Is it just me, or is the sun shining just a little brighter these days?
And have you noticed the leaves? As they cascade downward toward the ground, their autumnal hues seem just a little bolder and more colorful than usual.
Do you find yourself with just a little more spring in your step as you head off to face the day? Are you finding the little things — like, say, the most acrimonious presidential election in the history of this country — don’t seem to bother nearly as much as they used to? Of course not, you’ve got more important, and infinitely more pleasurable, things to think about these days.
In this history of your entire life, has there every been a more glorious time to be an American, an Ohioan and a resident of Miami County?
No. No there has not.
Life is so grand because, quite frankly, our football teams have made it so.
Considering Miami County’s rich football history, this is going to seem like an bold statement, but I’m a pretty bold guy, so I’ll go ahead and make it: There has never been a better time history to be a fan of football in Miami County than this year. This is the year that, many years from now, you are going to want to tell your grandchildren about.
Sure, it’s hard to argue with the many golden ages of Troy football: The All-American days of Bob Ferguson and Tommy Myers and Tommy Vaughn; the unbeatable teams of the early 1970s with Gordon Bell, Randy Walker, Joe Allen and Dave Starkey; the 1985 team’s run to the state semifinals or the excitement of watching Ryan Brewer and Kris Dielman play on the same team in the 1990s.
For Piqua fans, there are the days of Dave Gallagher and Craig Clemons, the 1990s teams featuring Sean Mitchell and Matt Finkes and, of course, the incredible state championship run of the 2006 team featuring Brandon Saine and Justin Hemm and perhaps the most talented defense ever to play for the Indians.
It’s hard to discount the legendary Milton-Union teams led by Wat Farrar or, more recently, Bret Peace and Mark Lane. What about Miami East’s “Blue Wave” defense of the early 1980s? How could we possibly forget the state finals run of Covington in the 1970s, the Vogler brothers or its current streak of playoff appearances? Same goes for Tippecanoe and its string of playoff appearances.
All of those are fine moments to be sure — but for the most part, they took place in separate eras. Sure, there was a little overlap between the Troy and Covington teams of the 1970s or the Troy and Piqua teams of the 1990s, but I’m not sure we’ve ever seen so much success converge all at the same time within Miami County.
• Right here in Troy, both the Troy High School and Troy Christian High School football teams are ranked in the state in their respective divisions. This has never happened before. Sure, Troy Christian’s football history only goes back about 15 years, but in that time, both the Trojans and Eagles have never been so highly regarded in the same season. Both also are locks for the playoffs — something that has only happened once before, in 2004.
• Covington currently sits at No. 1 in the Division VII Associated Press state poll. With just two weeks remaining in the season, there’s a good chance the Buccs finish the regular season as state poll champions.
• For the first time in a long time, Troy and Piqua could be playing for a league title in the final week of the season. At the very least, the winner of that game is assured a share of the league title.
• Nine of the 10 area teams will finish the season no worse than 5-5. It’s possible that all 10 teams could finish 5-5 — something that has never happened in county history.
• Under the right circumstances many as nine — and most likely six or seven — local teams could be headed to the playoffs this year.
All of this, and we aren’t even talking about the incredible run the Ohio State Buckeyes are on at the college level. Also, we have two professional football teams (sort of) in the state, as well.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we live in a football state, a football county and a football town. It’s part of our life blood. It’s what we live for in September and October. When things are going well on Friday nights, they seem to carry over into the rest of the week.
So soak it all in, folks. It’s never been like this before — and may never be like this again.
Troy’s very own David Fong appears on Thursdays in the Troy Daily News. Contact him at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong