In recent years, the Browder family has made some headlines in Troy High School athletics. A few years ago, Josh Browder was gobbling up yardage for the Trojans, but more recently, his younger sister has made history in track and field. There was something about them that seemed familiar to me. They have an uncle who was a very good athlete in his own right.
Growing up, one will make friends among their neighbors, classmates in school and fellow church kids. I remember having friends in all three groups. I was very quiet and shy as a young person, and I am still not an outgoing, center of attention kind of person.
My family moved to Troy when I was nine years old, and very quickly I fell in love with football. My grandfather took me to some Ohio State games. Wow! What great teams they had. Seeing my interest and love for the game, my mother took me to several Troy High School games. Again, wow! David Starkey, Gordon Bell, Randy Walker, and so on.
As far as football, I was living the dream.
So, I decided I wanted to play the game. I was assigned to the Troy Eagles. We practiced in the park near Miami Shores, which is now part of the water treatment facility, and we played our games on the old Troy High School field with the old concrete stands, now Market Street Field for Troy Varsity baseball. For two years, I played with some good guys, some were friends from Heywood, others I didn’t know, but got to know from that time on through high school.
One of the guys from Heywood and the Eagles, who I enjoyed being around, although I am not sure if he would remember me, was Bond Howery. I enjoyed his quiet and reserved nature, but his desire in being the best he could be was great to watch.
Bond, his mother and his younger sister Felicity lived in a nice little home on Franklin Street. I am sure Mrs. Howery, a firm but loving single mother, had a lot to do with Bond’s success and courteous manners. But that didn’t stop us boys from being competitive.
I was a Roger Staubach fan, so I watched the Cowboys back then. Bond was a Chuck Foreman fan. Foreman was a hard running, but elusive running back for the Minnesota Vikings during seven of his eight year career. I think Bond liked his fluid, but determined running style. Needless to say, there were a few “discussions” of which team was the best. Of course, there was always Bond’s determination to be the best, and although he was much better than me on the field, I couldn’t let him think the team he supported was better than mine.
In high school Bond excelled in two sports, football and basketball. By the time he graduated, he had garnered a number of honors for his play. As I mentioned, he was by nature more quiet, but the transformation that took place when he put on the helmet and the whistle blew was something to behold. He was not reckless or cheap, nor did he cheat; rather, he just played with a fierce competitiveness to be one of the best on the field.
As a senior, one wet and messy night in Xenia, the coaches had decided to try Bond at running back. I don’t know if he had visions of Chuck Foreman in his mind, but he ran for about 118 yards of Troy’s 195 that evening. In the same game, he also had 10 tackles, including four sacks and a forced fumble and he recovered another fumble.
That was just one game, but, as long as I knew him, he always played like that, even if the stats didn’t show it. The honors: Second team all-conference as a junior; first team-all conference; first team all-Southwest district; first team all-Ohio; and so forth during his senior year. He even garnered an honorable mention in Street & Smith’s All-American team. At that time, he was one of the few Trojans in history named to All-Ohio.
In basketball he did not receive as much recognition, but was consistently one of the highest scorers on the team.
Bond went on to play two years at Ellsworth College in Iowa, his second of which he collected 95 tackles during the season. Iowa State, Kansas, Missouri and Temple all vied for his services, and he finished his collegiate career at the University of Missouri. Following college, his skills were still strong and, consequently, he was drafted by the professional USFL’s Birmingham Stallions. Unfortunately, the league never played the 1986 season.
Of all these accolades, deserving as they were, one of the moments in Bond’s high school career that stands out to me was during his senior year. Troy was getting beaten pretty badly by a very good Springfield South squad. South continued to play their first string throughout the game, and, what’s more, even passed the ball several times in the waning minutes of the game. This did not sit well with the Troy coaches, and they took the team directly off the field without the usual handshaking. But, there was Bond out in the middle of the field still shaking hands after the game until one of the Troy coaches had to come and get him. I am not trying to say anything about whether the Troy coaches were right or wrong, but in the midst of the situation, knowing Bond Howery was a fierce competitor and hated to lose, especially that badly, he was still an honorable sportsman. He truly exemplified the Trojan motto: “Truth, Honor and Sportsmanship.”
A couple years ago, Bond was recognized for his football accomplishments, in part, by being put in the Great American Rivalry Series: Troy-Piqua Hall of Fame. I believe the time has come to honor his athletic accomplishments by being honored among other great Trojan athletes by being placed in the Troy High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.