Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Top 10 of 2010 - #5 and #4

This is my Top 10 Red Rider Sports Blog Moments of 2010. See the full list of posts here

We're getting closer, and that means the choices are much harder to make. Every one of these top 10 are moments to be proud of as Orrville citizens, students & alumni.

I think this one might cause some people to question my thought process.  I'll try to explain the best I can.

#5 - The 2010 Football Playoff Run
This was tough to rank "just" #5 on the list. But again, a testament to the number of exciting accomplishments we witnessed in 2010. This may be the most unlikely accomplishment of the Top 10 list. I think the talent was very evident on this team, but there were a lot of uncertainties after graduating 20+ seniors.

Qualifying for the playoffs with a 7-3 record (all three losses to playoff teams) the Riders started out at home against backyard rival Triway & hung on for the 27-25 win, due in large part to the game-changing speed of Stewart Turner.

The win earned the Riders a shot at the high-octane Elyria Catholic passing attack, which the Riders controlled and won 22-14 at Medina High School, avenging a 1984 defeat to the Cougars in the state semifinals.

The Region 14 title would be decided at Avon Lake High School between the Riders and new rival Genoa. The Rider defense again held a high-powered offense way below their season average & they hoisted their first regional title in 11 years with a 16-6 win.

Their season would end the following week, back at Medina High School with a 21-3 loss to Chagrin Falls, but this was clearly a run for the ages, and hopes are high the Riders can take the next step in 2011.

#4 - Dennis Raber's State Wrestling Championship
What a moment for Dennis. One year after losing the championship match in heartbreaking fashion, he returned to Value City Arena with vindication on his mind, and walked away with the gold trophy.

As state runner up in 2009 as a junior, you could say that Dennis did what was expected of him..but that would belittle the work he put in to get back to state and win it all. Wrestling is a sport that demands mental toughness. There's no teammate to pick you up if you're having an off-night. Off-night's equate to losses in wrestling.

Dennis had very few off-nights in his championship season, finishing 42-2 in becoming just the 3rd state wrestling champion in Orrville history (Jack Leeder and Shane Hartzler being the other two).

To do what Dennis did is a feat that he and his family will never forget, and one that will probably get him elected into the OHS Sports Hall of Fame someday.

Here's his title match in it's entirety.

Wrestling Videos on Flowrestling

It would have been easy for me....a football fan more than a wrestling fan....to rank the Riders football playoff run of 2010 ahead of Dennis' state title, and for a second, I did.  But then I stepped back and looked at it as arbitrarily as I could, and changed my mind.  Dennis' state title, regardless of our towns identity as a football town, was simply the bigger accomplishment, at least in my humble opinion.

Agree?  Disagree?  Don't Care?  Just want to get this Top 10 over with?

So what's left for the Top 3?  Find out tomorrow or guess away in the comments section.

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