Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday morning thoughts...10/30/10


Last nights 21-7 victory over Sandusky was a great playoff-atmosphere win before a big, loud crowd that brought back memories of the glory days of this old rivalry.

The Little Giants survived a whole lot of turnovers to win this game. Fortunately, Sandusky had their share of turnovers as well. It hurt them a bit more than ours hurt us.

Kudos to Tylor Trautwein for winning the running back showdown with Mr. Strickland. Tylor didn't just win it, he trounced Strickland. This after we heard all week how we were not going to be able to stop the Sandusky back. Granted Strickland got a little over 100 yards but Tylor doubled that and then some. That 76 yard TD run was a thing of beauty.

The Little Giant defense did a good job slowing the good Sandusky offense. Again, we heard all week how Sandusky was going to run and pass all over the Little Giants. Some Sandy fans were predicting wins by 34-0 scores and more. Yea, not so much.

What a good crowd! Sure it wasn't the "call the fire marshal" crowds of 10 or 11,000 of days gone by but there was lots of folks standing in the endzones. Kudos to fans from both programs but especially our Little Giants fans. One request...BRING THAT ENERGY INTO NEXT WEEKS PLAYOFF GAME! I was so proud of Fremont fans last night. And how about the marriage proposal on the scoreboard. The happy couple were sitting right in front of me.. Good luck to you two.

The Marching Little Giants did a great job last night too. Our band, which has been the target of some critics this season for not being involved, were into the game last night which was good to see. Kudos to Ms. Lewis and Co.

Now it is on the the playoffs. Our sixth playoff appearance overall and first since 2006. It looks as though we will be facing Toledo St. Johns. Home or away is yet to be determined but who cares where it will be? TEAM, FANS, BAND, COMMUNITY....WE'LL BE THERE.

2010 checklist....
Beat Toledo Whitmer....CHECK
Beat Cleveland Benedictine....CHECK
Beat Findlay....CHECK
Beat Napoleon....CHECK
Beat Sandusky....CHECK
Win the GBC title....CHECK
Qualify for the playoffs....CHECK

Now there is just one thing left...
Feel that weight? It's real heavy. What is it?
That weight is a HUGE monkey on our back. He's wearing a sweater with the word PLAYOFFS emblazoned on the front. We need to get that big ol monkey off our backs. We can do that by WINNING in the postseason. No matter who we play. No matter where it is. AS A COMMUNITY, A FAMILY let's go into the playoffs next Saturday night with a head of steam AND WIN!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Let's do this together!

"The Sandusky rivalry isn't relevant anymore."

"The kids look at Findlay as our big rival now."

"Only you old fogies think Sandusky is our big rival anymore"

Maybe those thoughts, which have been expressed by folks on the forum and elsewhere have been true in recent years. But definitely not this year.

This Friday night the younger folks in Fremont get to experience what this historic rivalry means, and why. We "old fogies" meantime get to sit back and watch as the kids come to understand what the fuss is all about.

They'll come to understand why we talk about the back to back 7-0 wins in 1983.
They'll come to understand the meaning of the 28-27 win in 1969.
They'll understand our stories about the big, standing room only, sellout crowds.
They'll get it when they hear us talk about spirit jugs and outhouses on the front lawn at Ross High.
They'll get it when we talk about Mal Mackey vs. Earle Bruce.
They'll get it when the really old ones among us talk about Thanksgiving Day games.
...and more

This old rivalry that was born in 1895 and has lived through two world wars, a depression, and more, may have fallen asleep in recent times but comes to life again this Friday night. Its an opportunity for we old fogies to join our youngsters in supporting the Little Giants as they battle our historic rivals. Grey hairs and wrinkles joining youth and vigor in yelling ourselves hoarse as we make it clear to our opponents from Erie County that we are one. A family and community dressed in purple and white ,together with one purpose in mind.

Old and young, together as one Fremont. Little Giant fans united. Lets do this together.


Monday, October 25, 2010

This week in Ross football history....1980


The tenth week of the 1980 season saw the Little Giants hosting arch-rival Sandusky in a Buckeye Conference showdown at Harmon Stadium. Ross was 5-0 in the Buckeye and 8-1 on the season.

The game was a typical Fremont Ross-Sandusky defensive battle that was the norm for the era. The Little Giant defense was tough all night allowing the Blue Streaks just 72 yards of offense, all on the ground for the entire game. The Sandusky defense was almost as stout, allowing the purple and white to score just once.

The Little Giants scored on their fourth offensive posession of the night. Eric Bates punched it in from six yards out to put Ross up 6-0. Bates followed the blocking of Shawn Simms, Scott Manahan, and Bill Hicks over the left side to put Ross in the lead. Greg Bobay made the extra point kick and that was all the scoring that the Fremonters would need to win the game.

