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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Week 6: Orrville @ West Holmes

Who: Orrville Red Riders (3-2, 2-0 in OCC) vs. West Holmes Knights (2-3, 0-2 in OCC)
Where: Knights Stadium - Millersburg (Click Here for Map & Directions)
When: Friday October 2nd, 7:00pm

All Time Series: Orrville leads 24-12 (Click here for detail)
Last Meeting: 2008 (West Holmes won 19-17)
Last Week: Orrville beat Mansfield Senior 32-3, West Holmes lost to Ashland 28-0.

Coaches: Tom Eastep is 19-16 in his 4th year as Knights head coach. Doug Davault is 26-12 midway through his 4th season as Orrville head coach.

TV/Radio/Internet: Updates on 104.5 WQKT. Also, the game will be broadcast over the internet by the "Voice of Holmes County." Click here to listen to the game starting at 6:30. Mark Lonsinger and Fuzz Mackey have the call. Expect a dose of one sidedness. And if this Fuzz Mackey guy is any relation to West Holmes running back Brandon Mackey, expect an extra thick helping of home town rooting.

Key Players for the Knights
Brandon Mackey - 568 rushing yards, 3 TD...46 tacklkes & 2 sacks on defense
Zac Mathie - 534 passing yards - 6 TD/2 INT...44 tackles on defense
Jeremy Anderson - 9 receptions for 255 yds - 3 TD
Cory Mullet - 48 tackles on defense

Key Players for the Riders
Tre Simpson - 498 rushing yards - 9 TD (2nd leading scorer in OCC)
Sam Miller - 178 receiving yards - 3 TD
Joe Besancon - 568 passing yards - 5 TD
Chase Hoobler - 52 tackles, 3 sacks

Interesting Stroylines
West Holmes seeks to make it 3 straight wins over the Riders....only one other time in this storied history have the Knights beaten the Riders in 3 straight seasons. From 1981 to 1983, the Knights scored 3 straight wins over the Riders.
(Sidebar: Interestingly enough, 1983 was the year of Orrville's first appearance in the state finals (read more about the 1983 playoff run here). In each of those 3 wins, the Knight defense held the Rider offense under 10 points per game. To accurately compare, during those 3 seasons (33 games), the Riders were held under 10 points only 6 times, and West Holmes did it 3 of the 6 times. Kind of impressive.)

With a win, the Riders will be 3-0 in the OCC and do their part to set up a week 7 showdown with Ashland. A West Holmes loss makes them 0-3 in the conference and 2-4 overall, after a 2-0 start. They would need to win 3 of their last 4 games to avoid a sub .500 finish for the first time since 2004. To me, this sounds like it's an "all or nothing" game for West Holmes. It's their homecomimg too. Wonderful.

Orrville will look to avenge 2 straight losses to the Knights. The most recent of the 2 essentially eliminating the Riders from playoff contention last let us never speak of this again.

Tre Simpson needs to average 100.4 yds per game over the final 5 to reach 1000 for the season. Can anyone say with certainty who Orrville's last 1000 yd rusher was? The easy answer is Demarkus Robinson back in 1999 or 2000, but that's just an educated guess. Does anyone know for sure?

I think the Riders are focused, and not looking ahead....and just have too much talent for the Knights this year. We have a lot of the same talent this year that we did last year, but our approach is almost completely different. They've ran for right around 600 yds as a team in the last 2 weeks, and now seem to be a team that can shorten games and control possession with their run game. It's becoming more than a compliment to our run game, it's become our bread and butter...but we've always got the passing game (and a pretty good one) in our back pocket.

Me: Orrville 31-13 (a little worried, but still confident). Riders continue their methodical march through the OCC.
Drew Pastuer's Fantastic 50: Orrville by 17 Orrville 28-13
Daily Record: I'm guessing 8-1 in favor of Orrville.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another Record Setting Month...and an announcement.

Just wanted to take another opportunity and thank you, the readers, for another record setting month in Red Rider Sports Blog history. Site visits, pageviews, unique's a clean sweep. Up roughly 30% from the previous month, and up roughly 350% since the first of the year.

I'm not doing this for backpats, just to express my sincere appreciation. Your support and encouragement are humbling, and I will do everthing I can to continue to keep this site fresh, informational and unique.

You may notice a little less content over the next few months...and I wanted to share with you why. You may care, you may not, but I feel I at least owe a basic explanation.

My son Brennen was diagnosed with Celiac Disease back in January. Don't worry, it sounds worse than it is. It basically means that his body cannot process gluten found in a majority of foods, especially things like breads & pastas. Basically anything with wheat contains gluten. This is something he was born with, and will have for the rest of his life.

Thankfully, the only treatment is a strict adherence to a gluten free surgeries, no medicines, just the diet restrictions. Sounds easy enough, right? Here's a list of unsafe food and ingredients that he can never have, even in miniscule amounts, or can never be in his foods (note how many are building block type of ingredients that are used in a wide variety of things we eat everyday, that he can no longer have).

Back to why it's affecting us now. Due to being undiagnosed, we fed him what any kid ate...sandwiches, toast, snacks...all filled with wheat and gluten. This would result in stomach pain and him outright refusing food (relating his stomach pain with the food he eats). We knew we weren't dealing with something simple like stubbornness or a picky eater, it was something more. He never would put things in his mouth as a baby and would never show interest in food. Eating was a chore to him, he did not (and still doesn't) take any enjoyment from eating.

We got referred to a specialist who ordered bloodwork. The results pointed to possible celiac disease (which we had never heard of, but upon researching, it really sounded like a strong possibility that he may have it), a scope of his stomach was ordered to confirm or deny. The blood work was confirmed and we officially had a 3 yr. old boy with Celiac Disease.

So we removed as much gluten from his diet as we could, and became expert label readers. But we didn't see a quick improvement in his eating. He would still push away food, still equating food with stomach pain. The next step was a feeding therapy program to overcome this anxiety and fear of food. We could not get in until this past July. So he persisted on a diet of gluten free pretzels, grapes, strawberries, rice cereal for nearly 6 months. We just didn't know how to get him to try new foods in a way that wouldn't force it on him, or make it any more unpleasant than it already was.

We began the feeding therapy once a week and from the first visit, finally felt like we were making some progress. It wasn't easy, but we're seeing signs of improvement.

Unfortunately, it's not a the level of improvement that the doctors would like to see, so he was recommended to the day-feeding therapy program. Basically this is a more intense version of the once-a-week program. It will be from Monday to Friday, all day. He'll be fed 5-6 times a day to hopefully lessen his anxiety and get him to accept new foods. He and my wife will be staying in Cleveland during this therapy, and coming home on weekends.

Again...what's this got to do with this site? Well, while my wife stays with him during this intense therapy, I'll be Mr. Mom to our 18-month old daughter. That means much less blog time for the next several months. I may pop in from time to time, and I'd like to still at least do the game previews and weekly wrap-ups, but no guarantees. It'll all be as I have time, and I can already see it being less than a few hours a week....down from roughly 6-10 hours a week that I typically spend on the site.

Above all, family comes first. This is a mere speedbump. To be clear, my son's is not dying, my son is not facing major surgery, my son does not have cancer. This is a mere inconvenience and a short term struggle for a long term solution.

We have faith that God has worked and will continue working in the doctor's by providing wisdom, in our families by providing love & understanding, and in us by providing patience...and He will continue to work in Brennen and in everyone around him as he goes through this therapy.

Anyone is free to contact me if you'd like more information, and my wife has also started a blog to record her thoughts as she goes through this with my son. Here's the link. She'll be posting updates as time allows.

Thanks for reading. I'll still be around, maybe just not as much. Keep my little man in your thoughts.

Monday, September 28, 2009

After Week 5: The Halfway Home Edition

Five weeks down...five weeks to go. The Riders seem to be hitting their stride, but the 2nd half will present just as many challenges as the first, and then there's the little matter of an OCC championship and (hopefully) the playoffs to tend to.

After an 0-2 start, and a firm grasp on the 22nd spot in Region 14, did anyone think we'd be 2-0 in the OCC and be ranked 5th in the region? You can say yes, but there had to be a part of you that wondered if the distraction and injuries this team had to deal with was going to be the downfall of a very promising season.

We seem to be on the other side of all that, and are playing as one unit on both sides of the ball rather than a group of individuals....but each week presents a new set of challenges.

Let's look at each one....(I know, I know..."DON'T LOOK AHEAD!!")

Week 6 @ West Holmes - Redemption game. And with a potential showdown for first place in the OCC the following week against Ashland, this has the makings of a classic trap game. I'd hope the recent history against West Holmes has us focused on the Knights, and the Knights only.

Week 7 vs. Ashland - As mentioned above, this has the potential to be a game for the driver's seat in the OCC. Ashland has Mansfield in week 6, so it's likely they'll make the trip to Orrville at 3-0 in the conference. Ashland plays Clear Fork in week 8, who then plays Orrville in week 9, so while the Orrville/Ashland game will be huge, both teams will have big and possibly bigger games in the following weeks.

Week 8 @ Madison - Rams are struggling under 1st year coach Kevin Maltarich, but have a Jekyll & Hyde persona. Riders will have to win at Ram Field, a place they're 5-4 at since resuming the rivalry back in 1989 (our last 2 wins there being by a TOTAL of 10 points).

Week 9 @ Clear Fork - This one will be real interesting. Since 2005, Clear Fork is 16-8 in games after playing Orrville. That game was typically held in week 4, but due to the OCC rotating the schedules, the game will now be in week 9. So the conventional wisdom is they finish the season strong. They'll have to get through Wooster, Madison and Ashland (and we'll have to beat West Holmes, Ashland and Madison) for this to be a true OCC title showdown...but this will be an interesting game nonetheless. A new coach and a new offense has the Colts sitting atop Region 14. We've had good success against Clear Fork (7 wins, 0 losses..never allowed more than 20 points in any game against the Colts)...but it will take a special effort, especially at the Colt Corral.

Week 10 vs. Wooster - Nothing needs said. It's Wooster, and we're shooting for our 4th straight shutout of the Generals. Could very possibly need a win to lockup a playoff spot, or perhaps lockup a first round home playoff game.

