When you think of dynasties on the gridiron, names like Cleveland St Ignatius, Massillon Washington, Cincinnati Moeller, Newark Catholic, Versailles and St Henry come up.
Today, OhioPrepScene.com is looking at the dynasty of The St. Henry Redskins.
We sat down with Todd Boeckman and Kevin Huelsman, St Henry’s two newest Div IA college football players, to discuss what it was like playing for The ‘Skins.
St Henry’s statistical numbers alone are extremely shocking. They have only had a football team for 31 years. In those 31 years, they have won 245 games while losing only 99 (averaged nearly 8 victories per season). 1975 marked the last time the ‘Skins had a losing season. They have made 11 playoff appearances (including 8 consecutive in the ‘90s). In their 31 year history, 52 Redskins were named to the AP All-Ohio team. 2 of them were named ‘Offensive Player of the Year’, 2 others were named ‘Defensive Player of the Year.’ 10 St Henry players have been named to the North/South All-Star teams, 3 others were Big 33 Players. Bobby Hoying, who later went on to play for The Ohio State Buckeyes, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Oakland Raiders, was named Ohio’s Mr. Football.
Coach Tim Boeckman’s tenure at St Henry was unbelievable. In his 22 seasons with the ‘Skins, Boeckman put together a record of 195-57-3 while winning Four State Titles. Coach Boeckman retired last year. Jeff Starkey, former Offensive Coordinator at Massillon Jackson, has taken over the reigns.
By far St Henry’s best decade was the 1990’s. In that span, the Redskins found themselves in the State Finals six separate times. Four of those times they took home the Gold (1990, ’92, ’94, and ’95). They were Poll Champions in 1990, ’93, ’95, and ’96.
The St Henry football program has sent over 50 players on to College Football. 30 of those 50+ have been at the Division IA level. Considering St Henry High School will have less than 200 boys next year, this is quite the stat. Of the 50+ Redskins to go on to College Football, 3 have gone even farther. The NFL has been a home to three ‘Skins. The first being Jim Lachey. Lachey, a pro-bowl Lineman for the Washington Redskins, won a Super Bowl in 1992. He played his college ball for the Scarlet and Gray. Bobby Hoying had a very successful career with the Ohio State Buckeyes before seeing some significant PT at Philadelphia. Word is, he could be playing for Tampa Bay next season (he and Gruden are good friends). The third professional football player is Jeff Hartings, starting Center for the Pittsburg Steelers. Jeff played his college ball at Penn State before starting his NFL career with the Detroit Lions.
On signing day, St Henry got its 29th and 30th college football players. Kevin Huelsman, 6’5 285 pound lineman signed with the Bowling Green State University Falcons. Todd Boeckman (6’5 225 Quarterback) has decided to Gray shirt.
OhioPrepScene.com sat down with these two young men and talked about a few things ranging from their high school days to college plans. Here’s what they had to say:
What was it like playing for a small-school dynasty in St Henry?
Kevin: Playing for such a small school was a good thing, especially St. Henry. We have a huge tradition and it was great to be part of that dynasty. Everyone in St. Henry always gives huge support for every sport, especially football, and they're always there to cheer you on.
Todd: It is amazing to play for a tradition like there is at St. Henry. Every Friday night when the team takes the field, there is a feeling inside me that just says that there is no other place I would rather be than here.
What was it like playing for a coaching legend in Coach Boeckman?
Kevin: Coach Boeckman was an amazing coach and he really cared about his players. He always made sure everything was ok with the team and worked things out if they weren't.
Todd: It was a great opportunity to play for him because of all the success he brought to St Henry. He won 4 state championships and has played in 2 or 3 more. He just brought so much to the football program.
Todd, what was it like playing your high school football with your father as Head Coach?
Todd: It helped me out tremendously because I felt no pressure towards him. I could go up and ask him anything and wouldn't care if it was right or wrong. He just made me feel more comfortable out on the football field.
Did you feel any pressure from past players to succeed?
Kevin: There is always pressure from past success. With four state championships, you are always looking to win one for yourself. The past players really want you to succeed. You could always see them in the crowd cheering on the team.
Todd: Not from past players but from the community in general. They expect a lot because of all the past success. I just wanted to go out and do my best for the team.
Todd, how was it playing in a State Final game your freshman year?
Todd: It was an amazing feeling. To be a freshman and be apart of a team that made it to the state finals is a once in a life time experience. I don't think I have ever been that nervous in any other high school game. The feeling just walking out onto that field was amazing
How many years did you guys start in high school?
Kevin: I started my junior and senior year at Offensive Tackle. I saw some playing time at defensive tackle too.
Todd: I started all four years at Quarterback and played some safety as well.
Kevin, what is the outlook for Bowling Green?
