It was also the first year as an independent for the Red Rider football team.
As a member of the All-Ohio Conference, and later the All-Ohio League, the Riders simply were in a class by themselves, registering an all-time record of 60-8-2 (including the last 29 in a row), and winning a combined 10 league titles (6 outright and 4 shared) in 13 years in the league.
An independent schedule brought news teams and rivalries to Red Rider stadium, but we did manage to keep 6 of the 10 opponents from our '88 schedule, including 3 AOL opponents (Northwest, Triway, West Holmes).
The team started the season with 3 straight road wins before dropping a close game to Canton Central Catholic. The loss snapped the Riders 29 game home win streak, the longest in school history. For the entire decade of the 80's, the Riders lost a grand total of 6 (SIX!) home games; so home losses were a big deal. CCC was the defending Div. 4 state champ from 1988. When's the last time the Riders have played a defending state champ in the regular season? Has it ever happened other than this example?
There were several pics of Dennis Maag as a quarterback....and for some reason, I can't recall that at all. Maag wore #34 which would easily make him the player that wore the highest jersey number as a QB in the modern era...maybe ever.
Here's Dennis as QB.
In scrimmage photos, Bryan Carter was listed as QB, then Maag for the first half of the season, and it even listed Jim Haley as seeing time at QB in the Wooster game. Sounds like a rare year where the Riders didn't have a solid #1 QB option. Were there injuries that year?
I do know one thing; the big skulls were still en vouge. See below, just to the left of the helmet stripe. The streak continues.
It was another year of a mixed bag, big skulls and small skulls.
Cool picture here. Willard Gibson standing over a vanquished opponent, amidst the falling snow.
here and here.
The Riders would drop a tough road game at West Holmes (10-7) and a heartbreaking loss to Wooster (7-6) to finish the regular season at 7-3 and would finish 3rd in the Div. 3, Region 11 computer point standings.
Division 3, Region 11 Semifinal
Ironton 28 - Orrville 0
Ironton was the 1988 Div. 3 state runner up, losing to Akron St. V. by a score of 14-12.
This game was played at Ohio University's Peden Stadium. Several bits of detail need to be discussed here....
1. The game was played at 1pm in the afternoon. Did the stadium not have lights? I'd think a college stadium would have lights. Was it a doubleheader?
2. Orrville and Ironton being in the same region is a bit of a stretch. Other teams in the region include Dover, Martins Ferry, Bellaire and such and such. Triway and Chippewa were the other Wayne Co. teams in the region. A 3-hour drive for a first round game at a neutral site has to be a record.
3. The other matchup in Region 11 was between St. Clairsville and Dover. According to the article in the Courier, the game was played in Wheeling, West Virginia!!! An Ohio playoff game was played in another state. How unreal is that? Might this be the only game in the 3+ decades of Ohio playoffs that a tournament game was played beyond the borders of Ohio?
4. Orrville was the 3 seed, Ironton the 1 seed. Dover was the 4, St. Clairsville the 2. Shouldn't 1 have played 4, and 2 played 3? Maybe that's not how it's was done back then.
As for the game itself......ummm....not a very good day for the Riders.
Not a whole lot of detail, but maybe for the better. This was the 2nd time the Riders were shutout in the playoffs in three years ('87 loss to Struthers, 21-0).
Orrville football would finish the decade with a record of 92-23, 2 state final appearances, 7 league championships, 4 undefeated regular seasons, 8 playoff appearances and 4 regional titles. It was easily the greatest decade in Rider history.
That's it for 1989. If I left out some important details, the comment section is wide open, let's hear from Rider Nation.