Simpson racks up yards
All junior tailback Tre Simpson has done in the last 2 games is rush for 315 yards and score 6 TD's. Not sure how far you'd have to go back to find the last time a Rider back ran for 300 yds over 2 games. Tre is the first dynamic, speedster back since maybe Demarkus Robinson. He's a few yards shy of 500 for the season, averaging nearly 8 yards per carry. He's in the top 3 of the OCC in yards and scoring for the season.

Riders in College
A few Rider QB alums had good days this oast weekend. Kyle Simmons posted career highs in rushing (93) and passing (256) yards in a 38-36 loss to Otterbein. He also accounted for 2 passing TD's and 2 rushing TD's. Two extra points were missed that turned out to be the difference in the game.

Tim Hiller had another solid day for Western Michigan in their 24-10 win over Hofstra. Hiller was 34 for 43 for 338 yards and 2 TD's in the win. Several milestones were reached in the game also, Tim eclipsed 9000 career passing yards, 800 completions and threw his 83rd and 84th touchdown pass for his career. He is now tied for 5th with Miami alum Ben Roethlisberger (spelled it right the first time)...for 5th all-time in the MAC for career passing TD's.

That's it for now....on to Millersburg.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Found on YouTube: Orrville - Lexington Highlights

Good stuff here.....Orrville/Lex highlights. From Mansfield TV broadcast (WOHZ TV 41). Paul Slaz is the name of the guy doing the play by play. For being a Mansfield area broadcast, I thought it was very even handed. Very well done.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week 5 Preview: Orrville @ Mansfield Senior

Who: Orrville Red Riders (2-2, 1-0 in OCC) vs. Mansfield Senior Tygers (2-2, 0-1 in OCC)
Where: Arlin Field - Mansfield, OH (Click Here for Map & Directions)
When: Friday September 25th, 7:00pm

All Time Series: Orrville leads 7-5 (Click here for detail)
Last Meeting: 2008 (Orrville won 51-18)
Last Week: Orrville beat Lexington 41-21, Senior lost to Clear Fork 36-6.
Coaches: Tyger coach Jamie Masi is in his second season, his overall record is 4-10. Orrville coach Doug Davault is his fourth season and is 25-12 overall.
On Air: Game will stream online at Click here to listen.

The Basics
The Riders and Tygers square off in what should be a pivotal game for each team. Orrville is seeking their 3rd straight win after an 0-2 start. Senior is trying to avoid a 2nd straight conference loss.

Both teams rank 7th in their respective region's computer a win for either team would pay off as we march towards the playoffs.

For the Riders, they've only won twice in 6 trips to Arlin Field...a testament to the home field advantage to the very unique facility. Senior is certainly a better team at under the shadows of the fire breathing Tyger statue thingy.

I can only think of one matchup in recent memory where the better team failed to win (a 2005 Senior win, 47-37). This time around, The Riders have the clear advantage in all areas....but you just never know which Senior team will show up Friday night.

In Rider wins against the Tygers, the red and white average nearly 40 points per game, and in losses, only 16 ppg. So a high scoring game favors the Red Riders.

Web Presence.
I was plesantly surprised when I stumbled upon TygerFootball.comearlier in the week. It's a very informative website....rosters, stats, schedule, has it all. Very simple and nicely done. All it's missig is contact information. It doesn't seem to be part of a school website. It's so informative that I can't help but think it's run by a coach or close friend of the program. Whoever you are....well done.

Six Three Degrees of The Ohio State University.
Thought this would be fun...let's tie the Orrville Red Riders to the Ohio State Buckeyes through players involved in this game. If you're not familiar with the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game....this won't make any sense.

Regardless...this is so easy, I only need 3 degrees.

Degree #1 - Jamarkus O'neal plays for Mansfield Senior - his brother Jamario played for Ohio St. from 2005-08 as a DB.

Degree #2 - Jamario's teammate in the 2005 and 2006 season was Justin Zwick, who played at Orrville during the 1998 and 99 seasons.

Degree #3 - Justin's teammate at Orrville was lineman Brent Steiner, who is currently on the Rider coaching staff.


Back to the Game.
The Riders are coming off their biggest win of the season, and a dominating running performance against Lexington. I'd like to think that there's nothing getting in the way of the Rider express...but I've seen st'range things happen at Arlin Field. Senior has athletes, but not the "game changers" they've had in years past.

They'll welcome back junior Max Pirman from a collarbone injury, but will go without sophomore starter Mason Monheim (leg) and Senior two-way player Dillon Corbett (shoulder).

Senior has outscored opponents 26-0 in the first quarter so far this season, but has been outscored 102-42 in the other 3 quarters, so keeping Senior from a quick start is key.

Mitchell Tridico and Jamarkus Oneal account for 50% of the Tygers passing attack, led by QB Terrance Deener. Tridico also returns kicks and punts, and has the defense's only interception, so he's clearly their Mr. Everything.

The Rider offense will seek to again top last week's output (from 14 pts in week 1 to 41 last week) and is suddenly developing a reputation as a team that is more than capable of running the ball. Senior QB Joe Besancon and Junior RB Tre Simpson combined for 316 yds of rushing last week against Lexington.

I think the Riders just have too much talent and will not allow a letdown this week. Orrville wins going away....42-13.

Other predictions:
Drew Pastuer's Fantastic 50: Orrville by 14. Orrville 35-17
Daily Record: I'm guessing a clean sweep in favor of the Riders. Maybe one vote against. They learned their lesson last week..:). (Actual: 9-0 Orrville).

