A weekend dedicated to celebrating champions kicked off Thursday as members of the 1985 Galion High School football team gathered for a reunion dinner. The event, held at the Galion Moose Lodge, marked the 30th anniversary of Galion’s run to the Div. II state title.
The team will be honored publicly at halftime of this evening’s game against Buckeye Valley at Unckrich Stadium. Team members and their families will be guests of the Galion Gridiron Club.
Coached by Lee Owens, the 1985 Tigers rolled through the regular season 10-0, holding every opponent to 14 points or less and posting two shutouts. The run continued in the playoffs as Galion won three games to advance to the state championship game against Youngstown Cardinal Mooney at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. The Tigers shut down the Cardinals, 6-0, to claim the championship and complete a perfect season at 14-0.
Mike Remy and John Deibig — who grew up together in Galion and still live in the area — were friends, classmates and teammates from their days in elementary school through the championship season. Remy, a fullback for Galion, said he was looking forward to renewing old friendships and reminiscing about that championship season.
“The stories get better every time we get together,” Remy said with a grin.
Remy noted that the huge success of the 1985 season was unexpected.
“I thought if we won the (Northern Ohio League) that year it would be the greatest thing in the world,” Remy reflected. “That didn’t happen very often in Galion history. Playoffs and turf shoes and things like that were unheard of. Playing in stadiums like (Ohio Stadium) were unheard of. We just took it game by game like the coaches taught us to do and it rolled up to where we found ourselves in the playoffs.”
Deibig, who played guard for the the orange and blue, said the team goals were pretty simple.
“We were just hoping to win the NOL and be 10-0,” Deibig said. “And we had some revenge games along the way, like against Shelby. We had a bitter taste from our junior year. Back then the rivalries in the NOL were just intense. The towns, really, and the players didn’t like each other at all. We kind of had that chip on our shoulder.”
What about making the postseason?
“That wasn’t even a thought at the time,” Deibig said. “Mathematically, we barely made it in. We were in the first year that it grew to four teams (from each region). It was only two before then. We figured with our schedule and stuff, it wasn’t really even a thought. Near the end of the year, we started hearing some things about our playoff chances, but the coaches and seniors did a pretty good job about keeping focused on one game at a time and not looking too far down the road. When we got in the playoffs, it was the same thing; one game at a time, survive and advance.”
Deibig, whose son, Zach, is a lineman for the 2015 edition of the Tigers, said he sees one important similarity between the 1985 squad and the current orange and blue.
“The teams are alike in that the seniors are really close,” he said. “They’ve grown up playing together from third grade and fourth grade football, so they’ve bonded. They’re good friends. They’re real tight. They’ve learned how to approach things and how to have each other’s backs.”
Reach Carter at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048, or on Twitter @ACGalionSports.