The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


Spend about five minutes with first-year Gibsonburg football coach Steve Reser and chances are you'll be ready to

  Gibsonburg football coach Steve Reser

 put on a helmet and pads and get dirty.

“He's high-energy,” Gibsonburg Athletic Director Brent Liskai said. “He keeps things in a positive perspective. We like his enthusiasm and what he brings to us. I think there's a huge upside. He's excited about what he's doing and I think that will get our kids excited. His enthusiasm rubs off on them.”

Reser initially met his new team back in mid-March, after he beat out approximately 19 other applicants to replace Matt Harp as Gibsonburg's new head coach.

“They were all ears,” Reser recalled, “and they were more curious about me. Kids don't realize how important it is for head coaches to have that good first impression on their players. I don't think they knew I was nervous. They were curious, eager to find out who their next coach was and what kind of guy he would be.”

Reser, 33, inherited a team that went 3-7 and 1-5 in the Suburban Lakes League a year ago. He has never been a head coach before, but he was an offensive coordinator at Seneca East for five years and for one season at Tiffin Columbian.


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

Northwood senior back Mike Prothero
in Northwood’s win over Lake in the
Battle for Lemoyne Road. (Photo by
Don Thompson/

 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.


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

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.

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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