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Strasburg High School Boys, 1967 State Champions

2023 Inductee


Strasburg High School, 1967 State Champions

Strasburg High School State Champions 1967
Strasburg High School Boys, 1967 State Champions

Front Row, left to right: Rick Corder, Manager, Ken Dreher, Manager, Tom Ferris, Mike Reiger, Gary Phillips, Leslie McGrath, Manager.
Back Row, left to right: Assistant Coach Jim Bieleski, Art Haswell, Ed Rusk, Ed Yackey, John Studer, Tom Hall, Gene Bayer, Charles Jones, Ron Hall, Tom Margo, Head Coach Charles Huggins.

Absent: Todd Feller, Louie Dreher, Bob Welling, Pat McNally, Mgr.

Coach Charlie Huggins reached the pinnacle of boys basketball in Ohio at multiple schools, but the first state title he captured came at the end of the 1966-67 season at Strasburg High School. Surviving Huggins’ legendary grueling practices and benefitting from his uncanny ability to ideally scout opponents and make adjustments during games, the Tigers were a perfect 27-0 and remain one of the state’s all-time great small-school teams. 

Averaging 80 points per contest at a time well before the three-point arc was in place, the Tigers were led on the court by record-setting forward John Studer as well as fellow seniors Ed Yackey, Charles Jones, and Mike Reiger, along with junior Ed Rusk. Studer, Yackey, Jones, and Rusk were named to the All-Tuscarawas County first team in 1967. Also emerging were 6-4 Gene Bayer and sophomore Butch Haswell, who like Studer, went on to play collegiately, as did teammates Charlie Jones and Tom Hall. Starter Gary Phillips was a key contributor to the team's success and named Defensive Player of the Year by Coach Huggins.

After an 18-0 regular season – during which it scored at least 80 points nine times – Strasburg rolled to three easy victories in sectional play and two more in the district tournament. At the regional, the Tigers posted wins of 44-28 and 81-59, showing their versatility and ability to prevail against different styles. 

Huggins wanted his players to sleep in their own beds prior to the state tournament, so the team didn’t depart for Columbus until the morning of the semis – and arrived minutes before tipoff after crawling through a snowstorm for four hours. The tactic appeared to backfire as the Tigers trailed Richmond Dale Southeastern Ross by 14 at halftime and found themselves in the precarious spot of being down by six points with four minutes to go. 

They trimmed that deficit to just one and, moments later, Coach Huggins called timeout with just nine seconds remaining. His instruction was to feed the ball to the 6-3 Studer, but the defense swarmed the all-state performer and the ball instead found Rusk, who canned a game-winning jumper from the opposite side of the floor at the buzzer. Strasburg, which hadn’t won a game by fewer than 14 points coming into the contest, gutted out a 55-54 triumph, setting up the also-dramatic finale. 

That came the next day – March 18, 1967 – when Strasburg survived another hard fight and downed Arcanum, 54-47, then cut down the nets at St. John Arena. The team returned to a “welcome home” ceremony that drew a cheering crowd of approximately 6,000 and included an escort through town by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. 

Studer was named the Class A Player of the Year and was tabbed the district’s Outstanding Senior Athlete of the Year by the VFW. His 701 points scored that season equated to 26.0 points per game. The team was inducted in the inaugural class of the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Tuscarawas County Sports Hall of Fame in 2022.

Strasburg’s 27 wins came by an average margin of victory of 36 points. 

Newspaper Footage of Strasburg Tigers
Newspaper Coverage of the 1967 State Champs

Photo far left caption: GENE BAYER was trying to add two more points to the victory score. Gene will also bid farewell to his Alma Mater in June. His departure will really be noticeable next year.

Photo, second from left caption: ED RUSK, a Junior, will return to the Tiger Den next year to help carry the banner of victory forward. Ed scored 282 points for his team this year. He proved to be the hero against Southeastern Ross, scoring the final two points for victory in the State semi- finals during the last second of play.

Photo, second from right caption: ART (BUTCH) HASWELL, only a sophomore, has shown his ability and should prove to be a valuable player for the Tigers during several seasons that lie ahead. With four minutes and 26 seconds showing on the clock, Butch "drilled" the nets for two points to help close the gap between the Tigers and the Southeastern Ross team.

Photo, far right caption: MIKE RIEGER (40) is struggling to gain possession of the ball during a regular game against Conotton Valley. Other team members Charlie (Hondo) Jones, Ed Yackey and Ed Rusk were standing by to lend a helping hand. It was such team spirit that paved the way for the State Championship.

Tournament Trail... Meet the Strasburg Tigers
Tournament Trail... Meet the Strasburg Tigers

Photo caption, far left: JOHN STUDER who was the unanimous choice for All - Ohio honors, finished his high school basketball career by scoring a total of 701 points this season. Here he is scoring two points for the Tigers during the Sectional Tournament play against Port Washington at New Philadelphia. John scored a total of 1,586 through three years of play. "Big John" rates third in scoring on the Tuscarawas County all-time list. This season he blasted the school's record.

Photo caption, second from left: ED YACKEY, also a Senior, was injured during Tournament play, but he was able to return before the end of the trail. Ed scored 232 points for the season. In this picture he scored two points against Southeastern Ross.

Photo caption, second from right: CHARLES JONES, another Senior, scored 351 points for the season.
The "blonde bomber" will be greatly missed next year. Here Hondo is scoring two points for the Tigers during the State Championship game against Arcanum.

Photo caption, far right: GARY PHILLIPS will also be lost through graduation. He was about to add two points to the score against Southeastern Ross. During the season he added his playing strength when it was needed.

Tournament Celebration & Welcome Home Sunday