|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
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.