Home of Champions

March 19, 2022

Town mottos.  Webster is of course, “Where Life is Worth Living.”  Penfield is the less inspiring “Town of Planned Progress.”  “Discover the Promise” of Greece.  Irondequoit is the “Town for a Lifetime.”  East Rochester is the “Home of Champions.”   Now there’s a tough title to live up to.

It was a reputation built on the backs of the football, wrestling and field hockey programs.  Field hockey was so big at the small school that ER didn’t even field a girls soccer team well into the 80s.  Don Quinn was the driving force in wrestling and football.  Coaching the two sports for three decades, he won 16 league wrestling titles and owned a run of seven straight sectional crowns.  He won seven Monroe County League football titles and a state crown by going undefeated in 1978.  There’s a Facebook page dedicated to that team.  Quinn… for whom the football field is now named… also won the Little Brown Jug a record 17 times.

In 1939 East Rochester and Fairport began playing for the Little Brown Jug.  It became the state’s longest running football rivalry.  The series lasted 49 years with East Rochester owning a 27-22-1 edge.  It was discontinued in 1987 when the sides reluctantly agreed that Fairport had grown too large with an enrollment six times that of ER.  Fairport won 9 of the last 11 contests and the final five when the Little Brown Jug was retired.

Photo courtesy of the Perinton Historical Society

These days East Rochester football has merged with Gananda… a town that didn’t so much as exist when most of the Little Brown Jug games were played.  But last fall, the combined schools won a program record 12 games and advanced to the state semifinals.  And this month the East Rochester girls likewise became the first Bomber basketball team to play into the state semis.  The tradition lives on.  If you’re still going to call yourself the Home of Champions, it’s nice to be able to back it up.

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