GREENVILLE – Playing in its inaugural season, the Ohio Cardinals semi-pro football team lost 63-6 on Saturday at home to a very talented and experienced N.E.O. (Akron) Silverbacks football team.
“We are trying to get the word about our team so we can get more players and more fans,” Cardinals player-coach and co-owner Rocke Parkman said.
“The Ohio Cardinals team is nothing but fight … they are blood and guts,” Silverbacks head coach Tom Jackson said. “I respect them so much because they did the exact same thing at our place last week.”
Trailing 35-0 in the first half, the Darke County team got its first and only score of the night with a Travis Bunch (2012 Wayne High School) punt return.
The Cardinals trailed 51-6 with the first half in the books as the much larger team from Eastern Ohio both in player size and number of team players made its impact on the game.
“Our team is kind of three-fold,” Jackson explained. “Our first mission is to help young men that never had an opportunity at college, to figure out how to get into college.
“We are kind of an inner-city group, and in many cases they just didn’t have the parents or whatever to help them get where they should have been,” Jackson added. “We are trying to help those young men pick up their lives and put them together.
“Big No. 99 Chris Foster played for the University of Akron for four years, and then he went on and played Arena One football for Philadelphia” Jackson said. “He’s had his pro-career, and he probably could get back, but a lot of these guys are working jobs full time and the ability to work-out and become a pro athlete when you don’t have the time to be a pro athlete is hard, but they play well.
“We have some guys that have been in college that are still playing for the love of the game,” Jackson said. “A few of those guys have already played in the pros and come back and are still playing for the love of the game.
“We have two or three that have a chance to play CFL or Arena One,” Jackson said. “Right now I don’t see any of our guys making the NFL, but we do have some really young guys that have never played a down after high school that are still trying to get to college.”
The Ohio Cardinals continued to play with heart, giving the home fans a lot to cheer about before the night was over.
“I don’t care what is happening, they never, never give up the fight,” Jackson said. “All they need is another year and some numbers, and the Cardinals will be just like we are.”
The Cardinals’ roster is made up of graduates from Greenville, Bradford, Tri-Village, Wayne, Piqua, Milton-Union, Youngstown East, Ponitz CTC, Northmont and Miami East high schools.
Rocke Parkman and James Moyer of Gettysburg are co-owners of the Darke County team.