Wednesday, November 16, 2011
2011 Football...In Review
The 34-19 loss to the Bobcats was a tough loss, no getting around it. It was one of those nights that nothing went right for us and everything went right for Norwayne.
I'm not going to spend time delving on what could have and should have happened....just going to say congratulations to the Bobcats and good luck the rest of the way.
We didn't play close to our best game of football, Mason Monheim was clearly less than 100% and when we fell behind, transformed QB Drew Brenner did all he could running and throwing the ball...but we were basically a one dimensional offense, and it was easier for Norwayne to defend.
Even so, up until the clock reached zero...I thought we could still pull it out, one more miracle comeback...but it wasn't to be.
As is the case every year, Red Rider football says farewell to a talented group of seniors. I want to personally thank each and every one of them for their contributions to Red Rider Tradition over the past 4 years and for their hours of sacrifice and hard work. 39 games over the past 3 years is special. It was touching to see several players showing emotion after the game, hugging parents and friends, coming to grips with the fact that their days wearing a Red Rider helmet were over. It's refreshing to see that kind of passion...it told me that these kids wanted to do nothing but keep on playing for their school and for this community.
Being a Red Rider football player has to be somewhat of a blessing and a curse. It's great because you get to don the red, white and black and represent one of the most accomplished programs in the state. You're a RED RIDER. Unfortunately, to whom much is given, much is expected. Orrville teams through the years and not just expected to make the playoffs, but to make deep runs and bring home state titles.
That's what 22 playoff appearances and 596 wins brings with it. Your goals are measured against two things...the 1998 team that DID bring home a title, and the team before you.
This year's team was coming off a state semifinal berth and that much and more was expected this year...and that might not have been fair. Nothing but a state title game appearance or a 2nd state title would have satisfied some. I think we all learned that no matter what last year's team achieved, each year can have it's own challenges...and this year was all about injuries. From Matt Davis to Joel Zook to Mason to Kyle Lichti to Stewart Turner and Drew Brenner's nagging injuries...it was just one of those years where it wasn't just injuries, but injuries to key players.
I'll take 8 wins and 2 weeks of playoff football each and every year....so would most programs, but this is Orrville and some years, even with all the reasons in the world, we don't take it well when our Red Riders don't achieve what WE think they should. That's how we've become spoiled as fans, and how we've become a tad ingrateful as fans too.
Not saying that it wasn't right to put expectations on this team, because on paper, this was a talented team with 3 or 4 guys with Division I type talent. It was a team with a dominant defense and a quick strike offense, gamechangers and solid special teams players...it was the recipe that you couldn't help but look at and say "this might be THE year."
Only 6 teams out of over 700 in Ohio get to call themselves state champions each December...you just hope when those once or twice a decade teams come along, the stars can align and you can flirt with destiny.
I think next year will be interesting....we have some returning talent and experience on the line, but I think some kids will need to be shifted around to fill needs at skill positions and to best use their talent.
We'll do it all again next year....it just stinks that this year is done.
The Riders ended the year with 596 wins and 992 games played in program history. Next year will for sure see the 1,000th game played in school history..week 8 at home against Mansfield Madison....and hopefully the 600th win in school history well before that.
I'm going to spend the next few months posting very sporadically. I'm going to be busy behind the scenes updating historical information. I'll post the post-season honors for football and get information up about the WQKT Smitty Classic coming up in mid-December, but that might be it as far as content goes between now and the end of the year.
I'll be updating the "College Riders" section of the site sometime in the next month.
The winter sports schedules can be seen here. On-sale date for basketball season tickets is November 30th.
Maybe even a reader survey coming over the winter months...keep an eye out for that.