By David Fong
TROY — Jaydon Culp-Bishop’s run into the history books is complete.
With his performance last Friday in the Troy football team’s 38-35 loss to Cincinnati Anderson in the Division II regional semifinals — the Trojan running back finished the game with 34 carries for 176 yards and four touchdowns, in addition to an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown — Culp-Bishop finished the 2018 season with 281 carries for 2,457 yards.
That’s the second-best season in Troy history, trailing only Ryan Brewer, who rushed for 2,856 yards in 1998. Against Miamisburg, he passed Brewer, who previously had the second-best season in school history, rushing for 2,336 yards as a junior in 1997. The only other running back in Troy history to pass the 2,000-yard mark was Bob Ferguson, who rushed for 2,089 yards in 1956.
For his career, “Run JCB” finished with 4,196 yards in just 25 varsity games. That’s the third-best career total in school history, trailing only Brewer (7,656 yards from 1995-97) and Ferguson (5,521 yards from 1954-57). With his final game, he passed Matt Dallman (4,147 yards from 1995-97).
Culp-Bishop also finished the season with 40 total touchdowns — 38 rushing and two on kick returns — for 240 points. That’s the third-best season in school history. Brewer had 288 points in 1998 and 249 points in 1997. With five touchdowns (and 30 points) against Anderson, he passed Tom Vaughn (230 points in 1960) and Ferguson (204 points in 1956).
“Obviously we knew we had a special player, but I don’t think you can fully appreciate it until the season is over and you start looking at some of the numbers he put up,” Troy coach Matt Burgbacher said of Culp-Bishop. “He scored 40 touchdowns this year — that’s pretty amazing. I know there have been some years when I have had teams that didn’t score 40 touchdowns in a season. When you are mentioning someone in the same breath as Ryan Brewer and Bob Ferguson, that’s pretty special. I don’t know that we’ll see another player like that again any time soon.”
Almost lost in the eye-popping numbers put up by Culp-Bishop was the season-long performance of junior quarterback Brayden Siler.
In his first season as a starter, Siler completed 113-of-175 passes (64.6 percent) for 1,583 yards, with 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. This was the fourth year in a row Troy has had a 1,000-yard passer (Hayden Kotwica did it in 2015 and 2016; Sam Coleman did it last year) and the first team in school history Troy has had a 1,000-yard passer and 2,000-yard rusher in the same season.
“Brayden kind of got thrown into the fire, but I think he responded well,” Burgbacher said. “The best thing about Brayden was watching him learn and grow this season. We know what kind of competitor he is and what kind of leader he is; I think he’s going to work hard in the offseason and come back even better next year. He’s got a very bright future. This year was only the beginning for him.”
Against Anderson, senior tight end/H-back Spencer Klopfenstein had five catches for 85 yards, both of which actually were career highs for him. For the season, Klopfenstein led the Trojans in receiving with 30 catches for 434 yards and one touchdown.
Those numbers, however, don’t begin to describe Klopfenstein’s value to the team, this season or at any point in the last three years. During his career, he has been one of the Trojans’ most reliable blockers. He’s also versatile enough that he’s lined up at tight end, wide receiver, in the slot and as a wing in the backfield. This season, he also played extensively on defense for the first time, lining up at outside linebacker and recording 49 tackles.
“He’s a kid who we’ve played with his hand in the dirt at tight end, but he’s also lined up wide and we’ve put him at wing and pulled him,” Burgbacher said. “We didn’t have to change our personnel with him out there, because of all the things he could do.We are not going to have another kid like Spencer Klopfenstein any time soon. You maybe get a kid like him once in a lifetime, maybe once every 10 years if you are lucky. You are not going to find many kids who can do as many different things as he did for us.”
Not to be lost in the heartbreaking loss to Cincinnati Anderson was the fact the Trojans did win a third straight Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division title, something that has not happened since the Trojans won four Greater Miami Valley Conference titles in a row from 1995-98. Troy is 15-0 in GWOC North play over the last three years.
The Trojans also qualified for the playoffs for the third year in a row, something that has not happened since 1995-97. It does bear mentioning that the Ohio High School Athletic Association did not institute a playoff system until 1972, however, meaning a number of Trojan powerhouse teams never had the opportunity to compete for playoff spots.
Troy is the final football team to win a GWOC North title, as the Trojans, along with the rest of the GWOC North, will be leaving to help form the 10-team Miami Valley League next season. The league will consist of: Troy, Piqua, Tippecanoe, Butler, Sidney, Greenville, Xenia, Fairborn, West Carrollton and Stebbins.
Troy will play eight MVL teams next season. The Trojans will not play West Carrollton, as they honor the final year of a home-and-home series with Cincinnati Turpin. Troy beat Turpin 29-7 in Troy Memorial Stadium this year.
As a result of Troy finishing off the contract with Turpin, the Trojans will have just four home games in 2019. West Carrollton would have been Troy’s fifth home game next year. In 2019, Troy will play: at Belmont, home vs. Butler, at Turpin, at Tippecanoe, at Greenville, home vs. Stebbins, at Sidney, home vs. Fairborn, at Xenia and home vs. Piqua.
Beginning in 2020 (and every year thereafter), Troy will play a nine-game MVL schedule and kick off the season against a non-league opponent. Troy has not yet found an opponent for the season opener in 2020.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong