Guy Ellis

The 71st meeting of the Grove Ridgerunners and the Jay Bulldogs football teams will take place this Friday at 7:30 PM at Ridgerunner Stadium.

At least it seems to be the 71st meeting. There is documentation to support the fact that a game between Jay and Grove was played in 1928; but there is no information attached to it that would give a score. (see sidebar for a full run down)

In any event the game has been played annually since 1949 after a brief hiatus during the WWII years. Game results from before the war were hard to come by, and in some cases contradictory. If there is a mistake on our list please accept all apologies.

The Ridgerunners lead the series 44-23-2 and have won the last five meetings.

A look back at all of the “big” games from this biggest of rivalries would be a daunting task. To simplify matters, we’ve gone back 40 years to the 1968 game and researched the ensuing games from 10 years on.

Pouring through old copies of the Grove Sun on microfilm at the Grove City Library led to the discovery of most all of the information presented here. The staff at the library was very helpful and their service and resources is an asset to this community.

November, 1968

Jay 18, Grove 0

@ Grove stadium

For the fourth year in a row the Grove-Jay football game would decide the district representative in the state playoffs.

The Ridgerunners entered the game under legendary head coach J. E. Landon but they were short a few hands. Lineman Jerry Brixey, a junior, and senior lineman Mark Cotner were out with injuries. Also missing from the Grove line up were two “speedy backs” seniors Keith Fields and Brad Farrell.

The Bulldogs were led by head coach Glen Hamby and featured Greg Teel and Mack Bingham at ends with quarterback Dickie Howe anchoring the offensive unit.

The playing conditions for the game were miserable as noted in The Sun:

“It was the worst playing conditions in the history of the new stadium after heavy rains left pools in many areas. Only the excellent turf made it possible to play the game.”

The contemporary report also referred to the stadium as Grove stadium with a lower case s.

Five Grove fumbles led to a Bulldog shutout. Jay would go on to face Collinsville in the first round of the playoffs.

Ridgerunner fans could take some solace in the fact that senior tailback Mike Spicer led the conference in scoring with 107 points. The three year starter racked up 15 touchdowns and 17 PAT’s in ’68. The Bulldogs’ Howe finished second in that category with 62 points.

September, 1978

Grove 27, Jay 0

@ Ridgerunner Stadium

The ’78 GHS squad consisted of 68 players under the direction of head coach Charlie Cooper.

The stadium was now referred to as Ridgerunner Stadium and it featured a wooden press box where the concrete one resides today. Before the season started Mr. Terry Hembree of Action Sign Company painted the Ridgerunner mascot on the front of the box. This was the older Ridgy design, the one with the straight back and puffed chest, and he wasn’t referred to as Ridgy in the contemporary report.

This year the contest with Jay was the district opener for both teams, the fourth game of the season.

The Ridgerunners entered the event with a 1-2 record, sandwiching a win over Bentonville between losses to Miami and Commerce, respectively.

The Bulldogs, led by head coach Ken Rader, had yet to post a win for the ’78 season, dropping games to Seneca (MO), Collinsville, and Pryor to open their campaign.

The Ridgerunners rolled up 285 yards and took the shutout win. Quaterback Marc Cooper, a Jay assistant football coach now, scored two rushing touchdowns while running back Sam Pittman took two scores; one a rush and the other on a halfback pass to Russell Bunch.

The Bulldogs had a chance to score when Roger Gilley pulled in an interception to give Jay a short field. However, a stalled drive led to a missed field goal.

The Jay team captains that season were Rick Woods, Rick Mouse, and Mike Barnes.

After the game Coach Cooper was quoted as saying he was “real pleased” with the win.

November, 1988

Grove 32, Jay 14

@ Ridgerunner Stadium

The opening lines of The Sun report, penned by current GHS Soccer Head Coach Sean Botts, tell the story:

“Running back Linc Bassett rushed for 108 yards on 22 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns as Grove beat Jay 32-14…”

(Good job, Coach!)

The Ridgerunners were coached by Joe McCulley, his second year at the helm, and the win marked a return to the playoffs for the Grove troops.

“Getting into the playoffs is a new experience for us,” McCulley was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were coached by Chris Gwartney in his inaugural season with the team.

Jay took an early 8-6 lead when a Ridgerunner fumble in the shadow of their own goalpost led to a David Kyles rushing score. Kevin Culver ran in the conversion to put the Bulldogs on top.

The Ridgerunners racked up 349 total yards of offense and besides the Bassett scores were able to post a touchdown pass from senior quarterback Joe Potter to Jason McReynolds.

The win was considered an upset as the Bulldogs were attempting to take their fifth consecutive Delaware County Bowl. The win marked the only Ridgerunner victory in the series between the years 1984 and 1993.

November, 1998

Grove 31, Jay 28

@ J.B. Earp Stadium

Current Bulldog Head Coach Shane Holland was in his first year as the Ridgerunner Head Coach in 1998.

Jesse Webb was the Jay head coach.

Grove entered the game beat up.

“We’re down to 34 healthy bodies,” Coach Holland was quoted as saying. “We started (the season) with 56.”

While previous games in the series had playoff births on the line this edition of the Delaware County Bowl was being played for pride and pride alone.

The Ridgerunners took a 2-7 record into Earp Stadium that night. Grove had lost four halftime leads throughout the season.

For the Bulldogs the situation was even more dire. Without a win against Grove the Jay troops would call the ’98 season a “perfect” one as they had posted an 0-9 record to that point.

In the event the Ridgerunners took a halftime lead but, as had happened previously that season, the opposition began a rally and by the time the fourth quarter rolled around Grove was hanging onto a precarious 24-20 lead.

With the wind at their backs the Bulldogs’ special teams unit pinned the Grove offense inside their own 1 yard line and the Jay troops were smelling blood in the water. But (!), the first snap of the series saw Grove’s Granvall Hogner sprint 99 yards for a touchdown to effectively slam the door on the resurgent Jay team.

Hogner finished the night with 187 yards rushing and Grove quarterback Ryan Handle went 15 of 29 through the air for 263 yards.

Jay’s Robbie Studie returned a punt for a touchdown and running back Mark Pickle carried the ball 33 times for 182 yards.

THE DELAWARE COUNTY BOWL

1928    NO SCORE

1929     9– 2    GROVE

1930 NO GAME

1931    36- 0    GROVE

1932    29- 0    GROVE

1933-1934

1935     6- 0    JAY

1936    13- 7    JAY

1937    13- 7    GROVE

1938    20- 0    GROVE

1939    12- 0    GROVE

1940    24- 0    GROVE

1941     6- 6    TIE

1942-1948    NO GAME

1949    24- 7    JAY

1950     7- 6    GROVE

1951     7- 0     GROVE

1952    39- 6    GROVE

1953    28-24    GROVE

1954    39-13    JAY

1955    32-12    GROVE

1956    41-19    GROVE

1957    34- 0    GROVE

1958    24- 0    GROVE

1959    40- 0    GROVE

1960    32- 6    GROVE

1961     8- 6    JAY

1962    20- 0    GROVE

1963    30-12    GROVE

1964     8- 6    GROVE

1965    54- 6    JAY

1966    20- 8    JAY

1967    40- 0    JAY

1968    18- 0    JAY

1969    18- 0    GROVE

1970    37-14    GROVE

1971     6- 6    TIE

1972    41-12    GROVE

1973    13- 6    GROVE

1974    49- 6    GROVE

1975     7- 0    JAY

1976    21-13    GROVE

1977    40- 0    JAY

1978    27- 0    GROVE

1979    37- 0    GROVE

1980    14- 3    GROVE

1981    21-10    GROVE

1982     6- 0    GROVE

1983    14- 0    GROVE

1984    21- 0    JAY

1985    28- 0    JAY

1986    40- 7    JAY

1987    35-12    JAY

1988    32-14    GROVE

1989    28-20    JAY

1990    30-28    JAY

1991    13- 0    JAY

1992    28-16    JAY

1993    20-18    JAY

1994    35- 7    GROVE

1995    17- 6    GROVE

1996    41-17    GROVE

1997    14- 7    GROVE

1998    31-28    GROVE

1999    34-24    GROVE

2000    37-13    JAY

2001    36-32    JAY

2002    39-20    JAY

2003    14- 0    GROVE

2004    35- 0    GROVE

2005    40-21    GROVE

2006    34- 0    GROVE

2007    42-17    GROVE

GROVE leads series 44-23-2