Monday, September 21, 2009

After Week 4: Riders Even Record, Make OCC Statement

Sure was nice to see it all come together this past Friday night against Lexington. It was a total team effort, and an outstanding performance from junior TB Tre Simpson as the Riders won going away, 41-21.

We'll talk more about that, some recruiting news, a look at Region 14, and check in on Rider alumni playing college ball. A mega post in honor of a mega win.

Let's talk about the game first....some quick thoughts

Lex Game

  1. Fans brought the noise, plain and simple. First time in quite a while..but in their defense, this may have been the first time all year that we saw something to get excited about. The kids fed off that for sure.
  2. The offensive line deserves a whole collection of skull stickers for their performance Friday night. They manhandled Lex's D line and got Tre into the second level all night. It was said coming into the game that all you needed was a D1 offensive line and the reigning Mr. Football (like N. Canton Hoover & star back Erick Howard) to run on Lex. I think Orrville proved that theory very wrong.
  3. For all the yards Tre racked up on offense, his best play of the night may have been on defense. Right after an interception killed Orrville's first drive of the 3rd quarter, Tre stepped in front of a Courtnet Avery pass and gave the ball right back to the Riders, who would punch it in the endzone a few plays later. That swing was a big momentum boost for the home team.
  4. Here's the pics from the game courtesy of Scott Ferrell Photography. Enjoy, share, download...just remember what it costs (nothing). I think picture #74 is the play where Lexington senior Shaquille Jefferson was injured. Last I read he suffered 3 torn ligaments (out of 4) and dislocated the knee joint. Tough injury and I'm sure an even tougher recovery. Really felt bad for the young man. As a father, I'd feel completely helpless watching my child in pain like that.
  5. I'm hearing chirps that a scout from Indiana University was at the game Friday night...and happened to have a front row seat during Sam Miller's diving TD catch in the first quarter. Apparently, they have their eye on Sam and were also talking to Chase Hoobler. How will that affect Chase's verbal to Akron, time will tell. National signing day isn't until Feb. 2010.
  6. I don't think I'm the only one thinking this, but it felt like the season, not just the game, was turning around during that dominating 3rd quarter on Friday night. Rider players, coaches and fans knew we needed that game, but beating a solid Lex team was easier said than done. Lexington will win most, if not all of their remaining games....but they just weren't as good as their 2008 squad that went 11-1 and lost to eventual state champ Sylvania Southview. Our kids figured that out and their play only got better as the game went on.
  7. It's fun to think about how good we have the potential to be. With back to back solid rushing efforts, we seem to be morphing into a team that is just as confident running the ball as we are passing the ball. This, along with a defense that is getting better by the week, makes the prospect of playing the Riders a very scary one. But, as always, last week means nothing. You have to go out and prove it again for another (hopefully) 11 weeks.
Region 14.

The Riders are back from the basement of the region, currently residing in 7th place after being 22nd after the 0-2 start, and less than 1 point from sitting in 2nd place. Check out the up to date standings by clicking on the "OHSAA Region 14" tab at the top of this page, right under the site logo.

A few notes from the region....

  1. OCC couterpart Clear Fork is currently in 2nd place after a strong 3-1 start. They will look to solidify that position with a win over Lexington this Friday. If the playoffs started today, the Riders would travel to Clear Fork for a first round game. The week 9 game between the two could hold a ton of computer points for the winner.
  2. The region's only private school, Elyria Catholic, is currently in 9th place. They're 3-1 but their 3 wins have come against teams with a combined record of 1-11.
  3. Only 3 teams in the region have yet to win a game...Otsego, Upper Sandusky and Rossford.
  4. County teams Triway and Norwayne are currently 13th and 22nd respectively.
  5. At 2-2, Orrville has a higher ranking than 6 teams in the region that are each 3-1.
  6. The 5th ranked Genoa Area Comets are 4-0 and have only allowed 7 points all season, while averaging 57 points per game on offense. Their 2008 started in similar fashion and ended in week 14 with an 8 point loss to eventual state champ Ketteirng Alter. They have lost 1 regular season game since the start of the 2007 season.
  7. Region 13 leader Chagrin Falls leads all D4 teams in computer points after week 4, checking in with 9.45 points.
Riders in College.

Not a whole lot of noteworthy goings on here. Tim Hiller led WMU to their first win of the season over Miami. Tim's 4 TD passes (in only 3 quarters of work) in the game gave him 82 for his career, 18 shy of the record held by Chad Pennington. Central Michigan's Dan Lefevour is the only other MAC QB in striking range of the record, he currently has 77 career TD's, but does have more career passing yards than Tim (9995 to 8790). Tim is currently 11th on the all-time MAC passing yards list, while LeFevour is 7th. The MAC record for passing yards in a career is 11903 set by Byron Leftwich.

Ohio Northern lost to Mt. Union 30-10, the game was tied at half, but Mount pulled away in the 2nd half. Kyle Simmons and the Polar Bear offense struggled to break 100 yds. of total offense for the day against the kings of D3.

Lastly, if you notice the top of the page right under the logo...the "info bar" as I like to call it, you;ll notice a new section called "College Riders." My goal is to make that space a clearing house for all Orrville alums playing college athletics of any kind.

