By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
Rootstown and Mogadore have authored some amazing rivalries over the last 50 years.
Across multiple sports.
But inside every rivalry is always respect.
And there is plenty of respect between the Rovers and Wildcats.
Saturday offered another example of that — and maybe one of the biggest signs of appreciation and friendship between the two schools to date.
Mogadore football found itself in a tough spot.
The Wildcats were scheduled to play at Newark Catholic on Saturday and when schedule conflicts kept the Mogadore transportation department from having a bus or bus driver available, Rootstown stepped forward to help its Portage County friend.
With only one day’s notice, Rootstown Director of Buildings and Grounds Alan Marzec and Transportation Director Carrie Rollyson helped lead the coordination for Rootstown to provide the necessary transportation and staff to take the Mogadore football team on its 2-hour, 123-mile drive to Newark Catholic High School on Green Wave Drive.
Mogadore posted an impressive 28-0 shutout victory over Newark Catholic on Saturday.
A win for the Cats that likely would have been a forfeit had the team suddenly been unable to get to the game without a qualifying emergency excuse or reason.
“We are so appreciative of the Rootstown administration for allowing this to happen and wanted to give special thanks to the drivers, who were willing to make sure our kids could get to their game,” Mogadore football head coach Matt Adorni said.
Marzec first became aware of Mogadore’s transportation crisis during the monthly meeting that is held amongst Portage County transportation directors used to discuss best practices.
“I am not sure of the specifics of what happened at Mogadore, but we got the call and we were happy to be able to make it happen,” Marzec said.
Rootstown provided two buses and two drivers to Mogadore and Marzec said it was an easy decision to help.
“It is always all about the kids and even more about getting the Portage County kids and parents back together,” Marzec said.
Mogadore principal Russ Swartz was overwhelmed with appreciation.
“We would like to give Rootstown a big thank you for stepping up and helping our players and cheerleaders. This is Portage County pride at its best,” he said.