FB Preview -- Season of Memories

September 02, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE/

I've been around a long time. Most people around town that know me know that I'm well into the upper half of the age scale.

That means I can reflect on plenty of high school football going way back to the mid 1960s when I was a freshman at St. Joseph's High School in Dover, Ohio.

Now, we were a little school. I mean LITTLE. Our freshman year, we had 55 boys in the four high school grades and 51 of us played football. And we did it quite well, thank you. We won the Ohio Class A Associated Press football title that year.

Though the school closed and merged in 1971 with our rival into what is now known as Tuscarawas Central Catholic, I still have plenty of memories of playing for the Ramblers.


When we played, it was a murderer's row of two-a-days. It just wasn't for two or three days like it is now. We had about 10 days of two-a-days. Of course, the school year wasn't as early as it is now. The first day of school wasn't until Labor Day had passed.

And while we went through the same horrible days of heat and humidity, doctors would have a coronary how we supposedly kept hydrated. There weren't the water breaks every 15 minutes. We were taking salt tablets, which were important to maintain a sodium and water balance in extreme heat and humid conditions.

So, here we go. We beckon another prep football season. It began last week with the West Virginia schools and continues this week with Maryland and Pennsylvania.

I wouldn't even want to guess how many prep football games I've covered since I officially became a full-fledged member of the press brigade in Cleveland in 1970. Between newspaper reporting and calling games on television and radio, I'm gonna make a calculated guess -- for an old man -- that I've seen around 400 high school football games heading into this season.

I really don't get tired of it. But then I don't usually get tired of football, basketball, baseball and golf -- my personal fab four.

There have been a lot of memories.

I'll even tell you about one kid I watched.

He was about 6-foot-6, weighed about 180 pounds and was a quick wide receiver. The tag on him was he could go deep down the sidelines. He didn't like to come across the middle that much. But he was quick. He was an OK football player.

He was so much better on the basketball floor.

He hailed from St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, Ohio.

He was LeBron James.

Good luck to all!

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail.

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