By David Fong
July 26, 2014
By David Fong
Regional Sports Content Manager
TROY — One never can tell what it’s going to take to get someone’s juices flowing.
For some, it’s a candlelit dinner. For others, it may be a long walk on the beach under a full moon. For other’s still, it may be a romantic novel like E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
For some, it may be Troy football.
Hey … you say “to-may-to,” we say “to-mah-to.”
In the football-crazed town of Troy — of which legendary Troy running back Ryan Brewer once said, “If you ever want to rob a house in Troy, do it on a Friday night during football season” — few things create as much passion or fire as the beloved Trojan football team.
Recently, the “Fifty Shades of Grey” novels have captured the imagination of millions with their steamy portrayal of the relationship between fictional characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey (not that we’ve actually read any of them … we’re just going based on what others have told us).
The series’ popularity received another spike this week with the release of the trailer for the movie, which will be released on Valentine’s Day, 2015.
We realize the novel and movie aren’t for everybody. With that in mind, we decided to appeal to a tamer — though no-less passionate — fanbase. With the recent release of the movie trailer and the high school football season just around the corner, we have decided to present to you, our readers, “Fifty Shades of Red and Gray,” a look at 50 trivia and history items surrounding the Troy football team.
Some of the facts (and opinions) are well-known to even the most casual of Troy High School football fans, while others have long been buried within the team’s historical archives.
Either way, however, we can assure you that, unlike its more-famous counterpart, “Fifty Shades of Red and Gray” is suitable for readers of all ages:
1) Troy’s first football game was a 10-10 tie with Sidney in 1897. The Trojans would play three games that season. After the tie with Sidney, Troy would defeated a team of alumni 24-0 and then, in a second meeting with Sidney, defeated the Yellowjackets 14-0.
2) Troy, noted for its long-standing rivalry with Miami County foe Piqua, did not play the Indians until its third year of organized football, in 1899. That year, the Trojans defeated the Indians twice, 17-0 and 17-5.
3) In addition to Piqua — back when traveling to games relied more on horse power than horsepower — Troy would frequently play other Miami County teams in its early days. Covington was a frequent opponent for the Trojans at the turn of the century, as was West Milton (now Milt0n-Union). Tippecanoe would be added to the mix in 1924. Aside from Piqua, Troy has not played a fellow Miami County school since 1985, when the Trojans defeated Tippecanoe 42-14.
4) Troy’s first coach was Wm Freshour, who went 7-11-3 in the first five years of Troy High School football.
5) Troy’s current coach is 1994 Troy High School graduate Scot Brewer.
6) In 1905, Troy played a one-game season, thanks to the President of the United States of America. That year, President Theodore Roosevelt banned football in the United States, but may actually have saved the sport in doing so. In the early days, the sport had very few rules and resembled a gang fight as much as a game. In 1905 alone, 18 players across the nation died while playing in football games. So Roosevelt shut things down, rules were changed and added — most notably, the forward pass, which eliminated the game’s violent scrums — and football resumed the next year. In Troy’s lone game of 1905, the Trojans were stomped by Sidney, 44-0 … so cancelling the season may not have been such a bad thing for Troy that year.
7) The first All-Ohio player in Troy history was Trenton Bell, a lineman who earned the honor in 1940. Bell is probably just as well known for going on to be civil rights leader in Troy and the father of All-Ohio and All-American running back Gordon Bell as he is for his own high school football career.
8) Speaking of Gordon Bell, he may be the subject of one of the greatest legends in the storied history of the Troy-Piqua rivalry. For three years, Bell — who would go on to play at the University of Michigan — tortured the Indians, helping Troy beat Piqua 22-6, 54-6 and 36-6. The legend goes that former Piqua coach Chuck Asher was so happy to see Bell graduate high school that he offered to personally present Bell his diploma at Troy’s graduation ceremonies in 1972.
9) The Bell graduation story is just one of many myths and legends surrounding the Troy football team — some of which are more difficult to prove than others. One of the greatest — and unsubstantiated — myths surrounding the Troy football team is as follows: In an early 20th century game against Tippecanoe, Troy scheduled a biplane flyover that coincided with the game’s opening play. The tale goes that when the plane flew over the field, all of the Tippecanoe players looked up to see what was going on … at which point Troy snapped the ball and scored on the distracted Red Devils for the game’s only points.
10) Troy’s first 1,000-yard rushers were Bussie Favorite and Dick Carnes, both of whom topped that mark in 1949.
11) The same year Favorite and Carnes rushed for 1,000 yards also was the same year games were first played in Troy Memorial Stadium. Favorite is often referred to as “The Man Who Built Troy Memorial Stadium.” The moniker has both literal and figurative conotations, as he is widely regarded as the first true superstar in Troy Memorial Stadium history. He also literally had a hand in building the stadium, as he held a construction job working on the stadium the summer before it opened.
12) Legendary fullback Bob Ferguson won the Maxwell Award at Ohio State and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1961. Some would argue Ferguson should have won the Heisman that year, as he actually rushed for more yards and had more touchdowns on fewer carries than the winner, Syracuse’s Ernie Davis. Can you say East Coast-voting bias?
13) The winningest coach in Troy football history is Steve Nolan, who went 202-95 in 28 years at Troy.
14) The coach with the greatest winning percentage in school history is Lou Juilerat, who went 53-11 (.828 winning percentage) in nine years at Troy.
15) Troy has played six overtime games in school history, going 4-2 in overtime contests. Troy defeated Fairmont East 36-33 in 1972, then didn’t play another overtime game until 1995, when it played three overtime games in the same season, beating Springfield South 22-21, Cincinnati Anderson 33-32 and Piqua 17-14. In 2009, Sidney beat Troy 15-14 in overtime. In 2011, Upper Arlington beat Troy 21-20 in a Division I regional quarterfinal game that went into overtime.
16) Troy’s colors have not always been red and gray. In the early days, Troy cycled through a number of color schemes. The last change came in the 1940s, when Troy switched from purple and white to red and gray … which is fortunate for this story, as “Fifty Shades of Purple and White” just wouldn’t have made any sense at all.
17) Troy has had 11 teams finished the regular season both unbeaten and untied. It happened in 1906, 1910, 1946, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1970, 1971, 1985, 1996 and 1997. It bears mentioning that the 1985, 1995 an 1997 teams all finished the regular season undefeated and untied, but eventually lost in the Division I state playoffs. Prior to 1972, Ohio did not have a high school football playoff.
18) It’s all speculation, but some experts feel Troy may have won several state championships had there been a playoff system before 1972. In particular, the 1955-57 teams that featured Ferguson and the 1971 team that sent more than 15 players to Division I college programs are considered some of the best in school, and possibly state, history. The 1971 team that featured notables such as Bell, Randy Walker, Joe Allen, Dave Starkey and Elmo Boyd (amongst others) missed its chance to prove itself in the playoffs by just one year.
19) Walker never got the chance to play in the state playoffs, but he did get more than a few chances to coach in more than a few college bowl games at the head coach at Miami University and Northwestern University.
20) Troy has never won a state championship in the playoffs, but has won a Division I Associated Press poll title. In 1996 — the program’s 100th anniversary — Troy rolled through the regular season 10-0, topped the AP poll rankings at the end of the season and was ranked nationally by USA Today at one point. In the playoffs, Troy dropped a 10-7 heartbreaker to Lima Senior in the regional finals. That was as close as any team would get to Lima Senior in the postseason, as the Spartans beat Cincinnati Elder 21-14 in the state semifinals and knocked off Cleveland St. Ignatius 38-30 in the state title game.
21) In the late 1990s, Troy had a mascot named “Fletch,” named after former Troy High School principal Bob Fletcher. The mascot has since been lost to history … and anyone who actually saw the giant, foam-headed Trojan monstrosity is probably glad.
22) Troy has had a number of players drafted into the NFL following college, including, but not limited to: Ferguson, Bell, Tommy Vaughn and Tommy Myers. The most recent Troy graduate taken in the NFL draft was former Troy and University of Kentucky defensive lineman Jon Dumbauld, who was taken by the New Orleans Saints in the 10th round of the 1986 NFL Draft.
23) The most successful NFL star in Troy history is Kris Dielman, who wasn’t actually drafted. Following an All-Big Ten career at Indiana University as a tight end and defensive end, Dielman signed with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent. He would move to offensive guard, where he would be selected to four Pro Bowls before retiring on July 21, 2012.
