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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Sports

To fully appreciate Mike Prothero's status on the Northwood football team, perhaps it's best to take a look back at

pic-Prothero3
Northwood senior back Mike Prothero
in Northwood’s win over Lake in the
Battle for Lemoyne Road. (Photo by
Don Thompson/picasaweb.google.com
/donrachael)

 how he got here.

Prothero, a two-time first-team All-Toledo Area Athletic Conference linebacker, quickly became an impact player for coach Ken James' Rangers back in 2007.

“Mike has started at linebacker since he was a freshman,” James said. “He rotated in at running back his freshman year and he's been a full-time linebacker ever since. He didn't earn playing time by default. He was good enough to start on an 8-2 football team. He was a kid who wasn't afraid, even when he was young.”

Prothero (5-10, 189) was able to gain the respect of his older teammates during his freshman year. He also performed well enough to earn second-team All-TAAC honors that season.

“There was still a lot of pressure on me as far as playing,” Prothero said. “It was easy pressure-wise, mostly because of all the seniors I played with. I was pretty close with the seniors. I've always been pretty close with the whole team.”

Prothero said he was asked to become a “team leader” during his freshman season, but he turned down the offer because he didn't feel he had earned that responsibility.

“I didn't want to stir up anything,” he said. “I wanted to work up a couple years to become a team leader.”

Prothero is now one of Northwood's senior captains, and he has become comfortable in a leadership role. He's helped the Rangers win three straight TAAC championships, and they are a heavy favorite to win a fourth straight title this season. Northwood also reached the Division V state playoffs in 2009.

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You'll have to excuse the coaching staff at Genoa for not knowing the exact location of the Celestial Ball trophy.

pic-CelestialBall2
Genoa senior running back Seth
Dufendock celebrates after scoring
on a 13-yard run with 2:06 left in
the first half in the Comets 15-7
win over Oak Harbor. (Press photo
by Harold Hamilton/HEHPhotos.
lifepics.com).

That is, the one the Comets “retired” after beating Oak Harbor in football for the third straight season – 36 years ago.

“The old trophy, from 1974, was in our superintendent's office,” Genoa coach Mike Vicars said. “We were trying to show it around the school, but no one knew where it was.”

Superintendent Dennis Mock said the gold, 16-inch-tall trophy was moved to the school district's new administration office six years ago.

“We put in two display cases and one is for memorabilia that people have brought in, such as yearbooks and programs,” Mock said. “They were cleaning out a trophy case at the high school and they said, hey, this would be good for the memorabilia trophy case. One of them was the Celestial Ball.

“Mike (Vicars), not being here at that time, they were looking all over for it. Mike Thomas, our co-athletic director, walked over to ask me if I knew where the trophy was and he says, 'Here's the trophy!' He said, 'We've been looking all over the high school for that.' It's still in good shape.”

The Celestial Ball trophy, first introduced in 1965, is given to the Genoa-Oak Harbor winner each year. Any team winning three straight games in the Ottawa County rivalry retires the trophy, and a new trophy is awarded the following season.

Heading into last Friday's showdown at Genoa, the Comets hadn't beaten Oak Harbor three years in a row since coach Jim Firestone's squads won five straight over the Rockets from 1972-76. Genoa retired the trophy in 1974, following a 21-20 win.

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Waite will be looking to reverse recent history as they look to knock off the Clay Eagles in this year’s River East

pic-WaiteFB3
Waite sophomore quarterback
Johnny Douanglee takes off
downfield during the Indian’s
31-7 season opening loss to
Maumee at Mollenkopf Stadium.
(Press photo by John Pollock/
www.pollock.smugmug.com)

 Bowl.

Clay coach Mike Donnelly is undefeated and riding a three-game series winning streak into this year’s game. Meanwhile, Waite coach Gardner Howard enters only his second year of the rivalry.

“We will be in for a battle,” Donnelly said.

Waite improved by two wins last year, and look to take the next step by beating Clay.

“We’ve gotten better,” Howard said. “We’ve shown improvement. We just lost a heartbreaker to Northview when we gave up a big play with 30 seconds left. It was hard to swallow.”

After that game, Waite had to take on Perrysburg before the River East battle. So, they should be battle tested coming into the big game.

“We expect to see an improved Waite team,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly’s team is 1-1 on the season and the fourth-year coach is looking for improvement from his team’s offense.

“We’ve been up and down. Defensively we’ve done real well,” he said. “Offensively we’re struggling.”

Clay will take on Springfield the week before the Waite game.

Last year’s River East matchup was a close game at halftime before turnovers and a couple of big plays turned the tide in the favor of Clay.

“It’s a rivalry,” Donnelly said. “It’s always going to be a tough game.”

The winner of each year’s matchup gets to control the Oil Barrel Trophy, and Donnelly hopes his team can keep it.

“As long as I’m head coach, I’d like to keep it at my place,” Donnelly said.

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Giving money to people along road

Do you feel compelled to give money to people holding signs along the road asking for money?
1886570323 [{"id":"10","title":"No, I'm not sure they're legitimate.","votes":"28","pct":63.64,"type":"x","order":"1","resources":[]},{"id":"11","title":"No, I'm afraid they will use it for drugs.","votes":"10","pct":22.73,"type":"x","order":"2","resources":[]},{"id":"12","title":"Yes, I feel good about helping someone down on their luck.","votes":"5","pct":11.36,"type":"x","order":"3","resources":[]},{"id":"13","title":"Yes, we could all end up like that.","votes":"1","pct":2.27,"type":"x","order":"4","resources":[]}] ["#194e84","#3b6b9c","#1f242a","#37414a","#60bb22","#f2babb"] sbar 160 160 /communitypolls/vote/1-root.html?Itemid=246&id=5 No answer selected. Please try again. Thank you for your vote. Answers Votes ...