My obsession with Fremont Ross football began on a long ago night at Harmon Stadium. The year was 1969 and the Little Giants were in a rebuilding phase under head coach Chuck Shuff. Ross had fallen on hard times after legendary head coach Mal Mackey had retired after the 1966 season. Shuff took on the job of rebuilding the Little Giants in 1968 after a very brief one year stint with John Behling as the head man in 1967. That October night in '69 saw the Little Giants get one of only two wins that year 24-22 over Mansfield Senior.
I was hooked. I wanted to go to every game and soon enough that would become reality. Everyone I knew, family and friends, talked about the Little Giants. In the next few years names like Shuff, Liggins, Lopez, Lindsay, Burkett, Brudzinski and yes Lytle, were what folks talked about.
Rob Lytle was the first truely great football player I had the opportunity to watch. He and Bob Brudzinski headlined a great 1972 Ross football team that went 9-1, and in this fans opinion was one of the best Little Giant squads I have seen, and still is to this day. Watching Rob run through and around opposing teams defenses was a thing of beauty. Watching him lead his Little Giant teams to big wins over Sandusky was a special treat.
When Rob moved on to the University of Michigan, we Fremonters had even more reason to gloat. That great player who we had the opportunity to watch for three years was now showing the entire country his talents. He came in third in the Heisman voting his Senior year in Ann Arbor and in this totally biased fans opinion should have won the trophy.
Injuries hampered Rob during his years as a professional player with the Denver Broncos but still watching him play on Sunday afternoons was special. He was one of two Fremonters, two All-Americans who had moved onto the professional ranks. Little Giant fans had reason to be proud.
What Rob did after his time in the NFL was even more special. You see, he came home. How many guys who "make it big" leave their high school hometowns in their past? How many of them move on to bigger and better things? Well for Rob Lytle, the bigger and better thing was coming home to Fremont.
Rob came home and contributed to the life of this community. He and Tracey became involved with Fremont. They worked with the schools, the kids, and more. They were, and are role models for what great community citizens should be. And all the while they were busy raising a family.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tracey, Kelly, Erin and the entire Lytle family at this very difficult time. We hope they know that this community is grateful for being able to share the life and times of Rob Lytle with them. Thank you for that opportunity. And thank you Rob. You will never be forgotten.