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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.


Anonymous said...

Of course I would lean toward either the '94 or '95 teams. But this is a true fact about the fall of 1994. EVERY single Friday night, from the opening scrimmage to the state final game was absolutely beautiful weather. It was amazing and wonderful. Does that count for anything?

Unknown said...

The list looks good to me Tim. Hard to argue that any other teams should be listed.

Anonymous said...

What are those teams you would consider good, but not the greatest ever?

Anonymous said...

I would have to say the 1984 team was the greatest team. There more
D1 and D2 talent on that team them probably any other Orrville team ever had.

Jason Bowman said...

I say it was the 1995 team...until the loss to Bellaire (whose QB had the best game I've still ever seen at QB in high school-everything that kid threw was just beyond our defenders hands and was caught...I've never seen a HS QB in that kind of zone b4 or since), not one game had been decided by less than 13 pts...Had that team played the 98 team, I don't think it would be a contest.
Also, Jenni is right about the 1994 season's weather.

Red Rider Sports Blog (Tim Snyder) said...

Anon #1 - The teams in the late 70's (Mark Griggs era) was special, but never made the playoffs. It wasn't as watered down as it is now, so a mere playoff appearance may have gotten them in the top 5.

The 2006 team is another that I think was very good, and if not for Mooney, there's a good chance that we at least are state runner up.

Anon #2 - The '84 tea was definately the most talented in my opinion.

Jason - I was at that game too...we just couldn't get a stop on that team. Former Cleveland Brown LB Ben Taylor was one of Davis' targets that game too. To this day, I loved Bellaire's fans, very rowdy and into the game. Liked how they got pumped up just before kickoff. Our fans could learn a lesson.

..thanks for the comments all.

Anonymous said...

How about three more teams? First, the undefeated 1947 team. Coached by Bill Coyer, still best winning percentage among Rider coaches. Led by one of Orrville's greatest - Joe Codiano. Second, the 1960 team, coached by Bill Shunkwiler. Only loss was to undefeated Wooster in the Meetin' of the Unbeaten." Lots of OHS Hall of Famers, including Tyrone Barnett, Roy Lockett, Dick Geitgey, and brothers Tom and Kim Anderson. Finally the 10-0 1963 team, coached by Bill Shunkwiler. Offensive backfield of QB Lowell Geiser, HB's Mike Barnett and Mike Norman, and FB Bob Houmard. Defense posted 6 shut outs, led by LBers Houmard and Larry Croskey, DE Ron Bowman, and DB John Hardnett.

Red Rider Sports Blog (Tim Snyder) said...

Thank you for adding those teams, and the details about each.

A lot of talent there. I'll be honest, all of those teams are well before my time, so my knowledge of them is nil. But that's why this site exists, to discuss Orrville's history in it's entirety.

Unknown said...

Its seems to me that the question and the discussion do not seem to be about the same thing. The question asks what is the best team, not the most talented team. Talent does not make a team good, nor does a good team always have the best talent. Talent has never won a championship, teams do.

Only the 1998 team (of the teams since the playoff era-1972) can make the case of being the best TEAM (note I did not say the most talented, even though there were 3 div. I players, 1 I-AA, two guys signed div.2-not too bad). Once the 1998 team got into the playoffs they refused to lose. No other Orrville team since the playoff structure can make that claim. They played; the parochial teams (Youngstown St. Ursuline) -beat 'em, undefeated teams (Manchester)-beat 'em, over times games (Huron)-won 'em. and even had to win the State championship in the last second. The most talented team-certainly not, but the best team, absolutely. I admit I am certainly biased, but one must admit that team showed the resilience to win when they had too-every time, and that is the reason they are the only ones to be called- CHAMPIONS!

I would like to hear more discussion on teams before 1972.

Red Rider Sports Blog (Tim Snyder) said...

Great comment....and I agree with you for the most part.

#1. Correct, talent does not equal success, but I think it's a great predictor. Most of the time, talent wins out, but we've seen it go the other way too many times.

#2. To say that the 98 team refused to lose infers that every other team that didn't win it all somehow gave up...and that's not fair. The 98 team had tons of heart and desire, but no more than any other Rider team, IMO. But any team that can survive the comeback that Huron put together and still pull it out in OT, was indeed very special.

#3. I think the biggest point of this thread was to foster discussion, and I've been pleased that it has.

#4. I think the 98 team had a great (maybe the best) compliment of run, pass and defense, so from top to bottom, they had all the tools. But I shy away from calling them the "best team ever," we've had too many great teams....but there's no denying the title of "state champs."

Nick Fedor said...

98 of Course. I played for Akron Manchester at the time. It was the first round. The previous year we played in the state championship game and lost a record 5 overtimes. 98 we ran up against you all. At least we held you to your least amount of points scored in a game that year- 17!

Red Rider Sports Blog (Tim Snyder) said...

Thanks for giving your thoughts. Always great to hear from opponents. Dover held us to 14 in a win, and Ashland also held us to 14 (our only loss) in 98...but in terms of the playoffs, the 17 you guys held us to was the lowest.

That 5-OT game against Germantown was one for the ages. couldn't imagine being in the stands for that one, much less as a player.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion i think that the '98 team should be labled the best because they are the only state champs in football. I will say though that the '94 and '95 teams would have beat them. Those two teams was way to physical for the '98 team.Bigger, stronger, and faster. Not to mention i think that CJ Handwork and Demarcus Robinson was way to small to guard Renauld Ray or Marcell Denson.

Anonymous said...

I am admittedly biased toward the '98 team. The thing that really holds them back was we had a freshman qb that was extremely shaky at times. Although it would be tough to argue with the '84 team from the standpoint of Division I scholorship players, a couple things I would point out. Thad Tillison would most assuredly been a DI player had he had the grades, and the reduction of DI scholarships over the years almost certainly cost kids from both the '95 and '98 teams compared to the '84 team. Just for the record I thought the '94 team at the end of the year, was better than the '95 team. Though the '95 team certainly had more skill players I think the '98 team would have dominated both lines of scrimage in a game against the '95 team, and Dru would have still been the fastest kid on the field, which would have made a very interesting game. I recall the '68 team very well and the team they were most often compared to was the '40 team that also only gave up only 19 points, albeit in just 8 games. The '40 team, prior to '68 was always considered the benchmark by the "old timers", and should at the very least be in the discussion. Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Another team I would mention, just for discussion would be the '63 team. They were the first to go 10-0 and beat a very good Canton Lincoln team that had previously beaten Canton McKinley. Coach Shunkwiler often said that team could have played with any of the teams he coached for or against when he was at Warren.

Anonymous said...

My pick,without a doubt, would be the 1984 team. IMO, not only were they loaded with D1 talent in Bolyard, Leeder, Barry Tillison, Denson, Bradley, Moore,and Auble, but they had as much team speed as any and were more physical than anyone they faced. There were no weaknesses until the car wreck that sidelined our middle linebacker, and Tommy getting dinged in the head before attempting a field goal at the end of the EC game. EC won it all in a landlslide the following week and remember there were not as many divisions back then.

John said...

The list is full of stellar teams, but if i have to pick one to label the best(which is difficult) I'm going with the 98' Team. Its hard not to, due to the fact they carry the title of "state champions". This had been a title the team, and city had been wanting for way too long and had eluded us till then. The 98' was the team to go take it and bring it home, and the road wasnt easy thanks to the likes of Dover, Ashland, Mansfield Senior, Manchester, Youngstown Ursuline (which was pretty much a college team in highschool and had 6 DIV.1 commits...Ridiculous), Huron (undefeated till then and went to O.T.), and Coldwater which everyone knows. As a whole they are the best collective team.