For more than six decades, the Edward P. Hoadley Cup has been awarded to the winner of the annual football game between Edgewood and Jefferson.
At one point, aside from the annual grudge match between Ashtabula and Harbor, the Edgewood-Jefferson game was the one of the fiercest contested in Ashtabula County.
As the Warriors (0-1) and the Falcons (0-1) square off in the 62nd battle for the cup tonight at Falcon Pride Stadium (7, WFUN), perhaps now is the proper time to take a closer look at what the Cup is and who the man was who came up with the idea.
Edward P. Hoadley, himself an Ashtabula High School graduate, operated an oil and gas business on the east side of Ashtabula and was very active on the political front.
Hoadley and his wife, Dorothy, had two children graduate from Edgewood High School, perhaps sparking his interest in the Edgewood-Jefferson rivalry.
Ed Batanian, the late local legend, offered some details on how the Hoadley Cup came to be a few years ago.
“Ed was friends with Charles Watson, who at the time, was the executive head of the Jefferson schools,” Batanian, who was athletic director at Edgewood for many years and served as secretary of the Northeast District Board, said. “They got together and out of their friendship, came the cup.”
Hoadley financed the purchase of an actual-size golden football and had it mounted on a base, with the scores to be inscribed on it each year.
The Hoadley Cup was first awarded in 1952, making tonight the 62nd time the Warriors and the Falcons will play for possession of the Cup.
Though Jefferson won that first matchup in the fall of ’52, 41-12, Edgewood has dominated the series through the majority of the series, winning 38 times to Jefferson’s 23. An 8-8 score in 1963 represents the only tie in the series and the Warriors’ memorable 46-44 double-overtime victory at Corlew Stadium in the 1995 Week 10 clash on Nov.. 3 of that year is without question the single best game in the 61-year series.
From 1958 through 1975, the Cup never left Warrior Country. However, the late Glenn Sutherin’s Falcons recorded a 20-0 triumph at Memorial Field in Jefferson to put the cup in Jefferson for the first time since 1957.
That win also marked the first time a Grand River Conference team had defeated a Northeastern Conference squad on the gridiron. In 1977, Edgewood took the Cup back, winning, 12-0.
Before the Hoadley Cup came into existence, bets such as 100 pennies baked into a pumpkin pie and a bouquet of flowers encircled by a coin-studded ribbon were commonplace between followers of the respective schools.
Back than, enthusiasm generated on the gridiron exceeded the boundaries of the high school campuses and spilled into the lives of people throughout Ashtabula County.
“The game itself was a big event every year,” Hoadley said in a 1972 Star Beacon story. “It was always a great rivalry. There were big crowds — 500 to 800 people would come up from Jefferson or go down from Edgewood for each game.
“It was special.”
The Cup has taken more than a few lumps through the years.
“I’ve had to weld it and solder it many a time,” Batanian said several years ago through a laugh. “But, Mr. Hoadley called me once and asked me if I wanted some money to replace the Cup because it was getting old.
“I told him, ‘no thanks,’ because it’s the tradition of the trophy that makes it so special.”