When my Sidney Yellow Jackets were cancelled against Troy last Friday in regular season high school football, I knew exactly where I was going. New Bremen was visiting Fort Loramie in a Division VII regional semifinal in what appeared to be a great matchup.
New Bremen dominated the contest but still had to survive a late Fort Loramie drive to win 16-8. These “almost neighbors” used to play in week two of the regular season but that last happened when Loramie took a 35-13 verdict in 2014 to head toward a 7-4 season and playoff berth. New Bremen finished 0-10 and would take a hard look at both their schedule and overall football program.
Six years ago the Cardinals barely had enough players to scrimmage with 11 on a side. One class had around a dozen boys and only a handful played football. The decision was made to stay in the state championship laden Midwest Athletic Conference while softening the two non-league encounters. Progress was steady. There was a winning campaign in 2018 with a competitive presence in the MAC. Further steps have come in 2019 and 2020 with trips to the regional finals.
This Friday they head to Marion Local in hopes of avenging a 21-13 loss early in this season to move on to the final four and a date at either Wapakoneta or Lima against either LCC or Hopewell Loudon. Sidney Memorial Stadium is not being considered for that state semifinal but could land one in another division.
New Bremen is now an elite small school team with almost 70 players on the roster and a bright future. What a difference six years makes.
Last Friday, Loramie QB Collin Moore tallied a two point conversion on an odd play. His pass was batted in the air right back to him so he caught it and ran it in. Though I’ve never seen such a play, I have written about one many times.
In the 1948 opener at Sidney, Cincinnati Western Hills QB Don Zimmer (of baseball fame) scored a touchdown on a similar play in a 14-12 CWH win. 41 years later I met him and asked about his trip to Sidney. He remembered that odd TD and then added, “Do you realize what a tough drive it was from Cincinnati to Sidney on a Friday afternoon before I-75 was built?”
Loramie and NB 2021
Many new opponents will appear of the Redskins 2021 schedule as they will be without league affiliation after the demise of the Cross County Conference.
Coming on board are Versailles, Columbus Academy, Lima Central Catholic, Lucas (near Mansfield), and Newark Catholic with three more slots to fill (weeks five, six, and eight). These five confirmed additions are all quality programs. The first two just concluded playoff runs deep into October while the final trio will all play for Division VII regional crowns across Ohio this Friday. Minster and Covington are the lone holdover opponents.
New Bremen will have a pair of new non-conference foes on its 2021 slate as Lehman Catholic joins the Cardinals for week two, with an opening night opponent being sought. They will replace Ada and Ansonia.
Here’s another change of note for next season. Wapakoneta and Marion Local will be opening night opponents. The two year home-and-home deal opens in Wapak.
Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross has worked in local sports media since 1975. He is the senior member of the OHSAA Media Advisory Committee.