A Century of Ashland Arrow Football
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The Early Years
1907 - 1918
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NCO Years
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Independent Era
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Cardinal Conference
1960 - 1986
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Ohio Heartland
1987 - 2002
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2003 - 2023


Why is 1907 recognized as the first Ashland High School football team? Bill McKee wrote (T-G Oct. 27, 1941), "The year 1910 is taken as the start of official records because that seems to have been the first year that a coach was hired by the school system. It seems to me, however, that the games back of that time, despite laxness of eligibility requirements, are part of school athletic history."

Bob Lavengood wrote (Part I of his 6-part History of AHS Sports T-G Oct. 28, 1958), "The Ashland team didn't have a regular schedule and spent most of the time playing or scrimmaging Ashland College. The college was pretty small in those days so Ashland High usually came out on top of the scores. Most of the games were played on the old college field, where the boys' dormitory is now located." He, also, interviewed "Spitz" Ganyard (Class of 1911), who gave this opinion about those teams, " It was more a community team rather than Ashland High school."

Clearly, one impetus for gathering the story of this era was the Lettermen's Day. In 1940 Sid Boyd just gave an invitation for all lettermen to the Mt.Vernon game. The next year Lettermen's Day was the Galion game at College Field. When Bill McKee published a list in the October 22, 1941 Times-Gazette, he had 266 players dating back to 1910. It, also, stimulated several Letters-to-the-Editor about who belonged on that chronicle.

W. Blain Davidson wrote a list of 16 members of the 1900-01 squads with a description of their playing days. He included the college "ringers" which was an issue for all schools in that pre-OHSAA era. The next week Nig Murray wrote about games with Wooster between 1901-03.

While researching this question it appears that Sid Boyd and Bill McKee each had a list of AHS games, and it, also, appears that they took it from the newspapers. This author could only find two games before 1910 in the Ashland Times or the Press. However, the opponent's newspapers do have articles on these early games. Also, beginning in 1907 the AHS Yearbooks included the pictures and scores of the first teams. Thus, it is clear that the first AHS team with a scheduled season was the 1907 team.

Nevertheless, two facts need to be documented about the pre-1907 epoch or prior to the Century of Ashland Arrow Football: the players and the games.

The Mansfield papers have the 1900 Mansfield 18-0 win and the 1902 game a 35-0 Mansfield victory. The Wooster paper has the 1901 game Wooster 23, Ashland 0. Also, Nig Murray wrote that there were games in 1902 Ashland 11, Wooster 4 and again in 1903 Wooster winning 17-0. However, the last two games are not in the paper or even mentioned in the full schedules, which the Daily Record recorded.

The final game comes from Bob Lavengood's Series. He wrote, "On Thanksgiving Day 1902 the high school was playing the college. The game was scoreless going into the final phases of the debate. Then umpire John Backhouse upset the delicate balance with what the Ashland High eleven called an "unfair decision." So with three minutes remaining Ashland walked off the field. That settled the game."
So, of the six games mentioned three are clearly witnessed, while the other three are left up in the air.

The players on Blain Davidson's list were: Vint Mohn, tackle; Els Shinn, HB; Ted Brindle, FB; Clyde Sherick, HB; Gene Vantilburg, QB; Tom Moore, center & tackle; Chas Dean, tackle & FB; Bob Dean, HB; Carl Shinn, QB; Mark Davis, g; Ed Strauss, g; Chas Sherick, end; Ralph Williams, end; "Bun" Brindle, tackle; Vern Lersch, end; and Blain Davidson, end. He included college men: John C. Myers (Harvard), Jay Myers (Media, Pa) and Guy Bowman (Stanford). He, also, mentioned that Henry Brush was their coach.

The 1900 lineup in the Mansfield News was: C-Moore, LG- Davis, RG-Lersch, LT-Mohn, RT-Dean, LE-Johnson, RE-Sherick, QB-Vantilburg, LH-Williams, RH-Shinn, and FB-Brindle.

The 1901 lineup in the Wooster paper for the Oct 12th, 1901 game was: LE-Lerch, LT-Bowman, LG-Krichbaum, C-Moore, RG-Davis, RT-Dean, RE-Davidson, QB-C.Shinn, LH-Sherrick & E.Shinn, RH-Brindle, and FB-Mohn.

The 1902 lineup in the Mansfield Daily Shield was: RE - Brassington, RT-Crook, RG-McCready, C-Keifer, LG-Kreichbaum, LT-Brindle, LE-Shinn and Backhouse, QB-Vantilburg, RH-Jamison, LH-Sherick, FB-Mohn. John Backhouse, who was their coach and referee, had to play the second half because injuries and less than eleven players.

The AHS Guidance Dept. does not have records on students before 1920; however, the newspaper files at the Public Library have the graduating classes. In trying to determine how many "ringers" played it these games, it is not easy to identify all the true high school players, especially when the graduating classes were so small. The Class of 1900 had three graduates and from their freshmen class of 53 pupils only one graduated.

The following is a partial list of AHS grads: Class of '01 (Ted Brindle, Charles Dean, Ed Strauss), Class of '02 (Thomas H. Moore), and the Class of '04 (Thomas Crook, Clyde Sharick). Furthermore, Arthur "Bun" Brindle earned a football letter at Ohio State in 1905. Also, Thomas H. Moore played football at Ohio Northern.

In October 1906 Fred Long, and the law partners: Thomas Moore and Maurice Semple organized a City team. From the 25 players Charles Sherick was chosen captain. Coach Skeel of Wooster College coached them. The local gridiron was at The Fairgrounds. The season closed at home on Thanksgiving Day against Barberton.

The excitement of this first season stirred an interest in football at Ashland High School for the next year. Plus, another factor was the report that nationwide in 1906, there were only eleven deaths from the sport and very few of them were in high school games. Consequently, the first AHS team with a schedule was born.


Researched by Paul R. Dienstberger, Web Design by Cathy Buscher
All rights reserved. Last modified- Sunday, October 15, 2023 7:18 PM