By Tom Turek
In 1970 and 71, they were 17 and 18 years old, and full of promise.
Now, as they near the age of 70 and 71 themselves, they make promises to each other.
Most of them still call the O-E area home. They regularly play golf, coaches and players alike. Take trips up north together. Visit each other a lot.
Suffice to say, as they learned when they were 17 and 18 years old … they’ve got each other’s back.
Shortly after two arch-rival schools merged in the late 1960s, there were — naturally – some divisions. The Ovid Romans and Elsie Big Reds were ferocious competitors, particularly in athletics. What would happen when the two prideful schools merged? Many wondered …
Football players from both schools showed promise. Now it was the job of legendary coaches like Mark O’Donnell, Russ Pope and Bob Foreback to get the most out of that promise.
The 1970 team went 8-1 — losing only to state powerhouse Saginaw St. Marys – and outscored their opponents 162 to 82.
The 1971 version of the newly-minted Marauders was even better. They also went 8-1, outscoring the competition 182 to 39. The defense pitched five shutouts along the way.
They weren’t just full of promise. O’Donnell’s teams were dominant.
Perhaps more importantly, the Marauders were a unifying presence in bringing two communities together in a merged, truly COMMUNITY school. That legacy lives on.
When Ovid-Elsie High School honored the golden anniversary of their back to back league champions on August 26, there were laughs, a few teary eyes … and some fireworks on the field, courtesy of Jacob Tomasek and his 80-yard return of the opening kickoff of the season.
Yes, the youngster shows promise.