Jackson Football

Jackson Polar Bear Football History

A History of Competitive Football

County Champions

1953 – 9 – 0 – 1 – HC – Robert Fife (Class A)

1954 – 7 – 1 – HC – Robert Fife (Class A)

1955 – 9 – 0 – HC – Robert Fife (Class A)

1958 – 6 – 2 – HC – Robert Fife (Class AA)

1959 – 7 – 2 – HC – Robert Fife (Class AA)

1960 – 5 – 4 – HC Robert Fife (Class AA)

Federal League Championships

1965 – 10 – 0 – HC – Ray Reese

1986* – 8 – 2 – HC – Rick Campbell

1989* – 8 – 2 – HC – Elmer Scheutz

1990 – 9 – 2 – HC – Elmer Scheutz

1996* – 7 – 3 – HC – Phil Mauro

1998* – 8 – 3 – HC – Phil Mauro

2001 – 9 – 3 (6 – 0) – HC – Phil Mauro

2017* – 8 – 3 (5 – 1) – HC – Tim Budd

*Denotes Share of League Title

Ohio High School Athletic Association State Playoffs

1990 v Massillon Washington (L 15-21) at Fawcett Stadium
1998 v Canton McKinley (L 13-17) at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium 
2000 v North Canton Hoover (L 7-14) @ Robert Fife Stadium 
2001 v Cuyahoga Falls (W 17-14) @ Robert Fife Stadium
2001 v North Canton Hoover (L 9-10) @ Fawcett Stadium
2004 v Toledo Whitmer (L 24-28) @ Robert Fife Stadium
2016 v Cleveland St. Ignatius (L 0-35) @ Byers Field
2017 v Euclid (L 29-49) @ Euclid Community Stadium
2019 v Euclid (L 19-28) @ Euclid Community Stadium
2020 v Brunswick (L 28-42) @ Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium
2021 v Strongsville (W 35-17) @ Robert Fife Stadium
2021 v McKinley (L 28-62) @ Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium
2022 v Berea Midpark (W 28-24) @ Robert Fife Stadium
2022 v St. Edwards (L 0 -42) @ Lakewood Stadiu
2023 v Berea-Midpark (L 26-41) @ George Finnie Stadium

The Beginning

Jackson first fielded a Varsity Football Team in 1930 when Jackson High School was formed through a consolidation of numerous one-room school houses. Cleon Couch served as the programs first head coach. Coach Couch served from 1930 – 1937 helping take the Polar Bears to a 15 – 32 – 1 record during the Great Depression.
*Records for 1932 & 1933 Incomplete

The Robert Fife Years

For 16 years, Robert Fife served at the helm for the Jackson Football Program. Fife was a Jackson staple helping guide the Polar Bears during his tenure to a combined record of 111-41-1. Former Jackson High School Principal Andrew Steve said of Robert Fife, “He set his goals and worked hard to accomplish them. He could get more effort out of those with whom he worked than anyone I’ve ever known.” Coach Fife in 1953 and 1955 led two undefeated football teams, which competed in the Stark Senate League. In 1957 – Ted Stuhldreher (Guard) became the Polar Bears first individual to be named to the WHBC All County Team. In 1958, 1959, and 1960 Ted Rohrer became the first individual in the county to be named to the WHBC three times. Under Coach Fife in 1953 they gave up the fewest points any Polar Bear defense allowed – 25 points. Two years later in 1955 it was the offense this time around that helped win the League. They scored 453 points combined all year (team record) with 73 points (single game record) against East Canton in the final game to win the Class A County Championship.

The Beginning of  the Federal League

In 1964, Jackson Local Schools became a charter member of the Federal League along with – Glenwood (GlenOak), Fairless, Marlington, Perry, South, and Sandy Valley. In 1965, the Polar Bears went 10 – 0 to win the second ever Federal League Championship and the first school to go undefeated in the Federal League. In 1965, to win the Federal League Championship, Jackson beat North Canton Hoover on the final play on a tightend seam to future Ohio State Buckeye – Arch Haer.