The Ross scoring drive was helped out by QB Mike Eichers 23 yard run on a first and 22 situation at the Little Giant 48 yard line. The Eicher run gave Ross the ball deep in Sandusky territory. Two plays later Bates followed his wall of blockers and put it in.

Sandusky had their scoring chances. The Streaks recovered a Fremont fumble and were threatening at the Ross 29 yard line. The Little Giant D however would have none of it and stuffed the boys in blue and white. Little Giant defender Dennis Murray had two key tackles against the Streaks in the offensive series for eight yards in losses.

When Sandusky went to the airways to try to move the ball Ross star Tony Gant was there to intercept three of Blue Streak QB Craig Cliffs passes. Gant had picks at the Ross 40, nine and 23 yard lines.

The win over the Blue Streaks gave the Little Giants their first Buckeye Conference title since 1976 season. Ross finished 6-0 in the BC and 9-1 overall, their best overall mark since finishing 9-0-1 in 1974. Sandusky finished the season at 8-2.

Eric Bates finished the night with 27 carries for 91 yards. That put him at 1,025 yards for the season.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday morning thoughts....week nine edition..the abbreviated edition from my desk at work.


Simply put, the team that was in better shape won last night.

As last nights 28-3 win over a cocky Lima Senior squad wore on it was evident that the Little Giants were wearing the Spartans down. That kind of thing does not just happen. It's the result of a good strength and conditiong program. The kind of strength program we now have thanks to assistant coach Mike Lento.

Once again the defense did a great job. Lima was stopped by the Little Giant defense several times on key third and fourth down situations. Our defense has really stepped it up this year and the coaching staff deserves a ton of credit for their hard work in addressing this issue.

Tyler Wolf was 11 of 17 for 160 yards and two touchdowns last night. Tylor Trautwein continued his great season with 150 yards on 29 carries. It appears that the injury bug that plagued us for the last few games is for the most part gone. That is great to see headed into week 10.

I thought Limas players showed absolutely no class as they entered the field last night. Some of the Spartans were taunting the Little Giants to the point where the officials had to step in between the two teams. How'd that work out for you Lima?

Now it's on to week 10 against a rival that some say doesn't matter anymore. Sandusky comes into next weeks game with a lot on the line. The Streaks are 3-1 in the GBC and 6-3 overall. A win by Sandy would give them a tie for the conference title and clinch a playoff game. Let's make sure that doesn't happen.


Monday, October 18, 2010

This week in Ross football history...1970


Week nine of the 1980 season saw the Little Giants hosting the Pioneers of Elyria. The 1960's were a decade of football excellence for Elyria and the '70 editon of the Pioneers was no different. Elyria was a defensive power allowing just 43 points in the first eight games of the 1970 campaign as they posted a 6-2 record coming into Harmon Stadium to face the Little Giants.

Ross meantime had slumped to 4-4 on the season after rolling out to a 4-1 mark after the first five games. The Little Giants limped into the game against Elyria losers of three in a row. Findlay, Lorain Senior and arch-rival Sandusky had pushed the purple and white back down to the .500 mark.

The Pioneers struck first. The vaunted Elyria defense put the points on the board three minutes into the game on a 42 yard fumble recovery. Rick Nelson picked up the Little Giants bobble and ran the ball into the end zone with 9:43 left to go in the first. The PAT was good and the Pioneers led 7-0.

Ross proved they too, could capitalize on mistakes. Rob Lytle recovered a ball that both Elyria deep receivers bobbled on a punt which gave the Little Giants the ball at the Pioneer 28 yard line. Tom Liggins bulled his way into the Red and Whites endzone seven plays later for the first of his two TD's. Bill Burkett ran in the two point PAT and the Little Giants led the powerful Pioneers 8-7.
Ted Kreilick then recovered an Elyria fumble on the Ross 14 yard line as the second quarter ticked away and the Little Giants went into the locker room at the half with that one point lead.

The second half saw a tremendous defensive effort, but not by the Pioneers. The Little Giants held Elyria to just one first down and a total of 20 yards in the second half. The Ross offense ran over the Pioneers with Tommy Liggins leading the way. Liggins scored on a 34 yard TD run to put Ross up 14-7. The extra point attempt failed and the scored remained 14-7.

