Brothers-in-law who have coached together, now are coaching opposite each other this Friday night when Amelia travels to Glen Este for a non-division varsity football game of the Fort Ancient Valley Conference.
This is probably the first of its kind in Clermont County sports history, brother-in-law (Zak Taylor, Glen Este head football coach) versus brother-in-law (Randy Hospelhorn, Amelia head football coach).
Jackie Taylor, a 1968 graduate of Amelia High School, is the young lady in the middle. She is the wife of Randy and the sister of Zak. She recalls the first time she saw her future husband was at the Amelia-Glen Este football game their senior year when she was a member of the Amelia marching band and he was a member of the Trojan varsity gridders.
Randy, a 1968 graduate of Glen Este High School, remembers the first meeting, differently. He recalled they were both members of their respective school bands and outside of football season he and Jackie were members of a combined West Clermont band (he played tuba and sousaphone and she played saxophone) that traveled to Manchester and Ripley for performances and it was then they met.
It is the 1966-67 school year, it is after lunch and a bunch of us Amelia High juniors are gathered in the lobby gabbing. Jackie joins the group and tells us her mother is expecting a baby. It's been 13 years since her last child and we can't help but laugh and ask why she would make up such a story. She finally convinces all of us class of '68ers she's serious. But myself, Betty Thompson, Cathy Barton, Annabelle Evans, Cherylene Bissantz, Jill Beach, Kathy Newman, Connie Malott, Joe Snider, Bill Wiseman, Jerry Blankenship, Alan Kirk, Freddie Maschmeier, Dave Batchler, Tim Dincler, and Kurt Franke can't control our laughter.
Nine months later Jackie becomes the sister of Zachary Taylor.
I always had a tendency to believe Jackie, she and I had been excellent friends since kindergarten. Mrs. Frances' kindergarten class was the first in Clermont County history during the 1955-56 school year. Her dad and mom, Harold and Vivian, and my dad and mom, Theodore and Catherine, were good friends before we were born. Our dads worked together for years at the Baldwin Piano Company Ancor Plant near Newtown.
Randy remembers his first meeting with Zak. "He was waddling around in his house in a diaper."
Fast forward to the 1986 football season. Then Amelia, now Batavia High, head football coach Ron Ogden asked Randy, then a West Clermont youth football coach, to be an assistant coach for him. At first he refused, but soon after agreed to join the staff. He remains at the barony and becomes the defensive coordinator under head coach Mike Hall through the 1996-97 season. He and Zak's first appearance as coaches against each other was on the freshman level of play.
Randy moved on to be the defensive coordinator under Mark Slagle for one season at Clermont Northeastern High School. Then he returned to Amelia for one season under Jay Miller. He recalls that year being of special importance. Among the assistant coaches was, Kevin, Randy's son, and James Collins, now athletic director at Amelia High, who hired Randy this year to be the head coach of the Barons.
Then Zak is hired as the new head coach at Glen Este and Randy joins the staff of his brother-in-law as the defensive coordinator.
Their high school careers during the "Bell Game" were very similar. Both were on the winning team their first three years of high school and then as seniors Amelia beat Randy's Trojans and Glen Este beat Zak's Barons.
"I'd like to be half the coach Zak is. He has tremendous football knowledge and is a great motivator and cares very much about his players. I have the utmost respect for him. I have respect for his players, too. I've coached most of them, but all of my loyalties are for Amelia now. I do root for Zak all the time, though, when we're not playing him.
"My goal has always been to be a head football coach. When James hired me this year it fulfilled a life long dream. I'm lucky to have the staff I've got, too. They're mostly Amelia graduates I've coached and they do a heck of a job. When I was looking for people to hire for my staff I looked for good people first and then for their coaching abilities."
Jackie is optimistic. "This will be fun. It's just a game and we're all supposed to have fun at games. I'd like to see both teams play their best game and everyone go home happy.
"I'm rooting for both of them. I don't want either of them to lose. . .
"I've worked at both schools and both have great kids."
Vivian Taylor is having quite a time with this situation.
"I wish they didn't have to play each other. I love 'em both. This is really hard on me.
"I've been a big Amelia fan for years. I never thought I'd ever root against Amelia or wear purple. Then Zak started coaching at Glen Este."
Tayor is a 1984 graduate of Amelia where he starred on the gridiron there and at Defiance College.
His coaching career included a season at Bethel-Tate Junior High, one year as a high school varsity assistant and nine years as the Bethel-Tate head coach. He then took a job to be the line coach at Batavia High School.
Ten years ago he began his stellar career as the head coach at Glen Este, very quickly turning a dismal program into a major winner earning state playoff appearances. He hired his brother-in-law to be the defensive coorinator for seven seasons where he made GE a formidable defensive team the same as he had done for the Barons.
"I was four when Jackie and Randy got married," said Taylor. "I'm happy he's getting the opportunity to be a head coach. I wish the best for him and Amelia.
"Randy is very respected and well-liked and tireless. He's always well-prepared and at Glen Este he made us what we are.
"The game is important for both of us, but I'm approaching it like any other game."
A win for Taylor will be his 100th as a head coach.