If you are attending high school tournament games, and you spot a man, about 5-foot-6, wearing a baker boy cap and walking with a cane, chances are it is Dave Spengler.
Spengler, a 1971 Elmwood graduate, and Sylvania resident Dave Sigler, are the publishers of Davey1.com — a high school boys basketball website that publishes two editions of “The Trial Trash” each season.
Unfortunately, in the eastern Maumee Bay region most of the boys’ teams were done by the time sectionals ended. However, “The Swami” at Davey1.com in Year 17, Issue 1, predicted Genoa would win a Division III sectional title.
“Genoa is the mystery team at Whitmer. The Comets have some size and good athletes although the whole isn’t always greater than the sum of the parts. Evergreen cannot be excited having Genoa on their side of the bracket. Both Swanton and Lake could pull the upset with Swanton having the better chance,” The Swami wrote.
The Swami’s predictions did not come true. Spengler emphasizes that The Swami is Sigler, but it is Spengler who began the website. Spengler, who for the past decade has been an accounting and computer maintenance specialist at NAT Transportation about seven miles south of Pemberville, met Sigler when both lived in Bowling Green.
“For a long time, starting back in mid-80s, I was doing tournament brackets. I’d been to the state tournament every year since 1979, and I started doing these tournament brackets on paper for myself and some of my friends and maybe distribute 20 copies of that,” Spengler said.
“I made up the brackets and copied them off on a copy sheet and stapled them and gave them out. So then, after a few years doing that in the mid-90s, my friend (Sigler) that works with me on the website here offered to me to do this commentary about the tournament and predict winners and losers, and we do two editions. That’s when we started calling this thing ‘The Trail Trash.’
“We do an edition right before the sectional began and that would cover the sectionals and the districts, and then we would do another commentary when regionals started and take it all the way through the state championship. Then, I had this Davey1 website that I was putting a lot of miscellaneous personal stuff on, and it had nothing to do with basketball at all to begin with, and he and I sat down in the summer of 2004 and said, ‘What more can we do? What should we do? Let’s put ‘The Trail Trash’ commentary and tournament brackets on the website,’ but we wanted to do something else.
“So we thought, ‘Let’s do some schedules and keep them updated.’ It’s a lot of work to come up with every score, but I have a lot of fun doing it, too, and I couldn’t do it without him.”
“Anyway, we decided we wanted to do more than one league. Well, where do you break it off then, you know? So we decided to do the whole Northwest District. So that first year, it was tough, the 2004-05 season, coming up with all the schedules and the internet wasn’t as heavily used as it is right now. We finally got them mostly by sending out letters to the athletic directors and coaches, and many of them responded. A lot of them didn’t. One way or another, we got all the schedules and we’ve been doing it every year since.”
If you ever want to find a basketball score, go to Davey1.com. It’s updated daily — about as close to being 100 percent guaranteed as one can get.
There is more to Spengler then his website and tournament games. During the regular season, he is attending games regularly and it is rarely an Elmwood game. However, he did attend the second Suburban Lakes League contest between the Royals and Comets.
“Genoa didn’t look very good. They had a bunch of turnovers, bad passing, and Elmwood was getting was lay-ups. It wasn’t a very pretty game to watch.
Elmwood won 60-44,” Spengler said. “I expected something closer than that. They beat Elmwood bad the first time over at Genoa, but it wasn’t anything like that this time.”
When the Northern Buckeye Conference (Eastwood, Elmwood, Genoa, Lake, Woodmore, Otsego, Fostoria, and Rossford) begins play in two years, Spengler is thankful for one thing — the “Battle of the Woods” is guaranteed to continue.
“It’s been great over the years. I really enjoy going to those, and it just wouldn’t be the same without it. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the demise of the SLL,” Spengler said. “It would have been a shame to separate Eastwood and Elmwood into two leagues, because that could have happened since Elmwood applied into the MAL and wasn’t accepted. But they finally got accepted into this new league.”
But he recalls a day when Rossford dominated the Northern Lakes League in the late 1960s when it was closer to being the same size as the other schools, which then included Eastwood, Elmwood, Genoa, and Lake, and believes Fostoria will create a challenge.
“I think we just have to wait and see. I think it’s probably going to be okay, because all the teams are a pretty good fit,” Spengler said. “There is not one that is going to be way below the others, or one that is going to be way above the others. I think it’s probably going to work, though, and that’s the bottom line. It’s really going to be good for Fostoria to give these other schools some good competition, too.”
Plus, he is full of history. He has found memories of the Ron Hammye-led 1973-74 Genoa team that qualified for the Class AA state tournament. At his alma mater, he remembers legendary Royal players like Ken Sander, a small shooting guard who often scored 30 or more points lighting up the floor with high-arching 20 to 25 set shots that only counted for two points around the time Spengler was in school.
Spengler can only imagine Sander’s scoring numbers with today’s 3-point arc, but believes the game has changed in other ways, too.
“The 3-point line has obviously changed a lot. It’s nice for the fans. It makes it a lot more interesting,” Spengler said. “I think it’s like any other sport. You’ve got better athletes (today) that are conditioned better, they work at it harder, and it’s just good for everybody.”