By Scott Mincher’
If you currently attend, previously attended and played for Poland Seminary high school, Or you’re just a fan of the football program excitement is palpable throughout the village of Poland Ohio in 2019. That’s because of the great stretch of football the Bulldogs are currently in the middle of, Most recently the 35-0 shellacking of Indian Creek as they continue their march toward what players, coaches, and fans hope ends with a state championship celebration. Speaking of Poland Seminary and state championship celebrations, It only seems to fit that if we’re talking about Poland bringing home another title to the area, We remember the scary good 1999 Bulldogs during the twentieth anniversary of that dominant title team. On December 3rd, 1999 Poland Seminary beat Bishop Watterson 20-13 for the state championship finishing the season at 15-0. Not only did they go undefeated, but they did so in style. That season if you include the playoffs, Poland outscored their opponents 350-102 starting with a 42-0 week 1 smashing of Springfield. The closest game they played that season was to the tune of a 23-21 victory over Steubenville in the playoffs. You can view the full 1999 schedule and game results via joeeitel.com As far as records and achievements go in connection with 1999 Bulldogs football, halfback Peter Perry As a senior caption of the football team was named the team’s offensive player of the year and was chosen first-team All-MAC and All Quad County. As a junior, Pete had 2,500 total yards on offense and was the team’s offensive player of the year. The 1999 football team finished the season with the state of Ohio’s first 15-0 record and the school’s first and only state championship. Peter was the MVP of the state title game. He was also picked First Team All Ohio and All-Northeast Ohio. He played his final high school game representing Poland at the Penn-Ohio All-Star game.
Pete was also a four-year letterman in track and field and was a member of the 199 track and field state championship team. Additionally, Pete played on the Poland High School club hockey team for three years.
In August 2005, Pete graduated from Youngstown State University with a BSBA in international marketing. He worked for Ball Corporation as a sales representative while earning his MBA in international business from Keller Graduate School of Business. he also worked for Ardagh Group, an international packaging company, as a technical sales manager. Peter played running back for the Bulldogs from 1998-2001. He also holds individual records for All-Purpose Yards 5067 (1998/1999/2000 rushing attempts with 326 (1999) total points 144 (1999) 228 from (1998/1999/2000) Touchdowns scored with 24 in 1999 and 38 for his career during the (1998/1999/2000) seasons, and yards rushing with 2449 during the championship season and 4004 yards rushing for his career during the (1998/1999/2000) seasons.
The second and last character we at YSN thought would make for a vital and important piece to the story is the quarterback of the 1999 champion Bulldogs, Ben Bair. Ben achieved First Team All Ohio honors while throwing his way into the Poland high school football record books with 2,345 passing yards and 22 touchdown passes. In the years after Bair and Perry’s playing days, it’s been debated by writers covering that time of the glory days of Poland football as to which player was more of a key piece to that team’s championship puzzle. For more on this, read the Letter To The Editor posted on July 15th, 2010 on towncrieronline.com.
It’s always fun to play the hypothetical game and in this case, it does make me wonder if Poland’s 2019 head coach Ryan Williams sees any similarities to Peter Perry in current running back Josh Alessi who finished with 143 yards and three scores on 25 carries in the victory over Indian Creek. Or if it feels at all like 1999 with current quarterback Jack Fulton and his knack for big playmaking that Ben Bair made a common theme in 99?
This current collection of dogs still have a lot of work to do. But they seem very confident that the big bite in these dogs is back as they look to party like it’s 1999!
Video Copyright: YouTube