The 80’s / 90’s

The 1980’s and early 1990’s brought about the modern Jackson Football Program. The Polar Bears won the Federal League Championship 3 times, 1986, 1989, 1990. Rick Campbell (son Matt Campbell is current Iowa State Head Football Coach) served as the coach from 1983 – 1987 and coached the Bears to a combined record of 27 – 23 winning the League Title in 1986 with Steve Costin and Matt Marshall leading the way making the WHBC All County Team. 
Elmer Schuetz then was hired in 1988 when Coach Campbell became a school district Administrator. Coach Schuetz became the 4th winningest coach in program history in his seven years with a combined record 47-24. Coach Schuetz coached arguably one of the best Jackson Football teams in history in 1990. The Polar Bears were lead by Stark County Player of the Year and 3 Sport Athlete – Jeff Morris. Jeff’s strong support cast included Jeff Tharp (Guard), Dan Craven (RB), Milan Hercig (RB/DB) and Shawn Lutz (WR/TE). In a week nine game QB – Jeff Morris connected 19 times to set a single came reception record to TE –  Shawn Lutz. Shawn went on to play at West Virginia University and today is the Head Football Coach at Slippery Rock University.

The Phil Mauro Era

Today many Jackson Football fans remember the decade plus of legendary Coach Phil Mauro. Coach Mauro was hired in 1995 and coached the Polar Bears for more than a decade. In just his second season the Polar Bears went 7 – 3 and won the Federal League Championship. That 1996 team was led by Brad Detwiler (DB), Rocky Checca (LB), Mike Delaney (K), and Neil Herceg (Guard). Brad Detwiler ended up playing for the University of Akron where he later became a radio analyst for the Zips on gamedays. Rocky Checca was accepted into the Naval Academy where played and then served overseas in the War on Terror. In 2008 Rocky became the pilot for Marine One. 
The 1998 team goes down as one of the top football teams in Jackson Football history. The Polar Bears went 8 – 3 and were led by Eric Skala (DB), Josh Hirshman (DT), Tony Bartholomew (K), and Joe Schweitzer (OT). The 1998 team holds many team and individual records – Team Sacks, 50 in the season; Longest Field Goal – 48 Yards (Tony Bartholomew; and started the career of Jackson great – Jay Rohr who started as a freshmen.
When one thinks of Jackson Football it first starts with Jay Rohr and the 2001 Jackson Football Team. The 2001 Team went 9 – 3 and undefeated in the Federal League. In League play the Polar Bears only gave up 19 points on defense, allowing only 2.8 yards a play. Jay Rohr became the Stark County Football Player of the Year, joined by Miles Stanley (DB) and Justin Stickley (DE) on the WHBC All County Team. The Polar Bears this year won the programs first playoff game at Robert Fife against Cuyahoga Falls 17 – 14. Jay went on to play at the University of Akron where he helped lead the team to a MAC Championship in 2005.

2007 – 2022 Jackson Football

Since Phil Mauro the Polar Bears have had three head coaches at the helm. Thom McDaniel’s led the program in 2007 and 2008 coaching one of the most electrifying athletes to come through Jackson – Carlin Isles (Two Time USA Olympic Rugby Team).
In 2009 Jackson then hired Beau Balderson. Beau led the Polar Bears for six years until Jackson hired head coach Tim Budd. Under Coach Budd the Polar Bears won one Federal League Title (2017), and made the playoffs five times (2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2021). In 2021 the Polar Bears beat Strongsville 35-17 to win the second playoff game program history. Under Coach Budd the Polar Bears had tremendous multi-sport athletes lead the Polar Bears to success. One comes to mind over the others – 2016 WHBC Player of the Year – Dillon Dingler (Current Detroit Tigers Minor League Catcher). Coach Budd’s teams have brought back traditional Jackson football teams, known for their physical style of play and strong defense. 

Modern Day Jackson Football

On February 22nd, 2022 the Jackson Local School District Board of Education hired Jackson High School Alumni – Jay Rohr to serve as the 20th Head Coach of the Polar Bear Football Program. In his first season, Coach Rohr went 6-6 losing in the second round of the playoffs against Cleveland St. Edwards.