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5 facts you should know about area high schools and the NFL

We bet you’ll never guess both area high schools that produced the most NFL alumni, but there’s good reason for it.

We learned that and more perusing Pro-Football-Reference.com’s database*.

Here are five takeaways that might surprise you:

1. Middletown and Steele High Schools lead the way with 11 alumni who have played in the NFL.

If you’ve never heard of Steele High School, you’re forgiven. The old downtown Dayton education destination closed during World War II.

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But the Lions left their mark on the NFL by supplying nearly a dozen players to the league – perhaps not coincidentally all members of the Dayton Triangles, a founding member.

Other since-closed Dayton public schools also have multiple NFL alumni: University of Dayton Prep (nine), Roosevelt (five) and Roth (four).

As for those still open, Dunbar leads the way with six.

Jalin Marshall became the 11th Middie to play in the NFL last season, joining the likes of Todd Bell, Sonny Gordon, Jeff Cothran and Hall of Famer Cris Carter. 

The Dayton Triangles football team (1920-1929) played in the first game for what is now known as the National Football League (NFL). The Triangles beat the Columbus Panhandles 14-0 on Oct. 3, 1920 in Dayton s Triangle Park. During the course of the game, the Triangles Lou Partlow scored the first touchdown and George Hobby Kinderline kicked the point after, making NFL history. The Triangles were made up of weekend players, like most of the early NFL teams. Their manager Carl Storck participated in the formation of the NFL at Ralph Hays Hupmobile dealership in Canton in 1920; in 1921 he was named league secretary-treasurer; and in 1939 he became president of the NFL. In 1929 the Triangles franchise was sold and moved to Brooklyn, New York. The present-day Indianapolis Colts can trace their ancestry to the original Dayton Triangles. Although many relocations, name changes and thrilling NFL games have transpired since then, Dayton can be proud of the Triangles' role in the start of it all. (Inducted: 2008) (HANDOUT)

2. The area has been part of the NFL from the beginning.

According to PFR, 11 area players took part in the first NFL season (1920).

They came from a wide swath of the area: five from Dayton, two from Miamisburg, one apiece from Urbana (Ken Crawford), Springfield (Glenn Tidd) and Jamestown (Guy Early).

Another player, Larry Dellinger, is listed as having attended both Osborn and UD Prep.

Fifteen area grads played in the NFL last season. 

3. Troy has bragging rights over Piqua.

The Trojans and Indians have a long, storied rivalry on the field, and they have sent a combined dozen players to the NFL.

Troy has the edge, though, with seven alumni in the NFL compared to five from Piqua.

The Trojan contingent includes star runners from Ohio State (Bob Ferguson) and Michigan (Gordon Bell).

4. Thirteen schools have at least six NFL alumni.

University of Dayton Prep is third on our list with nine NFL alumni while Alter, Centerville, Chaminade/Chaminade-Julienne, Hamilton, Miamisburg, Dunbar, Stivers and Wayne all have six former players who made it all the way to the pros.

Springfield High has seven NFL alumni along with three more from Springfield North.

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28: Braxton Miller #13 of the Houston Texans is tackled by Ronald Zamort #38 of the Arizona Cardinals after a reception in the second quarter of a preseason NFL game at NRG Stadium on August 28, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

5. Twelve area players have suited up for Cincinnati.

A dozen alumni of high schools in the area played for pay in Cincinnati, including three who suited up for a team called the Celts in the 1920s.

The most recent area Bengal: Mike Nugent of Centerville, who wore Orange and Black up to last season.

*PFR’s database has some errors. Some players in the database are assigned to the wrong high school, and some high schools are assigned to the wrong city. We weeded out the ones we could find, so our numbers differ from the PFR database in some ways. If you see a mistake we didn’t catch, please let us know at marcus.hartman@coxinc.com.

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