By David Fong
MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County has produced high school Mr. Football winners, college All-Americans, national champions and Heisman finalists, along with NFL draft picks, playoff participants and one Pro Bowler.
Despite that impressive list, however, there is one thing no county high school can claim — a Super Bowl participant. Today Super Bowl 50 will be played — which means a half-century without a Miami County participant.
According to the pro-football-reference.com, there have been 16 Miami County graduates who have made NFL regular season rosters (and many more who have been on preseason rosters). Of those 16 former county players, none have been to the Super Bowl and only five have made playoff appearances.
Two of those 16 players — Troy graduate Bob Ferguson and West Milton (now Milton-Union) graduate Carl Brumbaugh saw their NFL careers come to an end before the first Super Bowl took place in 1967.
Nine others — Troy’s Tommy Myers, Tommy Vaughn, Elmo Boyd, Gordon Bell and Jon Dumbauld, Piqua’s Dave Gallagher and Matt Finkes, Milton-Union’s Charlie Green and Piqua Catholic’s Peter Mikolajewski — played on teams that never made it to the playoffs during their NFL careers.
Only five — Troy’s Kris Dielman, Covington’s Tim Vogler and Piqua’s Craig Clemons, Brandon Saine and Quinn Pitcock — ever played on teams that made it to the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, Miami County graduates did not fare particularly well. The five county grads saw their teams go a combined 6-12.
Three of those five players — Vogler, Dielman and Saine — played on teams that won playoff games. Both Vogler and Dielman also came within a game of playing in the Super Bowl, with Vogler and the Buffalo Bills losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1988 AFC Championship game, and Dielman and the Chargers losing to the New England Patriots in the 2007 AFC Championship game.
Here’s a look at the playoff careers of Miami County graduates:
Craig Clemons (Piqua)
Following his career at Iowa, Clemons was a first-round draft pick (12th overall) of the Chicago Bears. The defensive back would play six seasons with the Bears — mostly on losing teams. In his final season with the team in 1977, however, the Bears went 9-5, good for second place in the NFL Central Division.
That season, Clemons appeared in 12 games, including two starts.
In the divisional round of the playoffs, the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Bears 37-7.
Tim Vogler (Covington)
Vogler was not drafted following his college career at Ohio State, but did sign with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent in 1979. He would spend his entire 10-year career with the Bills. In 1985, he became the full-time starter at right guard.
Buffalo made five playoffs appearances while Vogler was on the roster.
In 1980, the San Diego Chargers beat the Bills 20-14 in the first round of the playoffs. In 1981, the Bills defeated the New York Jets 31-27 in the AFC wild card game, but were defeated by the Cincinnati Bengals, 28-21, in the following round.
In 1988, Vogler injured his knee 10 games into the season and was forced to miss the Bills’ playoff run. Buffalo defeated the Houston Oilers 17-10 in the opening round of the playoffs, but the Bengals defeated the Bills 21-10 in the AFC title game.
Vogler would retire following the 1988 season. Two years later, the Bills began their run of four-consecutive Super Bowl appearances.
Kris Dielman (Troy)
Dielman went undrafted following his college career at Indiana University, but signed a rookie free agent deal with the San Diego Chargers in 2003.
In 2004, Dielman would make his first playoff appearance, as the Chargers went 12-4 during the season but were defeated 20-17 by the New York Jets in an AFC wild card game. The Chargers would return to the playoffs in 2006 following a 14-2 season, but lost to the New England Patriots, 24-21, in the opening round of the playoffs.
The 2007 season would be the best the Chargers would have during Dielman’s nine-year career. They went 11-5 during the regular season, then defeated the Tennessee Titans (17-6) in the wild card round, then beating the Indianapolis Colts (28-24) in the division round.
In the AFC title game, the Patriots defeated the Chargers 21-12 to earn a Super Bowl berth.
The Chargers would make two more playoff appearances during Dielman’s career. In 2008, they beat the Colts (23-17) in a wild card game, but lost to the Steelers (35-24) in the next round. In 2009, the Jets beat the Chargers (17-14) in the opening round of the playoffs.
Dielman — a five-time Pro Bowl selection at offensive guard — was forced to retire following the 2011 season following a series of concussions.
Quinn Pitcock (Piqua)
The Indianapolis Colts drafted Pitcock, an All-American defensive tackle, out of Ohio State with a third-round pick in 2007.
In his lone season with the team, the Colts went 13-3, losing 28-24 to the San Diego Chargers in the first round of the playoffs.
Pitcock would retire following his rookie season in the NFL.
Brandon Saine (Piqua)
Saine was not drafted following his senior season at Ohio State, but the running back signed a free agent deal with the Green Bay Packers in 2011.
The Packers would go to the playoffs both of Saine’s seasons with the team. In 2011, the Packers went 15-1 during the regular season, but were upset by the New York Giants, 37-20, in the first round of the playoffs. In 2012, the Packers defeated the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 in the NFC wild card game, then lost 45-31 to the San Francisco 49ers in the next round.
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong