Twitter Updates

Monday, June 29, 2009

Football: Recruiting Update (UPDATED)

Two Orrville seniors (I guess they can be called seniors now) continue to receive attention from Division I colleges. All the information contained below is courtesy of

The last I updated the recruiting status of LB/TE Chase Hoobler, he had been offered by Louisville and Akron. Well, add another 8 schools (at least) to that list. Indiana, Ball St, Miami (OH), Ohio U, Toledo, Kent St. & Western Michigan have all offered scholarships. And just in the past few days, he has received an offer from Marshall, that's nearly every MAC school.

I've heard Boston College & West Virginia are also at least interested in Chase, and another I dont think he's done hearing from Big10 schools either.

UPDATE 6/30/09: Chase has now been offered by Boston College & Central Michigan.

Here's Chase's profile on Scouting Ohio, be sure to take a look at his two highlight videos at the bottom of the page.

The other Rider receiving Division I attention is WR/DB Sam Miller. Sam has been offered a scholarship from Toledo in addition to his previous offer from Louisville.

UPDATE 6/30/09: Sam has also been offered by Western Michigan.

Here is Sam's Scouting Ohio profile, dont forget to view the highlight video for Sam as well.

This is great news for these two young men and their families.

Please be sure to visit both pages for these young men, I'm sure big profile view numbers can only help their exposure to colleges.

If you're aware of any other Orrville student athletes receiving college attention, please send it my way. I dont want this to seem like I'm singling out anyone for special attention, this is about highlighting the positive accomplishments of our young people.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Basketball: We Shant be Slept Upon

Don't sleep on the Red Riders in the 2009-10 basketball says one blogger. Can't vouch for this guys ability to evaluate whatsoever, but maybe it says something that we've been pretty invisible the last few years in tournaments, and now we're on a watch list to make some noise in Division III this upcoming year.

Here's the actual post, and the other teams on the list. Area teams on the list include Smithville, Cleveland Central Catholic and Campbell Memorial. CCC and Campbell would be teams we'd meet at the regional level should we be fortunate enough to make it there.

Take it with a grain truckload of salt, but I don't think it's a stretch to call us a team with returning talent & regional potential in the coming year....but whatever you do, don't sleep on us.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Tim Hiller Interview, Part 2

Here's the 2nd and final part of my interview with Orrville grad and Western Michigan QB Tim Hiller. In the conclusion, we discuss the Broncos upcoming season and the expectations and challenges that come with it. We'll also score some style points and discuss uniform intricacies. Enjoy.

Red Rider Sports Blog: I know you’re a big “team first” guy, but any personal goals this season?
I do, but they really are second to what our team is trying to accomplish. It all boils down to three things in general—be a great leader, take care of the football, and manage the game. That will help us be successful as an offense.

Red Rider Sports Blog: September 5th, 2009. WMU @ Michigan. The Broncos in the “Big House.” How big will this game be? Even though it’s only Game 1, how important is this game in terms of respect in the state, respect in the conference and respect for you personally?
Tim: It’s important because it’s our first game. It’s a huge advantage to get off to a great start. A winning start. None of that other stuff really matters, we just want to get that first one to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Red Rider Sports Blog: The Broncos have 3 games against the Big10 this season (Michigan, IU and MSU) and I would have to think aspirations of a MAC title. Is there any added pressure this season?
Tim: Nope. Our goal is always to win the MAC. That comes first and foremost, and it will be tough to do, as it is every year. Every team is so competitive and there are some new coaches in the West Division. It will be a great year for the conference as a whole and I’m really excited for it.

Red Rider Sports Blog: Your top 3 receivers (Simmons, Ledbetter, Julien) last season in terms of yards have all graduated. Given you missed spring practice, will it be especially important to put in extra work with a core of new receivers?
Tim: Yes, and it always is important, but especially this year. May is our month off, but I’ve been throwing with a bunch of our receivers and tight ends 3-4 days a week working on timing and watching film so we’re all on the same page. We’ve still got a lot of great playmakers returning and I’ve got a ton of confidence in them. We’ll be just fine.

Red Rider Sports Blog: What hobbies or activities do you take part in to get your mind off of football?
I love to spend time with my fiancĂ©e Michelle as much as possible, although we’re both pretty busy. I also love leading our Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle here at WMU—it’s been an awesome experience and God has really blessed our group. And if I get time in the summer months, I enjoy golfing.

......Onto some uni-related stuff......saved the best for last.

Red Rider Sports Blog: Favorite Red Rider uniform? Red jersey/red pants? White jersey/red pants? Red jersey/black pants? White jersey/black pants?
Tim: Definitely the all red. It’s a great look. My favorite part is our helmets though. I think Orrville has the best looking helmets under the lights in the state.
Note: Hard to argue. Red on Red. Helmet full of skulls. Classic.

Red Rider Sports Blog: You wore #10 as a Red Rider, but have worn #3 at WMU. Any significance behind either number? Will you be #3 again this season?
No significance really, just what was available at WMU when I came in. I wore 3 my sophomore year of varsity basketball, but it was the best number I could have here. I’ll be wearing it for my senior year.

Red Rider Sports Blog: WMU football is an ‘adidas’ brand team. I’m curious as to the level of “gear” that you have access to…both on the field and off the field. Are players limited to how much stuff they can request, or is it just a free-for-all?
There are some limits, but we definitely get tons of stuff. It’s like Christmas when we report to August camp. We get a bunch of Under Armour shirts and shorts, a hat, 3 pairs of cleats, a pair of workout shoes, a pair of sandals, a bag and much more. Let’s put it this way—if you stay in the good graces of our equipment guy, you’ll always have any gear you need!

Red Rider Sports Blog: I’ve heard that you (and maybe every big college in America) have two helmets, one for practice and one for games? Any specific reason for that, other than for keeping the game helmet from getting worn out during practice?
That’s not true here at WMU. We only get one helmet. They just clean them up and re-sticker them before games, if needed, so they look nice.

Red Rider Sports Blog: Who chooses uniform combinations for games? Does tradition dictate? Do captains choose them?
Tim: WMU’s uniforms have changed a lot over time. Back in the 80’s our uniforms looked like Waynedale! All brown. Typically it’s up to our head coach, although he asks the captains at the beginning of the year what we like. We have black and white jersey tops, and black, white, and gold pants that we can combine. One week Louis Delmas (now a Detroit Lion) wanted to try black tops with white pants for the Illinois game, which we had never done before. It looked sharp and we won, so maybe you’ll see us wearing that more often!

That's a wrap. Again, I wanted to express how accessible, professional & prompt Tim was through this whole process. This is a young man that will succeed on or off the playing field. He's a great example for our young kids, and someone that all of Orrville can be very proud of.

Good luck in '09 and beyond, Tim.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Poll: Greatest Orrville Football Team

Let's do some polling to kill some time in the summer. Here's how I'd like it to work. I pick a topic and list what I consider to be the top choices for that topic. If you think I'm leaving out a team or player that should be considered, post it in the comments section with a quick note as to why they should be included in the list. A week after this post, we'll open the poll for voting.

Let's make the first one pretty easy.....

The nominations for the Greatest Season in Orrville footbal history, in no certain order.

1. 1998. Orrville's only state championship. Led by Dru Robinson at running back, and freshman QB Justin Zwick. Beat Coldwater 23-21 in the DIV title game. Finished 13-1. Offense averaged 35 pts while the defense only gave up 16 per game.

2. 1995. Largely considered one of the most talented Rider teams ever. Finished 12-1, losing to Bellaire in the state semifinals. Averaged 40 pts on offense and gave up less than 10 per game.

3. 1994. Finished 12-2, losing in the state title game to Valley View. Great senior leadership and a talented junior class.

4. 1968. Undefeated team, finished 9-0-1, tied Wooster in week 10. Averaged nearly 50 points per game, and only gave up an average of 2 points per game. The 1969 team was also 9-0-1 and put up similar numbers in terms of points scored and points allowed.

5. 1980. First playoff team, finished 10-1, losing to eventual state champ Benedictine in the state semifinals.

6. 1984. Finished 11-1, losing to eventual state champ Elyria Catholic by a 14-13 score in the state semifinals. Maybe the greatest collection of talent in Orrville history. Bolyard. Denson. Leeder. Bradley.

7. 1985. Finsihed 12-2, losing to DeSales in the state finals. Won the AOL and region 10.

I could add 3 or 4 more teams to this list, but I don't think they're in the conversation of "greatest ever." Good for sure, but no best ever.

The only diffuculty in this, ranking teams before the playoff era. Anymore, it's about how far you advance in the playoffs. That's the measuring stick.

So...this is the list, they should be fairly familiar to most. If you think a teams needs to be included, make your case in the comment section. If no discussion is had, the list will stand as is, and a poll will be created for voting.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Basketball: A Drop to Division 3...Good & Bad.

Well, it was made official last week, Orrville will officially be a Division III basketball school for at least the next 2 school years. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you already knew that though, didn't you?

It appears though, that even the addition of the Red Riders, the Wooster District tournament will remain at 11 teams. Rittman was a member of the district, but lost nearly 20% of the male students from the last count, and will now be Division IV for basketball.

Here are the 11 teams and each schools count of boys. The counts were of boys in grades 9, 10 and 11 and was conducted in October 2008.

1. Triway - 220
2. Tuslaw - 216
3. Orrville - 211
4. Manchester - 202
5. Norwayne - 179
6. Chippewa - 177
7. Loudonville - 175
8. Northwestern - 173
9. Waynedale - 164
10. Hillsdale - 149
11. Smithville - 138

The range to be classified Division 3, was set from 129 to 223.

Looking back on Orrville's time in Division II, other than our first year in the Canton district (1996), there wasn't a lot of success. A few district final appearances, but some real tough losses in those games and (IMO) too many "one and done's."

We were always one of the smallest D2 teams, but felt we we on par with most teams in terms of talent. The addition of local powers Hoban, St V. and Akron Buchtel in the ast few years made it an even tougher challenge, but we never faced any of those 3 teams in the past 2 years. We had just as much trouble with NBC teams.

I think the initial reaction is that this is a positive for the program, and I wouldn't disagree with that. This will foster a rekindling of local rivalries with teams like Triway & Northwester, and fire up the old "Orrville vs. the WCAL" arguement, which is always good for newspaper sales and sells tickets. In Canton, we became an afterthough, an "also ran," and it showed in the support of both the community and the student body. Now we're one of the (perceived) big dogs again, but the pressure to win will be great...and immediate. Orrville's game against Smithville at the 2009 Smitty Classic may just be a preview of the district title game.

The con is two-fold. One is we're shrinking in terms of student population. This shouldn't be something that's welcomed with applause. This is less money to the district and a potential increased burden on the taxpayer (you & me). I don't think it's a coincidence that we, as a community, experienced our greatest run of athletic success when factories were booming and plentiful. The 80's and 90's were a booming period of industrial growth and production in Orrville, and by and large, reflected in the success of our athletic teams. I'm sure it could all be tied together (or has been already)....but I ain't the guy. I prefer unfounded generalizations. ;)

The other is the perception that will no doubt be uttered in the Wooster gym during tournament time. The perception that somehow we got the state to put us back in D3 because we couldn't cut it over in Canton. Obviously, we had our struggles over there (12 wins, 13 losses in the past 13 yrs at the Canton District), but I'd rather be a growing district and stay in Canton, than to be shrinking and having to drop a division, even if the result is a district championship.

Should we be lucky enough to see our first regional appearance since 1996, we'll most likely have to contend with the defending D3 champion, the Ironmen of Cleveland Central Catholic.....but let's get there first.

The numbers are what they are. Let's play some hoops. If only we had a gym big enough to accomodate the fans. Hmmmm. Is it too late to change the blueprints of the Multi-Purpose Facility?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The 2009 OHS Hall of Fame Class

Congratulations to the most recent class of inductees into the Orrville Sports Hall of Fame. Some very familiar names in this years class, and certainly a group of names that are very familiar to me. Guess that means I'm getting older.

Here's this year's class....

Tom Reusser - Class of 96. Two time State champ (basketball).

Ernie Mello - Considered the face of the middle school football program for 20+ years.

Dave Vodika - Class of '69. Asst on 1998 Football title team.

Bill McMillan - 26 yrs coaching at OHS, 17 as head coach, 131 career wins, led Riders to their only football state title in 1998.

Dan Stultz - Class of '96, Continued career at Ohio St.

Bob Smucker - Class of '47.

Deanna (Caldwell) Edwards - Class of '01 - 4 time state track champ (100 & 200 in 2000 and 2001).

Melinda (Budd) Bates - Class of '78, current head golf coach at Waynedale

Norman Douglas - Class of '58.

The induction will be October 10th at the high school.

Here's a list of the past induction classes on the Orrville Booster Club website.

A couple of glaring omissions are two people who should be no-doubters, and hopefully their day is coming sooner rather than later, and that would be Renauld Ray and Marcel Denson. I realize that a part of the nomination process is actually being nominated...but in the case of these 2, it shouldn't take an official nomination.

Both were 2 sport stars, leading the Red Riders to a state final and state final four appearance in football and back to back state titles in basketball. Renauld was also part of a National Championship team at Youngstown St. Again, I hope the time is coming for both as early as the 2011 class.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Tim Hiller Interview, Part 1

I'm terribly excited to share this with everyone. About a month ago, I discovered that Tim Hiller (2005 Orrville grad, duh...and current Western Michigan QB) is a reader of the blog, so I took the opportunity to contact him and see if he'd answer some questions for me. He was terribly gracious and accomodating. After getting it approved through the WMU athletic department (how official is that?), we were good to go.

It's a lot of info, so I'll spread it over 2 parts. This is part one, we'll discuss Tim's career at Orrville, his current rehab from a knee injury suffered at the end of the 2008 season, his faith, his NFL prospects and the adjustment from high school to college.


RRSB: First off, can you give an update on your rehab and how you’re progressing?
Tim: It’s going well, I feel very fortunate. We’re working on a lot of cutting, lateral movement, and footwork to reacclimate the knee to having game-like stress put on it. I will be participating in everything during our summer conditioning program.

RRSB: What do you consider your sports highlight in your time at Orrville?
Tim: There are so many, it’s hard to put a finger on just one. I think my senior year of football in 2004-05 was just an awesome experience. One of my favorite memories from basketball was taking it to Wooster by about 30 points at home when we were seniors. They beat us 21-20 at their place in the football season finale, so it was a great way to win my last game against Wooster.

RRSB: Is the success you’ve had so far the least bit vindicating? Especially given the fact that WMU was one of the few D1 schools that pursued you? Is that (or was it ever) a motivator?
Tim: God blessed me with an opportunity to play, and I’m just grateful for that. It wasn’t the opportunity that I hoped for at the time, but His plan is often different from our own. But it’s always better. I was excited to come to WMU, it’s been a great experience, and it was the right opportunity for me. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

RRSB: Any superstitions in terms of the way you prepare for a game (routine, pregame meals, etc)?
Tim: I try to keep the same routine as far as timing of eating, dressing, warm-up, etc., but no superstitions. It’s pretty structured since we’re always at the hotel the night before we play, whether it’s a home or away game.

RRSB: Was the adjustment from high school to college a tough one for you? Not just athletically, but even academically and even socially.
Tim: The biggest adjustment from a football standpoint was the speed of the game and the responsibility placed on the quarterback. The game moves really fast, and on top of it we as quarterbacks here at WMU are responsible for everything—all audibles—run, pass, protections, everything.

Academically it wasn’t too hard for me, I just continued good study habits I developed in high school.

Socially it was tough at first because there are 8,000 people in all of Orrville and 30,000 students here at WMU. But once I found my niche and my group of friends it was great. It’s just critical to surround yourself with great people.

RRSB: Tim Hiller, NFL quarterback. Can you even process that? I know you have an entire season of college ball left, but it has to be in the back of your mind.
Tim: We’ll worry about processing that at the end of December, hopefully after a bowl game. If our team takes care of business and has a great year that will take care of itself. You can have the best of both worlds if you take it one step at a time.

RRSB: How do you handle the attention (good & bad) of being in your position? I’m sure between family, teammates, coaches, friends, fans and media, it can be somewhat overwhelming.
Tim: It’s all a faith thing for me. God promises us in His Word never to give us anything we cannot handle with His help. My prayer is always that God would keep me humble and focused. It is hard sometimes but I try to do my best to keep everything in perspective and to deflect the praise to my teammates—I couldn’t do it without them.

RRSB: Your faith is obviously a big part of your life. How has your faith helped you through 2 surgeries and rehabilitations, and just the various trials that we all face?
Tim: It’s like what Paul writes in Philippians 4 when he talks about being content in all situations. It’s not that you’re happy about injury and adversity, but it’s that you learn to trust in God and His plan. That trust and faith is what builds the sense of peace and feeling content.

Each injury and challenge I’ve been through has just been God’s way of equipping me for the next big step in my life. I’ve reached a point where nothing really phases me anymore, good or bad, simply because God has brought me through everything to this point, and I know He’ll be there always, no matter the situation.

That's it for part 1, the 2nd and final part will deal with the upcoming season, and some uni-centric questions (of course).

I'd love to hear any comments you have....and given that Tim is a reader of the site, I'm sure he'd love to hear well wishes from those who continue to follow his career.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Region 14 Map & Teams

With our Red Riders entering the 2009 football season as a part of a brand new region (Region 14)....I thought it would be helpful to give everyone (myself included) and idea of where these other teams are in the region. If you've ever wondered where Genoa, Swanton or Otsego can claim ignorance no more. Follow me for some mappy goodness.

Here's the map, click on each helmet to pull up each team's name and get directions if need be. You may have to adjust the zoom to accurately click on each helmet as some schools are bunched together.

I was able to find helmet logos for 29 of the 30 teams. Only the Evergreen Vikings from Metamora (where?) didn't have an updated helmet at the fabulous MG Helmet site. Can't recommend that site enough.

There's a lot of copycat helmet designs in this region. Not that it's only this region, most high school teams base their helmet logo off some other college or pro team. Region 14 has two Georgia copies (Galion & Genoa), a Chicago Bears copy (Clearview), a San Diego Charger copy (Milan Edison), sort of a Florida State copy (Chippewa) and a Indianapolis Colt copy (Clear Fork).

Only Orrville and Tontogany Otsego (both OHS) are the only Region 14 teams that have blank helmets. Otsego might also win the award for dullest uniforms in the state.

The sheer size of the district is another issue that some have brought up. The region runs from Lake Erie, as far west as Metamora, which is west of Toledo, all the way to the west side of Cleveland in the Sheffield/Elyria area.

The region runs as far south as Clear Fork, as far east as Doylestown, as far north as Metamora, which is mere miles from the Michigan border, and as far west as Van Wert and Paulding, which are both a short drive to the Indiana border.

In terms of drive time....a drive to Metamora from Orrville will run about 3 hours, same with a trip to Van Wert.

The award for longest drive goes to the stretch between Van Wert and Doylestown...a 3 hour and 7 minute trip.

Luckily, this will only affect 4 teams per season, the 5-8 playoff seeds that have to travel for a first round playoff game, and the hope is none of these "worst case" travel scenarios happen.

There is a cluster of teams along the Ohio Turnpike corridor, and a similar cluster along the Route 30 corridor. So, there are teams close to each other, but it's those outliers in Western Ohio (Ottawa-Glandorf, Van Wert and Paulding) and the four teams in Wayne Co. (Norwayne, Triway, Orrville and Chippewa) that really throw the geography of the region out of whack.

Playoff Sites
One big change, especially for Orrville, will be the new playoff sites that will no doubt be a result of this region change. Gone (at least for the next 2 years) will be the playoff games at Paul Brown in Massillon, or Fawcett Stadium in Canton, or Klinefelter Field at CCC. Those are all fields east of us, and being one of the easternmost teams in the region, we'll be heading west should we be fortunate enough to play in week 12 and beyond. I'm sure there are some nice fields out in Central and Western Ohio, but we've been pretty spoiled in this area. Some real first rate facilities in NE Ohio.

Region Strength
We'll talk about this as we get closer to the season, but Region 14 is not as strong as region 13. Our same number of computer points (18.85) from 2008 would have put us in 5th place in Region 14, but was not enough to qualify in region 13. However, in 2007, we finished 9th in region 13 but would have finished 14th in region 14. So I guess you never know. Winning takes care of itself no matter the region.

Enjoy the map. Hopefully we'll be acclamating ourself with the towns of the region as we travel down the playoff trail in 2009.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Work Continues on My Garage the MPAF

Took a few minutes over the weekend to check out the progress on the MPAF (Multi-Purpose Athletic Facility).

I hadn't seen it up close and hadn't even driven past since the steel beams were installed. I was really taken aback at how big this building will be. It really dwarfs the high school and even the football field, as you'll see in the photos.

It is nice to see all the local contractors and businesses working on this project (quite a contrast from the elementary school being built next door...but that's another discussion for another time).

Before we get to the photos...we need to come up with a shortened name, or a nickname for this space. Multi-Purpose Athletic Facility just doesn't roll off the tongue does it? "The Barn" is a little too easy, although it does play off the "Red Rider" name. Any ideas?

Now onto the photos....enjoy. Click on each for a larger version.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Local Facilities Update: College of Wooster and Akron U.

Two local colleges are in the midst of getting facility upgrades. The University of Akron is getting an entirely new complex, while the College of Wooster is getting new Sprinturf installed at John P. Papp Stadium as part of a bigger renovation.

University of Akron - Infocision Stadium - Summa Field
What a mouthful. Coporate naming rights run amok in my opinion, but whatever, that's where sports is/are headed, even at the high school level. For example, Strongsville's high school field is named Pat Catan (the craft store) Stadium, and if you looked at our endzones last year, you saw signs for Wayne College and other sponsors. I wish I could find the list of potential sponsorship opportunities for this new stadium, it was everything from locker rooms, press boxes, ticket gates, you name it. I was surprised that the urinals and nacho cheese warmers weren't up for sponsorship.

OK, off my soapbox, the new field in Akron is a $60+ million project and is the capstone to the complete revamping of the Akron campus. It really will be the new jewel of downtown Akron, and a vast improvement from the old Rubber Bowl (a dump...and I mean that, nothing good about that place at all, except the beatdown we put on Manchester in the 1995 playoffs...that was the game where a storm passed through right before kickoff?).

It will almost certainly be a facility used for high school playoff games as well. It has already been announced that St. Vincent-St. Mary and Akron Hoban will be the first high school game played at the new field on Friday Sept. 18th. I'm sure Akron City League games will be played there as well.

I could certainly see some regional finals and state semifinals games being played there as well. Sadly, as long as Orrville is in Region 14, the soonest we'll get an up close look at the stadium will be in the State semifinals, if then.

The field will open on September 12th as the Zips host Morgan St. and then against Indiana a week later.

Here is the webcam showing the progress of the stadium from several angles....looks like the goal posts are in the ground, posts for the scoreboard have been installed and base drainage material has been installed for the field turf.

College of Wooster - John P. Papp Stadium that's a solid stadium name.

Nevermind....scratch that. It's officially the John P. Papp Stadium at Severance Field (and also includes the Carl Munson All-Weather track)...sheesh. At least they're named after donors, not big corporate names that sound (and look) terrible.

For the record, I've never been to a football game at the College, plenty of basketball games, but never a football game. But it's certainly a nice facility, and long been respected for having a very well maintained natural grass surface, unless it rains. So nice you can even wear it on your helmet. I imagine giving up that badge of honor and going with turf was a tough decision, but I'm sure it came down to dollars and cents (and sense).

The decision was made to go with the Sprinturf company out of Wayne, PA. Here is the press release. The project will also include a drainage system update, new lighting and renovation of the track.

This will also be the first football field in Wayne County to utilize synthetic turf, making it a very attractive facility for county games and potential playoff games. I hope Orrville is the 2nd field in the county, and first high school field to get turf, but I ain't holding my breath, and neither should you. Seriously, don''s not healthy.

I wish the renovation would have included adding bleachers on the other side of the field. Not so sure how eager the state would be to have fans from both schools on the same side of the field for a local rivalry or a playoff game. Can you imagine Orrville and Wooster fans sitting next to each other? It'd be like dog & cats, Hatfields & McCoys...or just simply Red Riders & Generals.