High School Football: Top 8 players in Troy history



While the best Miami Valley high school football program can be debated, the best high school football team in area history? That one is settled.

In 1971, before the OHSAA playoffs crowned a state champion, Troy High School produced its second straight undefeated season and an unmatched multitude of talent. The offensive backfield featured Gordon Bell (Michigan), Joe Allen (Florida), Randy Walker (Miami) and Al Mayer (Marshall). Elmo Boyd (Eastern Kentucky) lined up at wideout. The defense? It was anchored by Dave Starkey (Florida) and Allen. The 1971 Trojans outscored opponents 406-54, out-gained opponents 3,711 yards to 1,267, punted 19 times all season, forced 31 turnovers and pitched five shutouts. Overall, 20 players played in college, including 15 that went to NCAA D-I programs. Two (Bell and Boyd) played in the NFL. In 2001, a panel of writers from the Dayton Daily News tabbed the squad Dayton’s best – ever.

That’s the kind of roster you’d expect one of the state’s proudest programs to produce. And Troy is among Ohio’s oldest and most successful regimes. The Trojans 691 wins ranks second among Miami Valley teams behind rival Piqua (715). Versailles (661), Middletown (655) and Coldwater (626) are the only other area schools with over 600 victories.

Troy football dates back to pre-1900. The Trojans and Piqua first squared off in 1899 and have played 138 times in the 123 years since. The series record? 66-66-6.

Over the years, Troy’s run has included stays in the Miami Valley League (1926-68), the Western Ohio League (1968-82), the Greater Miami Valley Conference (1982-2001), the Greater Western Ohio Conference (2001-2018) and the newly reconvened MVL (2019-present).

The Trojans own 17 playoff berths and were a state semifinalist in 1985.

This is the first in a season-long series of the top high school football players in Dayton area history. The Dayton Daily News received recommendations and nominations from athletic directors and readers to help compile our list.

Troy’s top players

Gordon Bell, RB, 1972

Best player on area’s best high school football team (1971 Trojans). Totaled more than 3,000 yards rushing as a junior and senior when he was named All-Ohio. Also delivered blows in the return game. Had misfortune of being in same division as Eastmoor’s Archie Griffin or would have earned Ohio Class AA Back of the Year honors in 1970 and 1971.

Signed with Michigan where his teams went 28-3-3 from 1973-75. Became third player in program history to surpass 1,000-yards rushing in a season in 1974. In 1975 he set several single-season Michigan school records, including most all-purpose yards (1,714 yards), most 100-yard rushing games (eight) and most rushing attempts (273). Still ranks 10th in career rushing yards at Michigan.

Selected by the New York Giants in the 1976 NFL draft. Played two seasons in New York and another with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1978. Racked up 1,444 all-purpose yards in his career.

Ryan Brewer, RB, 1999

Three-time All-Ohioan was named the program’s lone Ohio Mr. Football winner in 1998 when he rushed for a Trojans’ and then-Ohio record 2,856 yards. For his career (1995-98) he totaled 117 TDs and scored 761 points. Those tallies rank seventh and fourth, respectively, in state history. Currently sits No. 6 among Ohio’s all-time career rushing leaders with 7,656 yards.

Signed with South Carolina and head coach Lou Holtz. Well known for rushing for more than 100 yards, scoring three TDs (tied bowl record) and accounting for more than 200 all-purpose yards in a 24-7 win over Ohio State in the 2001 Outback Bowl that was John Cooper’s last game as Buckeyes’ head coach.

Lasted until the final preseason cut by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent. Played several seasons in NFL Europe. Won a World Bowl with the Berlin Thunder.

Credit: Aimee Obidzinski

Credit: Aimee Obidzinski

Kris Dielman, DL, 1999

Earned D-I All-Ohio honors as a senior and lettered in basketball. Went to the University of Indiana where he earned All-Big Ten honors his junior year at tight end. That season played major part in quarterback Antwaan Randle El becoming the first NCAA player to throw for 8,000 yards and run for 3,000 in a career. As a senior he moved back to DL and was selected team captain.

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2003 and played entire NFL career (nine years) for the San Diego Chargers who moved him to the offensive line. Starred at guard where he was a two-time second team All-Pro (2008 and 2009), was selected to the Pro Bowl four times and is a member of the Chargers 50th Anniversary Team. Played in 120 NFL games and started 97.

Bob Ferguson, FB, 1958

His 529 yards rushing against Kiser in 1956 was the state record for rushing yards in a game for 45 years. The mark still ranks No. 2. His 475 yards against Monroe the next week is 11th all-time.

Went to Ohio State where he became one of the Buckeyes greatest players of all-time. Was a two-time unanimous All-American (1960-61) and won the UPI college player of the year and Maxwell Award in 1961 as the Buckeyes were crowned national champions. Was also runner-up to Ernie Davis in the Heisman vote that season (second closet vote in history). Claim to fame is that he was never tackled for a loss during his days in Columbus. Inducted into the college football hall of fame in 1996 and was named a member of the OSU all-century team in 2000.

