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Halftime for Richwood High
Written Sept. 13, 1961 for freshman English class

 


The gun had just sounded ending the first half of play.  I looked up at the scoreboard, which showed Richwood trailing West Jefferson 14 to 6, as I picked up the heavy orange first-aid kit (one of my duties as a football manager) and followed the Tigers off the field.

They entered the high school building by the north stage door and climbed the steps to the stage, their shoes clacking on the wooden floor.  As they sat down wearily behind the drawn curtain, the coaches and we managers stopped in the wings.  The familiar musty odor of perspiration and leather was in the air.  Outside, the bands began to play for the halftime proceedings.

Coach Drodofsky walked up to a blackboard that was set up in front of the team and began to explain to the boys why they were behind.  He appeared not too happy over the situation, but he was not angry either and didn't try to give a pep talk.  The coach simply told the players their mistakes in the calling and execution of plays.  They listened with sober faces, rarely speaking unless they were asked a question.

Since no one needed anything from the medicine kit, I carried it back onto the field.  In a few minutes, the Tigers reappeared, ready for play.

That halftime talk must have had some effect, for they were then able to score 22 more points and win the game, 28 to 22!

 

Forty-one years later, Lynne Ledley sent an e-mail to nearly two dozen other members of the Class of 1965.  Here's part of it.  Lynne still lives in Richwood, where the local high school is now called North Union.

Thought you would be interested in this article in last night's Marion Star.  Each week they feature a different team and this is North Union/Richwood's week to stroll down memory lane.  They interviewed Chris Somerlot, Bob Webb and John Adams from the 1963 football team.

One football game that stands out in my mind is the very first game in 1961, our freshman year.  As a band, we goofed off in practice, so that Friday night when we played Marysville at home, we marched onto the field in a block, played our music, and marched off.  That was also the time Mr. Shoemaker cussed us out, much to our parents' horror!  We did shape up after that.  Oh, those were the days.

Every time I see the NU band march, I want to yell at them to pick up their feet and look sharp.  When they parade through town they look awful!  They don't play bright, peppy music like a marching band should — slow, long-haired stuff!

The other game I remember is also from our freshman year.  We played Cardington at home; they beat us 52-0, and Sam Smith got hurt.  Cardington had the Crum brothers or cousins, and they were big guys.

If anyone knows some of our other classmates' e-mail addresses, I would love to add them to my list so we can keep in better contact.

 

Kelly Drake replied:                

Good to hear from you.  I share some of your your recollections.  I remember Mr. Shoemaker (Mrs. Shoemaker too!!) and that fact that the band was pretty special under his tutelage.

 

And I replied:

I remember that Cardington game our freshman year, too.  As a student manager, I was on the sidelines.

As I recall, Coach Drodofsky had introduced a "box formation" offense to take advantage of our team's running talents.  The four guys in the backfield were arranged in a square.

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I don't remember the terminology, but there were two upbacks behind the guards, and two tailbacks behind them:  senior co-captains #6 Sam Smith and #7 John Morrison, seen here in photos from the 1962 Tigrtrax yearbook.



The center could snap the ball directly to any of the four backs.  Usually it went to either the left tailback or the right tailback, and we then were immediately set up for a power sweep to the opposite side.  No need to wait for a handoff or a pulling guard; the runner already had the ball, with three other backs out in front of him to block.

The Tigers were 4-0 in 1961 until Cardington came to town and ended the season for both our starting tailbacks.  Sam suffered a fractured leg, as I recall.

On the Monday after a game, team practices always began with the showing of the game film in the gym.  The coach made comments throughout.  But when he came to the play that broke Sam's leg, he fell silent.  He ran the film back and forth a couple of times so that we could see what happened, and then we moved on.

We had to adapt our offense to the players we had left, which meant that we had to change from a running team to a passing team.  The box formation was modified.

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The two upbacks remained, but one of the tailbacks was now set out as a flanker.  The other tailback became a shotgun quarterback, with sophomore #5 Dan Kyle (right) pressed into service in that role.

The team won only one more game that year after Cardington.

Tom Thomas, September 28, 2002

 

Gale Perkins, class of 1955:  "In those days, football was the only game in town in the fall, as there were no other high school boys or girls sports that time of year.  You were a member, manager or cheerleader for the team or you played in the marching band."

Richwood Gazette, October 12, 2011

  

TBT

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