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Scrimmage event gets Western fans ready for football

Cary Ashby • Jul 20, 2019 at 7:00 PM

COLLINS — It was a hot night for football, but faithful Western Reserve fans didn’t let the scorching heat keep them away.

Bachelder Field hosted a 7-on-7 football scrimmage on Wednesday, complete with a car show and cooked meal. There also were raffles and the concession stand was open.

“This is great for the football team. This could turn into a crazy good community event,” said John Pickett, president of the Western Reserve athletic boosters. “Even though it’s really hot, football is right around the corner and it will be here before you know it.”

The Willard Crimson Flashes joined the Roughriders as two of the five area teams which played scrimmages. 

“I think it’s been pretty good,” said Western coach Ty Stevenson, who organized the event. “The stands are pretty full; I was pretty happy with how many people were here. … We’ll try to do it every year and see if we can grow it.

“Yeah, we’d like to do it every summer; try to bring in a few more teams and hopefully get a few more cars.”

While the first-time event featured passing scrimmages, there were about 20 vehicles in the car show. In addition to several sports cars, there was a John Deere Gator. Elyria resident Jim Morrison brought a 1973 FLH Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

“This was Ty’s brain child. He did a great job organizing everything. He brought the car show in because he loves cars; he loves anything on wheels,” said Pickett, who graduated from Western Reserve in 1975.

One of the cars in the show was a 1965 GTO which the late John Robinson had owned for about five years.

“He’s owned many GTOs throughout his life, so probably 49 of them,” said his wife Denise, who was helping with vehicle registrations. “He put this one back together. It has less than 400 miles on the motor. It’s a 400 four-speed.”

Robinson and his uncle, Dennis Heintz, went to many car shows over the years, particularly in Huron and Berlin Heights.

“They would go and do car shows together all the time,” Denise Robinson said. “Always at the Norwalk Raceway for the Summit show.”

She began crying when asked what it meant to have her husband’s GTO at the Western car show.

“Everything for the boys,” Robinson said, choking up through her tears. “It means everything for the boys.”

Her sons, who helped their father work on his cars, play football for the Roughriders. Blake, who will be a senior, attends the Townsend Community School. Andrew is a sophomore at Western.

While the event helped ’Riders fans get ready for the upcoming football season, they also could enjoy a barbecue chicken dinner — plus snacks, pop and water from the concession stand. 

“Kurt Linder here decided he’d cook some chicken up,” Pickett said. “The different sports programs decided they had a good chance to sell what they’ve got going on.”

Linder has been cooking chicken at the Huron County Fairgrounds for many years.

“His dad did the same thing,” Pickett said.

Tech Sgt. Jordan Reed, with the 179th Airlift Wing out of the Ohio Air National Guard, had promotional recruiting material at her table under a tent near the concession stand. The 179th Airlift Wing is based in Mansfield.

“A lot of people don’t know about the National Guard, so we are trying to get the word out because they have great benefits,” Reed said.

Stevenson talked a little football after the scrimmage.

“I got some coaches here (who) I coached with before (who) brought their teams, so that’s pretty neat to get to do that, too,” the second-year Western coach said. “We had a parent meeting before this thing started, so it’s worked out pretty well.”

The ’Riders will participate in another passing scrimmage on Tuesday, this time at Norwalk.

“There will be multiple teams there, too,” Stevenson said. “It’s good; they guys are excited. They have been working hard all summer and it’s good to see it pay off and get to go against some other teams and have a little different competition.”

The first official practice to start the 2019 season for all area teams is Aug. 1.

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