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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Red Rider Playoffs: 1984

Division III Regional Final:
Orrville 21 - Warren JFK 0

After one of the most successful regular seasons in school history, one that saw an undefeated 10-0 regular season, an AOL championship, a 3rd straight win over arch rival Wooster, and a defense that recorded five shutouts, and three other efforts where opponents were held to just 6 points, and an offense that scored 30 or more points an amazing 7 times, expectations could not have been higher.

The Riders continued their recent playoff success, and looked to take their first step back to Columbus, defeating Warren JFK 21-0 at Canton's Fawcett Stadium.

It was again the Riders dangerous combination of speed & talent, on both sides of the ball, that overwhelmed the Eagles.

Here is the article as it appeared in the Courier.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter
Orr - Keith Amstutz 27 yd TD reception from Tom Bolyard (Extra Point good) 7-0

3rd Quarter
Orr - 84 yd Punt Return by James Bradley (Extra Point good) 14-0

4th Quarter
Orr - James Bradley 7 yd TD reception from Tom Bolyard (Extra Point good) 21-0

Stars of the Game

  • James Bradley - 2 TD's

  • Roger Davidoff - 2 INT's

  • Tom Bolyard - 2 TD passes

  • Red Rider Defense - 135 total yds allowed

    Divisional III State Semifinal:
    Elyria Catholic 14 - Orrville 13

    This picture sums it all up.

    For the 3rd straight year, the Red Riders were eliminated from the plaoyffs by a private school that would eventually be crowned State Champions.

    This time, the green & white Panthers of Elyria Catholic did the honors, ending the Riders season by a 14-13 score at Parma Byers Field. But unlike last year's drubbing at the hands of Columbus Bishop Ready, the Riders were there own worst enemy on this night, committing several costly turnovers and missing an extra point to tie the game and a 34 yd field goal that would have put the Riders ahead late in the 4th quarter.

    To look at the stats alone, most would agree that the Riders did enough to win the game. They outrushed & outpassed the Panthers, outgaining them 351-261 in total yards, but it was the 1 point difference in the score that mattered the most.

    Individually, Red Rider Keith Denson had a monster game, gaining over 200 yards, including an amazing 80 yard scamper for a touchdown to pull the Riders within 1 point. On the other side of the ball, EC All-Ohioan Al McKinney was held under 100 yds for the first time all season, but the Panthers' supporting cast took up the slack and wore down the Rider defense in the first half.

    In doing research for this, it was told to me that a Red Rider defenseman, Scott Zacharias was injured in a car accident in the week leading up to the game, and was not available to play. His replacement became a target for the EC offense and was run at early and often.

    Here is the article as it appeared in the Courier Crescent.

    Scoring Summary

    1st Quarter
    Orr - 19 yd rushing touchdown by Keith Denson (Extra Point good) 7-0
    EC - 2 yd rushing touchdown by Ron Traut (Extra Point good) 7-7

    2nd Quarter
    EC - 1 yd rushing touchdown by Gary Plas (Extra Point good) 14-7

    3rd Quarter
    Orr - 80 yd rushing touchdown by Keith Denson (Extra Point missed) 14-13

    Star of the Game

  • Keith Denson - 209 rushing yards, 2 TD's

  • Notes and Misc.
    1. This was an amazing collection of talent on the 84 team. The backfield alone of Denson (Tennessee), Bolyard (NE Oklahoma A&M/Indiana) and Leeder (Ohio U), quality receivers like Bradley (Michigan St), Auble and Davidoff....not to mention guys like Tom Moore (Ohio St) & Brad Booth. We've always been blessed with great skill position players, but the 84 team might have been the best of them all in terms of talent.

    2. Uni-Goodness. Take a look at this article, and pay close attention to the Elyria Catholic jersey. Notice how instead of the more modern name-on-back (NOB) that it's merely EC's "Panthers" nickname? Well....thanks to a tip from a Uni-conscious reader, I discovered that this was a trend sported by your own Red Riders as recently as the 1980 season. See here. Yep, that's a "Red Riders" on the back of those jerseys. Again, the sooner we can bring back that look, the better.

    3. The following week, Elyria Catholic beat Cincinnati McNicholas 45-20. If we played EC to within 1 point, I'm fairly confident that we'd have hoisted our first state title if we'd have earned the chance. Woulda, shoulda, coulda.

    4. The 1984 title marked the 2nd straight and 3rd overall title for Elyria Catholic, they won their first in 1976. The 1984 title was won under the direction of Fred Schmitz who took the reins from Jim Rattay who left the head coaching position after leading the Panthers to the 1983 title. I wonder how many schools have won back to back football titles while changing coaches in the process? Not many I'd imagine.

    5. Speaking of Jim Rattay, he is still coaching in Arizona, and was just hired at Laveen Cesar Chavez school in the Phoenix area. He has won 7 state titles in his career including the 2 he won while at the helm of Elyria Catholic. His son, Tim, played college football at Louisiana Tech and is now a pro QB for the Arizona Cardinals.

    6. The 1984 season began a stretch of regular season dominance for the Riders. From 1984 to 1988 (5 seasons) the Riders compiled an amazing regular season record of 48-2, losing only to Copley in 1985 and Wooster in 1986.

    If you have anything to add, a correction, or just more information, feel free to post it in the comments section or email it to me. Enjoy!!