24) Troy has played a number of schools that no longer exist or have since merged. In addition to playing an alumni team that first year, Troy also has played the Sidney Athletic Club, Dayton Steele, Springfield South and Springfield North (since merged), Fairmont East and Fairmont West (since merged), Wittenberg and Cedarville.
25) This is the midway-point for this list. Troy has been playing football for 117 season, meaning the midway point for the Troy football program would be either the 1954 or 1955 season, depending on how you do your math. Anyone else remember how to determine “significant figures” from high school math class? Neither do we …
26) Troy’s first playoff appearance came in 1985. That year, the Trojans made it all the way to the Division I state semifinals, where they fell to Cincinnati Moeller, which at the time was a nationally-ranked powerhouse. In state semifinal game, Moeller featured a kick returner who would go on to achieve a fair mount of fame in a different sport. His name? Ken Griffy, Jr.
27) Troy and Piqua have played 129 times. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the “oldest rivalry” in Ohio, as a handful of teams began their rivalries before Troy and Piqua first met in 1899. However, Troy and Piqua — which used to play against one another multiple times in the season season — have played against one another more times than any other two teams in Ohio, making it the “most prolific” rivalry in state history.
28) Troy and Piqua stopped playing one another multiple times each season in 1925. In 1992, however, the two teams played twice. Troy beat Piqua 22-7 during the regular season. Both were ranked in the Division I top 10 in the state, and the game drew more than 14,000 fans to Troy Memorial Stadium. Piqua would get its revenge in the playoffs, however, defeating Troy 20-7 in the regional finals.
29) The 1992 game marks the only time the two teams met in the postseason. In 2001, Piqua dropped down to Division II, while Troy remained a Division I program, making it impossible for the two teams to meet in the playoffs. In 2013, however, Troy was moved to Division II, meaning it is possible once again for the two teams to meet in the playoffs.
30) Troy leads the series between the two rivals by the slimmest of margins, 62-61-6.
31) Some historians would argue Troy and Piqua have actually played 128 times, and the series is actually tied, 61-61-6. In the early days of the rivalry, one of the games played between the two teams apparently featured “city teams” — both rosters were comprised of residents of both cities as opposed to students at the high schools. Troy won that game, but some historians feel the game actually shouldn’t count in the rivalry. Both schools, however, recognize the rivalry at 129 games.
32) Just as the two teams have met just once in the playoffs, they have met just once in overtime. In that game, Trojan kicker Nick Trostle booted a field goal in overtime to give Troy a 17-14 victory.
33) Troy has had a running back rush for 1,000 yards in a season 41 teams, amongst the tops in Ohio.
34) The leading rusher in school history is Ryan Brewer, who set a state record with 2,856 rushing yards in 1998. He was named Mr. Football Ohio, the award given to the top performer in the state.
35) Other Troy legends, such as Ferguson and Bell, likely would have made a run at the Mr. Football Ohio award had it existed. The award did not exist prior to 1987.
36) Although regarded as one of the top players in the state, Bell would have faced fierce competition for the award in 1971. That same year, there was another running back in Ohio who garnered many of the state’s top accolades — and likely was the reason Bell chose to attend the University of Michigan instead of The Ohio State University. His name was Archie Griffin, the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in NCAA history.
37) In the 1980s and 1990s, the most likely spot to find Troy football players after a game was either Noble Roman’s Pizza or Taco Bell, both of which were located on Main Street. The Noble Roman’s has since become a veterinarian’s office, while Taco Bell moved several blocks up Main Street to its current location in Trojan Village. The building that once housed Taco Bell has since become a bank.
38) If you are looking to talk a little Troy football now, your best bet is either K’s Hamburgers or Leo’ Barbershop. Both of those locations have remained the same for decades.
39) Troy has won 17 league or conference championships in school history while competing in the Miami Valley League, the Western Ohio League and the Greater Miami Valley Conference — none of which currently exist. Troy’s most recent conference title was a GMVC crown in 2000.
40) Troy has made 11 appearances since the Ohio High School Athletic Association initiated a playoff system in 1972. Troy’s total likely would be more, however, as the playoff field has expanded numerous times since its inception. The Trojans’ deepest run in the playoffs came with the 1985 state semifinalist team.
41) Troy’s official fight song is “Onward, Troy!” which is based on the University of Wisconsin’s fight song, “On, Wisconsin!” The Troy High School marching band also borrows the University of Southern California’s official fight song, “Fight On” during football games. Recently, Troy High School graduates Shane Carter and Jake Current played for the University of Wisconsin. There is no recorded history of any Troy High School graduates playing college football at USC.
