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Monday, December 15, 2008

Red Rider Playoffs: 1987

The '87 Red Riders became the 3rd team in school history to win 10 regular season games (1963 and 84 were the other two) and they did it in typical fashion....a potent offense, and a staunch defense. This year's defense was especially dominant, recording six shutouts, five of those coming against AOL opponents.

For the season, they outscored league opponents by an amazing 155-0 score. The irony of the season, however, would be the way the season ended.

Let's jump in the time machine and head back to 1987, we'll discuss the season, as well as the Riders 6th playoff appearance and some minutiae that you've come to appreciate from me.

Enough can't be said about how dominant this defense was (or how weak the AOL was). They gave up 13 points in the first week against Wadsworth, and then 8 the following week against Copley. Over the next 8 weeks, they only gave up a total of 18 points....that's less than 2.5 points per game. Unreal.

The defense was led by All-Ohio linebacker Clay Tipton & Jason Haley at linebacker. But the defense was strong at all 3 levels, a strong line, talented linebackers and fast DB's.

The Riders capped their perfect season with a 21-10 win over arch rival Wooster. The Riders finished 3rd in Division III Region 9 (scroll to page 9), missing 2nd place by less than 1 point. By finishing 3rd, they had to travel to Struthers to take on the Wildcats.

Division III Region 9 Semifinal
Struthers 21 - Orrville 0

The Riders' undefeated season came to a screeching halt at the hand of the Struthers Wildcats, giving the Riders a taste of their own medicine by posting a 21-0 shutout.

Rider QB Matt Hamsher was harassed all night by Struthers' defense, sacking him 6 times and forcing 3 INT's.

In the end, Struthers limited the Riders big play ability and advanced to the 2nd round. They were defeated next week by eventual state champ Cardinal Mooney.

There isn't a lot more to say. This was a dominant performance by Struthers, they scouted the Riders well, exposing the Riders as very 1 dimensional. The Riders cruised through their league schedule, but obviously had not faced an opponent like Struthers all season, and it showed.

Here's the game article.

1987 Miscellany.

  • Note that the Big skulls are still being used. But it appears that some small skulls were mixed in. Note: Check out the "S" on the front of the Struthers helmet. Very Sharp.
  • Here's a season in review article. Note how balanced our running attack was. All 4 backs (Bill Rice, Eddie Miller, Tony Sims and Tyrone Mosley) had 400 yds+ and all but Mosley had 500 yds+.
  • Note the passing yards, 820 yards on only 45 completions, that's nearly 20 yds per completion. Kerby Shupp led the team in receptions for a 2nd straight season (rare for a tight end) and also handled punting duties to the tune of 40 yds+ per punt. Word is he also cured the sick that year. A true Renaissance man.
Saving the Best for Last.
Take a look at this picture and leave it open in another window. I'll wait....

Some observations.

First off, Orrville didn't make a habit to doing too many posed pictures. I'd like to think it was a little too "Hollywood" for Mo. So that in itself makes this quite rare. Secondly, through a former player and my own knowledge, I was able to place everyone in the picture except 1 mysterious coach.

Let's break this down.....starting on the far left.

1. Coach in the white jacket......Steve Kovacs
2. #86 - Jeremy Jarvis
3. #70 - Brian Dalessandro (Tipton Tidbit relayed by a former player..."Brian's dad Tim was at every practice. Many times he's show up with a Grandma's Pizza - equipped with Mo's favorite toppings. As soon as Mo would see that pizza box he "briskly" headed for it. Mo running over to the side to eat pizza during practice would break us all up. Someone would see Tim coming and say "pizza box" and we went nuts.")
4. Coach leaning on cop car....Tony Margazano (deceased)
5. #75 - Jason Shankelton
6. Player sitting on car - Tony Sims (also deceased)....made up the "Smurf" backfield along with Eddie Miller and Tyrone Mosley.
7. #73 - Todd Dalessandro
8. #62 - Clay Tipton
9. Coach between cop cars - Mike Burkholder (Another tidbit from a former player...."because of him I know all lyrics to every song on Hank Williams Jr. Greatest Hits. Played that tape every day before and after practice. We all came to love it. Entire team sang along every day. I have the cd now - only country cd that I own.")
10. #32 - Tyrone Mosley
11. #55 - Jason Haley
12. #41 - Bill Rice
13. #54 - Rob Zuercher
14. #11 - Matt Hamsher
15. Coach behind goalpost - Bill McMillan

That's everyone except one mysterious coach behind the cop car on the right. Look again

Anyone know who that is? I've looked through a list and pictures of coaches that year and nothing matches up. This appears to be the starting defensive unit and coaches from the '87 team, so I'd think it would be some kind of defensive coach.

If I'm putting any kind of bet on this, my guess would be Kelly Handwerk, but was he even on staff that year? If anyone out there knows....please contact me or post it in the comments section. This simply must be solved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Coach behind cop car is Gary Hutt

Love this site

Kevin Kropf