Rivalries are what make the blood boil: Bellbrook beats Valley View

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Bellbrook freshman Daveon Greene helped the Eagles beat Valley View 21-16. (Photo by Nick Falzerano)

Friday night Bellbrook High School honored the only two undefeated teams in the school’s history. Ironically the current Eagles entered the game with Germantown Valley View winless this year. Following 48 minutes of football, the 1991 and 1999 undefeated BHS teams now have something in common with the 2009 squad – all three beat the rival Spartans.


Friday night Bellbrook High School honored the only two undefeated teams in the school’s history. Ironically the current Eagles entered the game with Germantown Valley View winless this year. Following 48 minutes of football, the 1991 and 1999 undefeated BHS teams now have something in common with the 2009 squad – all three beat the rival Spartans.

“We’ve talked about it all week,” Bellbrook head coach Kevin Basinger said following his team’s 21-16 win. “We talked about the ’91 and ’99 teams coming back and we wanted to make sure that we played like we should. We wanted to put a good product and effort on the field and play like we’ve done before in our history.

“Celebrating the ’91 and ’99 teams on the same night (we played Valley View) and feeding off that a little bit was definitely planned.”

Over a decade ago I witnessed the greatest teams both Bellbrook and Valley View have ever fielded.

I played on the 1991 Bellbrook team. It was my sophomore year.

I covered the 1999 Bellbrook team. It was my freshman year as sports editor of the Centerville-Bellbrook Times.

Both those Bellbrook teams made the regional finals, which is the best finish in school history.

But what’s even more impressive is this – in between those runs by Bellbrook, Valley View established itself as one of the greatest programs in state history. The Spartans won 73 straight regular season games from 1991-1999 (sandwiched between Bellbrook losses) and claimed three Division IV state titles. Talk about dynasties, Valley View had one.

Man did they ever.

I remember watching the Spartans win their first state title with mixed emotions in Massillon as a freshman at Ashland University. I was proud the Southwestern Buckeye League won a state championship, but in some regards I was upset since the trophy was headed to Germantown. The only thing worse would be if it were headed to Oakwood.

Valley View’s head coach through the losses to Bellbrook and all three state championships has been Jay Niswonger. This is his 26th season in Germantown and his teams have made the playoffs 15 of the last 17 years. He’s a legend – and in Bellbrook so are the teams honored Friday.

In addition to Niswonger and myself, Chris Baker, the principal of Bellbrook High School, also witnessed all three Bellbrook-Valley View games in question.

Baker coached the 1991 team and in 1999 – as the then new principal – stood with me on the sideline and watched Luke Clemens (Miami University) rush for a record 333 yards as the Eagles snapped Valley View’s 73-game win streak 33-15.

Friday, Baker’s son Brad Combs scored Bellbrook’s second touchdown.

And Basinger, who coached the 1999 team, also has a tie to all three teams. In 1991 he coached Jamestown Greeneview, which opened its season with a lopsided loss to Bellbrook.

“The things I remember about the ’91 team were Tim Driver, Bryan McCluskey and Eric Noble,” Basinger said. “They pretty much had their way with us. In ‘99 we got things rolling too, but we were pretty much a defensive team. To give up only 62 points all year is a pretty great accomplishment. We try to measure up to those teams each year. Both made this community and school very proud and we’re striving to get back to that level.”

Friday Bellbrook did, if only for one night – by beating Valley View.

Rivalries are great.

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