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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Red Rider Playoffs: 1986

The following is the latest in a series of historical reflections dealing with the Red Riders of Orrville High School and their quest for a football championship in the Ohio High School Athletic Association's state playoffs. The full archive can be found here.

This edition look at the year 1986.

Division III Regional Semifinal:
Orrville 35 - Thornville Sheridan 0

The Riders finished the 1986 season with a 9-1 record, the lone loss to Wooster (10-6).

Sidebar: The '86 Wooster team ended up 11-2, losing 33-10 in the Div. II state semifinals to eventual state champ Cincinnati Purcell-Marian (famous alum: Roger Staubach). The game was held at Columbus Cooper Stadium, where the Columbus Clippers minor league baseball team played through this past baseball season. The playing surface at the time was artificial turf, but a look at the layout of the stadium makes me wonder how the football field dimensions were placed. After some research....this is how I'm told the layout looked like (excuse the crudeness), that's just odd, and from some reading, it was not a very nice surface for the players, or atmosphere for the fans.

Back to the playoffs, The Riders finished 3rd in Region 11 (scroll to page 6) and were paired up with the Generals of Thornville Sheridan in the first round. The game was held at Zanesville's Sulsberger Stadium.

The Riders jumped on the Generals mere minutes into the game and never looked back, cruising to a 35-0 victory, and advancing to the 2nd round.

The Riders used their typical combination of big plays on offense and a menacing defense to overwhelm the Generals. James Bradley scored 3 TD's on the night and DB Tyrone Mosley picked off 2 Sheridan passes.

Read the full article here.

Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
Orr - 70 yd punt return by James Bradley (Sibonhuang PAT), 7-0
Orr - 7 yd TD run by James Bradley (PAT blocked), 13-0

2nd Quarter
Orr - 65 yd TD pass, Gary DeHart to Bradley (2 pt. conversion good, DeHart to Shonk), 21-0

3rd Quarter
Orr - 1 yd TD run by Bill Rice (Sibonhuang kick), 28-0

4th Quarter
Orr - 13 yd TD pass, Matt Hamsher to Paul Edwards (Sibonhuang kick), 35-0

Division III Regional Final:
St. Clairsville 21 - Orrville 14

The Red Rider team and fans would again travel down Interstate 77 for another regional final tilt, this time to Dover's Crater Stadium to take on the 10-1 Red Devils of St. Clairsville. The Red Devils beat top ranked Ironton in the first round, 29-14.

The Red Devils were led by the 1-2 punch of Shawn Vincent (QB) and John Spencer (FB), two names that were immediately inducted into the Pantheon of Orrville Playoff Enemies. The list also includes names like Jewell Jackson, Alan Schell, Jose Davis...and others.

Sidebar: Shawn Vincent went on to play for the Univ. of Akron and was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1991, playing 4 years for the Steelers before retiring. I can't find any info on John Spencer, but there was a Tim Spencer who starred for St. Clairsville in the late 70's, went on to Ohio St where he was 1 of 5 Buckeye backs to run for 1000+ yds in 2 straight seasons, and played for the San Diego Chargers in the NFL and is the current running backs coach for the Chicago Bears. I wonder if John Spencer was any relation to Tim Spencer?

Vincent and Spencer had a hand in every Orrville turnover and every Red Devil touchdown and Orrville could not make the big play when needed, losing a hard fought 21-14 game, and bowing out at 10-2 on the season.

Read the article here. And just note all the mentions of Vincent and Spencer on both sides of the ball. Those two were all over the field.

Uni Note: Pretty basic uniforms in 1986 for the Red Devils, silver pants, red tops, white helmets. Their current incarnation looks very familiar though, especially the pants & helmet.

Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
Orr - 1 yd TD run by Bill Rice (Sibonhuang PAT), 7-0

2nd Quarter
StC - 1 yd TD run by Shawn Vincent (Pittinger PAT), 7-7

3rd Quarter
StC - 56 yd TD run by John Spencer (Pittinger PAT), 14-7

4th Quarter
StC - 17 yd TD pass, Vincent to Greg Kazminski (Pittinger PAT), 21-7
Orr - 32 yd punt return by Doug Brigham (Sibonhuang PAT), 14-21

For what it's worth, St. Clairsville lost to Kenston in the state semifinals the following week, 22-21.

With the '86 season over, it would be 8 years before the Riders would win another playoff game.

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