(9-18-16) In 1983 Celina had what many are saying is the best football team in school history. The Bulldogs would win just the 7th (95, 94, 83, 68, 65, 51, 39) WBL title that the school holds. The ‘Green and White’ would go 12-1, picking up the first ever play-off runs in school history and than losing to a very good Brecksville team 12-6 in the D2 State Final Game at Ohio State.
The Bulldogs during the regular season had as balanced a team as you can have, they scored 282 points (28.2 average) and the defense was as stingy as any in school history, giving up just 56 points (5.6 average) including 3 shut-outs (O-G, Defiance and Van Wert).
The Bulldogs did have one scare during the season, when they beat lakeside rival St. Marys 9-7, thanks to a game winning 27 yard field goal on the right hash mark by Dave Knous.
Celina was led by Head Coach Jerry Harris, who became the head man after being the head coach at one of Ohio’s most well known football programs Stuebenville and a run at Lima Senior. He would coach the Bulldogs from 1981-1999 and again in 2006-2007 (21 years total). Harris is the current all-time winningest coach in Bulldog history with 134 wins, 3rd in win percentage at.604
Jerry Harris comments in the 1984 Anilec
The Bulldogs were led by Junior QB Jeff Wiley, who had receivers like Gary Fenning and Tim Frysinger and one of the all time best running backs in school history Rick Ross. Defense was led by Kerry Roberts, who was one of the hardest hitters on the team. Roberts was just part of a very solid defense. Only one player Greg Eichenauer went both ways (Center and Linebacker) and he was a good one. Two platooning benefited Celina through the regular season and their play-off run. The Dogs managed to remain healthy during the 13 game season, that was a key in the run.
One of the most impressive games of 1983 for the Bulldogs was their State semifinal playoff win over Lemon-Monroe 29-0 at Welcome Stadium in Dayton. This game highlighted the balance Celina had during the season. On offense Senior Running Back Rick Ross had 208 rushing yards on 17 carries (2 TDs and and a 2 point conversion), Senior Receiver Gary Fennig added 117 receiving yards (2 TDs). The Bulldogs turned Eddie ‘The Dream’ Martin’s game into a nightmare holding the back to just 67 yards rushing.
The Bulldogs run ended when at Ohio State when they ran into future Ohio State and NFL Quarterback Tom Tupa who led Brecksville to a 12-6 win for the D2 Championship.
A big hook and ladder play and a 49 yard FG by Tupa keyed the Bees win over Celina.
Highlights of the 1983 Brecksville State Championship Win Over Celina
Celina’s appearance in the Championship game would be the first for any Mercer County school, although Coach Ken Meyer and his Marion Local Flyers came close in 1981 but lost in the D5 semifnal game to Tiffin Calvert 27-0.
1983 Div II Semifinals (Akron & Dayton) Brecksville-Broadview Heights def. Youngstown Ursuline (10-2) 13-0 Celina def. Monroe Lemon-Monroe (10-2) 29-0 Div II FINAL (Ohio Stadium, Columbus) Brecksville-Broadview Heights (13-0, Coach Joe Vadini) def. 12-6 Celina (12-1, Coach Jerry Harris) 1981 Div V Semifinals (Canton & Lima) Newark Catholic def. Mogadore (8-4) 7-0 Tiffin Calvert def. Maria Stein Marion Local (11-1) 27-0
‘Balanced’ Bulldogs In The Record Book
Single Game Passing 248 - Jeff Wiley vs Wapakoneta (3rd) Passing Yards Season 1,760 (7th) Touchdown Passes Season 15 (9th) Pass Reception Yards Season 575 - Gary Fenning 508 - Rick Ross 504 - Tim Frysinger Pass Receptions Season 45 - Gary Fenning Single Game Yards Rushing 221 - Rick Ross vs Lemon-Monroe (State Semifianls)
1983 Defense – (records since 1980)
Tackles Season - Kerry Roberts 121 (6th) Negative Hits Season - 13 (-58 yards) Edmund Warren (11th) 15 (-50 yards) Greg Eichenhauer (16th) 86 (-302) - Team Pass Knockdowns Season - 11 - Mark King (3rd) 34 - Team (3rd) Fumble Recoveries (all tied for 1st) Mark Bollenbacher - 4 Dan Hawkey - 4 Mark King - 4 Interceptions 19 - Team