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100 Years of Football in the Berea City School District


1949 was the beginning of a 26-year run in the reconstituted Greater Cleveland Conference. It must have been a bit of a culture shock, though. Instead of traveling through Lorain and Medina Counties for most of their road trips, the soon-to-be Braves headed east almost exclusively. The other charter members of the new GCC were Bedford, Brush (South Euclid-Lyndhurst), Garfield Heights, and Maple Heights. And the eastern trend continued with the addition of Willoughby Union (from Lake County) in 1950. There was a minor change in 1960 when Willoughby Union was split into two schools: Eastlake North and Willoughby South. North High was immediately established as a GCC member, so the league continued as a six-team circuit with Berea being the only team west of the Cuyahoga River.

But a big change was brewing on the west side.

The village of Berea had achieved city status when the 1930 census determined its population had exceeded 5,000 persons. In the 1960 census, the villages of Brook Park and Middleburg Heights both crossed the same threshold. In that same year it was announced that the Berea City Schools would be constructing a second high school to serve the expanding population of the district. Midpark High (cost: $3.3 million) opened in September, 1962.

For football, Midpark fielded junior varsity and freshman teams in 1962. Varsity gridders that had transferred to Midpark for classes were bussed to Berea for daily football practice. The ’62 squad was the final team (until 2013) to represent the entire school district.

In 1963, Brush High School left the GCC and Midpark assumed their spot as the football season began. The Meteors played varsity game #1 on September 6th in Watts Stadium at Baldwin Wallace. Final score: Midpark 34, North Olmsted 32! The Meteors finished a very respectable 6-4 in their first season. In addition to beating North Olmsted, they also toppled Shaw, St. Edward, Olmsted Falls, Canton Lehman…and the Berea Braves. (Note: Midpark was victorious in six of the first seven games played versus their “sister school.”)

The GCC became an eight-team league in 1968 with the addition of Mayfield, Mentor, and Willoughby South, and the departure of Garfield Heights. The same eight schools represented the GCC in football from 1968 to 1974.

On September 10, 1971 BHS hosted North Olmsted in the first game played at Finnie Stadium. The 8,100-seat facility was built on the site of Watts Stadium, and was the first artificial turf field used for high school games in the state of Ohio! Fun Fact: The bleachers from old Watts Stadium were trucked down Bagley Road to Olmsted Falls. Fans of the Bulldogs enjoyed the gift from Baldwin Wallace for several decades.

During the GCC years, the Berea School District earned six championship trophies:

1954 and 1956, Berea High (Coach: Don Spillman)
1960 and 1961, Berea High (Coach: Bob Bell)
1964 and 1969, Midpark High (Coach: Dick Lowry)

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Larry

    June 16, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    I Played in that game for Zaneville. triple ot game in cold sleet wind and snow ! I would like to talk to anyone that saw that game !

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