Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Week six in Ross football history....1971


Week six of the 1971 football season saw one of the biggest games Harmon/Don Paul stadium has ever seen. The unbeaten and state ranked Little Giants hosted the undefeated and state ranked Pioneers of Elyria in a huge Buckeye Conference showdown. Both teams were 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Buckeye. For Elyria coach Bill Bartons charges this was just another big game in a line of big games for the Pioneers who were a state power in the era. For the Little Giants of head coach Chuck Shuff this was the first huge game since his rebuilding effort began showing results.

The game was one of those that live up to all the hype. An overflow crowd that is still the largest to date jammed Harmon Stadium for the contest. The attendance was estimated at anywhere from 10,000 to 13,000. Remember back in those days the concession stands in the northwest corner were not there and both endzones were empty. Bleachers ringed both endzones and were full. The area in front of the old home side was full of standing room only attendees.

The names associated with this great contest are a who's who of football. Bill Barton, Chuck Shuff, Les Miles, Bob Brudzinski, Tommy Liggins, Rob Lytle, Chuck Lindsey, Ike Maxwell and more were involved with this game.

Maxwell was the star of the show as the Pioneer back had 219 yards on 30 carries. The Little Giants struck first on a Ben Lopez to Dale Shoemaker 18 yard touchdown pass. Tommy Liggins kicked the PAT and the Little Giants were on the board first with a 7-0 lead. The score was the result of a drive that started at the Pioneer 46 yard line.

Maxwell first score for the Lorain County visitors was on a three yard run in the second quarter. The tough Elyria back also carried the ball into the endzone for the two point PAT and the Pioneers led 8-7.

Four minutes later Maxwell dazzled the Harmon Stadium crowd with a 76 yard touchdown run. The PAT kick was good and Elyria went into the locker rooms at the half up 15-7.

The second half saw both teams threaten but both defenses hold. For the game the powerful Elyria defense held Fremonts talented backs mostly in check. Tom Liggins had 48 yards rushing and Rob Lytle was held to 80.

Elyria went on to win the Buckeye Conference title with a 7-0 league mark and a perfect 10-0 overall record. Many considered the '71 Pioneer football team the best ever at Elyria which is saying a lot considering the programs great history.

The tough loss was the only one of the season for the Little Giants. Ross finished second in the Buckeye at 6-1 and the Purple and White finished 9-1 overall.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week five in Ross football history.....1951


Week five of the 1951 season saw the unbeaten Little Giants taking on the unbeaten and fifth ranked Blue Streaks of Sandusky. The Erie County rivals had what many thought was the best Sandusky team in 15 years. Ross had revenge on their minds as the Blue Streaks has knocked the Little Giants off in 1950 by a 29-7 count.

A record crowd to that date, over 7,000 fans, jammed Harmon Stadium for the rivalry game and they got their moneys worth. Well, the Fremonters got their moneys worth. Sandusky fans may have wanted a refund after the contest ended.

The powerful Blue Streaks took control early and rolled out to a 14-0 lead. The first Sandusky score came after a 78 yard drive. The drive was capped by a Jude Thelbert to Chuck Acierto touchdown pass of six yard. The PAT was good and the hated rivals led 7-0. With 3:26 left in the first quarter Sandusky defender Dee DeVees intercepted a Ronnie Whitcomb pass and returned it to the Ross 38. Thelbert capped the short drive with a run into the endzone and the Streaks led 14-0 at the end of one.

What would be an amazing Little Giant comeback started in the second quarter. Ross capped a 79 yard drive on a great play. Ross great John Lewis took a pitch from Whitcomb. Big Thunder then lofted a pass to Jerry Porczak in the endzone. The PAT was no good but the Little Giants had trimmed the Blue Streak lead to 14-6 which was the halftime score as well.

Legendary Little Giant coach Mal Mackey undoubtedly gave his charges a rousing halftime talk because they came out with a full head of steam in the second half. The purple and white narrowed the Blue Streak lead to 14-13 in the third quarter. Jerome "Little Thunder" Surratt capped a 78 yard drive with a 31 yard TD run.

In the fourth quarter the gritty Ross defense halted a Sandusky drive at the Little Giant 14 yard line. That's where the winning Giant drive started. Big Thunder, hampered the entire game by injuries bulled his way in from the one yard line to give the Little Giants a 19-14 lead. Mal Mackeys defense held the Blue Streaks at bay the rest of the game and the Little Giants won their ninth straight game.

Despite his injuries Lewis led all Little Giant rushers with 137 yards. Surratt wasn't far behind with 114 yards toting the ball. Thelbert led Jeff DeHavens Blue Streaks with 101 yards.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A great night.....a terrible night

The opening night of football play of the new Three Rivers Athletic Conference was expected to be a memorable one. Memorable yes, and one we should not ever forget.

The showcase game of the TRAC opening night took place right here in Fremont. The Don was packed with a big crowd primed to support the 3-0 Little Giants in a big battle against 3-0 league foe Toledo St. Johns. It was what many hoped would be a great night and beginning of a great era for the new league.

The game did not disappoint. A double overtime thriller that was packed with tremendous players and great plays. As in any big game the emotion of the night got to the players and in some cases on both sides, those players overreacted. The Little Giants and Titans were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and personal fouls on a number of occasions.