While the scoring was done, the Ross offense was not. Ross ate up the clock on a long drive that started at their own three and ended at the Pioneer 19 chewing up 1o minutes of time and keeping the ball out of the hands of the Elyria offense. The Little Giants drive stalled and Ross was forced to punt. The Pioneers were running out of time and were forced to go to the air to try to come back. That proved a mistake as Little Giant defender Mike Ruland intercepted a Pioneer pass and returned it to the Elyria 40 where he fumbled the ball and they recovered the ball. That would be the final play of the game however. With four seconds left the game erupted into a fistfight that emptied both benches and required school officials, coaches, stadium officials and Fremont police to bring things under control. The officials ended the contest by sending both teams to their locker rooms and the Little Giants moved to 5-4 on the season with a 14-7 win.

For the game Tommy Liggins led all rushers with 124 yards. Bill Burkett added 75 yards for Ross in the contest. For the game the Little Giants offense ground out 218 yards while holding the powerful Pioneers to a total of 100.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday morning thoughts, 10/16/10


Sure Napoleon had lost to Lima Senior in double overtime last week 27-20. Sure, the Wildcats may have been ranked higher in the AP poll than some of us thought they deserved to be if that antiquated poll holds any water anymore anyway.

But it's still Napoleon.

Yearly in the preseason we read and hear that the Wildcats numbers are down. We hear that they lost a lot from the previous season. We hear that Napoleon won't be as good as they were in seasons past. Some folks fall for that kind of talk.

But it's still Napoleon.

Last night our Little Giants faced the same kind of Napoloeon team we face year in and year out. Well coached, well disciplined, hard nosed kids who come out and play hard, every play, every down. They don't get down if they fall behind because they know they will be in the game at the end. And that's where they were last night.

But at the end those hard-nosed, disciplined kids ran into a Fremont Ross football team that refused to give in. The Little Giant offense struck first in an easy drive to take a 7-0 lead. But the Wildcats refused to be rattled and battled back to tie the score at 7-7.

That's when another hard nosed group of young men took over and refused to lose. That group was the Ross defense. Ross stopped Napoleon in the Ross red zone and led by a Drew Starks pick six, the D gave the Little Giants a 14-7 halftime lead.

In the second half the Ross defense was on the field more than they should have been but held the Wildcats on all but one drive. The 'Cats used that drive to tie the score and force the game into OT. At that point our kids looked tired. Could they stop Napoleon in OT?

Ross got the ball first and sputtered a bit before Wolf hit Drew Starks with a 20 yard pass to the Napoleon 5. Two plays later Tylor Trautwein bulled his way in to put Ross up 20-14. Gabe Tayar hit the PAT and it was 21-14 Ross.

Apparently that three plus minute rest the Little Giant defense had between the end of regulation and taking the field after the score was all that was needed. A pumped up defensive unit hit the field and stymied Napoleon forcing them into a 4th and 9 situation from the 19. Once again, Starks was there to bat down a pass ending the game.

The Little Giants are now 3-0 in the final season of the Greater Buckeye Conference and 7-1 overall. It's all out there for this team and it's fans. A GBC title, and a playoff berth. But we cannot, we must not look beyond Lima Senior. The Spartans are a much better team than their record indicates. Remember this. Lima has never beaten Fremont Ross in football.....ever. Coach Darnell Collins will have his kids ready next Friday night. The Little Giants and their fans must be ready too. No looking ahead, no big heads.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This week in Ross football history....1980


Friday night, October 17th 1980 the Little Giants faced the Presidents of Marion Harding in a Buckeye Conference tilt. The game was played in a downpour at Harmon Stadium but the rain didn't hamper the Ross defensive effort. The Ross defense however hampered Marion all night long allowing the President minus 23 yard rushing for the game.

Eric Gant started the Little Giant scoring by stopping Harding back Bill Canada two yards deep into the endzone giving Ross a 2-0 lead. Eric Bates then scored for the Little Giants on a 12 yard TD run in the second quarter to put the purple and white up 9-0.

That 9-0 lead lasted through halftime and until the 5:03 mark of the third quarter when Little Giant QB Mike Eicher scored to put Ross up 15-0. Eicher also scored on a quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter to put Ross up 22-0. Clay Keim finished the Fremont scoring on a four yard TD run. The PAT pushed the score to the final 29-0 total.

The Ross defensive effort was led by Jim Casey, Eric Gant, Shawn Simms, Orlando Carter, Dennis Murray and Bob Lotycz. Their great effort allowed the Eicher led Little Giant offense do their job. Eric Bates led Ross rushers with 109 yards on 26 carries.

With the win the Little Giants moved to 4-0 in the Buckeye Conference and 7-1 overall.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday morning thoughts....10/9/10


Last nights Little Giant win over Marion Harding reminded me of the old days in the Buckeye Conference. In the "super 70's when Ross was rolling it seemed as though Marion would give us a very tough game every year. Last night was just kind of game.

