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The 1959 Hillsboro football squad: Four freshmen step up

Lead Summary
Steve Roush-
Ladies and gentlemen, after playing what first-year head football coach Bill Atsalis described as their best game of the season in a 28-0 loss against undefeated McClain, the 2-6 Hillsboro Indians would conclude their season the following Friday with against Franklin Heights.

Unfortunately for the Tribe, a season-long issue – depth – came into play yet again as HHS lost the contest 27-0.

Down by three touchdowns at the half, Hillsboro had drives of 45 and 50 yards, but failed to score. HHS back Bobby Storer was knocked out of the contest early with knee and finger injuries, and fellow back Roger Mullenix was also sidelined during the game with an injury.

Doug Bays, a freshman on the squad, was sent into the quarterback slot, and did what Atsalis termed “an admirable job.”

“We were simply out-manpowered,” Atsalis said after the season-ending loss. “The seniors gave it all they had, but we didn’t have enough experienced men to back them up.”

Four freshmen played offense in the game, Bays, Willard Parr, Bob Stanforth and Ollie Gross, who all turned in good performances.

Meanwhile, the league-champion McClain Tigers finished the year undefeated with a 14-8 triumph over Eastmoor, Columbus city champions, as Petey Coleman intercepted a pass with 1:10 left in the game and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown to break an 8-8 deadlock.

Washington C.H. ended up second in the league with a 5-1 SCOL record, Wilmington, Franklin Heights and Circleville finished in a three-way tie for third with 3-3 league records, followed by Hillsboro at 1-5 and Pleasant View at 0-6.

As coach Atsalis gets set to look back at the 1959 season and look toward the future, let’s pause for now, and we’ll continue next time.

Steve Roush is vice chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at

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