There are three different guilty parties responsible for what ended up a terrible night. Those three parties are the officials, the Titans, and our Little Giants.

The officials let this game get out of their control quickly. As some people have mentioned the refs may have let the emotion and physicality of the night overwhelm them. The number of personal fouls should have been dealt with. At some point the refs should have started cracking down on the offending players. The officials do have that ability. They can eject players when personal fouls get out of control. They did not do that. At one point a referee actually pushed a Ross player on the field. The officals did such a questionable job that the forum was told by a reliable source that at the end of the game the guys in strips were told they may want to leave the field as soon as possible for their own safety.
Questionable calls by officials are always going to take place. Sometimes they will go our way, sometimes they won't. We cannot control the officials.

The St. Johns Titans were not innocent of wrongdoing Friday night. The Titans had a large number of personal fouls as well. The forum was informed by a parent of a player that Little Giant players were the subject of racial slurs hurled at them by Titan players. Our kids know these kind of things will happen. It has happened before. The kids should turn their backs and walk away from this disgusting behavior, but honestly, if I were an African American or Latino player being subjected to a racial slur, I cannot say that I would be able to walk away without responding.
After the Little Giants made it clear there would be no after-game handshake, the Titan players held a team meeting on the 50 yard line, sitting on our logo, staring into the Ross locker room. What did they hope to achieve by doing this? We can't worry about the Titans and what they did or why they did it.

And that brings up the handshake issue. After the game our Little Giants did not shake hands with their opponents. After a Saturday of phone calls and discussions with folks in the know it was determined that the referees did not tell the kids to not shake hands. What cannot be determined is if one ref told the Ross players to "stay off the field" while the Titans celebrated. A players parent informed the forum that such a statement was made and that the Little Giants took that to mean "go to your locker room".

We CAN and SHOULD be concerned about what our Little Giants do. By not shaking hands with their opponents on Friday night the boys in purple and white displayed a serious lack of class and sportsmanship. Fremont fans were outraged and had a right to be. We pride ourselves in being a class opponent and class host. Fridays actions tarnished that reputation. This is an issue that should be addressed. We expect our Little Giants to play hard, and play with emotion. What we don't want or expect are displays of poor sportsmanship and no class. We care about what happens. The folks in charge may want to get this under control before the fans stop caring. If they stop caring, they stop coming. No attendance=no revenue.

Let's not forget this past Friday night. And let's learn from it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Week four in Ross football history....1971


Week four of the 1971 football season saw the undefeated Little Giants take to the road for the first time that year. The purple and white made the trip to George Daniel Stadium in Lorain to take on Buckeye Conference foe Admiral King.
The first conference tilt of the '71 campaign had the large Fremont crowd that made the trip east uneasy for the first half as Ross was only able to put six points on the board before the bands took the field. Those points were scored when Little Giant workhorse Tom Liggins bulled his way into the endzone from the one yard line with 7:37 left in the half. The TD capped an eight play, 60 yard drive. The PAT failed but Ross was able to keep the Admirals out of the endzone and took that 6-0 lead into the locker rooms at the midway point of the game. Admiral King did threaten in the first half, making it to the Ross 16 yard line, but the powerful Little Giant defense clamped down and stopped the AK offense from moving any further.

The second half was all Ross as the Little Giants moved up and down the field and the defense stymied the Admirals every time they touched the ball. Ross took the second half kickoff and moved 56 yard down the field in seven plays. Rob Lytle capped that second drive with a six yard TD run. Lytle also scored the two point conversion and the rout was on. The next Ross scoring drive was a four play 75 yard effort that started with an 11 yard Ben Lopez to Bob Brudzinski pass play. The drive was capped by a 30 yard touchdown run by Tom Liggins.

Rob Lytle had two more TD runs on the night. One was a three yard jaunt that ended a seven play, 45 yard drive. The next was a four yard TD run that came at the end of six play, 46 yard drive.

Chuck Lindsey also scored for Ross. His score came on a 13 yard run after Dave Mierke had recovered an Admiral fumble at their 32 yard line.

For the night Rob Lytle carried the ball 24 times for 172 yards. Tom Liggins toted the ball 21 times for 97 yards.

With the win the state-ranked Little Giants moved to 1-0 in the Buckeye Conference and 4-0 on the season. The win was the first for Ross over Admiral King since the Lorain school joined the Buckeye.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week three in Ross football history....1941


Week three of the 1941 football season saw the Little Giants travel to Fostoria for a Buckeye League contest against the Redmen. Ross handed Fostoria a 27-0 loss, the worst defeat a Fremont team handed one from Fostoria in a number of years to that point.
The Purple and White scored on four long offensive drives, the shortest of which was 37 yards.
Ross was led by team captain Bob Hall along with Ed Fox and Jim Wisbon. The three of them headed up a Little Giant offense that scored on drives of 64, 59, 47 and 37 yards. Fostoria meantime had just one scoring opportunity which came as a result of a Little Giant fumble on their own 41. Fostoria drove to the Ross 12 but their drive was snuffed out by an interception by Elmer Nickle.
Ross almost scored a fifth TD very late in the contest when Lantz block a Redmen punt and The Little Giants took over in Fostoria territory. The drive stalled however, and the game ended 27-0 in the Fremonters favor.