Since I’ve had major difficulty in climbing the steps to the pressbox at Sidney Memorial Stadium, I’ve been sitting in the fieldhouse area of the north end zone to view football games. I’ve been delighted with the number of enjoyable conversations that have resulted, with last Friday’s Riverside-Lehman contest being a sterling example. Arriving over two hours before kickoff also helps. Here are two of the encounters.
Soon to mark a decade in his current position, Riverside superintendent Scott Mann was an enthusiastic visitor. Our common bond is Jackson Center’s still memorable 1985 boys state basketball title. He was the team manager and I called the games on radio. We’re both anxious for the next reunion.
Scott said the Pirates have been playing well and that was affirmed in the decisive 44-14 victory over Lehman that would follow. Sophomore QB Myles Platfoot is the real deal. I was especially impressed with his precise throwing on the run.
Riverside is now 5-2 and Lehman remains winless including some close calls. Despite the empty win column, Cavailiers 16 year head coach Dick Roll had some positive things to share well before game time. A few years back he was very concerned about his number of football players. 11 are on the field at once, and you need at least double that to practice effectively on an ongoing basis. He felt the critical roster year would be 2020 but major problems were averted. Last Friday about 35 players took the field.
Roll sees a similar number in 2022 and is enthused about the quality of the current eighth grade that will join the program as freshmen. I’m told they come from Sidney, Piqua, Troy, and Covington.
Dick is also the athletic director and said the newly reborn Three Rivers Conference is off to a good start and is a solid overall fit for Lehman. “The competition and geography are both good for us,” he indicated.
Sidney at Fort Loramie
When Dayton Thurgood Marshall cancelled Friday’s football game at Fort Loramie, I immediately thought of Loramie playing Sidney if Fairborn wasn’t able to. Guess what? It happened.
Sidney is getting a better opponent and Loramie has a much needed major computer point opportunity for playoff qualification. I look for a good game. As a Sidney guy who lives on Lake Loramie, I’m pumped. This contest is an improved alternative to the two that were aborted.
Sidney wanted and needed a home game but recognized that Loramie had a greater need. On Friday the Redskins will host their third and final home game of the season. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets will host their fourth and final home game of 2021 next Friday.
Stammen wasn’t done
Last Friday I mentioned that San Diego reliever Craig Stammen’s season was over with his placement on the injured list. However, his “flu like symptoms” departed and he was able to be activated with just a few days remaining in the season.
Craig pitched on both Friday and Sunday. Including allowing some inherited runners to score, things did not go well for the North Star native and resident. His ERA for the season climbed above 3.00. Now he’ll see if the Padres want him to come back in 2022.
Also last Friday, Fort Loramie came away from Columbus Academy with another heartbreaking loss. However, Loramie fans who made the journey came home with some extra money since CA doesn’t charge gate admission, which is something I’d never heard of for varsity football.
I got on the Academy website and discovered tuition in the $30,000 range for the private Gahanna school. “When I saw the campus, it looked like they have plenty of money,” said a Loramie follower who made the trip.
First soccer kicker
It’s now been 70 years since West German exchange student Albert Burger became American football’s first soccer kicker while playing for the Minster Wildcats. He tallied nine extra points in 1951 and boomed many kickoffs before returning home that winter.
Through teammate Rolly Bernhold and coach Paul Maltinsky, I met and interviewed Burger when he returned to Minster in 1993. He’d never seen American football until the Minster experience but was much more familiar with the game over four decades later. Still, he had reservations. “They have too much body checking and they try to hide the ball from you,” was his 1993 assessment.
We lost Rolly Bernhold about two weeks ago. I enjoyed his friendship.
Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross is the senior member of the OHSAA Media Advisory Committee, 46 year sports media member, and Past President of the Shelby County Historical Society and Ohio Sportscasters Association.