Saturday’s Lehman Catholic-Fort Loramie regional semifinal marks the 500th football game of play-by-play coverage for ScoresBroadcast.com’s Jack Kramer, who began announcing high school and college contests regularly in fall 1970.
The Redskins-Cavaliers match-up is also Football Game No. 100 for Jack and Chuck McBee of Piqua since the two were united on the free online service in 2010.
Saturday’s webcast time is 6:35 p.m.; kickoff is at 7 PM. Interviews with coaches are featured in the pregame segment on ScoresBroadcast.com.
The Redskins are 10-1 under first-year head coach Spencer Wells. The Cavaliers are 8-3 and led by 13-year veteran Dick Roll.
“I can remember my first high school play-by-play stint nearly 50 years ago in Preble County. A memorable mud bowl,” Jack said.
The field conditions were so bad they were the worst the graduate of Indiana and Miami of Ohio ever experienced in his entire broadcast career.
Jack has covered Ohio State football on television, plus football for IU on the university’s radio network and for Miami on TV channels 14 and 16. His freelance radio work throughout western Ohio has taken place at radio stations in Middletown, Springfield, Piqua, Greenville and Sidney.
About his first-ever radio assignment, Jack recalled vividly that the wet, soft earthy matter from the rain-soaked gridiron quickly turned to brown the home high school team’s white pants and the visiting team’s gray jerseys.
The situation was more challenging because the home squad wore black shirts and the visitors wore black pants. Each had similar-looking black and white helmets.
“Very green” was the best way Jack could describe his on-air skills after graduating from Indiana University. “So I was already handicapped,” he stated.
To make matters even worse, Jack’s “broadcast booth” was a platform perched ten feet off the ground attached to a light pole at the 30 yard line.
“It was a glorified tree house,” Jack recalled. “I wasn’t sure if I knew which team scored when. I might even have had the wrong school winning when the game ended. The storm knocked out the scoreboard.”
On Saturday night at Alexander Stadium, Piqua athletic director Chip Hare rolls out the red carpet for media covering the Fort Loramie/Lehman Catholic battle. A heated press box on the west side and another on the east side sit high above the beautiful artificial surface playing field. This terrific venue right off I-75 seats 8,200 fans.
Jack said that, in Ohio, the Piqua and Sidney stadiums “might be the state’s two very best facilities so close together in neighboring counties,” separated by only a dozen miles or so. He noted that Dave Ross and Sidney athletic director Mitch Hoying are also “pros” at preparing a press box for the media.
“Chuck and I are spoiled,” Jack smiled. “Unlike my first nightmare broadcast, we will call Saturday’s game from our easy chairs.” Sidney could be the site for a playoff game SCORES covers later this month.
SCORES stands for the Shelby County Online Radio Entertainment System. It was conceived in 2007 by Jack and Jeff Bray when the Sidney radio station said “goodbye” to local sports and local news. SCORES webcasts high school contests featuring Lehman Catholic and Sidney high schools, all schools in the Shelby County Athletic League, and Minster and Versailles in the Midwest Athletic Conference. Occasionally, SCORES webcasts Piqua and Troy contests.
Jack’s family reminded him last week that November 3 would have been his 500th. However, the health of his 97 year old mother-in-law declined sharply, and he, wife, and adult children stayed closed to home and helped her rebound.
“We kept telling Myrtle she was 97 going on 79, and she came through,” Jack beamed.
Chuck said he was unaware that on Saturday he and Jack hit the century mark covering football games on SCORES. “I guess time flies when you’re having fun,” he said.
SCORES typically attracts more than 700 IP addresses for playoff football from the kickoff to the game’s final minute. The peak concurrent count of 400 to 500 usually hits in the second half.
Knowing so many listeners are depending on Jack and Chuck, this webcast pair’s “true passion” for play-by-play and color really shows when they webcast football, boys and girls basketball, volleyball, softball, and baseball on SCORES.
“We don’t favor one team over another. We love what we do. And enjoy providing this free, unique service that is available to everyone, everywhere,” Chuck noted.
And when Chuck described SCORES’ availability as being “universal,” he wasn’t exaggerating one bit.
Jared Hoying, a member of Fort Loramie’s 2010 state championship baseball team and formerly a major leaguer, texted the SCORES announce team from South Korea during this year’s Redskins state tourney baseball games. Now a member of the Hanwha Eagles in the Korean Baseball Organization, Hoying still maintains an avid interest in his Skins back home.
“Jared messaged from a restaurant near Seoul, I think, to let us know we were coming in loud and clear,” Chuck said.
When the Redskins came from behind to win the state title, Chuck said that Jared’s new text read, “Thank you very much for sharing the state championship with me. And thanks for what you do on the worldwide Internet. Great job. Over and out.”
What an endorsement!
And Jack and Chuck could very well hear from Jared again on Saturday night during their 100th football webcast on ScoresBroadcast.com.