A week ago Tom and I traveled from Lakeside to Norton to attend the first football game of the 2014 Mogadore football season. We have been going to every Mogadore football game with the same group of friends for the last 16 years. Every Friday night, from the last Friday in August until a Friday sometime in November, we would sit together and cheer on our Mogadore football team.
Football is a great tradition in Mogadore. There is a web page just for Mogadore football. In a town of 4,000 over 1/4 of the people come to the games on Friday nights. When we get to the playoffs, even more come. And Mogadore gets to the state playoffs regularly. They have been State Champions four times, Regional Champions 16 times, and League Champions 38 times. They have been in the playoffs for the last 15 years straight and 34 times since 1979. The joke, as everyone leaves town to head to a playoff game, is “The last one out of town turn off the lights!”
Boys start playing Mogadore football in the Suburban league, learning the same plays that are used for the Varsity High School team. As they grow they get better at the plays until they reach the High School level where every year the team is different, but every year they get the same winning result. Our son John played for the four years he was in High School, getting to be on a State Championship team his Freshman year, and serving as a lineman and as the kicker the other three years. John learned about discipline, teamwork, and earning the respect of the community – lessons that are still important to him and to the other young men that come through the system.
Last week was a typical game. Mogadore (Division VI) played Norton (Division III) and won 24 to 2. The other team was bigger but Mogadore did what they do best – wore them down, battled back and won. Mogadore did all the scoring – even the safety where Norton got points was a Mogadore score. It was a great game to watch.
For 16 years, every Friday night in the fall, starting off in shorts and ending bundled up in winter attire with blankets wrapped around us, we went to the football games. Tonight will be the first one we miss. But our friends will be there and will keep us updated. I expect regular texts from them. Mogadore is playing Smithville who they beat 49 to 14 last year, and Smithville will come eager for revenge.
But I know Mogadore will win. It’s what they do.