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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Week 2 Preview - Orrville vs Triway

Who: Orrville Red Riders (0-1) vs. Triway Titans (1-0)
Where: Red Rider Stadium - Orrville
When: Friday August 29th, 7pm

All Time Series: Orrville leads 30-5
Last Meeting: 2007 (Orrville won 35-12)
Last Week: Orrville lost to Northwest 34-13, Triway beat West Holmes 14-7

This is the 2nd meeting in the renewed rivalry between these 2 Wayne County schools, and first at Red Rider Stadium since the 2002 season. Triway has NEVER beaten the Red Riders at Red Rider Stadium, with all 5 Titan victories in the series coming at Triway.

Triway is coming off a big win against West Holmes, while Orrville looks to post their first win of the season after losing to Northwest 34-13.

What Orrville must do to win: Diversify. If you could see the future and knew going into last week that the Riders would put up nearly 350 yards of offense, you'd have put their chances of winning at pretty good, right? If not, you could at least say with some confidence that they'd score 14 points, right? Wrong on both counts, the Riders sputtered in the red zone and could not turn long drives into touchdowns, settling for 2 field goals. The Riders have to get production from their core of running backs, in addition to a similar performance from junior QB Joey Besancon to loosen up Triway's defense.

The Rider defense also must rebound from a tough outing against Northwest. The Indians ran for nearly 250 yds and wore out the Riders new 3-3-5 defense.

What Triway must to do win: The best defense against Orrville's offense may be to try and keep them off the field. Triway will need to control the clock and chip away at Orrville's defense and hope for a big play or two. On defense, they may have to take some risks to try and force Orrville into some turnovers. Short of that, they will need to contain Besancon and limit Orrville's receivers from getting yards after the catch.

Key players: Orrville's Joey Besancon and Triway's Cole Drake. Both QB's will have to have excellent games for their respective teams. Besancon put up big numbers in his first game as the full time signal caller for the Riders, passing for 225 yds and running for another 100 yards. Drake will look to confidently lead the Titans to their 2nd straight win. Both juniors are excellent all-around athletes.

Summary: A Triway win and the Titans instantly become a playoff contender in Divison 4, an Orrville win get the Riders on the winning track and continues their winning way on the gridiron against the Titans.

Prediction: Orrville 34-20.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Computer Points - Region 13 - Week 1

I'll try to do this every it your Monday Morning Geek Alert.

Look here for the latest Harbin Rankings in Division IV - Region 13 along with results from each week in the season.

I'll never even come close to being Joe Eitel, finding the scores was enough of a challenge, but I'm a numbers geek and love working with spreadsheets, so I'll give this a run.

Pretty simple numbers this week, teams that won have points, teams that lost don't.

View the standings and results from week 1 here, as well as the lineup of games for week 2.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Week 1 Pictures (Orrville vs Northwest)

A new feature has been added to the best Red Rider Sports blog on the net (even if it's the only one!!).

See the slideshow on the right side of the page. Click on any picture for a larger size, and to be redirected to the photographer's website.

Photos were taken by Scott Ferrell (not the guy in the picture), owner of the Orrville based Captured Memories Photography. Scott currently contributes many of his OHS sports shots to OrrViews and also offers family portraits & senior pictures.

To view his work or to contact him, please check out his website.

Keep up the good work Scott!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Week 1 - Orrville Red Riders @ Northwest Indians

Who: Orrville Red Riders (0-0) vs. Northwest Indians (0-0)
Where: Smilek Stadium - Canal Fulton
When: Friday August 22nd, 7pm

All Time Series: Orrville leads 19-5
Last Meeting: 2007 (Northwest won 21-14)

Although Orrville holds a commanding edge in the all time series, it has been a very even matchup since the series resumed in 2005, with Orrville winning 2 of the 3 meetings. All three meetings have were not decided until the 4th quarter, with the 2005 game going into overtime.

Northwest is coming off a 12 win season that saw them advance to the regional finals, while Orrville is coming off a 6-4 season.

What Orrville must do to win: The Riders must pull off a diffucult feat of beating a solid opponent while at the same time, answering some questions on the offensive side of the ball. Simply put, talent is going to have to surface for the Riders to pull off the victory, no matter how pretty or ugly it looks. Big plays and turnovers will be key for both teams, but especially for the Riders, who will be breaking in many new skill players as well as a brand new defensive scheme. Many Red Riders will play both ways so conditioning will be important too.

