A typical Mogadore fan never leaves the game

By Jim Manion Record-Courier staff correspondent Published:

A typical Mogadore fan never leaves the game before the final whistle.

One longtime Wildcat fan estimated Saturday that probably over 70 percent of Mogadore fans present in Massillon for the Division VI state championship game against Maria Stein Marion Local were watching the Wildcats in their sixth title game.

"We just continue to gain fans year after year, we never lose fans," said Jim Pfaff, who has been the public address announcer at Wildcat Stadium for 25 years. Pfaff was one of the Wildcat faithful that already had his blanket on his seat at just past 2 p.m. for the 3:30 p.m. kickoff. Pfaff has raised six girls but can't remember the last Mogadore game he missed. This year he watched his grandson, Roger Smith, who is a sophomore on the Wildcat roster.

Unfortunately for the Wildcat faithful, the story of this year's championship game was much the same as last year. The "unfinished business" did not get accomplished as the ride back to Mogadore was much longer than the journey to Massillon.

It's hard to believe that anything could be worse than the Flyers' 54-0 shutout of the Wildcats a year ago. However, Marion Local proved that last year was no fluke as it overwhelmed Mogadore once again by a count of 63-7.

Probably the oldest fan who watched his team suffer Saturday was 86-year-old John Raddish, who has not missed a Mogadore game in 50 years. John is the grandfather of senior running back Jon Raddish.

"It's really hard to understand how a team could beat us like that," he said. "I really believe that this Mogadore team is the best I have ever seen, but Marion Local is just awesome."

Senior fullback Andy Francis put the loss in perspective.

"We're proud of what we did. We lost the football game but our lives will go on," he said. "I could sit here and preach how bad it's been these two years, but not many kids can say they made it to the championship game two straight years.

"When we get older, we're not going to talk about how we got beat 54-0 or 63-7, but we're going to talk about how we made it two years and we gave it everything we had."

The attendance at the championship game was 9,291, which broke the record set by the same two teams a year ago.

When Mogadore accepted the Division VI state runnerup trophy at midfield following the loss, the Wildcat green-and-white faithful still numbered several thousand fans who encouraged their team to hold their heads high.

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