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.

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