A brief early history of Blue Lion football


“In order to know where we are going, it’s important to know where we’ve come from,” Washington Court House City Schools Superintendent Dr. Tom Bailey said. With that, he introduced former Washington High School athletic director, Dale Lynch, himself a big football fan, to give a brief overview of the history of the football program prior to the introduction of new Blue Lion head coach David Everson Thursday, March 2.

Kids began playing football at Washington High School in 1896.

The first game was played on Thanksgiving Day of 1896. Washington defeated Frankfort Adena, 4-0.

Lynch said it was his understanding that back then, touchdowns were worth one point.

There were a couple of instances mentioned where Washington played college teams. Washington played Wittenberg College (the result was a 0-0 tie); a later game against Wilmington College went to Washington, 4-0.

The first actual Washington High School team was formed in 1902.

Washington’s first game was played on Oct. 24, 1902 against Hillsboro. Washington won that game, 5-0.

Lynch stated that Everson is actually the school’s 32nd head coach, not the 34th as previously reported in the Record-Herald.

The team that Washington has the most wins against in its history is McClain, one of Washington’s oldest rivals (along with Chillicothe and Hillsboro). The two schools have played football against one another since 1904.

Lynch further mentioned that of all the teams Washington has played at least five times, the Blue Lions only have a losing overall record against four: London, Chillicothe, Miami Trace and Portsmouth.

Of those four teams, only Portsmouth is not on the Blue Lions’ schedule for the 2023 season.

The Washington team employed the forward pass for the first time in a game in 1906.

The team did not have numbers on the uniforms until 1920, Lynch said.

The first mention of cheerleaders was in 1924 and that they were boys. Girls as cheerleaders were first mentioned in 1927.

The first band appearence at a Washington football game was on Sept. 26, 1923.

Lynch said that sportswriter Ted Shipley coined the term ‘Blue Lions’ in 1927.

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