Kevin: Bowling Green is looking pretty good. They have a solid running back returning in PJ Pope and Josh Harris returning at quarterback. The coaching change turned out as best it could. The offensive coordinator, Greg Brandon took the head job, which helped keep a lot of the staff and team in order.
BGSU is graduated a few starting offensive linemen, do you see yourself getting some early playing time?
Kevin: I hope that I do see some playing time early. The offensive line coach has high expectations for the incoming linemen this year. It is very possible to see some playing time because a starting spot is really never secured, everyone is vulnerable to lose their spot.
Todd, you have chosen to Grayshirt at OSU, can you explain that a bit?
Todd: Well I don't have all the rules yet, but I will tell you what I do know. I am going to start practice when the team reports this summer. I will practice until school starts, I will then essentially be off the team until the January Quarter. There are three or four games before school starts, so I will have the chance to experience the OSU atmosphere. I will most likely take classes part-time while I’m not on the team. Once the January quarter starts up, I will be in the dorms and basically on the team again. This is the way it looks as of now but the coaches have to get all the rules and something could change.
Why did you think the gray shirt was a good move for you?
Todd: Well it gives me another year of separation between Justin Zwick and Troy Smith. It also takes awhile to learn the college game because of the speed factor. I will have more time to adjust.
What are the strong points of your games?
Kevin: I pick up on things pretty quickly. If we need to learn a new offense or defense to run, I get it pretty fast.
Todd: It is hard to pick one out from my stand point, but I would have to say staying in the pocket long enough to find the open receiver and getting him the ball. Also my accuracy has been pretty decent over the years.
What are the weak points?
Kevin: I think I need to gain some strength and quickness. I know I’ll need it if I want to be successful at the collegiate level. You can never be too fast or too strong.
Todd: I don’t think I really have one weak point. I just need to continue improving every aspect of my game to grow as a football player.
What have you been doing to prepare for the College Level?
Kevin: I have Bowling Green's workout to do every day. The workout has me either running or lifting everyday of the week. It's a great workout and I can tell I am getting stronger.
Todd: Right now it is tough to prepare for college because of basketball and baseball. I would definitely lift a lot more but it gets difficult with the other sports.
Have you discussed possibly playing a different position in college?
Kevin: My coach has actually talked a little about that. He said I could possibly play anywhere on the offensive line: tackle, guard, or center. I will probably stay at tackle for the first part of the season.
Todd: I have not discussed that with the coaches at all. They haven't said anything about it but if it would happen I just want to help the team win.
Kevin, have you talked to Dennis Wendel about ball at BGSU? If so, what has he had to say?
Kevin: I have talked to Dennis a lot about football at BG. He was the one that really answered most of my questions. He played a huge part in my decision to go to BG. He was willing to talk to me whenever and call me just to see how things were going. Dennis told me that he really loved playing for BG. He said it was more like a family than a team, and I think that was the biggest part of BG's success.
Kevin, you had three older brothers play football at the next level, how has that helped/hurt you?
Kevin: Having older brothers play high school and college football has helped a lot. They have been there to answer all the questions and to give their input on certain things. They knew what it was all about and how it was going to be. Their success at both levels of football really sparked me to succeed too. Just watching them play from the stands made me want to play too.
Todd, have you talked to Bobby Hoying about Ohio State? What has he said?
Todd: It is kind of hard to talk to Bobby because of all of the time he spends working out and that kind of stuff. I have talked to him a few times but not a whole lot.
You two are the 29th and 30th Division IA college football players to come out of St Henry. How do you feel about that?
Kevin: I am honored to be part of that statistic. That is a huge number of college players to come out of such a small town. I think it shows how much we care about sports here and the determination that the players have.
Todd: It feels pretty cool to be apart of all the athletes that came out of St. Henry. There were some great athletes to come out of here and contribute at the next level and i would like to be able to do that also.
What plans do you guys have between now and when you report?
Kevin: I still have a couple months before I have to report. I plan to just make the most of my senior year and have fun while I'm still in high school. I will probably spend a lot of time this summer at BG working out with the team and trying to learn everything I can.
Todd: Well first off finishing school and baseball at St Henry comes first. I want to go out with a bang so I am hoping to go far in tournament with baseball. During the summer I will most likely be working out a lot. Throwing, lifting and running will be the big ones that I will be working on. As of now that is all that I know of that i will be doing.
What did you like/dislike about the recruiting process?
Todd: It became a very long process. I enjoyed visiting places to become familiar with the colleges and to see what they all have to offer. I met a lot of great people in the recruiting process.
OhioPrepScene.com would like to thank these two young men for their time and wish them the best of luck at the next level. We will be keeping in contact to see how things are going throughout the next few months.