42) While the records don’t show any Troy graduates playing for USC, Troy has sent dozens of players on to Division I programs, hundreds to the college level and more than a half-dozen to the NFL. Perhaps no journey to professional football is more unlikely than that of Elmo Boyd, who played on Troy’s 1971 team. Boyd — one of the fastest students in school history — didn’t play football until his senior year at Troy. The story goes that Boyd’s mother wouldn’t let him play football because she feared he would get hurt. By his senior year, however, Troy’s coaches and players finally talked Mrs. Boyd into letting her son play. On an already-stacked team, Boyd made an immediate impact at wide receiver, earning a scholarship to play at Eastern Kentucky University after just one season playing high school football. Boyd was drafted in the third round of the 1977 draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
43) Statistically speaking, Troy’s unbeaten, untied team from 1946 featured the greatest defense in school history. In 10 games that year, the Trojans gave up a grand total of 18 points — and average of 1.8 points per game. That year, Troy gave up six points apiece to Greenville, Sidney and Piqua.
44) Again, speaking strictly from a statistical standpoint, a case could be made for the 1997 team as having the greatest offense in school history. In 10 games that season, Troy scored a total of 532 points — an average of 53.2 points per game during the regular season. That year, Troy scored 62 points against Akron Coventry, 56 points against Centerville, 53 points against West Carrollton, 67 points against Butler, 50 points against Northmont, 68 against Greenville and 72 against Sidney. That year, Ryan Brewer rushed for 2,336 yards,while fullback Matt Dallman rushed for 1,724, the only time in school history a pair of running backs have topped the 1,500-yard mark in the same season. Troy went 10-0 through the regular season before falling to Worthington Kilbourne in the Division I regional semifinals.
45) Here are some of the “longest” records in school history: The record for the longest run from scrimmage is held by Cody Boyd in 2004 (99 yards), the longest pass reception in school history was Richard Vorpe to Tom Calloway in 1963 (94 yards), the longest kickoff return in school history was set by Nick Zimmer in 2012 (97 yards), the longest punt return in school history was Ryan Brewer’s return in 1997 (92 yards), the longest pass interception return was set by Pete Johnston in 1998 (103 yards) and the longest fumble recovery and return was set by Paul Gearheardt in 1965 (89 yards).
46) Nothing quite like a homecoming game in Troy — an event made all the more dramatic when a football player is named homecoming king. It doesn’t happen nearly as often as you would think, but the most recent football player to be named homecoming king was fullback Chris Basil, who was crowned king in 2009. That same night, Troy — which was 3-3 entering the game — would upset Lebanon, which was 5-1 coming into the game, by a final score of 14-7. After being named homecoming king during the pre-game ceremonies, Basil would rush for 125 yards and both of Troy’s touchdowns on a mud-caked field under a heavy downpour. Not a bad night for a high school senior … but then again, it’s good to be the king.
47) Troy has been on the winning end of a number of blowouts over the years, the worst of which came in 1921, when the Trojans defeated Mechanicsburg 109-0. In 1913, Troy beat Piqua 85-0. Other notable blowouts over the years include: Troy 81, Monroe 0 (1956); Troy 79, Sidney 0 (1913); Troy 78, Miamisburg 0 (1959) and Troy 78, Sidney 0 (1960).
48) Here’s another Troy legend/myth for those of you who are into that sort of thing: During that magical 1971, Troy’s players began receiving “gifts” from a mysterious source before games, all of which called into the question the manhood of Troy as a team. One such gift included a pair of oversized women’s undergarments … implying the Trojan players were a bunch of “panty waists.” The source of these motivations were never discovered during the season. Years later, former coach Jim Conard would admit to sending the gifts to his talent-laden team as a motivational device to make sure it didn’t get complacent at the season wore on.
49) Four Troy High School football players have earned Division I All-American honors at the collegiate level: Ferguson (The Ohio State University), Tommy Myers (Northwestern Univeresity), Tommy Vaughn (Iowa State University) and Bell (University of Michigan).
50) Troy opens its 118th season Aug. 29 against Chaminade Julienne at 7 p.m. at Troy Memorial Stadium.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong