Our research in regards to high school football goes back, at least to this point, to 1896.
And the Grand Valley Mustangs have an opportunity Friday night when they take on the Ledgemont Redskins at R.W. Sidley Field to not only wrap up a second-straight Northeastern Athletic Conference championship, but also to make area history.
Having started the 2013 season with five consecutive losses, coach John Glavickas’ Mustangs have righted the ship and will go for a fifth-straight triumph Friday night.
And therein, football fans, is where the history comes in.
For our research shows no team in area history lost its first five games, then got off the canvas to win its next five.
Glavickas, who can lead Grand Valley to its second-straight outright conference championship for the first time in school history since Ashtabula County Hall of Famer Jim Henson led the 1996 and 1997 Mustangs to East Suburban Conference crowns, is appreciating the uniqueness of the moment.
“We thought we might have more success in the first half of the season... that didn’t turn out to be true,” Glavickas said. “That’s why you play them. We always felt we could still have some success in our conference play. We weren’t as sure on if we would play at the level we expected to.
“The kids have done a great job turning their season around. They could have easily folded after starting 0-5. They have played very hard for us. Now, they have a chance to go .500.”
The Mustangs (4-5, 4-0) put themselves in this position with a hard-fought 22-20 triumph at Mathews last week.
“It was a dogfight,” Glavickas said. “My kids like keeping it interesting. We had some opportunities to seal it earlier and gave it right back to them. I give credit to the Mathews coaching staff and kids. They never gave in. They just kept on fighting.”
Friday night’s game in Thompson will mark the 37th time the former Grand River Conference rivals have squared off the on the gridiron, the Mustangs holding a 27-8-1 advantage in the matchups after a 21-6 Week 10 triumph last fall at Grand Valley Stadium to wrap up the NAC championship.
Glavickas said despite their record, coach Joe LaRosa’s Redskins (1-8, 0-4) will come to play Friday night. Ledgemont played Pymatuning Valley tough last week in bowing, 18-6.
“Ledgemont is a team that fights on every play,” Glavickas said. “If you look at the games they played, they were right there at the end, but just came up a little short. Their record doesn’t show how hard they play and how close they were to having a totally different season.”
Glavickas said the Redskins are a diverse bunch.
“On the offensive side of the ball, they like to come out in multiple formations,” he said. “They like to run bunch formations with the receivers. They will come out in the I and also one-back. On defense against PV, they showed a 5-2, 5-3. They really get to the ball.
“They have a couple of kids who are quick with the ball. Jarrett Young is a game-changer. He can turn the corner quickly. Mike McKeon is another one that does a great job with the ball. Defensively, their whole team flows well to the ball.”
Glavickas’ checklist to victory this week is succinct.
“Our first key to victory is not shooting ourselves in the foot,” he said. “We need to protect the football. We also need to be fundamentally sound and tackle on defense.”
Going forward, the second-year coach has an idea what must be accomplished in the offseason.
“I think the area we need to improve in for this next coming season is spending more time in the weight room and just getting stronger,” he said. “Our kids lift but we have to lift harder.”