Friday, July 5, 2013

#50for50: Help us pick the 50 greatest area high school football teams in the last 50 years

The June 21 News-Herald Senior Bowl officially closed the book on the 2012 area high school football season, but the sport is always on our minds here at The N-H sports department.

Summer camps open in about a month and the regular season is less than two months away. In the meantime, we're here to provide a football fix.

This summer, we'll unveil the 50 greatest area high school football teams in the last 50 years. We're calling it "50 for 50." It won't be easy, and we're sure it will spark great debate, but we think we're up for it.

We hope this project creates fun debate, as our rankings won't satisfy every fan, but remember, this is for fun.

Why are we doing this? It's because we know most of you — the readers — love area high school football, and this area has a rich, proud tradition.

As we begin preparations to complete our 50 for 50, here's our one rule: If an area team advanced as far as the state final four in its respective playoff, it automatically will appear on our 50 for 50 list. Where those teams rank has yet to be decided. The only guarantee for a team with that credential is a spot on our 50 for 50.

Since 1972 (the first year the Ohio High School Athletic Association adopted a playoff format), 38 area schools have advanced to a final four. Many went on to play in a state championship game, and six have won it all.

Those include 1989 St. Joseph, 1991, 1992 and 2001 Lake Catholic, 1994 Chardon and 2011 Kirtland.

With 38 automatic qualifiers for our 50 for 50, just 12 at-large spots remain. Teams from the pre-playoff era will also be considered. Since we're talking about the last 50 years, the era from 1963 to 1971 will researched heavily by the staff.

We're also looking for help from you. Our records date to the 1985 season, so we're in the process of gathering more data from ‘63 to ‘84. If there's a team worthy of our 50 for 50 from ‘63 to ‘85, let us know by contacting Sports Editor Mark Podolski at 440-951-0000, ext. 680, or email at

Also, look for an upcoming ballot in our sports section, as we plan to include a readers' 50 for 50 list with the project, set for release in late July or early August.



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