Maumee and Perrysburg clash for the 88th time tonight in one of the area's fiercest rivalries and a coveted trophy with a peculiar name goes to the victors.
Since 1960, the cross-river rivals have battled for the Ding-Dong Bell.
"There is definitely a lot more intensity." Maumee coach John Boles said. "It means a lot to both communities. There is a sense of purpose to this rivalry. We know the story behind [the bell] and we know it's a big deal."
According to the legend, the bell was used at Fort Meigs on the Perrysburg side of the Maumee River in the early 1800s.
The bell, which was used to summon troops, got its nickname from the local Indians. When one heard the bell, he reportedly remarked, "White man make 'um ding-dong."
The bell was lost in the river in 1816 when it was being transferred to Fort Miami on the Maumee side. It was raised in 1959, mounted on wheels and has been awarded to the winner of the Maumee-Perrysburg game since 1960.
"There's no doubt it is a big thing for both schools and towns to be fighting for that bell," said Perrysburg athletic director Ray Pohlman, who was the head football coach for five years and has been an assistant for an additional 20 years.
"It was found right in the middle of the river," said Pohlman, whose school has owned it the past two years. "The kids love it. They paint it and it's on display all year. They have a parade with it down Main Street."
Perrysburg (3-1, 0-1 NLL) leads the all-time series with a 47-35-5 record, according to archives at Maumee. The Yellow Jackets travel to Maumee (2-2, 0-1) having won two straight in the series, including a 52-17 triumph last season.
"This is kind of an old neighborhood kind of thing," Perrysburg coach Matt Kregel said. "People have lived in these towns for generations. The bell is something that the kids recognize from elementary school on. They have t-shirts with the bell on it. And when they get their chance to paint it and put their name on it, it's a huge highlight."
Over the last 10 years, the Yellow Jackets hold a 6-4 advantage. The series is tied 3-3 over the last six years.
Maumee suffered a major blow last week when senior quarterback Jordan Jakacki broke his ankle in a game against Rossford. He is out for the season. Jakacki was 37 of 60 for 562 yards.
"He is an awfully good player," Boles said. "I feel terrible for him. He worked so hard."
Boles said he plans to possibly play more than one quarterback, including last week's replacement, sophomore Jake Goatley.
"I believe we will recover and be fine," Boles said.
Maumee, which won just one game last season, already has surpassed that total through week four this year.
Running back Justin Rinstaff, the team's leading rusher, likely will be called upon to pick up the slack. Receivers Kyle Bowell and Damon Contat are among the top wideouts in the league.
"We have to make sure not to turn the ball over and do a good job with field position," Boles said. "We want to make sure we play defense well and block well."
The Yellow Jackets are the defending NLL champions and are off to another good start under second-year coach Kregel. But Perrysburg suffered its first setback of the season last Friday when it dropped a 27-21 decision to Bowling Green.
The Yellow Jackets have averaged 27.5 points per game and yielded just 15 per contest.
"We need to come out and dictate the tempo of the game," Kregel said. "We have to throw the first punch and take it to them."
The Yellow Jackets have relied heavily on running back Taylor Dimmerling, who leads the league with eight touchdowns. Dimmerling also is ranked second in the NLL with 450 rushing yards on 73 carries (6.2 per tote). Fellow running back Brandon Butler is averaging over 10 yards per carry.
Quarterback Derrick Garcia has completed 17 of 42 attempts for 249 yards and has rushed for 201 yards. Senior wideout Tim Mishka has 11 catches for 158 yards.
"It's amazing how the towns show up for this game," Pohlman said. "The intensity of the game is at its highest level. It's like Ohio State and Michigan. You can throw records and everything else out the window."
HEISMAN NIGHT: Maumee's most famous alum, Heisman Trophy winner Dick Kazmaier, also will be on hand. Kazmaier, who won the Heisman while playing at Princeton University in 1951, is donating a duplicate of the trophy to the school.
Kazmaier graduated from Maumee in 1948 after winning 17 varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball, and track. A halftime ceremony is planned to honor Kazmaier.
CORRECTION: The Northern Lakes League golf tournament will take place Monday at Riverby Hills Golf Course.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6354.