OLMSTEAD FALLS HIGH- 2000 Ohio Division II State Champions
When the Olmsted Falls Bulldogs gathered under Paul Brown's image on December 1, 2000, one thing was certain. They were a team that believed. They believed in themselves, their coaches, and the Bull
Published: Summer 2001
Football fans in the Cleveland area seldom forget their geography. Knute Rockne perfected the forward pass sixty miles to their East at Cedar Point. The recently returned Cleveland Browns struggle to live up to the expectations of fans that recite the franchise's storied history in their sleep, and every high school coach and player dreams of driving past Canton's Pro-Football Hall-of-Fame to Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
Head Coach Jim Ryan was first intrigued by BFS when he heard Coach Anderson speak in 1989. This led to a BFS presentation by clinician Jim Brown in 1990. After implementing the program, the Bulldogs went to the state playoffs in 1995 and 1996. Pleased with this success but eager to move beyond the first round of the playoffs, Dave Godfray, our weight-room coordinator, brought BFS clinician Bob Doyle to Olmsted Falls in 1998.
After Coach Doyle's spirited reintroduction of the BFS principles, our players rededicated their efforts. They lifted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and did plyometrics and sprinting on Tuesday and Thursday. A core group of our athletes began to attend religiously, subscribing to Coach Doyle's message of “don't let the chains hold you back.”
Although we narrowly missed the play-offs with a 7-3 record in the 1998 season, the BFS program continued to pay off. The athletes who had committed themselves to the BFS program were some of our best players. As they continued to improve their strength, our weight room became an exciting place. Heads would turn at the sight of 500 pounds on a bar and more of our players became committed to the BFS system.
The 1999 season found us with our biggest and fastest team ever. We finished the regular season at 9-1 and beat perennial power Lake Catholic 42-7 in the first round of the play-offs. Although we lost a hard-fought game to eventual state-champion Walsh Jesuit the next week, our players now felt that we were at the next level. With the help of BFS, even the private school powers were within our reach.
The 2000 season began with many question marks. Could we fill the holes left by the graduation of 12 starters from our team with the help of BFS. Our tremendous 2000 season brought more players into our conditioning program than ever. Athletes involved in Winter and Summer sports committed themselves to finding ways to get in the weight room.
As a result, at the opening of two-a-days we found many vastly improved athletes. Players that we had felt would not be ready for varsity play soon proved that they were ready to excel.
The Bulldogs finished the regular season at 9-1 again in 2000. As the play-offs began, our commitment to continuing the BFS in-season program paid off. We were healthy and our kids just kept getting better. After an early playoff victory, all-state 2nd team DB and senior captain Dan Kost summed up the team's attitude by telling a reporter that, “they were just a bunch of tough kids playing together.”
By the time the team gathered at Tiger stadium for the state championship, they felt that they had already earned it. The dedication to BFS principles had given them the confidence that they could physically handle their opponent.
It had also given them the ability to do so. Underneath the spattering December sky, Olmsted Falls shut out a powerful Piqua team while allowing only 99 total yards.
As one of the smallest Division II schools in Ohio, we needed all of our players to be their best. The BFS program allowed us to do that by making a world class program that fit into the time constraints imposed by school and other sports. When BFS clinician Bob Doyle rattled off the impressive list of BFS champions during his 1998 visit, we listened with many doubts. Today, he would be preaching to the choir.
The BFS program also benefits us in some less obvious ways. Head Coach, Jim Ryan, encourages our players to go out for other sports. His profound belief that “any time an athlete is put into a competitive environment he will make himself a better total athlete,” has been a major factor in our success. On the 2000 championship team, all but three of our starting spots were filled by multi-sport athletes. We do not feel that our players would be so comfortable playing multiple sports if they did not feel that they could improve in the weight room at the same time. The BFS program allows them to do this.
This year's District Championship Wrestling Team was loaded with football players. Kenny Jones (171), Andy Blomquist (189), and Jamal Bryant (HVY) brought home individual district championships. Our basketball team fought its way into the sweet sixteen with our championship quarterback, Joe Stanton, as their second leading scorer. This year's baseball team will challenge for conference and regional honors with DE Todd Stefanini, CB Dan Kost, DT Andy Blomquist, OT Matt Paradise, and WR Bob Binggeli. Our track and field team is loaded with football players. Kenny Jones (All-State in football and wrestling) toys with 15' in the pole vault and is a valued hurdler and long jumper. Our shot and discus team is led by OT Steve Hulec. Sprinters and hurdlers WR Nick Weeden, WR Andy Jocke, and DE Shaun Wehe provided valuable depth in both sports.
BFS also provided opportunities for players who could not have otherwise measured up to the challenges. Senior, Matt Paradise, stepped off of the special teams and into the starting line up as a 180-pound tackle. Although severely undersized, his great off-season work habits helped him to fill the bill.
The championship run would not have been possible without avoiding the injury bug. We lost only one player for the season and that was an unpredictable injury. Starting tackle and National Honor Society member, Russ Mahoney, bruised an intestine that required surgery. Our only other serious injury came when all-state 1st team center and wrestler Justin Funk injured his knee in the second quarter of the state championship game. He played the rest of the game without an ACL, refusing tape, brace, or medication. That is amazing. That is Bulldog attitude.
There is something intangible about a team that works together in the weight room throughout the year. The constant support that they receive from each other as they strive to become their personal best builds tremendous esprit de corps. They become a team in the truest sense of the word and epitomize the bulldog philosophy that was so well stated by Casey Stengle, “It is amazing what can be accomplished if no one worries about who gets the credit.’
To learn more about Bulldog Football, please visit our web site at:www.ofhsbulldogfootball.homestead.com
Olmsted Falls Football
Parallel Squat+Bench+Power Clean
1340 lbs. Jeff Faris 2000
1295 lbs. Jamal Bryant 2000
1085 lbs. Andy Post 1996
1075 lbs. Kenny Jones 2000
1055 lbs. John Kobalka 1992
1040 lbs. Shane Formica 1996
1035 lbs. Rich Cottom 1980
1030 lbs. Guy Decker 1988
1030 lbs. Mike Plezia 2000
1005 lbs. Joe Swislocki 1998
985 lbs. Mike Miller 1994
965 lbs. Trevor Siewnarine 1998
960 lbs. Pat McSweeney 1996
945 lbs. Vince Karwatsky 1991
930 lbs. Steve Hulec 2000
PLAYER PROFILE: Pat Curran
After our successful 1999 season, one of our major concerns was rebuilding the secondary. In our post-season staff meetings, an athlete whose name was only occasionally mentioned was Pat Curran.
As a sophomore, Pat had displayed varsity level ball skills and instincts, but at 145 pounds and with a 5.2 forty time, we didn’t feel he could play at the varsity level.
Pat’s off-season commitment to the BFS program changed these numbers to 165 pounds and 4.6 by the beginning of two-a-days in August, 2000. Pat not only won a starting position in our secondary, but he set a school record for interceptions in a season, including three in our