, encouraging them. He seemed to be getting up when plays were complete, going back to the huddle, without the actions that created so much controversy last season. It's early in the season to be sure, but what I saw last night was the kind of Senior leadership out of an incredibly talented young man that will be needed for a successful 2010 season. Let's hope it continues.

All in all a successful night at the Don all the way around. Good luck to the Indians, our friends at SJCC, and best of luck on a great season and continued recovery to the good folks up in Lake Township. I'll see my fellow Little Giant fans at Spartan Stadium next Friday night!