What Northwest must to do win: Protect the ball, control the line of scrimmage, and not let Orrville's big play ability change the course of the game. The Indians strength will be their run attack, but don't be surprised to see them test Orrville's DB's early.

Key players: Orrville's Chase Hoobler and Northwest's Danny Beers. Hoobler anchors the Riders revamped defense and figures to be part of every play from his middle linebacker spot. Beers will be the focal point of the Northwest running attack, and will have a big line opening holes in front of him.

Summary: This matchup has become a week 1 classic and offers a boat load of computer points to the winner. This is a great matchup for fans of high school football, but it would be nice to see this game played later in the season once each team has had a chance to get their feet under them.

Prediction: Both teams struggle early but the Riders eek out a win on a late field goal, 24-21.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Orrville Football: Season Preview

Hope is ever present in late July and early August if you're a fan of high school football. Will this be the year? Who will take so-and-so's place? Will we win the conference? Will we beat Wooster (again)? How tough will our region be? Most importantly....How do "our boys" look?

In the following post, I'll try to give my best "gut feeling" as to how 2008 will play out.

Start Strong. It's every team's goal to start strong out of the gate, but it has and will continue to be a terribly important goal of the 2008 Red Riders to get off to a good start. Easier said than done unfortunately. Game 1 has the Riders travelling to Canal Fulton to take on the Northwest Indians, fresh off an undefeated regular season, regional runner up and school record tying 12 wins. This game provides an assumed mother lode of computer points to the winner, while the loser plays the "what if" game.

Exhibit A - 2007. If the Red Riders could have capitalized on numerous chances and beaten Northwest, and if Northwest had gone on to finish 9-1, Orrville would have made the playoffs as an 8 seed.

You hate to put the "Must Win" label on a week 1 game, but with this game boosting the winner so much in terms of playoff points, it's is as close as you can get to a week 1 "must win."

#52. Simply put, the return of senior Josh Short from a bout with leukemia should give this team all the motivation in the world to put their best effort forth and never give up. Josh has been an inspiration to the entire school and town, and it will be great to see him on the field, and even more special will be seeing him lead the Riders on the field against Triway at Red Rider Stadium.

Marquee Games. Along with the Northwest game, 4 others stick out on the schedule. They are...

Week 5 @ Lexington. A team that has always played us well, and throttled us last season. This may be our toughest road test of the season and if there is any serious talk about an OCC title, this game must be won. The Minutemen return a lot of talent and look to improve on their 8 wins last season.

Week 7 @ Ashland. Another road test brings the Riders to Community Stadium in Ashland. Ashland shutout the Riders last year 42-0, the first team to shutout the Riders since Mansfield Sr. did it in 2001 (33-0). The Arrows graduated a lot of talent, including Mr. Everything Taylor Housewright, but still plan to bring home their 3rd straight OCC crown and extend their current 15-game OCC winning streak.

Week 8 vs. West Holmes. The loss to the Knights last season effectively ended any playoff talk among Rider faithful. Prior to last season, the Riders had beaten the Knights their previous 8 meetings, with the last West Holmes win coming back in 1992. The name of this game should be simple....REVENGE. The Knights return plenty of talent and should have other ideas. This should be a classic "throwback" game at Red Rider Stadium.

Week 10 @ Wooster. Nothing more should need to be said. The Riders will hopefully cement a playoff berth with a 4th straight win over the Generals. Wooster hasn't scored on a Rider defense in the last two meetings but will be looking to extend their lead in the all-time series (currently 50-38-9).

Who will step up? It's been several years since there were this many question marks on the offensive side of the ball, replacing nearly all talent positions including QB Brynt Werntz, RB Cortez McCreary, WR James Weeman and TE Rhyne Ladrach.....the Riders certainly have some holes to fill. Signal caller will be Joey Besancon, who saw his share of time under center in 2007. Wideouts will likely be staffed by Josh Graber, Sam Miller and Dillon Corbett for starters....but all three of those will be called upon to play defense as well, so another 2 or 3 dependable wideouts will need to step up, Aaric Milligan, LaRicco Woods and Jordan Thomas are 3 I'd like to see become a target.

Running back could be a committee format for the 2008 season, other than Josh Graber and Dee Miller, there isn't a whole lot of experience in the backfield. You may see players like one (or both) of the Kazim brothers, Teven Mitchell, or even Trey Simpson take some carries this season. Regardless who is carrying the ball, our run game must be at least respectable if we're to keep opposing defenses on their heels.

