GREENVILLE – The Green Wave hosts the Sidney Yellow Jackets this Friday night on senior night at Harmon Field with the Little Brown Jug on the line.
“It is extra special because it would be nothing more than I want for our seniors – to be the class that ends their career on the right note and brings the ‘Jug’ back to Greenville,” said Greenville coach Bart Schmitz. “That’s how I want these seniors to end it here on Harmon Field. That is our goal.”
In 1899 Greenville and Sidney High Schools met for the first time and have met semi-regularly since. Annual games were played from 1925-31 on Thanksgiving Day. Both teams were charter members of the old Miami Valley League beginning in 1928.
In 1956 Sidney resident and SHS graduate Frank Schlagetter recognized the tradition with the Greenville Green Wave and the Sidney Yellow Jackets initiating an Ohio high school version of the Little Brown Jug between the two teams.
Roots for the Little Brown Jug go back to 1903 which goes to the winner of the Michigan-Minnesota college football game.
Sidney won the initial ‘Jug’ matchup in 1956 and the traveling trophy stayed in play until after a 1971 game when Greenville changed leagues and the series was interrupted.
Entering the Friday October 8, 1971 renewal at Sidney, the Yellow Jackets held the award resulting from consecutive wins from 1966-1970.
Sidney lost to an eventual undefeated 1971 Greenville team 22-8 and it was taken for granted the Little Brown Jug would be in Greenville until the teams played again which came in 1982 with the formation of the GWOC (Greater Miami Valley Conference).
When the two teams played again the Little Brown Jug was nowhere to be found and just became a part of history.
Sidney home games were played at Julia Lamb Stadium at the Old Sidney High School which became the Central Junior High and Bridgeview Middle School where the final varsity game was played in 2003.
Prior to the 2005 demolition of Bridgeview, an auction of miscellaneous contents was held in 2004. After the auction was over, a 1961 SHS graduate, who also was a former Yellow Jacket football player and former member of the Friday night sideline chain gang received the auctioneer’s blessing to look around the building before demolition took place.
In the south third-floor room that previously held the home economics classes and served as the giant makeshift press boxes on game nights, the SHS alumni opened and searched a cabinet and unexpectedly found the Little Brown Jug.
The former Sidney player offered the Auctioneer $12 for the jug and a deal was struck. In time the former Sidney football player kindly returned the Little Brown Jug, after a hiatus of 33-years to the Sidney High School trophy case.
The two rival schools now play each year for the right to display the “Little Brown Jug” in the victorious school’s trophy case for the next 365-days.
It is suspicioned the “lost” 33-years is the result of two Sidney assistant coaches that were stationed on the third floor maintaining the field headphones from the home-ec room on game night… it seems probable that that one of the coaches was responsible for the jug and after the heartbreaking loss to the Green Wave in 1971 simply accidently left it sit.
Most likely a custodian found it and not knowing its significance, simply placed it in a cabinet for safekeeping not to be seen for over 33-years.
Greenville and Sidney meet this Friday night at Greenville’s Harmon Field with the Sidney Yellow Jackets football team defending the right to keep the Little Brown Jug in the Sidney High School trophy case where the “Jug” has resided since a 42-27 Jackets 2016 win, a 40-8 win in 2017 and a win last year, 2018 by a 56-21 score.
“It is a big deal here,” Coach Schmitz said of the Little Brown Jug. “Anytime you have that trophy hanging out there – the ‘Jug’, our goal every year is to bring it home. It hasn’t been at Greenville High School in a few years, it’s time to bring it home.”
Greenville last had the rights to the ‘Jug’ with a 13-12 win over the 2015 Yellow Jackets team.
Greenville brings a 6-3 winning record into the senior night contest under first year Green Wave head coach Bart Schmitz while Sidney comes to town with a 3-6 record.
“First and foremost it is about the kids in the program,” Schmitz said of the Wave’s winning season. “That’s why I wanted this job so that I could see these kids have success. That’s why I do it and win lose or draw Friday night, it’s been a heck of a year.”
“We have done a lot of neat things so far this year but our goal is to end Friday night with a win get ourselves to 7-3 and bring the ‘Jug’ back home and send our seniors out the right way,” concluded Coach Schmitz.
Friday night marks the 63rd anniversary of the Little Brown Jug varsity football game for the two schools.
Contact Darke County Media Sports Editor Gaylen Blosser at email@example.com or 937-548-3330