Selected in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) and the San Diego Chargers (AFL). Head injury limited his professional career to three years.

Tommy Myers, QB, 1961

Talented signal caller tossed 33 TDs as a senior and a then-Ohio record 73 in his high school career. Four times he passed for five TDs in a game.

Went to Northwestern where he had celebrated career as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Wildcat history. Finished his career in 1964 with 13 school passing records. Career got off to a solid start when he completed a then-NCAA record 15 consecutive passes against South Carolina in his first game in 1962. Led Northwestern to a 7-2 record that season which included a 6-0 start and the nation’s mid-season No. 1-ranking. Was named an All-American in 1962 by the Football Writers of America. Played in both the 1964 Blue-Gray Classic and the 1965 Senior Bowl.

Taken in the fourth round of the 1965 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions and 12th round by the Denver Broncos (AFL). Played two years for the Lions.

Max Urick, LB, 1956

Defensive sledgehammer was first team All-Ohio as a senior. Went to Ohio Wesleyan where he became the school’s first athlete to win All-America honors in two sports. Was twice named All-American in football (1959 and 196) where he played both ways (center and linebacker). Also was a two-time winner of the Mike Gregory Award as the best lineman in the Ohio Athletic Conference. In lacrosse, he was Ohio Wesleyan’s first All-American.

Went on to coach football at Army (1961-62), Ohio State (1963-65), Denison (1966), Wabash (1967-1970) and Duke (1971-1973) before becoming assistant athletic director at Iowa State in 1973. Was promoted to AD in 1983 and served in that capacity until 1993 when he became AD at Kansas State (retired in 2001).

Tommy Vaughn, WR/DB, 1961

Outstanding athlete that also received scholarship offers in baseball and basketball. Surpassed 1,000 yards rushing as a junior and senior. Did damage in passing game too, where he finished with 1,451 receiving yards and set Troy records for career TD receptions (25), season TD receptions (13) and TD receptions in a game (four).

Attended Iowa State where he was named the ISU Athlete of the Year in 1963 and an Academic All-American in 1964. Impacted both sides of the ball. As a junior was All-Big Eight as a running back (along with Gale Sayers of Kansas). As a senior led Iowa State in rushing and was All-Big Eight as a DB.

Drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round of the 1965 NFL Draft and appeared in 88 games with the Lions (61 as a starter) between 1965 and 1971. Tallied nine interceptions and nine fumble recoveries. Also returned 62 kickoffs for 1,595 yards (25.7-yard average) and 33 punts for 298 yards (9.0-yard average).

After retiring as a player, held assistant coaching positions with Iowa State, Missouri, Wyoming, and Arizona State.

Randy Walker, RB/DB, 1972

Senior running back on the 1971 team that notched back-to-back 10-0 seasons and WOL titles. First taste of fame was sophomore year when he was tackled 18 inches shy of scoring the winning TD in a 22-22 tie with Wayne in the final game of the 1969 season. The Trojans finished that season 2-7-1. Then-Troy head coach James “Jim” Conard made all returning players wear a strip of cloth 18 inches long until the start in the 1970 season as incentive.

Despite offers from Ohio State and Northwestern, he followed his eventual wife (Tammy) to Miami where he starred with fellow back Rob Carpenter on some of the program’s best teams. Miami went 32-1-1 from 1973-75, beating Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in successive Tangerine Bowls (now the Capitol One Bowl). Walker was voted team MVP his senior year after rushing for 1,757 yards.

Drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 13th round in 1976, he decided on a future in coaching. Served as an assistant coach at Miami (1976-77), North Carolina (1978-1987) and Northwestern (1988-89). Became head coach at Miami in 1990 and stayed there until migrating to Northwestern in 1999. Was the Wildcats head coach until his untimely death (heart attack) in 2005 at age 52.

Honorable mention: Joe Allen, RB/LB, 1972; Kevin Blizman, WR, 1974; Dave Bodemiller, LB, 1955; Elmo Boyd, WR, 1972; Shane Carter, WR/DB, 2005; Jake Current, OL, 2008; Matt Dahlman, RB, 1998; Mike Delwiche, RB, 1987; Todd Denlinger, DL, 2005; Jay Dorsey, OL, 1960; Jon Dumbauld, DL, 1982; Bussie Favorite, RB, 1950; Bryan Ferguson, RB, 1976; Gabe Hartman, OL, 1956; Ron Houck, DB, 1957; Sam Jackson, DL, 2018; Aaron Johnson, QB/DB, 1986; Hayden Kotwica, QB, 2017; Jason Manson, LB, 1997; Doug Meek, LB, 1961; Kevin Mescher, TE/LB, 1986; John Mumma, RB, 1974; Dave Starkey, DL, 1972; Ron Stoner, RB/DB, 1958; Bill Whidden, LB, 1973.

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