Right around Thanksgiving I took a shot at naming the all-time Ohio
High School Football team. It was a labor of love that included quite a
bit of research. I received a few comments on it locally, but when word got to the
good people at JJHuddle.com, they asked permission to reprint the list. That’s when the fun began.
Right around Thanksgiving I took a shot at naming the all-time Ohio High School Football team. It was a labor of love that included quite a bit of research.
I received a few comments on it locally, but when word got to the good people at JJHuddle.com, they asked permission to reprint the list.
That’s when the fun began.
Everything from subtle hints to outright threats came pouring my way.
So, with the Super Bowl, we thought it would be fun to share our readers’ thoughts on the subject.
The Steubenville contingent was simply beside itself, and rightfully so, for my complete miss on their man Calvin Jones.
It made me sick to have such a glaring oversight.
Of course I knew of Jones. Any educated Big Ten fan knows his tragic story, a three-time Iowa All-American who was killed in a plane crash on the way to the 1957 Rose Bowl to see his beloved Hawkeyes. What I didn’t know is the first black Outland Trophy winner was from Steubenville.
I consider Jones a monumental whiff, and immediately reworked my list to put him on the first-team offensive line, which is where he absolutely belongs.
Joe Frollo, sports editor at the Canton Repository, correctly pointed out that Desmond Howard, my first team wide receiver didn’t play that position in high school at Cleveland St. Joseph. So, I moved Desmond to a kick returner’s role.
A second look also convinced me that Mike Vrabel was rated too low. I really wanted to find a way to squeeze Warren’s Van DeCree on the second team, but simply ran out of defensive line spots.
There was an incredibly educational response from Toledo-area fan Richard Lerner, who offered several excellent suggestions and supported them with a lengthy list of accomplishments.
That’s how you win an argument.
Then there were usual suspects who questioned my intelligence and my heritage for leaving off (take your pick). I can report the Ben Mauk cult is alive and well and filling my e-mail box after I listed the former Kenton standout behind Art Schlichter and Roger Staubach, my first- and second-team quarterbacks. Mauk was grouped in the honorable mention list with Pro Football Hall of Famer Len Dawson, College Football Hall of Famer Harry Stuhldreher, Rex Kern, Bernie Kosar, Ben Roethlisberger, and Brady Quinn among many others.
I loved the banter. That’s part of the fun, arguing about guys who created such strong memories.
Although there are 190 names on this particular all-time squad, readers wanted several more players on the listing, or higher than honorable mention.
That’s part of the joy of Ohio high school football. It’s so much fun to watch, so talent-laden, so history-rich, we could argue all day and never find a definitive team.
Still, this is my best attempt to date.
Larry Phillips is a local desk editor at the News Journal. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com and by phone at 419-521-7238.
ALL-TIME OHIO HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM
QB Art Schlichter, 6-3, 210, Miami Trace, Ohio State
RB Robert Smith, 6-3, 210, Euclid, Ohio State
RB Keith Byars, 6-3, 235, Dayton Roth, Ohio Sate
FB Marion Motley, 6-1, 232, Canton McKinley, South Carolina State
OL Pete Henry, 6-3, 245, Mansfield Senior, Washington & Jefferson
OL Jim Parker, 6-3, 273, Toledo Scott, Ohio State
OL Orlando Pace, 6-6, 330, Sandusky, Ohio State
OL Calvin Jones, 6-0, 220, Steubenville, Iowa
OL Bob Brown, 6-4, 280, Cleveland East Tech, Nebraska
TE Kyle Rudolph, 6-7, 245, Cincinnati Elder, Notre Dame
WR Cris Carter, 6-3, 210, Middletown, Ohio State
WR Joey Galloway, 6-0, 170, Bellaire, Ohio State
K Lou Groza, Martins Ferry, 6-3, 240, Ohio State
KR Paul Warfield, 6-0, 188, Warren Harding, Ohio State
KR Desmond Howard, 5-10, 175, Cleveland St. Joseph, Michigan
DL Bill Willis, 6-2, 213, Columbus East, Ohio State
DL Alan Page, 6-4, 245, Canton Central Catholic, Notre Dame
DL Ross Browner, 6-3, 247, Warren Western Reserve, Notre Dame
DL Jim Houston, 6-2, 216, Massillon, Ohio State
LB Jack Lambert, 6-4, 220, Mantua Crestwood, Kent State
LB Andy Katzenmoyer, 6-4, 245, Westerville South, Ohio State
LB Tom Cousineau, 6-2, 230, Lakewood St. Edward, Ohio State
LB Chris Spielman, 6-1, 225, Massillon, Ohio State
DB Vic Janowicz, 5-9, 185, Elyria, Ohio State
DB Chic Harley, 5-8, 160 Columbus East, Ohio State
DB Charles Woodson, 6-1, 200, Fremont, Michigan
DB George McAfee, 6-0, 178, Ironton, Duke
P Tom Tupa, 6-4, 220, Brecksville, Ohio State
PR Ted Ginn, Jr., 5-11, 180, Cleveland Glenville, Ohio State
COACH: Paul Brown, Massillon, 1932-1940, 80-8-2 record, 6 state titles, 4
TEAM: Fostoria, 1912 national champions, 8-0 and outscored foes 596-0.
QB Roger Staubach, 6-2, 190, Cincinnati Purcell, Navy
RB Archie Griffin, 5-8, 180, Columbus Eastmoor, Ohio State
RB Maurice Clarett, 6-0, 230, Warren Harding, Ohio State
FB Larry Csonka, 6-3, 235, Stow, Syracuse
OL Dan Dierdorf, 6-3, 275, Canton Glenwood, Michigan
OL John Hicks, 6-3, 258, Cleveland John Hay, Ohio State
OL Dick Szymanski, 6-3, 211, Toledo Libbey, Notre Dame
OL Mike Michalske, 6-0, 210, Cleveland W. Tech, Penn State
OL Chris Ward, 6-4, 275, Dayton Patterson, Ohio State
TE Jim Mandich, 6-2, 224, Solon, Michigan
WR Wes Fesler 5-11, 180, Youngstown South, Ohio State
WR Bob Shaw, 6-4, 226, Fremont Ross, Ohio State
K Mike Nugent, 6-10, 190, Centerville, Ohio State
KR Cliff Battles, 6-1, 194, Akron Kenmore, West Virginia Wesleyan
KR Rick Upchurch, 5-10, 175, Holland Springfield, Minnesota
DL Gary Jeter, 6-4, 259, Cleveland Cathedral Latin, USC
DL Irv Eatman, 6-7, 293, Dayton Meadowdale, UCLA
DL Jim Marshall, 5-11, 208, Columbus East, Ohio State
DL Mike Vrabel, 6-4, 260, Walsh Jesuit, Ohio State
LB Jim Lynch, 6-1, 225, Lima Central Catholic, Notre Dame
LB Clarke Hinkle, 5-11, 202, Toronto, Bucknell
LB Randy Gradishar, 6-3, 236, Champion, Ohio State
LB Bob Babich, 6-2, 225, Campbell Memorial, Miami (Ohio)
DB Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, 5-10, 172, Columbus Central, Ohio State
DB Michael Doss, 6-0, 200, Canton McKinley, Ohio State
DB Antoine Winfield, 5-9, 170, Akron Garfield, Ohio State
DB Dave Brown, 6-1, 185, Akron Garfield, Michigan
P John Kidd, 6-3, 208, Findlay, Northwestern
PR Bam Childress, 5-7, 170, Bedford Chanel, Ohio State
