Sunday, November 14, 2010

2010 football final thoughts


During the spring and summer months leading up to this season there were some questions about what the 2010 campaign would bring.

Would the Little Giants be able to overcome the off field, personality, and "me" issue that were behind the collapse of the 2009 season?

Would this years senior class be true leaders?

Would the Little Giants finish better than .500?

Was there any way in heck this team could make the playoffs?

What we fans couldn't know, and wouldn't know until the season got underway, the players already knew. Those issues that bedeviled the 2009 season were dead and buried. This team, these kids, wanted to win, wanted a conference title and were hell bent on making the playoffs. Their mantra for this season mocked the fans. 2-8 WHAT.. became their battle cry. That was a saying that I am more than happy to have waved in my face this November.

My first opportunity to catch the 2010 edition of the Little Giants was in the preseason scrimmage against Toledo Waite. As I sat there watching the purple and white roll over the Indians 35-0 in two quarters of football I thought to myself, "maybe this year won't be so bad after all".

The opener against Toledo Start had me thinking that this team would need to open it up more to beat the big boys. Sure we won, but "was this it?". We found out in week two that no way, no how was what we saw at Spartan Stadium "it". Coach Kidwell and his Little Giants stepped it up bigtime and knocked off a powerful team in future TRAC member Toledo Whitmer.

That win over Whitmer was a statement. Unfortunately it went to the heads of many. Fans and players were certain that the following weeks opponent from Tiffin Columbian would be no match for the Little Giants. If we beat Whitmer, a team that handled the Tornadoes 35-6 in week one, imagine what we were going to do to Columbian. "Tiffin Columbian better be worried" was a thread posted on the forum. Sitting at Frost-Kalnow before the opening kickoff I could hear Ross fans saying much the same thing. Problem was, no one passed that message along to Tiffin. The Tornadoes came into the game fired up and manhandled an overconfident squad of Fremonters. A lesson was learned that night. Just because you beat team A who beat team B, does not mean you too will beat team B.

Along came week four and we traveled to Metro Cleveland for our first and only road game against Benedictine. The Bengals, a team that the Little Giants had little success against in 16 previous meetings, had not started the season well. We had seen this before however, and many Fremonters were worried that the "Benny block" would once again strike. As we sat in beautiful Bearcat Stadium in Bedford on a gorgeous fall night it quickly became evident that the hold Benedictine had over Ross was coming to an end. The Little Giants rolled out to a 28-0 halftime lead and never looked back in burying the Bengals and the "Benny block" by a 47-7 score.

Ross was 4-1 as the final GBC season began with a road trip to our old rivals in Findlay. With three backs running wild over the Trojans the Little Giants held off a late Findlay charge to get some revenge by a 43-35 score and a leg up in the GBC race.

Tough wins over Marion Harding, Napoleon and Lima Senior followed keeping the Little Giants atop the Greater Buckeye. At 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the GBC Ross was on the doorstep of winning the final GBC title outright and making the playoffs. Only one team, one thing, stood in our way...Sandusky. The Blue Streaks were having their best season in some years and came into the Don a 3-1 in the conference, 6-3 overall. A Blue Streak win would give them a share of the league crown. A playoff berth, their first since 1990, was a possibility as well.

The week leading up to the 105th meeting between the two old rivals saw the most excitement for the series in some time in both communities. Rallys and bonfires took place before the game in both Fremont and Sandusky. The chatter on the Ross forum, and others, was quite colorful and energetic. The old fires of the great old rivalry were being rekindled and fans from both schools looked forward to the game on Friday night.

The largest crowd to witness a Ross-Sandusky game in years filled Don Paul Stadium on October 29th. It was good to see so many folks in blue and white on the visitors side. The turnout by Sandusky was matched by a large and vocal home crowd that was loud the entire game. In the end the Little Giants got revenge on the Blue Streaks for 2009. Ross won 21-7 and took the final Greater Buckeye Conference title outright. Both teams qualified for the postseason.

The Little Giants fell to Toledo St. Johns in the first round of the postseason despite a furious second half comeback attempt. I was so proud of the huge turnout of Fremont Ross fans in numbers and voice at Doyt Perry Stadium. Our first win in the playoffs since 1983 will have to wait for another year. It will come.

This 2010 season could not have been possible without the great leadership of a Senior class that was determined to wipe away the memories 2009. They came together, united, and wiped away the "me first" attitude that was our downfall in '09.

What will 2011 bring? Plenty of excitement that is for sure. Our first year in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference. A week one contest at Sandusky. A team with lots of returning talent. The future of Fremont Ross football looks bright. We have a talented, committed coach, assistants, an involved community and fan base. Let's build on the lessons learned before this 2010 campaign and use them to make 2011 even better.

To the team, coaches and all involved in making 2010 so successful. THANK YOU. We fans appreciate your hard work and effort. To the Seniors who helped make 2010 what is was, GOOD LUCK. To the kids coming back...WORK HARD, LIFT HARD, GET READY FOR 2011. We'll be there to support you.

GO ROSS...Now and always!

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