Carroll has yet to contend for the postseason or a Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North Division title since alum Ben Rulli took over as head football coach. But he’s certain the Patriots are on the winning track.
“We’re really blessed that we have such an alumni network that gives back like this to give those messages to the boys that football is just an avenue to becoming a man,” said Rulli following an inspiring talk by former Ohio State football co-captain Ahmed Plummer on Monday night to the team and parents at the school.
“I think I speak for every coach in the Miami Valley. We love the game of football. It’s the lessons on the field that transition these young men to men, which is the ultimate victory.”
Faith, hope and love was the theme Plummer shared as part of the Carroll Football Letterman Club Leadership Series. Last year it was former Notre Dame coach Gerry Faust who was the guest speaker in the series’ debut.
Plummer was a Buckeyes co-captain in 1999 toward the end of the John Cooper coaching era. He would be an academic All-American, first team All-Big Ten and semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. A first-round draft choice of the 49ers, he played six seasons in the NFL. However, none of that compared to his days starring at Wyoming High School in suburban Cincinnati.
“High school was one of the fun times I had playing football,” he said. “Just playing with my brothers, guys who I grew up with in the neighborhood. Going to battle with them every week. The marching band to the raw fans in the stands. It was a wonderful time.”
That resonated with the Patriots, who are coming off a promising 5-5 season last fall following a 2-8 campaign in Rulli’s first year as head coach in 2014.
Plummer credited his single-parent mother, Dr. Babette Plummer-Craig, as the difference-maker for him and older brother Cleon. His mother worked two jobs and pursued a master’s degree while both were in high school. Now, she’s a psychologist at Legacy Psychological Services in the North College Hill section of Cincinnati.
“She played a huge part in my life,” he said. “Just seeing her do her thing and live her dream inspired me to go out and do the same.”
Plummer shares that message as a motivational speaker. He also mentors young men.
“I just thank God for helping me raise them and allowing me to benefit from the gifts He’s given to them,” Dr. Plummer-Craig said. “There is so much that he said that I’m hoping and praying that these young men will take it to heart.”
Carroll grad Tim Norbut (Class of 1982) helped found the CFLC. He played football for two seasons at Miami before transferring to Dayton. The Flyers were unbeaten his senior season but lost in the opening round of the NCAA D-III playoffs to Mount Union.
“Still hurts to think about that,” said Norbut, a longtime Wyoming resident. “The people who influenced you to get you where you are in life, it has such a strong effect on you. Really, everything (Plummer) touched on is the epitome of what we’re trying to do for the kids. Letting them know they’re fortunate for the things you do have: faith, love, hope and friendships.”
High school preseason football starts Aug. 1. Carroll’s first game is Aug. 26 at neighboring Stebbins. It’ll be the first time the teams have played since they were Mid-Miami League members.
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