The football and basketball athletes will be fairly easy to find and track, but it's the smaller sports (at least in terms of coverage) that will be more difficult to moonitor. I'd like to at least include a link to the athlete's bio at their particular college, and if that's not available, just a link to the homepage of whatever sport they play.

Here's the list I currently have...divided by sport

Football (10) - Kam Barnes (West Liberty State), Brynt Werntz (Malone), Aaric Milligan (Otterbein), Rhyne Ladrach (Akron), Kyle Simmons & Josh Bowman (Ohio Northern), Tony McMorrow, Mike McMorrow, Stephen Carozza & Angel Kazim (Heidelberg)

Men's Basketball (1) - Brandon Short (Mt Vernon Naz.)

Women's Basketball (3) - Libby Ladrach (Robert Morris), Casey Bishop & Lyndsey Davault (Heidelberg)

Wrestling - (2) Jake Strasbaugh (Wabash) and Jeremy Maiwurm (Heidelberg)

Volleyball - (2) Kelley Johnson (Coll. of Wooster) and Whitney Dalessandro (Cleve. State)

Track - (4) Kaitlyn Griffith (Youngstown State) & Emma Vierheller (Marietta), Adam Maag & Aaric Milligan (Otterbein)

Baseball - (1) Matthew Johnson (Coll. of Wooster)

Golf - (2) Jenna Lisic (Wittenberg) & Dan Wisard (Heidelberg)

Softball - (1) Kelley Johnson (Coll. of Wooster)

I know I may be missing some...and if you're aware of any others, please let me know. Either use the "contact" tab in the info bar, or just leave a comment in this post.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Media Blitz continues....

(Note: This is about a week late, but wanted to lump a few items together).

If you're in or around Orrville, be sure to pick up the most recent Orrviews, your fearless blogger now appears in print, and on the cover no less. And in this past Friday's Daily Record, I was the "guest picker" in their weekly picks for local, college and pro games.

I'm one stage interruption on a major awards show away from generating some major buzz. There's always the OHS Hall of Fame Induction......(kidding).

Tough to write about losing to Triway, but I did my best to be positive about it. The pictures looked great (courtesy of Scott Ferrell Photography) and I had blast covering the game.

The issue to hit stands this Friday (Sept. 25th) will feature 2 from the Lexington game, and the other about Tim Hiller.

Here's the article (part 1...part 2) on the Triway game if you live out of the area, or just prefer your reading in a digital format. Not expecting the Pulitzer, but it's nice to contribute to the record of history, especially Orrville Football History.

I've gained such an appreciation for local writing as I've made my way through the Orrville Playoff History series on this site. Without the folks that took pictures and wrote articles for the old Courier Crescent, there would be a huge void in Red Rider sports history.

If you saw the Daily Record football picks this past Friday, you saw my ugly mug peek out from behind the computer for a little face time (thank goodness for thumbnail sized pictures!). I did reasonably well on a tough week of pics (dang Browns!!). I hope I brought some class to that "Guest Picker" position.

Some may call this oversaturation....I just call is savvy marketing. Look out Bargain Hunter, you're next!!

Enjoy....hopefully there's more to come.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Week 4: Lexington @ Orrville

Who: Orrville Red Riders (1-2, 0-0) vs. Lexington Minutemen (2-1, 0-0)
Where: Red Rider Stadium - Orrville, OH (For our Lexington here for Map & directions)
When: Friday September 18th, 7:00pm

All Time Series: Series is tied 5-5. (Click here for detail)
Last Meeting: 2008 (Lexington won 34-20)
Last Week: Orrville beat Copley 32-13, Lexington lost to North Canton Hoover 41-20.
Coaches: BJ Payne is in his 4th season as Lex head coach, his overall record is 23-12. Doug Davault is also in his 4th season for Orrville, with an overall record of 24-12.

Not much needs to be said about this matchup (but that won't stop me)...this is one that both teams have had circled since the beginning of the season, and for the Riders, a game they've looked forward to since last season. Both teams come in talented, hungry and with something to prove.

How we got here.
Lexington lost their first regular season game since week 10 of the 2007 season, losing to North Canton Hoover by a score of 41-20. The loss snapped a 12 game regular season win streak, and was only the 5th loss in the last 26 games by a Payne coachd Lexington team. It took a Div. I power and the reigning Mr. Football in Hoober RB Erick Howard to slow the Minutemen, and Orrville can be sure that Lex will come into Red Rider Stadium with a serious chip on their shoulder.

The Riders notched their first win of the 2009 season, beating Copley 32-13 and will try to even their record at 2-2 and make an early statement in the Ohio Cardinal Conference. A win would also put the Riders back in the top 8 of region 14...something that seemed quite unlikely after an 0-2 start. A win would also give the Riders a huge momentum boost as they look at 2 straight road games (at Senior & at West Holmes).

Poison Avery.
As was the case last year, the key to stopping Lexington's potent offense begins and ends with senior (he's finally a senior!!) Courtney Avery. I remember watching Avery as a freshman have success agasint Orrville, and thought to myself "he's going to be a special player." Well, successful is almost an understatement when referring to Avery. He's the reigning OCC player of the year in both football and basketball (something that may never happen again) and is a commit to play for the University of Michigan. Avery is averaging 250+ all purpose yards per game (222 passing, 35 rushing). He's on pace for another 2000 yd passing season. The Rider defense will need to limit his effectiveness on "broken" plays and have a defensive spy on him (Chase Hoobler maybe?) the entire game.

