Big plays trademark of Snyder’s playing, coaching career

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 22, 2001

Making big plays is a trademark of a Mark Snyder-coached defense or special team.

Sunday, July 22, 2001

Making big plays is a trademark of a Mark Snyder-coached defense or special team.

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But when looking at Mark Snyder the player, making big plays shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Snyder coached the Minnesota Gophers defensive ends for four seasons and the team averaged 40.7 sacks a game and produced two All-Americans.

In six seasons at Youngstown State, the Penguins reached the I-AA title game four times and won two titles. And Snyder coached the special teams from 1994-96 and YSU recorded an amazing 14 blocked punts.

The "big play" trademark started in high school for Snyder.

An outstanding quarterback and safety, Snyder helped engineer a 35-14 shellacking of the Ashland Tomcats in his first start for the Ironton Fighting Tigers. He ran five times for 33 yards and hit his only pass for 21 yards.

"Snyder played exceptionally well running the option for the first time out. I was impressed at the way he handled himself," Ironton coach Bob Lutz said after the game.

Not surprising was the fact two of Snyder’s biggest games came in the 1982 Ohio High School Athletic Association state playoffs: A 28-20 semifinal win over No. 1-ranked Urbana and a 21-14 loss to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s in the championship game.

Urbana and All-Ohio running back Jeff Rogan couldn’t match Snyder who 13 times for 74 yards and hit 3-of-7 passes for 59 yards.

It was Snyder’s 65-yard run to the Urbana 1-yard line with less than a minute before halftime that turned the game around. John Paul Pemberton scored on the next play and tied the game at 14-14.

Although Ironton lost the state title game against the Irish who got three touchdowns from future All-American and NFL star Frank Stams, Snyder turned in a remarkable performance.

Snyder was 12-of-19 fro 143 yards including a 24-yard scoring strike to Mark Fields. He also ran 3 yards for a touchdown.

His 19 passing attempts and 143 passing yards stood as a title game records until only a few years ago. He shared the 12 completions record with another Ironton quarterback, Brent Wilcoxon, who accomplished the same feat in the 1979 state title game, also against Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s.

The trend continued at the college level.

An initial stop at Northeast Oklahoma A&M Junior College saw Snyder quarterback his team to the JUCO national championship game.

During his senior year at Marshall University, Snyder set a school and Southern Conference record with 10 interceptions in a single season.

He earned first team All-SC honors and honorable mention Division I-AA All-American.