September 16, 2010

Scotland County Fans to Celebrate 40 Years of Football on Saturday

While rubies are the traditional gift for 40th anniversaries, fans of the Scotland County football program are hoping to create a sea of blue and white at Saturday’s home football game to help celebrate the 40th year of the Tigers’ football program.

A special football alumni day has been scheduled in conjunction with the Tigers contest versus Tipton scheduled to kickoff at 2:00 p.m. All former players and coaches have been invited to attend the special event. Alumni will be recognized during a special ceremony at halftime. A cookout for the alumni will be held following the game.

The Scotland County football program was born in 1970, with the initial team since being recognized as the “Dirty Thirty”.

The Tigers opened the inaugural season with a 0-0 tie against Milan. The squad went on to record a 3-4-1 record, including a pair of victories over now archrivals Clark County.

The team was coached by Don Nelson and Jim Arico. Players included Jeff Strong, Stan Prather, Curt Foss, Geof Harris, Denny Hyde, Paul Monsees, David Kirkpatrick, Mark Maddox, Steve Peukert, Doug Shalley, Joel Poole, Scott Robbins, Chuck Seppelt, Bruce Childress, John Grogan, Steve Gregory, Mike Gundy, Allen Evans, Richard Newman, Mark Myers, Wade Pender, Philip Kirkpatrick, Daniel Reed, David Reed, Mark Knight, Max Whitney, Ronnie Dochterman, Kevin Gundy, Mike Burns, Jerry Fry, Randy Harrison, Wes Donelson and Ted Riney.

“People do not realize how hard it is to start a program from scratch like that,” said Harrison, who was a member of the first Tigers team. “It was new for all of us, right down to knowing how to put the pads on.”

Pads weren’t the only thing the coaching staff had to teach about football.

“It wasn’t just the kids who had to learn about the sport, it was new to pretty much the entire community,” said coach Jim Arico, who arrived fresh out of Northeast Missouri State University to take a position as assistant coach on the first year team. “I remember being a guest speaker at a ladies group’s luncheon and trying to explain the game to a lot of them.”

Arico took over the head coaching job the following season before leaving to pursue a coaching career that took him to Hazelwood, Alton, IL, and Kirkwood before finishing up a solid career at Parkway North.

Nelson returned to the helm the following season before Marvin Smith was named coach in 1974. He held the post for two seasons when Sam Berkowitz was handed the reins to the program from 1976 through the 1980 season.

Bob Brinkley was the head coach for one season in 1981 followed by the Bill Browett regime from 1982 through the 1986 season. Ron Taylor was the coach for the following three seasons before former SCR-I player Dave Shalley was named head coach in 1991. His 11 years at the helm were among the most successful for the program.

It took Scotland County 15 years to capture its first Tri-Rivers Conference championship, but that season started a lengthy stretch of success for the Tigers over the next decade. SCR-I recorded conference championships in 1985, 1986 and 1988.

The 1986 squad went a perfect 10-0 in the regular season and claimed the program’s first-ever district championship before losing to eventual state champions Louisiana in the quarterfinals.

That team, guided by all-state performers Kinney Cossell, Mike Hyde and Brian Briggs, started a dominance of the district by SCR-I. Scotland County claimed the district crown in 1986 and 87 and then really clamped down on the top spot in the 1990’s winning the title six out of the first eight years that decade (1991, 92, 94, 96, 97 and 98).

Coach Dave Shalley and his 1996 Tigers team made history by advancing to the state semi-finals behind a potent offense. Running backs Aaron Emel and Thomas Wentworth put up big rushing numbers while quarterback Brian Robinson and top receiver Russ Gelbach provided a balanced passing attack.

The amazing season ended one game shy of a trip to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis with a last-second loss to state runner-up Santa Fe in the Class 2 semis.

The Tigers returned to prominence in 2002, in current head-coach Brent Bondurant’s first season. They won the first of three straight district titles. SCR-I made it back to the state playoffs last year with a second place district finish, and hopes are high for starting a new decade of Tigers dominance with a district title in 2011.

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