Rider Skill.
Orrville is still defining their identity, but fans saw a glimpse of the firepower last week when they scored 25 first half points against Copley. Senior QB Joe Besancon will seek to lead Orrville's air attack, spreading the ball around to seniors Chase Hoobler, Sam Miller & Jordan Thomas. Dillon Corbet, Tre Simpson, Thirajn Pittman are threats out of the backfield.

Tradition never Graduates.
Lexington simply doesn't replace quality players like Pickins, Gallik and Dickson (the trio accounted for nearly 4000 all-purpose yards in 2008), but Mansfield Sr. transfers Kenya Coombs & Shaq Jefferson, and returning lettermen Brian Byrne (RB), AJ Beddow (WR) and Cody Hamilton (WR) are more than adequate replacements, and will certainly look led the purple clad Minutemen to their 3rd win of the season.

Let's Get Physical.
Lex has had some good teams over the years, but the missing piece to the puzzle may have been the hiring of BJ Payne as their coach. Coach Payne has brought an attitude of physicality, and a "hit or be hit" mentality to the Minutemen lately.

Payne played at Massillon and Mt. Union, so if nothing else, he knows the intensity it takes to be successful. If nothing else, a strong dose of intimidation may help a team, and if a team allows itself to be intimidated, they're already behind on the scoreboard before the first kick.

Lex will bring that style to Orrville on Friday night, and the Riders MUST NOT BE INTIMIDATED. Hit them back just as hard....who knows...maybe they wont hit as hard the next time.

In a former life, Coach Payne was a pro wrestler, maybe he knows a thing to two about "selling the sizzle." To me, his act is no act, he strikes me as a very aggressive coach that demands his kids reach their potential, and if they can do it with a tinge of aggression & craziness...all the better. His success in the past few years tells me all I need to know about the kids (and community) buying in to his philosophy.

Rider Redemption.
This matchup also provides a golden opportunity for the Orrville defense to reestablish themselves. For a defense as touted as this unit, their 27 points per game allowed is not exactly stellar, but one that HAS gotten better each week. A stout effort against the Minutemen will go a long way toward proving the 3-3-5 is effective at slowing the spread. We've already had 2 subpar defensive outings against spread teams, a 3rd would make me question the scheme's effectiveness.

This is a tough one...I really labored last season on a prediction, eventually settling on a 31-20 Lex win (it was 34-20 Lex). This year, I think homefield will provide the slightest advantage for Orrville.
31-28 Riders, but I think we will have to play a near perfect game for that to happen, and must match Lex's intensity. says Lex 38-21 (ouch!)
Akron Beacon did not have this game on their picks this week.
I'm guessing the Daily Record has Lex winning by a 6-3 vote.....and I know where 1 of those votes will come from. :)

Make sure to pick up the Friday Daily Record to unravel the mystery. Go Riders!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Found on YouTube: Kyle Simmons....TV Star.

Saw this on SportsTime Ohio the other night. ONU has a big game against Mt. Union this weekend, and Kyle will be leading the ONU offense (and the 7th ranked Polar Bears) against Division III's best team.

Good luck Kyle & Josh.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Week 3: Copley @ Orrville

Who: Orrville Red Riders (0-2) vs. Copley Indians (2-0)
Where: Red Rider Stadium, Orrville
When: Friday September 11th, 7pm

All Time Series: Orrville leads 23-12 (Click here for detail)
Last Meeting: 2008 (Orrville won 24-14)
Last Week: Orrville lost to Triway,28-14, Copley beat Cleve. JFK, 28-0.

Coaches: Doug Davault is in his 4th year as Orrville head coach, his overall record is 23-12. Ron Viscounte is in his 3rd year at Copley with an overall record of 6-16.

This game has a few interesting subplots....the first and most obvious is the fact that Copley comes into the game undefeated for the first time since the 2005 Delone Carter (currently at Syracuse) led team that went 9-3 and lost to state semi-finalist Tallmadge in the playoffs. The Riders were throttled that night by both Carter and Copley, to the tune of 48-21.

I'm not discounting Copley's 2-0 record, but one of those wins came against a Cleveland Senate League team, not exactly a powerhouse. But what is impressive is the fact that Copley's defense has given up only 6 points through the first 2 weeks. Copley is always big and strong, some years they seem to have more talent than others, and I think this is one of those years. They return RB Dom Dixon (4 TD's through 2 games), WR Martel Durant and their entire offensive line from last year. WR Shawn Taylor and freshman (FRESHMAN!!) Argeros Turner have also made an early impact for the Indians.

The next storyline is the very real possibility of Orrville starting the season 0-3, something that hasn't been done in a very long time. It's been nearly 20 years since an Orrville football team started 0-3. 1991 was the year, and we started 0-4 that year before we beat Medina Buckeye, 34-29. Not even the most ardent Orrville detractor saw this team starting 0-3, yet we're another bad game away from that happening....and that would all but eliminate the Riders' post season chances, and that's not a discussion any team should be having this early in the season.

