By JAMIE BAKER
A few newslinks and a little story to post today.
Today’s the final day of the high school football season and five schools from the Northwest District will be playing for state titles this weekend.
One, Marion Local, doesn’t have a wrestling team at the school. Always found it interesting that with the success the schools from the Midwest Athletic Conference have had in a number of sports, most don’t have wrestling.
Delphos St. John’s, Coldwater and Southwest District member Versailles are the only schools in the MAC with wrestling teams. Well, you can add one more school to the list as Parkway will be fielding a team for the first time this season after talking about it for the past four or five years.
Other MAC schools like Minster, New Bremen, St. Henry do have swimming and bowling teams in the winter to compliment their basketball programs. But wrestling just has never caught on down there.
Toledo Central Catholic, which should feature another competitive team under former UF NCAA champ Tony Guerra, will get a late start on its season as the the Irish play for the Division II title tonight.
Toledo Whitmer (Division I), Coldwater (Division V) and Bellevue (Division III) will have a number of wrestlers on the football team who will be playing for state football crowns tomorrow.
I remember being in that situation, gulp, 30 years ago.
We played in the 1982 Division V state football finals against Newark Catholic on the Friday night of Thanksgiving Weekend. We jumped on top early but eventually lost a hard-fought 14-7 game to the Green Wave. I was a freshman that year and lined up over NC center Jeff Uhlenhake, a future starter for the Miami Dolphins. My clock was cleaned on more than a couple of plays.
Making the state finals in 1982 wasn’t the show it was today. There was no TV and little media attention except for the local newspapers and we didn’t play at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
We got to play at a crappy stadium at Groveport Madison — a facility that was hardly championship worthy.
We lost. There was lots of crying from teammates, parents and fans.
As for me, after we got home late from the game that night I was up early the next morning to wrestle in a scrimmage across town at Fostoria High School.
That’s how much I loved wrestling, just 12 hours after losing in the state football finals, I was ready to get on the mat.
I told our football coach once that I just played football to stay in shape for wrestling. He never did really like the sport and probably didn’t like what I said.
I didn’t care.
Best of luck to everyone today and tomorrow as we start the 2012-13 season.
By JAMIE BAKER