Redgie Arden, Ironton; Gordon Bell, Troy; Ted Bell, Youngstown Mooney; Todd
Bell, Middletown; LeCharles Bentley, Cleveland St. Ignatius; George “Puck” Burgwin, Steubenville; Alex Boone, Lakewood St. Edward; Aaron Brown, Warren Harding; Harold Brown, Kent Roosevelt; Fred Bruney, Martins Ferry; Bob Brudzinski, Fremont Ross; Hubert Bobo, Chauncey-Dover; Jack Cannon, Columbus Aquinas; Rob Carpenter,
Lancaster; Ki-Jana Carter, Westerville South; Chris Chambers, Bedford; Bob Chappuis, Toledo DeVilbiss; Matt Christopher, Lake; Nate Clements, Shaker Heights; Ollie Cline, Fredericktown; Bob Crable, Cincinnati Moeller; Tom Curtis, Aurora; Pete Cusik, Lakewood St. Edward; Thom Darden, Sandusky; Fred Davis, Toledo Rogers; Tim Davis, Warren Western Reserve; Len Dawson, Alliance; Van Ness DeCree, Warren Western Reserve; Tom DeLeone, Kent; Doug Donley, Cambridge; Brian Dowling, Cleveland St. Ignatius; Bob Dove, Youngstown South; Marc Edwards, Norwood; Ray Eichenlaub, Columbus East; Curtis Enis, Mississinawa Valley; Andy Farkas, Toledo St. John’s; Bob
Ferguson, Troy; Dave Foley, Cincinnati Roger Bacon; Tim Fox, Canton Glenwood; Hiawatha Francisco, Cincinnati Moeller; Simon Fraser, Upper Arlington; Dennis Franklin, Massillon; Benny Friedman, Cleveland E. Tech; Ken Fritz, Ironton; Dave Gallagher, Piqua; Elvis Grbac, Cleveland St. Joseph’s; Ray Griffin, Columbus Eastmoor; Ralph Gugliemi, Grandview Heights; Anthony Gonzalez, Cleveland St. Ignatius; Bill Hackett, London; Antonio Hall, Canton McKinley; Tom Hamilton, Granville Doane Academy; Willie Harper, Toledo Scott; Jeff Hartings, St. Henry; John Havlicek, Bridgeport; Chuck Heater, Tiffin; John Hicks, Cleveland John Hay; Erick Howard, North Canton Hoover; Buster Howe, Zanesville; Les Horvath, Parma; Bob Hoying, St. Henry; Tony Hunter, Cincinnati Moeller; Mike Ingram, Bellaire; Joe Johnson, Fostoria; Chuck Jones, Chillicothe; Gomer Jones, Cleveland South; Dick Kazmaier, Maumee; Dwight Kelley, Bremen; Rex Kern, Lancaster; Bernie Kosar, Boardman; Ken Kuhn, Louisville; Jim Lachey, St. Henry; Jim Langhurst, Willard; Dante Lavelli, Hudson; Dave Leggett, New Philadelphia; Mel Long, Toledo Macomber; Jeff Logan, North Canton Hoover; Rob Lytle, Fremont Ross; Dick Mack, Bucyrus; Tom Mack, Cleveland Heights; Willie Mack, Mansfield Senior; Nick Mangold, Kettering Alter; Mario Manningham, Warren Harding; Marcus Marek, Masury; Jim Martin, Cleveland East Tech, Johnny Mattress, Cincinnati Princeton; Ben Mauk, Kenton; Rufus Mayes, Toledo Macomber; Napoleon McCallum, Millford; Roland McDole, Toledo DeVilbiss; O.J. McDuffie, Gates Mills Hawken; Dee Miller, Springfield South; Rip Miller, Canton McKinley; Damon Moore, Fostoria; Joe Morrison, Lima South; Michael Munoz, Cincinnati Moeller; Steve Myers, Kenton; Steve Neihaus, Cincinnati Moeller; Ray Nolting, Cincinnati Hughes; Jim Otis, Celina; Joe Pickens, Cleveland St. Ignatius; Ahmed Plummer, Cincinnati Wyoming; Larry Poole, Akron Garfield; Ricky Powers, Akron Buchtel; Omar Provitt, Warren Harding; Ray Pryor, Hamilton; Brady Quinn, Dublin Coffman; Javon Ringer, Dayton Chaminade-Julienne; Robbie Robertson, Barberton; Ben Roethlisberger, Findlay; Esco Sarkkinen, Fairport Harbor; Eddie Scharer, Toledo Scott; Don Scott, Canton McKinley; Mike Sensibaugh, Lockland; Kurt Shumacher, Lorain; Frank Sinkwich, Youngstown Chaney; Inwood Smith, Mansfield Senior; Carlos Snow, Cincinnati Academy of Physical Education; Percy Snow, Canton McKinley; Tim Spencer, St. Clairsvillle; Frank Stams, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s; Pete Stinchcomb, Fostoria; Steve Strinko, Middletown; Korey Stringer, Warren Harding; Dana Stubblefield, North Bend Taylor; Harry Stuhldreher, Massillon; Tyrrel Sutton, Akron Hoban; Billy Taylor, Barberton; Bob Timberlake, Franklin; Steve Tovar, Elyria; Aurelius Thomas, Columbus West; Jim Tyrer,
Newark; Jeff Uhlenhake, Newark Catholic; Garin Veris, Chillicothe; Richard Volk, Wauseon; Chris Wells, Akron Garfield; Chuck Webb, Toledo Macomber; Merle Wendt, Middletown; Gary Williams, Wilmington; Larry Zelina, Cleveland Benedictine; Trent Zenkewicz, Cleveland St. Ignatius; Mike Zordich, Youngstown Chaney; Justin Zwick, Massillon.
At the end of football season I posted an all-time Ohio high school football team and invited readers to fire off their thoughts. Oh, there were some dandy thoughts.
Some of my favorites:
How does your brain function well enough for you to climb out of bed every day?
Do you seriously get paid to be a complete and utter moron?
Can you explain how you walk with that dead growth decaying atop your shoulders?
I can only imagine how tough it must be to tie your shoes.
Seriously, most folks were pretty cordial. Here’s a sampling of their thoughts:
Great idea – and obviously well thought out. I have been toying with one myself for a book and this will definitely help. Of course, I do have an opinion or two about some whom you have left off your list.
First, I am very surprised that, with all of the great high school football coaches in the state down through the years, you have only mentioned one.
Granted, Paul Brown may be the greatest of all-time at any level (picked “Coach of the Century” by Student Sport magazine), but no second or third team coach?
I am somewhat partial, but I have to believe that Chuck Kyle at St. Ignatius has to be somewhere on this list.
Another Wildcat that I am surprised did not make at least your Honorable Mention list is Brian Dowling. As a two-year starter in 1963 and 1964 he led the Wildcats to a 19-1 record, the best record by far of any school in Ohio those two years. He also holds the state career (33) and season (16) record for interceptions while being a three-year starter at safety for the Cats.
This overall body of accomplishment I would think would warrant inclusion in your list.
I am glad to see that you dipped deep into history for some of your inclusions, like Chic Harley and the 1912 Fostoria team. Often, lists like this do not go more than 30 years back.
Finally, after having done all of that research I am a bit surprised, and disappointed, that you left off the years that these boys played. It would have been a great help to anyone wanting to look deeper into their history.
– Tim Hudak, Cleveland
I truly enjoyed reading your list of Ohio’s best high school football players … and could not find disagreement with anyone. However, as a “fun fact,” one name who would possibly qualify for consideration is Brian Dowling from Cleveland St. Ignatius (1965).
His distinction, for which no other Ohio High School player can lay claim, is that he was the model for Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury character, football hero B.D. and was a classmate of Trudeau at Yale.
