Usually, when history is made, even when it happens in high school sports, it’s big news, deserving of a headline, in fact.
Which makes the fact some history was made last fall by an Ashtabula County football program — and not publicized — surprising.
And when it’s pretty much become the job of this author to mine such nuggets of information and bring them to the eyes of you, high school football fans across the region each morning, the fact it wasn’t done is tantamount to dropping a gamewinning touchdown pass in the end zone.
However, perhaps this is a case of better late than never, or at least that is the hope.
The 2012 season was a big one for the Jefferson Falcons and head coach Jimmy Henson.
Jefferson laid claim to being the best team in Ashtabula County en route to an 8-2 finish, one of the wins being a convincing 38-7 triumph on the home field of a playoff-bound Edgewood team in Week 2.
And while the Falcons finished second in the All-American Conference National Division, their eight wins were the most among the 10 teams in the Star Beacon coverage area.
Then, in December, Henson joined his father, Jim, the legendary former head coach at Grand Valley, in being inducted into the Ashtabula County Football Hall of Fame.
All of that was known, though. What was not known, however, until recently, was this:
From 2008 through 2012, Henson’s Falcons accomplished something that had never been done in area varsity football history, which dates back to the late 19th century:
Jefferson increased its victory total in four consecutive seasons.
Nope, it had never been done before. Don’t bother looking it up — this author took care of that for you.
Here’s the rundown:
- In 2008, Jefferson struggled through a 2-8 campaign, the fewest wins by a Falcon football team since a 2-8 finish in 1993.
- In 2009, the Falcons improved, albeit by one game, to three victories.
- In the fall of 2010, Jefferson moved up to a 4-6 finish.
- Led by Star Beacon Ashtabula County Player of the Year Connor Cleveland, now at playing at Lake Erie College, the Falcons moved to 7-3 in 2011.
- And last season, paced by Star Beacon Ashtabula County Player of the Year Tony Chiacchiero, now a freshman gridder at Thiel College, Jefferson moved to its 8-2 record, its most victories since an 8-2 finish in the 2003 season, when coach Jason Root’s Falcons shared the Northeastern Conference championship with Lakeside.
With this fact now having been discovered, the difficult part really comes to the fore for Henson & Co. — extending that streak.
For the Falcons to extend their historic run, they will have to win out in the regular season to get to 9-1, or perhaps get to the playoffs and win a game. A 15-14 AAC loss at the hands of LaBrae in the season-opening game at Falcon Pride Stadium makes that scenario more problematic to achieve.
None of that takes away from what Jimmy Henson and his boys have done over the course of the last half-decade, though — make area high school football history.