By David Fong
TROY — That Tom Myers still holds nearly every passing record in Troy High School football history comes as a surprise to almost no one … except to the man who holds the records.
“Honestly, yes, I am a little surprised — I would have thought in all those years, someone would have broken those records by now,” Myers said in a 2012 interview with the Troy Daily News just prior to his induction into the Trojan Athletics Hall of Fame. “I think I’ve held them long enough. It would be nice to see someone start breaking those records and let them enjoy them for awhile.”
For the first time in more than a half-century, there’s a legitimate chance the records held by Myers — who would go on to become an All-American quarterback at Northwestern and play for the NFL’s Detroit Lions — could fall.
Although it’s still early in the season — a point that can’t be emphasized nearly enough — Troy quarterback Hayden Kotwica was thrown for 721 yards in three games. That puts him on pace for 2,430 yards over the course of the season — well ahead of the school-record 2,009 yards Myers threw for in 1960.
Even if Kotwica does manage to pass Myers for the single-season passing record, however, Myers would still hold school records for passing yards in a game (376 vs. Belmont in 1959), passing yards in a carer (5,060), passing touchdowns in a game (five, which he did in four different games in 1959 and 1960), touchdown passes in a season (28 in 1960) and touchdown passes in a career (61).
That Myers’ passing records remain intact 55 years after his career ended serves as little surprise to any Troy football historian who has watched the Trojans continually watched the Troy adhere to a run-based game for the past five decades. Those offenses have churned out 1,000-yard rushers by the dozens — but no serious threats to any of Troy’s passing records.
That has changed with the arrival of first-year coach Matt Burgbacher, however, who has shown no qualms about throwing the ball with great frequency. Troy already set one school passing record this year in the season opener when Kotwica completed a 97-yard touchdown pass to Hayden Jackson, breaking a record set in 1963 when Richard Vorpe completed a 94-yard touchdown pass to Tom Calloway in a 28-26 win over Piqua.
As incredible as it is that Myers’ name still dots the Trojan history books 55 years after his playing career ended, he does not have the longest-standing records in school history.
The oldest individual record in school history belongs to former Trojan fullback Bob Ferguson. In 1956, Ferguson set the school’s single-game rushing record with 529 yards against Dayton Kiser. Ferguson’s record is all the more impressive considering the following week, he rushed for 475 yards against Monroe, the second best single-game rushing total in school history.
Both of those games opened the season, which means Ferguson — who would go on to become a two-time All-American at Ohio State — had become a 1,000-yard rusher just two games into the season.
A number of Troy records date back to the 1950s and 60s. In 1960, Tom Vaughn set the school record for points scored in a game (48 against Sidney). While Myers holds just about every passing record in school history, Vaughn — his favorite target — holds nearly every receiving record. Vaughn holds the records for most receiving yards in a season (703 in 1959), receiving yards in a career (1,451), touchdown receptions in a game (four vs. Dayton Stivers in 1960), touchdown receptions in a season (13 in 1960) and touchdown receptions in a career (25).
The record for the longest fumble return in school history was set in 1965, when Paul Gearheardt returned a fumble 89 yards for a touchdown in a 10-6 win over Miamisburg.
The oldest records in Troy football history are not individual records, however, but rather team records — and in part because of a series of rule changes enacted over the years, there’s a chance at least one of those records will never be broken and several others are unlikely to be broken.
The record for most points scored in a game by the Trojans is 109, set in 1921 in a 109-0 win over Mechanicsburg. Unless the Ohio High School Athletic Association rescinds the “running clock rule” put in place last season, that record is almost certain to stand for all eternity.
In 1953 — just prior to Ferguson’s arrival — the Trojans set the dubious record for fewest points scored in a season (28). In 1946, Troy’s defense set the record for fewest points allowed in a season (24). Given the various rule changes over the years that have favored offenses — not just at the high school level, but at all levels of the game — those records would appear to be relatively safe, as well.
Finally, the longest winning streak in school history is 32 games, which took place from the first game in 1955 to the fifth game in 1958. That record pre-dated the OSHAA playoff system — which was instituted in 1972 — meaning Troy would need to win back-to-back state championships while going undefeated, plus three more games in a row after that, to break that record.
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong