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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Big Weekend in Orrville

Plenty to do this weekend in Orrville. Among the happennings...

1. The dedication of the Fleet B. Brenneman Baseball Facility. The official ceremony will take place between the JV and Varsity game with Triway on Friday May 1st. Saturday is the youth clinic and alumni softball game, full scheduke and info here. I'm sure the field will be in perfect condition. I'm also hearing rumblings of a certian Coach Bobby Knight possibly being in attendance. He's never one to trumpet his arrival, so if he's there, I'm sure it will be low key.

Hopefully any Dutch reporters steer clear of the event, lest they be remined of how many games Coach Knight has won in his career, among other things. You can find the video clip on your own, it's a little cussy (shocking, right?). Those crazy Dutch. Had to know that you mess with the bull, you get the horns.

2. The Jack Leeder/Denny Hartzler Memorial Golf outing is Saturday (May 2nd). Last I heard, there were roughly 25 2-man teams. Should be a good time for a good cause. I'm sure there's still room for more teams, check out the info here. My golf swing is a mess, doesn't mean I wont be golfing, just not golfing well.

3. Track teams are at the Revere Relays Friday, softball is idle, tennis is at the Ashland Invite on Saturday.

4. Groundbreaking for the MPAF (Multi-Purpose Athletic Facility) is tomorrow (April 30th). Work has already begun, but this will be the official ceremony. Red Rider Sports Blog is still counting pennies to hopefully secure the naming rights.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Orrville's Hoobler and Miller getting D1 attention

Chase Hoobler and Sam Miller, both seniors-to-be are already receiving some big time offers, and we're 4 months away from Game 1 of the 2009 season.

Chase has received 3 offers to date, Akron, who offered last fall, and more recently Louisville and Indiana have come to the table with full scholarship offers. Here's a link to Chase's page on

Sam has also been offered a scholarship to Louisville and is also garnering interest from the Crimson Tide of Harvard. Here's Sam's ScoutingOhio page.

I'm sure both will receive more offers as the season progresses.

Also, both Sam and Chase have also made the top 100 prospect list on JJHuddle. Chase checks in at #70, while Sam is at #76.

Orrville hasn't had many D-1 recruits in it's history. To have multiple offers on the table before their senior year speaks volumes about these young men as well as the efforts put in by Coach Davault and his staff to get these kids the attention they've earned.

I think this also speaks to the state of recruiting these days. With YouTube and digital video becoming the norm, the gap between college recruiters and athletes is smaller than ever. With a few mouse clicks, a highlight tape can be sent right to a college coaches' inbox, or uploaded to a clearing house like ScoutingOhio. The intensity and passion with how college athletes are studied, analyzed and tested as they prepare for the NFL Draft is starting to trickle down to the high school level. Not so sure it's a good thing, but certainly inevitable.

Regardless, congrats to these kids and their families. A free education is quite the accomplishment, especially in these uncertain economic times.

In other Saved by the Bell recruiting news....I'm told Bayside High School's A.C. Slater is being recruited by Stansbury (The Harvard of the West) and that they've even offered him a car. Apparently, the Slater's big win over Nedick from Valley sealed the deal. No word on where Zach Morris is headed.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

First Time Visitors

This blog was originally posted in April of 2009.

Well...I'm kind of stepping out from behind the curtain today. I've been so pleased with the small (but loyal) following that has evolved since this site's inception, but the time has come to introduce the site to the rest of Orrville. The best way I could think of to let as many people in my target audience (Red Rider fans) know about the site was to send a note to Orrviews. You'll see the formal site announcement in the current issue (April 24, 2009).

So, if you've found your way to my little corner of the world via the Orrviews newspaper, or any other way for that matter, first of all, let me say welcome. I hope you not only like what you see, but would be so kind as to bookmark this site in your list of favorites and visit often.

Second, allow me to direct you to some of what I would consider required reading on this site.

1. The Mo Tipton Retrospective. Maybe my favorite and most thorough post. Full of data, pictures and old new articles. Mo is maybe the brightest star in a sea of Red Rider characters.

2. The Orrville Football Uniform Project. So much data, it had to be broken into 2 parts. Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. Very proud of this post.

3. The Football Playoff History Series. My bread and butter. Basically, a rundown of every Red Rider football playoff game, separated by year. Give yourself plenty of time to wade through this. I'm through the 1987 playoffs currently.

4. Orrville Baseball. A look at the new field and a picture of former coach Jim Swaney. What's not to love?

5. Wooster Week Series. A full week of Orrville/Wooster history, pictures, articles and memories. A great synopsis of the rivalry, especially if you are a younger Red Rider (like me, at least I think I'm still young) who did not get to watch or play in some of these classics.

6. History. Several specific posts fall under this category. Everything from state championship rings, All-Time OHSAA Final Four Basketball Results, OHSAA Football Computer Points Archive and The 1994 Div. 4 State Football Final (Part 1 and Part 2).

7. Northeast Ohio Turf Stadiums. A little pet project of mine. I hope to add Orrville to this list someday.

8. The Purpose of the Site. Why I do this.

One other area of the site to mention is the Comments section at the end of every post. This site will never reach it's full potential without input from fellow Red Riders. If you ever have anything to add to one of my posts, please use the comment section. It should be pretty self-explanatory. If the comment doesn't show up right away, don't worry, all the comments do have to be approved by me, but unless it's something attacking or vulgar, it will get approved. You can leave your name, or do it anonymously, I truly do not care, so long as your contribute.

I put a lot of work into being thorough and try to post quality material to this site, but in no way will I ever consider myself anything more than a passionate fan, much like so many Rider alums. I have learned so much from those who have commented on this site, and the more information that is shared, the more complete this site will become. My point? Contributions to this site, whatever they may be (comments, pictures, news, etc.), are greatly appreciated, and improve the site immensely.

That's it really. The full archive is on the right hand margin, feel free to start at the beginning and work your way forward.

If you ever feel the need to drop me a line, please do. Here's a link to my email address. If you're from out of the area and visit this site to stay up to date on Red Rider news (and I know for a fact there are some out there), I'd love to hear from you especially.

If you have Red Rider news that you feel deserves coverage or attention, send it my way. I'd love to be a part of getting our town and our student-athletes all the recognition they deserve.

Enjoy your time here. I've got some neat things lined up for the very near future, so jump in, catch up and and stay tuned. Football and Basketball season tend to be my busy seasons, the next several months will be big on history and continuing the playoff history series.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

OHSAA Football Computer Points: A Historical Database

This is a real exciting addition to my site...and one that has very broad interest. Below you will find a link to the final OHSAA Harbin Computer Points standings for every year since the football playoffs began in 1972.

These files were housed on the now defunct, I used them as a reference all the time when doing my Playoff History Overview. I went there one day a few weeks ago to check some data, only to find that the site had been shut down....the files....gone. Then a thought came to me, "why can't I host them on my blog?"

After some searching and a few dead ends, I found the person who had originally scanned them and posted them to, and he was more than willing to share his work and the files with me to post on the site. It's such a vast amount of historical data, I hated seeing them disappear from the web. The OHSAA website has the data back to the year 2000, but nothing before that.

What is great about the formulas & points is that they're virtually unchanged from year to year and decade to decade. Only the number of teams that qualified has changed over the years. In the 70's, only 2 teams per region and 8 teams per division qualified for post-season play, a far cry from the now 8 teams per region and 32 per division (192 in the state) that qualify.

Without further ado, here they are....each file should open in a separate window for ease of viewing. Some of the older files are very large in size, please allow the appropriate load time.

The link to these documents will be permanently housed at the top of this site, in case this particular post gets buried (which it surely will).

OHSAA Football Harbin Computer Points Database (1972-2008)



Happy data mining! Thanks to Scott from Dover who jogged my memory, and to Bob from Canton for sharing these files with me.  Files beginning in 2009 and after courtesy of the OHSAA.

Monday, April 13, 2009

UPDATED: Leeder/Hartzler Golf Outing

To help raise funds for an academic scholarship, the friends and family of Denny and Jack will be holding the first annual Leeder/Hartzler Memorial Golf Scramble.

More info will surely follow, but the date is currently set for Saturday, May 2nd at Riceland, beginning at 9am. I'm told there will be a golf/food option and a food only option as well, for those that don't golf but still want to support this cause.

Here's the event information and a sign-up sheet if you'd like to participate.

Yours truly (and his 20 handicap) is looking forward to participating. Any scratch golfers are encouraged to contact me directly for partner consideration.
Hope to see plenty of Red Riders at Riceland to support this cause.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Orrville History: Here & There

Got to digging through the archives tonight and stumbled on a nice little treaure chest of documents, pictures and articles. Walk with me down memory lane....

Let's start in the 1930's and work our way forward....

1.  The 1937 Red Rider Baseball team. Note the use of "Red Rider" in the text. One of the earliest references to our now common nickname. Here's an up-close of the team. If I'm not mistaken, those steps are located at the former high school, former junior high, and current home to North Elementary, although it's more East now than it is North, no?
2.  The 1937 Red Rider Basketball team. Great uniforms. Is it just me, or do the arms on the rider of the horse look different on different players....and on one player (back row) the horse is facing a different direction. Again, a close-up.
3.  The 1938 Red Rider Football team. Again, note the uniforms, the front 2 rows have a different number font than the back 2 rows...and 2 guys have plain jerseys. Maybe the top 2 rows were the JV team? Here's a more artistic shot of some of the players, along with the results from the '38 season.
4.  Fast forward to the 1970's. Here's a picture from a reunion of one of Orrville's great fastpitch teams. Plenty of familiar names in that list. Big collars and leisure suits were the order of the day apparently.
5.  Here's a shot of the four new coaches for the 1978 football season. Ho-hum right? Not exactly. Check out Coach Mac in the back....notice his shirt? Here's a closer look. Yep, the dreaded "W." Now unless that's a College of Wooster "W," someone dropped the ball. In the interest of full disclosure, Mac did graduate from COW and did coach there for 1 year before coming to Orrville, maybe he didn't have time to dive in the supply locker before this picture was taken.
6.  Lastly, here's an Akron Beacon Journal article from 1984, naming Orrville's Tom Bolyard as their player of the year. He was the first athlete from Wayne Co. to receive the honor. It's amazing to read the schools that were actively recruiting him to play football (seriously...USC, UCLA?), and how much of a can't-miss he was.
An Ohio St. commit, Bolyard was to challenge for the starting QB job in Columbus, but his carrer there never got off the ground. He left Ohio St., and eventually landed at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, where he was named a NJCAA All-American in 1986 as a punter. He then finished his college days at Indiana.
He remains what many fans call the greatest athlete to ever come through Orrville High School. That will always be debateable, but what can't be debated is that he excelled at every sport he participated in. Very few athletes elicit the "awe" factor quite like Tom Bolyard did (and still does), regardless of sport.
Hope you enjoyed that. I like doing stuff like this from time to time, the richness of Orrville sports history is matched only by it's depth.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Red Rider Baseball: From Swaney to Swanky

Had a chance to meet up with Red Rider baseball coach Scott Marshall a few weeks ago and get my first up-close look at the improvements made to the now renamed Fleet B. Brenneman Field. I was really impressed with the practically new facility and equally as impressed with how bright the future looks for the Red Rider baseball program.

The Field of Dreams
It started last fall, when word of a sizeable donation to the baseball program began to make it's way through the community. I'm told the initial plan was to establish a field on the grounds of the new Orrville Middle School, but the gift (while plenty big) was not big enough to create a field from start to finish. Plan B was to approach the city and offer the money to improve the existing field at the corner of Carnegie & Ontario High and Hall St.

Work started immediately, with the demolition of the old dugouts and excavation of the infield. Local contractors began work on the new dugouts and storage barn, and the AG Design Company out of Seville handled the construction of the new infield. They have worked on numerous infield projects all over the country, including the infield at Canal Park in Akron.

As Spring broke, the final touches were put on the field (paint, fence tarps, etc), and the first games have already been played.

The result was a major upgrade to a facility badly in need of updates and a fresh image. I can't say enough about how great the field looks. Improvements included....

  • New field-level dugouts on both the home & visitor side.
  • A field maintenance storage building attached to home dugout.
  • New fencing along foul territory.
  • New fully enclosed 2-bay batting cage (with field turf surface).
  • New fully enclosed bullpen behind home dugout.
  • A more premanent outfield fence.
  • Installation of a new grass infield.
  • New signage
Here is an up-close look at the new fence anchors. This will allow the fence to be used during games, and then removed for the 4th of July festivities, and then re-installed with minimal effort. It certainly is an upgrade over the snow fence and puzzle piece PVC fencing that has been used in the past. The new fence along with the fence tarps down each foul line gives the field some separation from the rest of Orr Park, and the feel of an actual facility instead of just an open field.

And now that yours truly has set foot on the hallowed grounds, good things are sure to follow.

With these improvements now complete, the district has seen major athletic facility upgrades over the past 2 years. Included in this was the upgrade of football stadium (new bleachers), gym (new floor & bleachers), softball field (new bleachers) and baseball field (renovation). A total of seven of the school's varsity sports (football, boys & girls basketball, volleyball, wrestling, softball and baseball) will have been positively impacted due to these upgrades.

Total costs for all of these projects weighed in at around $1 million, comprised of city funds, private donations, grants and fundraising. Quite an accomplishment in this economy.

The Dedication Weekend and Alumni Game
The field will be officially dedicated on May 1st, and a full schedule of events will mark the occasion. Here is the schedule as provided to me by Coach Marshall.

Friday May 1st
4:30pm - Orrville vs. Triway (JV)
Following Completion of JV Game - Field Dedication Ceremony
6:30pm - Orrville vs Triway (Varsity)

Saturday May 2nd
9:00am - Orrville Youth Baseball Skills Camp
12:30pm - Meet & Greet for OHS Baseball Alumni Game
1:30pm - OHS Baseball Alumni Softball Game

The alumni softball game is for any OHS alum who was part of the baseball program. This is an opportunity for alumni to see the new field as well as reconnect with old classmates and to sort of bridge the past and present.

Coach Marshall has provided me with a list of former players that have an open invitation to play in the alumni game. Here it is (some real familiar names on that list). If you are on the list and would like to play in the game, please contact Coach Marshall here. If you know someone on the list and think they might be interested in playing, feel free to forward them the link to this post.

The Season
When I spoke to Coach Marshall a few weeks ago, he mentioned that total numbers for the JV and Varsity teams combined are in the low 20's. According to Coach Marshall, they will start several freshmen and sophomores to boot, adding the unknown of youth to the lack of depth. But so far, so good, the Riders beat West Holmes twice in the early season and did it with pitching and defense. Here is their schedule for the rest of the season.

I've also heard great things about the numbers in our youth programs, giving me reason to believe that the baseball program will benefit greatly in the coming years. I love how the kids are given the opportunity to play on the "big fields" a few times a year. Gives the kids (and parents) something to get excited about.

Coach Marshall deserves a lot of the credit for this. I'm sure he'd be the first to deflect it, but running the high school team and the youth league takes a lot of time, organization, dedication and sacrifice. It's easy to see that Coach lives and breathes baseball, and is the first to pick up a rake and rake the infield, or stripe the foul lines. The day I was at the field, the entire team was there helping maintain their new facility. Whether it was mandatory or not is not the point, the team sees the field as a gift (which it is) and in caring for the field, they show their dedication to the program and their community.

Let's be real is a 3rd place sport in Orrville behind basketball and football, that may never change. Some may even say a 4th place sport behind track (that's debateable, I'd say both are a distant 3rd to football and basketball). You can't change perceptions overnight, but I think Coach Marshall is going at it the right way by building a youth program and infusing some excitement into the town. And as we all know, success has a funny way of increasing participation and interest.

The Swaney
About the picture on the right....that's former head coach Jim Swaney. He coached the Red Rider baseball team during the 70's and 80's, including a state runner-up finish in 1976 and several regional runs. He continues to be a successful coach, currently leading the Winamac (Indiana) Warriors girls basketball team. He's the 10th winningest active coach in all of Indiana girls basketball, and has amassed over 400 career wins as a coach (that's Smitty territory). He was the architect of many (and some of the last) great Orrville teams. Loved how the baseball pants in the 80's mimicked the football pants in terms of striping.

Good luck to Coach Marshall and the Red Rider Baseball team in what feels like the start of a new era of Orrville baseball.