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Monday, October 20, 2008

Wooster Game Classics - 1959 & 1964

Note: This is the first in a series of "lookbacks" into some of the great games and great performances in Orrville history against their rivals from Wooster. Today's feature details the 1959 and 1964 games.

1959: Howard runs the Riders to victory

In what was probably the first great individual performance by a Red Rider in a Wooster game, senior back Bobby Howard rushed for 210 yds and 3 TD's, and a 75 yd punt return for a TD in leading the Riders to a 32-22 win at Orrville.

Howard's 3 rushing TD's were not merely goal line plunges, but rather long runs of 72, 45 and 50 yards. The 50 yd TD run came in the 4th quarter as the Riders were nursing a 26-22 lead, and effectively put the game away. Howard's performance would not be eclipsed until nearly 20 years later by Mark Griggs' 5 TD's in the 1975 game.

At the time, the win was the 2nd highest winning score by an Orrville team and broke a 5 game winless streak (0-4-1) against the Generals, who were favored in this matchup by 2 TD's in "pregame ballotting" (I'd love to see what that consisted of), according to the game article. The combined 54 points was the highest point total in an Orrville-Wooster game since 1931 (A 61-0 Wooster win).

With the win, the Riders finished the '59 season with a 4-5 record, while the Generals finished 6-4.

Note: I'd post the article, but the microfilm was very blurry.

1964: "Hoss" Houmard leads the way

The 1964 Red Rider squad came into the Wooster game with an 8-1 record (only loss to Coventry) and their 2nd Chippewa Conference title (in the 2nd year of the Chipp Conference) in a row, boasting a defense allowing less than 7 points a game, and an offense that averaged over 35 ppg.

Leading the way for the Riders was senior all-state back Bob Houmard, who ran for 1000+ yds plus in each of his junior and senior seasons. Legendary coach Bill Shunkwiler called Houmard "the best all-around back I've coached."

Houmard found the endzone twice, and ran for 136 yds on 25 carries, but was also assisted by a littany of fellow Red Riders, led by senior back Mike Norman (82 yds on 14 carries) and junior back Fred Ray (110 yds on 6 carries), Jim Lyon (56 yds & a TD) and Dave Yonto (52 yds on 2 carries).

The Rider defense was led by cornerbacks Paul Reusser and Howard Lorson.

The Generals had no answers on either side of the ball, and the Riders ran at will to a 40-8 win over Roman Majerczak's Generals at Mauer Field, capping a 9-1 season.

It was Wooster's most lopsided loss of the season, and most lopsided Orrville win in the history of the series to date, a record that stood exactly 30 years.

What struck me about this article was the complete team effort, on both sides of the ball. I'd like to believe that the young men on this team banded together for 1 common cause, to beat Wooster.

Again, the microfilm printed out very blurry, but here's a picture from the game of Bob Houmard slicing through the Generals defense. Uni Note: Take a look at those Orrville helmets.....what a thing of beauty.

The article mentioned a "jinx" on the Riders when it came to beating Wooster, and in looking through the archives, it was accurate. The Riders won over 70% of their games in the 1960's but only managed a 2-5-3 record against the Generals, and especially tough games in 1960, 1968 and 1969 where the Riders came into the Wooster game undefeated, but left with either a loss (1960) or a tie (1968, 1969).

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