Back to the future.

As the final seconds found their way to zero on the huge scoreboard at the famous "Horseshoe" Stadium in Columbus, it also glared the ominus fact that Steubenville High School had just defeated a stubborn and equally determined group of Columbus Whitehall Yearling Rams by the razor thin score of 12-9 and claimed for the Big Red the state Division II football title. The battle was in serious doubt for both sets of fans as their heroes took the game into overtime.
The "Stubbers" of second year head coach Reno Saccoccia had just completed a remarkable run at going 13-0 on the gridiron campaign - the most wins in a single season up to that time - and out-scored the enemy by a combined, 307-70. Soon after these facts coach "Sac" and his troops would receive a long distance call of congratulations from of all places, Italy.
The More Things Change, It Seems The More They Stay The Same! (ever hear that one before?)
Flip back now through the glorious pages of time and history of the proud Steubenville football program and we find ourselves in the year of 1926. It is late November of that year and the "Little Big Red" has just capped its fourth undefeated campaign in its last five years by winning the huge battle of two of Ohios high school pigskin Titans as Steubenville has just conquered Clevelands most powerful team and one of the states giants, Cathedral Latin Lions, by the final of 14-6 in the last battle of the season to a sold out North End Field. If you couldn't fight your way in, you fought your way to a place of the highest advantage to gain a view of this gridiron classic which was being watched by the eyes of the state.
It was the big city boys' only loss of the season finishing at 9-1.
The "Little Big Red" of legendary coach Charlie "Punque" Cartledge had just completed a perfect 9-0-0 card and outscored the enemy by the tune of 365-18. Their reward for all of this hard work would enable the school to claim their second consecutive state crown in the big school classification.
To say that the fame of the state power from Jefferson County was limited only to the Ohio Valley, or even the state of Ohio would be cutting it thin, for by December 1, Cartledge and his boys had received a telegram of congratulations from the, Empire of Japan! Steubenville senior right halfback, Jimmy Shutt, received a telegram from his father who was working on the island nation praising him and his teammates on their "hard work, dedication and victorious football season." Jimmy said that he has "no idea how my father found out so soon that we were undefeated!"
Jimmy received the message the same day it was sent. This can be explained by the fact that there is 13 hours in difference in the time between the U.S.A. and Japan. The cable was first sent to Honolulu, Hawaii from Japan and then it was relayed to San Francisco, another relay then brought the message in to Pittsburgh then to its final destination of Steubenville.

Reno's words about Coach Hedmond.

Coach Robert Hedmond-Thanks for being part of the Big Red Tradition. By Coach Reno Saccoccia.


When I sat down to write this article, it was easy for me to put my thoughts into words. One reason for this was my having worked for Coach Hedmond as an assistant in '81 and '82. The second reason was that my uncle Rich was an assistant under Coach Hedmond at Brooke in '69 when I first met him.
My earliest recollection of Coach Hedmond was a meeting I had with him shortly after the 1977 season. I was an assistant under Bill Bohren, and after we finished 2-8, we were told that our services were no longer needed. We were given this information on December 26th (at least we enjoyed Christmas the day before.)
At this meeting, I told coach about the decision I had to make. One was to quit, the other was to accept a position at Harding Junior High as head coach of the football and basketball programs. Coach told me my decision was simple, "eat crow and go to Harding, or don't eat at all." Well, I ate crow, but the crow later turned into filet mignon.
Coach Hedmond had a similar situation in the spring of '73. The board elected to go elsewhere when picking a coach to replace Abe Bryan and they told Bob his services would not be needed. I learned quickly "don't tell Bob Hedmond he can't do something." Eight years later when Dan Keenan became superintendent, one of the first hires he made was to announce Coach Bob Hedmond as head coach in 1981. What a genius Keenan turned out to be.
In the history of Big Red football, Punque Cartledge will always be the measuring stick. He put Big Red Football on the Ohio map and some feel we also had our birth as a national power.
If Coach Cartledge is our measuring stick as coaches, one coach that measured up was Abe Bryan. He re-established us a force in Ohio, playing anyone, anywhere at any time. But, and a big but at that, is when you talk about "waking up the echos," you are talking about Bob Hedmond. Big Red had fallen on hard times-we were walking in the alleys. While accepting the position as head coach for the Big Red, Bob made no demands; he knew he would bring it back. He took the coaches that were here in the system, guys like Tom Mitchell, Don Morrison, Bob Radakovich, Tom McCain, Jake Hollowood, and myself, and told us, "we will win, we will turn this around." He said we will bring it back through hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude. With that attitude, Coach Hedmond led us to not only an 8-2 record, but began our playoff history that would take us through the 1991 season and beyond. He followed 1981 with a 10-0 season, the first undefeated season since Punque. We also had our first home playoff game in '82. We went from the alleys to somewhere no one at 420 North 4th Street thought we would or could ever go. We were a playoff team. We were a force to be reckoned with, Big Red was back and ready to challenge the state, and at times we beat the best the state had to offer. The pride was back and Coach Bob Hedmond will always be THE ONE WHO GOT IT GOING, now he, Bob Hedmond, is the playoff measuring stick.
Born in Follansbee, WVa. on August 14, 1929, to the late John and Lena Hedmond, Coach Hedmond would attend FHS where he would be an all-state football player and track and field participant.
After finishing his tour of the service in Europe in 1948-1949, Coach Hedmond would enter Shepherd College and immediately became an all conference fullback for the four years he played. While at Shepherd College he would meet his wife, Betty Lou Perry. Coach and his wife would be blessed with four sons, Rob a 1974 graduate, Jon a 1976 graduate, Chip a 1981 graduate, and David a 1989 graduate, all graduating from Steubenville Big Red.
Coach Hedmond's first coaching position was as the head coach of Oxen Hill in Maryland, followed by a head coaching stint at East Liverpool. Coach Hedmond came to Big Red as an assistant to Coach Bryan in 1965 and stayed until 1969. In 1969, coach was selected to lead the new Brooke Bruins in their inaugural season. By the looks of their uniforms, you would realize that Vince Lombardi was his role model. He led Brooke to an 8-2 season. Following that successful inaugural year, he returned to Big Red.
In 1975, he became the AD and in 1981 he was chosen to lead the boys of 420 North 4th, and that he did.
Coach, we haven't even mentioned your teaching career, but we know that you treated it just like your coaching career, with dignity and pride. We won't mention your camaraderie with your fellow staff members and administrators or your pranks that no one could ever top. In closing, whenever you coached you "won"...Big Red will always be a better place to coach because of you. Roll Red.

~Big Red Archives~

 

Reno's comments about our tradition.

Excellent excerpt from article written by Coach Saccoccia on Big Red's glorious past:


"As I look back to the day of the AAC, it is obvious that these were proud days for the Big Red led by Coach Abe Bryan, Tom Gardner, Bill Bohren, Jerry Harris and the men of 420 North Fourth Street who played their hearts out week after week, year after year. It was not our wishes to get out of the league, because like all great teams we would fight to the end....
Since 1978, our record versus AAC teams has been 9 and 5 including games with Alliance, Niles, and Warren. Also since the break up in '78, Canton McKinley, Steubenville, and Warren have won State Championships under the OHSAA format.
The remark "Big Red lives in the past" often is heard, but our interpretation is that "we our proud of our past" and we hope to build on our past. We want every player that wears the Red & Black to remember the glory years of Punk Cartledge, the All-American Conference, the playoff string of 11 consectutive appearances and the Press titles of 1930, 1988, and 1994 and the OHSAA title of '84. We also want our players to know about the loss in '51, '66, and '67 to Massillon, the '62 loss to Toledo Central Catholic, the loss in '88 to Buchtel and '94 to West Branch. We as coaches also tell them about the great comeback wins of Canton McKinley in '67, North Canton Hoover in '89, the Massillon victory in '62, and the Canton McKinley win in '69. We are proud of the 41 All-Staters, our 8 college All-Americans, our Hall of Fame Coaches, our 607 football wins, our Stadium being second to none, our Field House where every player that has ever worn the Red & Black has his own block with name, number, position played, and senior year listed on it. If this is living in the past, I'm proud to say that for the last 18 years I've been a small part of the great tradition, "THE GREAT PAST", and I hope the coaches and players in the future have the same pride in the "PAST" as we do....to take a line from "Rocky"; "At least you had a past, Mick".
What does the future hold for Big Red? Only the people of Steubenville can answer that. If our fans continue to support their team, win or lose, if our administration continues its support of "WIN IN THE CLASSROOM AND ON THE FIELD", if our students continue to pay the price, if our coaches remain dedicated, the past can last another 100 years and be even greater than the first 100.
In closing, our tradition is deep, it took many people many years to build what we have, and it will take pride, determination, heart, and most of all commitment to continue what has been started. Rome fell from within. If our Big Red Family remains strong and proud, the Big Red will continue to Roll!"