The final, and probably least important storyline is that of Ron Viscounte. The longtime assistant at Lake was a finalist to replace Coach Mac back in 2006, but Doug Davault was chosen over Viscounte. I'm sure he'd love to nab his first win over a school that passed him by for a coaching position....but I'm sure he'd love being 3-0 even more.

The Riders have as close to a full roster as they've had since week 1, welcoming back Sam Miller to the lineup. Miller hopes to have an impact all ove the field, as a WR/DB and on special teams as well.

I'm 0-2 on predictions this more loss and I just may have to scrap this predictions whole thing.

But not this week. Riders get off the "schnide" and get win #1. 28-19.

I think the Daily Record sides with the locals this week, but with less gusto than the 9-0 prediction from the Triway game. Maybe 6-3 or even 5-4 this week. (For the record, we were picked by a 7-2 margin) says Orrville 24-14...but they've been wrong for 2 weeks what do they know? About as much as me.

Beacon Journal staff is split 2-2 on the game.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Triway Pics Posted.....Region 14 Update

As I mentioned last week, Scott Ferrell Photography again took some great shots of the game this past Friday with Triway. I doubt it's one many want to relive, but check it out if you've got a relative or friend on the team. There's a few of the band and cheerleaders in there too.

Here's the link....remember, Scott is offering his services free of charge, so if you see one you like, feel free to download it and use however you wish. If you download any of his work, please consider sending Scott a note of thanks and possibly consider him for your future photo needs (senior pics, weddings, etc.).

Luckily he did not get me in any of the pictures. Yes, that was me on the sidelines frantically writing after each play. Check this week's Orrviews for my first published article. Hopefully more of that to come.

Region 14 News. I thought I'd be talking about where Orrville stands in the region after our first win, but we're still at zero, one of nine teams in the region without a win. A win over undefeated Copley will certainly help, and that's about all the forecasting I can do right now. Let's get win #1 and go from there.

Here's the link to the Region 14 can find this link permanently at the top of my home page (or any page for that matter). Just hover over "Football" and then click on "Current Region 14 Standings."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Yes, It's Purple & Orrville Alums playing College Football

I'm a man of my word....and these were my words on the Triway game preview post...
"I'll even go as far to say that if we lose to Triway, I'll display the proud purple on this website until our week 3 game with Copley. The Triway colors will take over Red Rider Sports Blog for 1 week."
I don't like it either......

It was an ugly night at Triway Stadium, so rather than rehash that mess....let's talk about Orrville alums playing on Saturday at the college level. By my count, we have 11 young men playing for various colleges both in and out of Ohio.

Let's take a look at each of them.

Ohio Northern - Kyle Simmons and Josh Bowman. The Polar Bears won their first game today, upsetting #4 ranked North Central (Ill.) by a 28-19 score. Kyle is the starter at QB and went 20-31 for 196 yds with 1 TD and also ran for 59 yds. Josh was credited with 2 tackles, both on special teams. Kyle is one of the team captains for ONU this year.

Heidelberg - Tony McMorrow (#99), Mike McMorrow (#11), Steven Carozza (#56), Angel Kazim (#16). The 'Berg won their opening game against Westminster by a 43-26 score. Steven Carozza was listed as the starting defensive tackle.

Western Michigan - Tim Hiler. Not a good day for Tim and the Broncos, they were handled 31-7 by Michigan. Tim was 22 for 26 for 259 yds with 1 TD pass and 2 INT's. Tim is one of WMU's captains this year.

West Liberty State - Kameron Barnes. West Liberty won their opener of Walsh by a 48-17 score. Kam saw action as a 2nd team lineman.

Akron - Rhyne Ladrach. Rhyne earned the starting TE spot for the Zips, but they were outmatched by Penn St. today, losing 31-7.

Otterbein - Aaric Milligan. The Cardinals won their opener over Bethany by a 28-7 score.

Malone - Brynt Werntz. The Pioneers won their first game by a 35-19 score over Apprentice (Va.).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Week 2 Preview: Orrville at Triway

Who: Orrville Red Riders (0-1) vs. Triway Titans (0-1)
Where: Triway Stadium (Directions here)
When: Friday Sept. 4th, 7pm

All Time Series: Orrville leads 31-5 (Series detail here)
Last Meeting: 2008 (Orrville won 34-13)
Last Week: Orrville lost to Northwest 40-14, Triway lost to West Holmes 28-27
Coach Records: Doug Davault is 23-11 and in his 4th season as head coach of Orrville. Tony Lee is 0-1 in his first season as Triway head coach.

A lot going on in this traditional matchup of county schools, rivals, and region 14 members. Both the Riders and Titans come in licking their wounds. Orrville dropped their season opener to Northwest, giving up 40 points...while Triway lost a 27-7 4th quarter lead to West Holmes, losing 28-27.

Titan head coach Tony Lee is seeking his first win as Titan coach, and what a first chapter he'd write if that win came against the hated (not my words) Red Riders.

The Riders have won 4 straight against the Titans, the last 2 being by 20+ points each.

What it means for Orrville: The Riders get 3 players back who missed last weeks game. All 3 are starters, and all 3 are seniors, so that alone should give Orrville fans some confidence heading into this game. A win gets Orrville back on track and steamrolling ahead to a potential week 4 showdown with Lexington. A loss to Triway will raise some SERIOUS (and when I say serious...I mean SERIOUS) questions about this team. To have a team with this much hype potentially start 0-2 would be disastrous.

Having Chase Hoobler back will be very encouraging for the Riders, he's battled a bruised shin all pre-season but if he's anywhere close to 100% on Friday night, it spells nothing but bad news for the Titans. It will be interesting to see how Chase reacts once the shackles are removed.

What it means for Triway: Assumed by many, but confirmed by Triway superfan Andrew Marcum....this is Triway's superbowl. They'd rather beat Orrville than any other team on their schedule. Here's some more from Mr. Marcum on what the Orrville game means to the Triway fans and players.

"I hate Orrville like I hate the Pittsburgh Steelers (as a Browns fan)
or the Michigan Wolverines (as a Buckeyes fan)."
And wait, there's more...if you thought it was just football, you'd be sadly mistaken.

"They're still our biggest rival in all
sports; any win against them in basketball or baseball or track or
cross country or tennis or golf of voleyball, no matter if we're
always the favorite or always the underdog, is treasured... just 'cuz
it's Orrville."
There you go're hated. We may consider Wooster our rival, but Triway is a close 2nd. Do not take them lightly, they'll play with passion and play until the last down. You have a target on your backs, wear it proudly and go out and prove to Triway that 31 wins out of 36 games is no fluke, it's simple dominance. But be aware of the fact that every one of Triway's 5 wins in the series nearly outweigh our 31 wins. It's THAT big of a deal to their team, school and community. I remember having to walk out of Triway Stadium in 1993 when they beat us was not fun. And we all remember the feeling of walking out of the Pit or the Canton Fieldhouse after a loss to Triway in basketball. It just plain sucks. Let's not go down that road again.

Seriously, Andrew is a real good guy, and that was all in fun. We're rivals on different sides of the fence, so of course we're going to have VERY different views of the rivalry. I'm sure there are plenty in Orrville who dislike Triway very much too.

Here's Andrew's "keys to a Titan win."
"In order for Triway to win, we'll have to limit mistakes, first and foremost. If we turn the ball over, the athletes on Orrville's offensive side of the ball will be too good to contain if we give them too many chances. Triway will need to pass to win, because we can't match Orrville's size on the line and at linebacker. We have the athletes to go 1-on-1 with anyone, except maybe Orrville (fully-staffed). We have handled defensive pressure very well, which is great, because Carmichael is very dangerous (and accurate) when he has time. But even when he doesn't have time, he's very, very smart and makes quick reads and almost always gets the ball to the right receiver. We can't drop passes!

On defense, we will need to stop your running game. I think even though we had troubles against West Holmes with 3rd down pass defense, our secondary is very, very good and will make a lot of big plays for us this season now that they have a game under their belts (all are playing new positions - Drake (CB) and Polen (LB) both at safety now, and Carmichael (n/a) and Houmard (soccer) at CB. All 4 are very good, just need to get used to playing with each other. I think they will be ready, now. Up front we have been surprisingly good. We expected Butcher and Myers to do well, and they have... but Cody Gessel has been a surprise as well! Our young linebackers still find the ball well.

Lastly is the field position battle, which will be key! Orrville still has big play ability, so we cannot give them the ball within striking distance. Force them into long drives. We didn't punt well; but if we do, our defense will be tough to sustain drives against, IMO.
Very good analysis....Triway certainly has some athletes in their secondary, and we got a closeup look at Cole Drake's talent last year, so anyone expecting an easy night for the Riders might be in for a surprise.

Mine. 29-12. Riders jump out early and talent takes over from there. I just think we're deeper, bigger, faster and more experienced than the Titans this year. We'll look good at times and bad at times, but it will be enough this week.
I'll even go as far to say that if we lose to Triway, I'll display the proud purple on this website until our week 3 game with Copley. The Triway colors will take over Red Rider Sports Blog for 1 week. That simply cannot happen.

Mr. Marcum believes that if Triway is to win, it will be a close game, 26-24 Titans. says 28-17 Riders. I had no looked at that score until just now, but it's very close to my prediction.

I'm guessing the Daily Record predicts the Riders to win by a 7-2 count.

Old Orrville Sports Photos...Always a Good Time

Wish I could take credit for these, but I can't. At least there's someone else out there who appreciates this kind of stuff. These were found on Facebook, and the person who posted them has commented on this very blog....but only once.

Enjoy the trip down memory lane.

Pic 1. Freshman Basketball Team. Has to be the very early 80's. Maybe someone can help me with the exact date.

So much to be said here.....
Coaches shorts...check
High (striped) socks...check
Umm..."comfortable" shorts....check

Great stuff.

Pic 2. Football Team Picture (1982, I think)

I only count 34 players...that's smaller than our teams today. Eight coaches for 34 players...that's a nice player to coach ratio.

Pic 3. Here's the JV team from that same year...reinforces my belief that this was 1982.

Pic 4. Might as well post the frosh team pic from that season also. This was well before my time, but I know a lot of names and faces on this team.

Pic 5. Here's a classic picture of the 80's baseball uniforms.

There were some others, but these were the cream of the crop. Thanks again to the Facebooker who posted them.