Former players welcome at 100th anniversary ceremony

The 100th anniversary of the first football game between Genoa and Oak Harbor will be celebrated this year when the two schools meet on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. at Oak Harbor High School in the annual Celestial Bowl Trophy game.
A ceremony on the field including former coaches and players will take place prior to the game in one of Ohio’s best rivalries. Top players from every decade back to the 1940s are scheduled to participate.
The two Ottawa County schools first played on October 23, 1919, with Genoa winning 12-0. In fact, the schools played each other twice in the first season and played twice four times in the first six seasons. Genoa began playing football that year and Oak Harbor has been playing since 1908.
In 1965, the Celestial Bowl Trophy was introduced and is annually presented to the winning team. The trophy was sponsored by the Oak Harbor Rotary Club and Genoa Jaycees. In the 1970s, the Genoa Kiwanis replaced the Jaycees as the sponsor.
Although this marks the 100th anniversary of the first game, the rivalry has not been consecutive — making this the 95th meeting. The teams did not meet during 10 seasons (1922, 1925, 1947, 1986-92) but played twice in some early seasons.
The 1947 game had to be cancelled because of a polio scare after two Genoa players were hospitalized with polio. Genoa finished that 1947 season with an 8-0 record and won its third consecutive Ottawa County championship.
The rivalry was unable to be played during the 1986-92 seasons due to scheduling conflicts when Oak Harbor left the Suburban Lakes League.
The all-time series has been extremely close with Oak Harbor leading 47-43-4.
Interesting facts about the rivalry:
• Genoa won the first six games before a tie in 1923 (the second meeting that season). Oak Harbor won the next five before ties in 1930 and 1931.
• Oak Harbor’s longest winning streak in the rivalry is nine (1980-85, 1993-95 – no games from 1986-92; and again from 1999-2007).
• Genoa’s longest winning streak in the rivalry is seven (2008-2014).
• Coaches with the most wins in rivalry — Oak Harbor’s Gary Quisno (19-3 from 1979-2007 with no game in seven seasons) and Genoa’s Jim Firestone, the school’s all-time winningest coach (11-6-1 from 1959-76). Quisno coached the longest in the rivalry, although there was a break of seven years during his time.
Both schools have tremendous football histories and both rank among the top 65 schools (among 713) in Ohio for all-time wins. Oak Harbor’s first season was in 1908 and the Rockets have compiled 536 wins (through 2018). Genoa’s first season was 1919 and the Comets have 519 victories.
Oak Harbor has won 17 league championships (five Ottawa County, eight Sandusky Bay Conference, four Suburban Lakes League) and finished the regular season undefeated five times. The Rockets have reached the state playoffs nine times.
Genoa has won 23 league championships (eight Ottawa County, 12 Suburban Lakes League, three Northern Buckeye Conference) and finished the regular season undefeated 11 times. In the school’s 100th season last year, the Comets were ranked No. 1 in Ohio in Division V in the final Associated Press poll and reached the state playoffs for the 11th time.

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