August 28, 2014

Medina
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Football commentary: Fun facts fill void

The sights, sounds and pageantry of high school football are rapidly approaching.

To help fill the 43-day void, take some time to chew on these Medina County fun facts, version 2.0.

• Seville’s head coach in 1948, John Maskas, was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the 10th round of the All-American Football Conference Draft and the Boston Yanks in the 14th round of the NFL Draft the year before. The 5-foot-11, 212-pound offensive lineman chose the Bills, played the 1947 season, took a year off to coach Seville and returned to Buffalo to play 11 games in 1949. The former Virginia Tech standout was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the AAFC Player Dispersal Draft in 1950, but never played for them.

Then known as the Spartans, Seville won just one game — a 20-12 decision over Buchtel’s junior varsity — in Maskas’ lone season.

• This season’s Week 10 games will be held Nov. 1. As most will realize, the month is normally reserved for the playoffs. It marks the first time since 1996 the county will play regular-season games in November.

• Paul Derr may or may not have been Wadsworth’s co-head coach with Charles Stoakes from 1928-29 — yearbooks claim this was the case — but the story doesn’t end there.

What’s known is this: In 1951, Derr, who joined the Grizzlies less than two months after graduating from the University of Illinois, settled at North Carolina State and coached the Wolfpack’s track and field program. The school’s track and field facility was named in his honor in 2006.

As for Stoakes, he replaced Fred Schmuck, who later guided Ashland College from 1927-33. Art Wright — you may have heard of him — replaced Stoakes/Derr.

• The following teams would have made the playoffs had the current format been in place since 1972: Black River in 1994, 1992, 1989, 1986, 1977, 1976, 1975 and 1974, Brunswick in 1997, 1991, 1988, 1980 and 1976; Buckeye in 1987, 1982 and 1979; Cloverleaf in 1995, 1992 and 1972; Highland in 1979, 1975 and 1974; Medina in 1998, 1997 and 1989 and Wadsworth in 1997, 1982, 1980, 1979, 1978, 1977, 1973 and 1972.

It’s theoretically possible to calculate which teams would have made the playoffs before 1972, but it would take research of biblical proportions.

• Buckeye is the lone county school to win a game by the score of 2-0. The Bucks did it against Doylestown in their inaugural season of 1953 to clinch a share of the Medina County League title. Coach Harold Scrivens broke his hand during the postgame celebration.

• Medina’s Mason Schreck and Hinckley Township’s Connor Cook are the only Medina Countians to have their likeness in the video game “NCAA Football 14.” Schreck is a redshirt freshman tight end for Buffalo, while Cook, who graduated from Walsh Jesuit, is a redshirt sophomore quarterback for Michigan State.

Benny Cunningham (Medina/Akron) and Jack Snowball (Wadsworth/Miami of Ohio) are available via updated rosters through operationsports.com.

Chris Ford (Medina/Buffalo) and Robby Buckwald (Cloverleaf/Toledo) are on their school’s official rosters but do not appear in the game’s default roster or on widely distributed third-party updates.

• Figure this one out: Medina had minus-seven passing yards against Wellington in 1957.

• Figure this one out, part II: County teams have scored 70 points in a game 12 times — but not in 38 years — and have surrendered the total only twice.

• Figure this one out, part III: Wadsworth won the 1938 Western Reserve League title one year after averaging a county-record 1.6 points per game. Wright was the coach both years.

• Highland was unbeaten through its first 32 Inland Conference games from 1966-70. The 30-0-2 run ended with a stunning 34-6 loss to now-defunct South Amherst, which was by far the IC’s smallest school. The Hornets’ overall record in the IC was 61-6-3. Highland joined the Suburban League in 1976.

Their SL record since? A paltry 90-167-1.

• Wadsworth’s George Halliwell scored two touchdowns without gaining a yard in a 1938 game against Cuyahoga Falls. Halliwell recovered a blocked punt and, minutes later, an errant shotgun snap in the end zone during the 14-6 season-opening win.

Interestingly, Halliwell entered Wadsworth High known as “Junior Brown.” His 28-year-old mother and 33-year-old father each died suddenly 35 months apart, so Halliwell was orphaned in 1929 and adopted by his maternal aunt and uncle. Halliwell took their last name of “Brown,” but reverted to his given one in 1937 because his stepmother never legally relinquished parental rights.

(On that mind-twisting note, see y’all Aug. 30).

Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.