Undefeated Mount Gilead football team holding reunion Friday
The undefeated 1962 Mount Gilead football team is pictured above. Back row (l-r): assistant coach Jerry White, head coach Hartsell Dodrill, Ron Nixon, Jerry Ashbrook, Tom Cotton, Ken Bush, Tom Ansley, John Rexford, Merrill Gilfillan, John Zilske, Jim Murray, Randy Brinkman, Bob Eckard, Jim Orsborn, Larry Furniss and assistant coach John Campbell. Second row: Jim Malone, Sam Malone, Denny Sims, Chuck Weaston, Jeff Mosier, Dick Bachelder, Ken Gerhardt, Tom Conkle, Ray Conley, Walter Saylor, Gene Hollingsworth, Dave Frayer, Richard Vail and Steve Hart, manager. Front row: Dave Warner, manager, Rick Geyer, Kenny Williams, Max Heimlich, Junior Levings, Val Harris, Don Roach, Wayne Hollingsworth, Les Malone, Roger Beall, Dick Foltz and Eddie Burns, manager. Not pictured is Lee McClelland.
The undefeated 1962 Mount Gilead football team — the only undefeated team in school history — will hold a reunion this friday at the Mount Gilead football season for the 50th anniversary of that feat.
Hartsell Dodrill was the coach at that time and he will be in attendance at the game. He is the chairman of the committee that has organized this event and needless to say he is proud of that team and that moment in history. He said it was the smallest team he had ever coached, but it was also his fastest. It was his last game to coach. He later became Mount Gilead’s Superintendent of Schools for many years.
The team was visited by the Cleveland Brown’s star, Lou Groza, before the season began and that visit helped inspire that team to greatness.
Mount Gilead played Cardington High School that night in 1962. Cardington had beaten Mount Gilead 11 times in a row before that night and they were surely expecting to make it 12. Cardington had won 29 straight conference games, so the seniors on their team had never lost a conference game and didn’t expect to lose that night.
There was so much interest in that game that they surveyed all of the MOC coaches to see who they thought would win. (Obviously Mt. Gilead and Cardington didn’t vote) The vote was 4–2 in favor of Mount Gilead.
It was a nine-game season and the teams had seven common opponents. Cardington had the edge. As a side note, it is interesting that Coach Dodrill’s grandson is now the Cardington High School football coach.
There were 3,500 hundred people in attendance at that game. Around the outside, people were lined up 10 deep to cheer the Indians on to victory.
There were only six pass attempts that night. Four were by Cardington, resulting in minus-two yards.…and Mount Gilead was 0–2.
The game featured four of the top seven scorers in the Mid Ohio Conference area: Larry Coomer #1 with 156 points; John Zilske was #2 with 114 points; Ron Nixon was #3 with 112 points and Bob Otterbacher was #7 with 72 points.
There were no play-offs at that time. Mount Gilead was ranked 14th in the state after the season was over.
A dinner will be served at The Cornerstone Cafe in Mount Gilead prior to the game for the coaches, team members and cheerleaders of that winning 1962 team. Over 65 family members from that team will be flying in from Texas, Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire and elsewhere to attend the celebration.
The team will be introduced before the game and then will be going to the Community Room at Mount Gilead High School after the ball game to visit, meet, greet and reminisce. The film of the championship game with Cardington will also be shown at that time.
The community is encouraging anyone interested to please come join in the celebration that night.