We had to wait an extra year due to COVID-19 but it was worth it. Last Thursday and Friday was the half-century anniversary celebration of Sidney High School winning 30 straight football games from 1968-70. I was fortunate to be a member of the last two.
Attendees during the two days included honorary head coach Kris Haines (representing dad), assistant Bob Morgan, and athletic director John Wolfinger in addition to team members Dave Fultz, Steve Kritzer, Mike Lundy, Steve Williams, Dave Harmon, Bill Hudson, Dan Murray, Mike Steenrod, Randy Watercutter, John Wiggins, Tim Zorn, Mike Brecount, Darrell Chiles, Gary Corbin, Randy Cotner, Bruce Dickman, Mike Flanagan, Dave Leistner, Joe LeMaster, Bob Lonsbury, Bob Osborne, Tom Asbury, Mark Fogt, Dave Ross, Carl Winemiller, Rick Carroll, and Tom Ralph.
On Thursday we met at the current Julia Lamb Park, which was our home stadium, to remember our deceased teammates and reminisce. This experience was so rewarding. The departed (from an original group of 100) include head coach Dave Haines, assistants Lew Blackford, Frank Focht, and Bill Takacs, along with players Tom Callahan, Doug Christman, Jim Boone, Steve Dowler, Steve Karn, Dennis Powell, Dave Radabaugh, Doug Spillers, Steve Wildermuth, Bruce Williams, Lyndal Stewart, Woody Sturm, Mick Looney, Jeff Rupright (mgr), and Scott Wheeler.
Thursday continued with a visit to Sidney Memorial Stadium where the current team was rehearsing before meeting Greenville the next night. After the workout they joined us for pizza provided by the Sidney Football Moms My memory went back to my first pregame meal with Football Moms on September 5, 1969. A few of our guys addressed our 2021 counterparts within the theme that football generates lifetime friendships.
As chairman of the reunion, I was pleased with not only the turnout but also with the presence of all three MVP’s from our era including QB Steve Williams (1968), RB John Wiggins (1969), and receiver/defensive back/punter/holder Mike Flanagan (1970).
On Friday we enjoyed the Yellow Jackets win over Greenville which allowed Sidney to retain the Little Brown Jug just like during “30 and 0.” Our group was introduced at halftime and we were honored by the warm reception.
During the game I sat with Mike Flanagan at the flagpoles. He noticed that he was flanked by his dad’s retired #27 while I was next to the monument remembering our late QB Bruce Williams, Steve’s brother and successor. Mike and I agreed that we were in fine company.
After the victory we returned to the Goffena Facility, our headquarters for much of the two days. A number of folks stopped by to mingle. Now 84 years old, 1954 MVP Dennis Helman was a welcome guest. Then we closed with the guest of honor being delivered by Head Coach Adam Doenges. Our guys were delighted to be reunited with the Little Brown Jug, as many saw it for the first time in over 50 years.
Finally it was time to leave. An incredible 30 hours was concluded and I truly felt like the luckiest man on the face of the earth. As the SHS fight song says, “never let that spirit die.”
Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross graduated from Sidney High in 1972 and got into the media business three years later.