I thought you would enjoy that tidbit of information. Keep up the good work,
– Ray Brockman, Cleveland Heights
No mention of Calvin Jones from Steubenville Big Red is wrong. Lineman of the year in the state, went to Iowa and was a three-time All American and the Outland Trophy winner in 1955. First black man to win the award and the first football player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. One of only two players to have his number retired by Iowa. Drafted by the Detroit Lions but chose to play in CFL for one season but then was killed in a plane crash flying from Canada to the Rose Bowl to watch Iowa.
Just to let you know he would have been a much better choice then many on the offensive line.
– Brian Anderson
That was a great list but I think you forgot one player and it’s probably because he turned down offers and never went to college but there was a running back in the 60s at John Marshall in Cleveland by the name of Tony Rizk that led Marshall to two city championships.
It was the first times that city schools beat the Catholic schools for the championship in the famous charity games of Cuyahoga County.
– Bill Busse
Another name that probably should be added to the Honorable Mention category would be Coy Bacon from Ironton High School. He was a major factor at both the high school and professional level. Very, very good list.
I recently read your awesome list of Ohio’s best football players and without a doubt it has been interesting to read as well as google some of the players whom I never heard of (I was born in 1979). I will never label myself an expert of Ohio high school football, but I must send along two names I think you should really think about and google to see what they did at the high school level. Obviously I’m going to show my roots and from the school’s presence on JJHuddle, something tells me you probably got some inquiries already, but I would love to know how Calvin Jones and Zach Collaros were left off of your list?
In 2000, Sports Illustrated compiled a list of the 50 best athletes from every state and Calvin Jones was in the top 10 for Ohio, he was highly recruited by Woody Hayes, and eventually became an All-American at Iowa and the first college football player to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Collaros was 30-0 as a starting QB, won two state championships and was third team All-America.
– Ryan Costantini
Great article, love this kind of stuff. You probably get a lot of people who have a player they know of as a can’t-miss for a team like this.
Well here is mine: from little Lima, William White. Never played a down on defense in high school but went to Ohio State and started all four years as a defensive back from 1984 to 1988. Played 10 or 11 years in pros with Detroit, Kansas City and Atlanta. Led team in tackles when Atlanta played in Super Bowl XXXIII.
He and Cris Carter were a part of one of the greatest basketball games ever played at Lima Sr. They both probably could have played basketball for the Buckeyes as well.
– Brett Casady, Lima
I grew up in East Palestine. The 1956 team was 9-0 and blew out nearly everyone. At the time, Ohio was split into AA and A. EP was a very small AA. (Running back) Jim Lindner was first-team AA All-State. He led the state in scoring. He unofficially had around 1,500 yards in nine games. He received full ride to OSU. Though never a star, he won multiple letters and, I believe, played the most minutes of any player his senior year.
– D. James Mackall, Woodstock, VT
Ashland’s Roosevelt Robinson not on your list? Twice Ohio Back of the Year 1964 and 65 and All-Ohio three years: honorable mention sophomore and first team junior and senior years. He had 4,085 yards rushing, 165 yards passing, 1,046 kick return yards.
Lou Juillerat, head football coach Canton South High School (who upset Mansfield Senior (48 or 49?), Baldwin-Wallace College 50-51, Troy High School 53-60, Findlay College and Northwood Institute Michigan and high school coach of Bobby Ferguson told George Valentine, “Roosevelt Robinson is the best high school back that I’ve ever seen.”
You missed on this one.
– Paul Dienstberger, Ashland
I authored a couple prep sports books in Detroit (Metro Detroit’s High School Football Rivalries, did basketball book of same title). I’m wondering why the Mack brothers were honorable mention? One was an NFL Hall of Famer (Tom) in addition to being an All-Big Ten selection at Michigan and younger brother Dick was an All-Big Ten selection and was LG for Archie Griffin’s two Heisman-winning seasons, and I believe the younger Mack was undefeated versus Michigan.
– T.C. Cameron from Annapolis, MD, previously of Royal Oak, Michigan.
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