Part V in a series counting down the 10 most memorable performances in the history of Tommy Oliver Stadium
It could be argued that the MVP of this game never played a down.
In fact, he never moved.
The weekend prior to the ninth meeting of Rutherford and Bay on the football field, Rutherford’s mascot, a ram called Rambunctious II, reportedly was stolen by some overzealous Bay students.
While the high school prank wasn’t intended to be blatantly malicious, Rambunctious II was doused in red paint designating the Tornadoes’ colors, then died suddenly of natural causes.
That outcome wasn’t lost on the Rutherford coaching staff, or the Rams’ players.
Prior to the start of the county matchup, Rutherford’s players did not warm up on the field, except for quarterback Gary McDonald tossing a few passes and punter Tim Feeney attempting a few kicks.
Neither did the Rams come out when their starting lineup was announced. They stayed in the locker room watching film of the previous year’s game between the teams.
Meanwhile, the body of Rambunctious II was placed in his pen and carted out at Tommy Oliver Stadium in full view of the stands. A large wreath was displayed nearby.
When the Rams finally appeared on the sideline they went out and made the Tornadoes pay the consequences in a 21-0 victory that secured their first Big 5 Conference championship and evened the series between the schools at 4-4-1.
Rutherford head coach Jim Redfern summed up the motivation of his team: “Our Ram died as the result of injuries received in the mistreatment from the Bay High kids who stole him.
“Those kids made a serious mistake. This thing had our kids fired sky high. I hope something like this won’t happen again to mar this rivalry. This ballgame is a warning to Bay High to leave our Ram alone.”
In addition, Rutherford fans sported “Remember the Ram” insignias.
Bay’s players probably received a lasting memory after being limited to four first downs and 45 total yards for the game. The Tornadoes crossed midfield only once, then reaching the Rams’ 42 in the third quarter.
Rutherford standouts were too many to mention their accomplishments. Among them were Jeff King, Danny York, Tim Feeney, William Oney, Tom Cooper, Randy Green, Dennis Peace, Johnny Clewis, Lewis Wolfe, Delbert McKinney, Sam Frazier and Gary Frazzer.
Following the rout, many fans on the Rutherford side remained as band members led students in a victory lap around the field.
The spectators didn’t leave the stands until Rambunctious II was wheeled away to be buried.
Next: In No. 5, a track meet in football pads.