If high school football aficionados in the 75 or so counties outside west central Ohio had never before heard of the gridiron gang at DeGraff Riverside, they have now.
Tim McGill, who as the head coach of the Pirates led them to a 10-2 record, a league title, and the first playoff win in the school’s history, was named Dec. 1 as the 2015 AP Ohio Division VII Coach of the Year.
Joining McGill on the AP list from Riverside was Connor Cotterman, the senior who was one of four running backs to be named to the AP Div. VII All-Ohio First Team. Cotterman rushed for 1,866 yards, accumulated another 400 yards on kick-off and punt returns, had 24 touchdowns, and a total of 188 points in earn his spot on the All-Ohio squad.
Riverside’s Shawn Crawford and Trey Long were also singled out for their efforts on the gridiron as they both earned the AP Div. VII All-Ohio Second-Team honors, Crawford for his sparkling defensive backfield play and Long as a bulldozer of an offensive lineman.
Gaven Anderson, a sophomore, earned a Special Mention nod from the AP voters.
Cotterman, Crawford, and Long – seniors all – have been around long enough to see why the Associated Press voters singled out McGill for the Coach of the Year honors. As freshmen, the trio watched as the Pirates went 1-9, the lone win of the 2012 season coming at the expense of a club team. They were shutout four times that year. The prior season the Pirates gave up 50 points in eight of their ten games and were shut out five times.
Since taking the helm at Riverside in the fall of 2013, McGill has not only righted the ship, but turned it 180 degrees and put it under full steam. No longer are the Pirates the Northwest Central Conference doormats. In the 2015 campaign – just four seasons after consideration was given to folding the program – the Pirates earned a share of the NWCC title and not only received a invitation to the OHSAA football playoffs, but earned and won a home game, the first postseason victory in the school’s history. The following week, Riverside gave defending Div. VI state champs Minster fits in the regional semis before finally falling, 21-6.
Riverside is on track to prove that it is no flash-in-the-pan and is looking to build on this year’s successes. In addition to All-State player Anderson anchoring the defense, McGill can look forward to the talented and experienced Hayden Robinson (an AP All-Southwest District player), Peyton Scherer, and Trey Helmlinger returning to the backfield, with Hunter Kreglow, yet another AP All-SW district pick, opening holes on the line.