The offensive line has plenty of returning starters led by Big Kam Barnes, the Monheim brothers and the inspiring return of center Josh Short. This may be the strong point of our offense, or at least the most cohesive unit.

I think the strength of the team will be the defense, plenty of experience and returning well as a new scheme, the 3-5-3. This scheme should expose our quickness and allow us to slow down spread offenses and more evenly distribute our speed and talent over the whole field. Chase Hoobler will be a ball hawk at linebacker and our DB's will be experienced and quick, and I think we'll have enough beef on the D-line to give opposing teams some fits.

Like I mentioned above, the D is going to have to be stout early in the season while our offense gets it's traction.

Loaded Region. As has been the case for the past several years, Region 13 will again be one of the most difficult in the state. Perennial playoff teams like Mooney, Steubenville, CCC and Akron St. V. will again clog the top 4 spots in the region, leaving only 3-4 spots for quality programs like Orrville, Manchester, Lake Co. Perry and others. The loaded region will make the marquee games mentioned above even more important. In my eyes, the Riders will need to win at least 1 of the 3 biggest games of the season (Northwest, Lexington & Ashland) to make their 20th trip to the playoffs. In 2007, they lost all 3 and did not make the playoffs, the year before we won 2 of those 3 games and finished 2nd in the region. I know it's a 10 game season and every game is important, but in terms of making the playoffs, you can boil the season down to 3-4 games. I think it's going to take at least 20 computer points to make the playoffs, and in the end, I DO think the Riders will do enough to make a week 11 appearance, but we cannot let opportunities slip away and must play well from the start.

Defend the Home Turf. The Riders only won 2 of the 5 home games last season, their first losing record at home since 2002. This season's home schedule includes Triway, Mans. Sr., Clear Fork, West Holmes and Mans. Madison. I can't see us losing more than 1 of those games. We've historically done well against Triway, Clear Fork and it's likely that the 2 Mansfield teams will be rebuilding, the only "toss-up" game is West Holmes. With likely only 1 of these 5 games providing big playoff points, it's imperative to win these games and take the 1st level points.

Final Predictions. I think this will be a solid year, much more similar to 2006 than 2007. I think we're going to be solid overall, but I don't see any "superstars" on this team will transform us from good to great. As far as record, I'm stuck between 7-3 and 8-2, I think it all depends on the first game, if we win, we go 8-2, if we lose, 7-3. I think we'll end up 5-2 in the league and finish either tied for 2nd or 3rd. I do see us making our 20th playoff appearance and I think we'll have to travel for our first round game. I'd love to see us take on Steubenville, simply to see the turnout between 2 traditionally strong public schools.

Now let's go out and play some Rider ball!!! Go Red Go!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Red Riders Playing in College (Football)

Here is a list of Red Rider alumni playing at the collegiate level. I'll provide updates periodically throughout the season.

Kyle Simmons - #7 - QB - Ohio Northern
Josh Bowman - #44 - LB - Ohio Northern
Brynt Werntz - #12 - QB/P - Malone
Rhyne Ladrach - #84 - TE - The University Of Akron
Tom Brenner - #20 - LB - Ashland
Tim Hiller - #4 - QB - Western Michigan
Isaiah Tyler - #28 - DB - College of Wooster
Tony McMorrow - #99 - DE - Heidelberg
Steven Carozza - Heidelberg

Good Luck Riders!!!!

(EDIT: Thanks to a local historian for providing some much needed info)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bleacher Renovation Complete

The Orrville Athletic Booster Club, in cooperation with the Orrville School Administration has completed the final phase of the $400,000 bleacher replacement project at Red Rider Stadium.

Beginning in 2007, the old visitor bleachers were torn down and replaced, complete with a new pressbox. Earlier this year, the north end of the home bleachers were replaced, and just in the past 2 weeks, the south end was completed.

The result of the hard work and thousands of dollars worth of fundraising is quite impressive to see and gives the stadium an updated and uniform look.

(Click any picture for a larger version)

New Visitor Bleachers (completed in 2007)

New Home Bleachers (completed in 2008)

When compared to pictures of the old wooden bleachers, you can really appreciate the improvement that was made, not to mention how necessary this project was. Anyone that has been to a game in the past 5 years knows this all to well.

Old Bleachers (taken in 2007)

Thanks go out to the Orrville School Board, Administration, AD & the Athletic Booster Club. What a great show of cooperation in working together on this project.

Wonder what they'll think of next?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Red Rider Playoffs: 1985 (Part 1)

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 looks at the year 1985.