The Presidents are a good 1-6 team. That may sound odd but not really. If you didn't know the records and history of these two teams last night you would have thought the Presidents were the "better" team, especially in the first half. Hardings powerful offense did what they needed to against Ross. Sims, Scott and Co. had their way against the Little Giant defense. Meantime the Presidents defense held Ross to zero first downs in the first half. The Little Giant offense was stymied by a good Marion defense. Had it not been for a great Wolf to Brown TD pass(a thing of beauty) and a fumble recovery returned for a TD, this would have been a much different game.

Luckily the Ross defense woke up at halftime and shut down the Marion running game and the Little Giants punched in a TD on a Greg Brown 27 yard TD run. Ross got hosed by the refs on the points after try but it was enough to roll up win #39 all time against Marion.

I honestly have no idea why Gabe Tayar was not kicking last night. I hope the young man is back for next Friday nights crucial contest at Napoleon. Ballenger did a good job as his replacement.

What a wild night in the GBC. After the dust settled the Little Giants find themselves all alone atop the league at 2-0. With four of our defeated opponents winning last night Ross will remain in the top eight in the playoff race.

Congrats to Ross homecoming queen Stephaine Swint and her court. It was a beautiful night at the Don capped by a win. We'll take it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This week in Ross football history....1930


Week seven of the 1930 season saw the Little Giants continue their quest for a Little Big Seven conference title against Tiffin Columbian. Ross was 5-1 on the season after a 25-0 win the previous week over Willard.

Tiffin came into Fremont to face a Little Giant team determined to avenge a loss to their Seneca County neighors suffered in 1929. Ross rolled out to a 25-0 lead before Coach Robert Oldfather pulled the first string. Columbian got their only score after that.

The Little Giants first points of the game came at the end of a long drive that started at the Ross 10 yard line and was climaxed by a five yard Td run by Hess. The extra point attempt failed and the Little Giants led 6-0. The second Ross score came after the Little Giants recovered a Tiffin fumble at the Columbian 40. Ross drove to the Tiffin one where Hess punched it in for the score. The PAT was good and Ross led 13-0.

The Little Giants scored again in the third quarter with a drive that started on the Tiffin 31. Ross capped that drive with an O'Farrell to Brehm touchdown pass. The extra point attempt was no good and the Fremonters were leading 19-0.

The final Ross TD came later in the third quarter when a Columbian punt was very short and the Little Giants took over at the Tiffin 17 yard line. O'Farrell promptly scored for Ross on a 17 yard run. The PAT was no good and Fremont led 25-0.

The Tornadoes punched in a score against the Fremont second team to complete the scoring for the Saturday afternoon.

The 25-6 win gave the Little Giants a 6-1 record as they went on to win the Little Big Seven title.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday morning thoughts....10/2/10


What a difference a year makes. After a 43-40 triple overtime heartbreaking loss to Findlay last year the Little Giants slipped to 4-2 on the season and did not recover. Ross slumped to a 5-5 season and things looked bleak. There was talk of discord in the locker room. Players were out for themselves and there was no team play.

Headed up by some tremendous Senior leadership the Little Giants put the vestiges of 2009 behind them and ran over arch-rival Findlay last night 43-35. Let's put it out there right from the get-go; If there were any questions about Senior Greg Brown and his turnaround, his leadership, his committment to his team and about his talent, last night answered those questions. I was particularly hard on young Mr. Brown on forum posts and in this blog last year. At the time it may have been well deserved. The credit he deserves this season is also well deserved. Good job Greg. Keep up the good work.

The determination of the Little Giants last night was clearly evident in the powerhouse running of Tylor Trautwein and Trent Stout. Those young men were not to be stopped. I don't ever recall Fremont Ross having three backs with over 100 yards rushing in one game....ever. That determination was also evident on the sidelines last night. After Trautwein limped out of the game he could be seen pacing the sidelines, determined to get back in.

Last night was a what has become a typical Ross-Findlay game. Some have said that this rivalry has surpassed the Sandusky game as our top game. Last nights contest, and the past several games with the Trojans have done nothing to take away from that claim. Sandusky may have something to say about that this year however. The Blue Streaks are 4-2 on the season and 1-0 in the GBC after their win over Lima. I know we need to take it one game at a time, but week 10 could be something special this year.

Kudos go out to the fans, the band and the cheerleaders. All were into the game and pumped up last night. The sight of the cheerleaders running back and forth with the "R-O-S-S" flags after each touchdown has become a tradition I hope goes on for a long time to come.

Now back to 2009 for just a moment. After that tough 43-40 loss to Findlay, Ross hobbled into Marion where they lost 21-0 in the rain and wind. I'm still not sure if we gave that game away or if Marion beat us. But that was last year....