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Tristate's All-Century Team

It's a tough job, but ...

Friday, Aug. 27, 1999

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Go ahead, disagree with us. Ponder. Debate. Whatever. It's expected. We struggled ourselves. Picking an All-Century high school football team for the Greater Cincinnati area was no easy task.

THE BEST OF THE CENTURY
staubach
Staubach
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Carter
-   QB: Roger Staubach, Purcell Marian, '59-63.
  College and pro glory overtake fact he played QB only one year in high school (his coach, Jim McCarthy, started players on defense during their junior year and then 'promoted' them to offense as seniors).
- RB: Carlos Snow, CAPE, '83-87.
  As obvious a choice as anyone on this team due to his dominant combination of four-year productivity in high school and state titles won by his team.
- RB: Shaun Alexander, Boone County,'92-94,
  ran for 6,662 yards, 110 TDs in three years with 3,166-yard, 54-TD senior year.
- WR: Cris Carter, '80-84 Middletown.
  Went on to star with Ohio State and is still with the Minnesota Vikings.
- TE: Eric Kattus, '77-81, Colerain.
  A Parade All-American, had a fine career at Michigan and was a respectable pro with the Bengals.
- OL: Dave Foley, '61-65, Roger Bacon.
A clear choice, as both a high-school and college All-American (for OSU national champion) of the 60s and the most decorated player from Bron Bacevich's era of dominance at Roger Bacon.
- OL: Danny James, '50-54, Elder.
  Might be the most revered name among Elder faithful, an original west side tough-guy 300-pound center who went on to play for OSU and the Steelers.
- OL: Raymond Pryor, '59-62, Hamilton Garfield.
  A star in the 60s who, according to Middletown's Jack Gordon, Woody Hayes once privately rated as the best center to play under him at OSU.
- OL: Irv Goode, Boone County, '55-57.
  First team All-American at UK; St. Louis' first-round pick in '62; two-time Pro Bowler.
- OL: John ''Socko'' Wiethe, Roger Bacon/St. Xavier, 1928-30.
  A 220-pounder (big for then) who was legendary at Xavier University and then was all-pro as a tackle in the old NFL, and equally legendary for his varied presence in public life in this city.
- K: Doug Pelfrey, Scott, 1986-88.
Bengals career included brief reign as most accurate kicker in NFL history.
- DL: Chuck Kyle, Highlands, 1962-64.
  Starred at Purdue; last player from Kentucky named first-team college All-American.
- DL: Walter Johnson, '56-60, Taft.
  A fullback at Taft who went on to have a solid career as lineman with the Cleveland Browns.
- DL: Dana Stubblefield, '85-89, Taylor.
  Quietly excelled at this school and then turned into an All-Pro in the NFL.
- DL: Steve Niehaus, '68-72, Moeller.
Had sparkling NFL career with Seattle Seahawks.
- LB: Bob Crable, '73-77, Moeller.
  Perhaps Moeller's greatest player, a college All-American and a good pro.
- LB: Jack ''Hacksaw'' Reynolds, '63-67, Western Hills.
Emerged in college and became one of the NFL's top linebackers for many years.
- LB: Todd Bell, '73-77, Middletown.
  One of Middletown's best players. An all-state player and a standout with Ohio State and the Chicago Bears.
- CB: Mike Sensibaugh, '63-67, Lockland.
  A terrific all-around threat at Lockland who was an All-American at Ohio State as a DB.
- CB: Carlton Gray, '84-88, Winton Woods.
Gatorade National Player of the Year in high school who went on to be an All-American at UCLA the NFL.
- S: Vinnie Clark, '83-87, CAPE.
  An all-conference player at Ohio State and a solid NFL player.
- S: Greg Stemrick, '66-70, Lincoln Heights.
  All-state in three sports and helped lead Heights to state titles in basketball and baseball. All-league at Colorado State and played for the Houston Oilers.
- Coach: Gerry Faust, Moeller.
Went 174-17-2 (.907) in 18 years, winning five state titles and four mythical national championships.
       A panel of four Enquirer reporters -- Dave Schutte, Tom Groeschen, Neil Schmidt and Carey Hoffman -- selected the team with much thought and consideration. The four have a combined 67 years of experience covering high school sports in this area.

       They researched by looking at the best statistical data available. They talked to former and current players and coaches, administrators and others who have long been involved in the local sports scene.

       All that, and even they couldn't reach a consensus on a few spots in our lineup.

       We looked not only at what these players accomplished in high school, but also in college and at the professional level.

       That's why Roger Staubach is our quarterback. He played just one year at Purcell Marian, but went on to win the Heisman Trophy at Navy, lead the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl victories and land in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Case closed.

       Perhaps the most spirited debate was for the second running back position. The first spot went to Carlos Snow of CAPE; a no-brainer based on his illustrious high school career.

       Then it came down to Shaun Alexander (Boone County, now Alabama), Richard Hall (Wyoming, now Ohio State) and Marc Edwards (Norwood, Notre Dame, San Francisco 49ers, now Cleveland Browns). A four-running back formation would have helped, but editors nixed the idea.

       In the end, we could not ignore Alexander's stellar senior season, in which he rushed for a Greater Cincinnati-record 3,166 yards and 54 touchdowns while averaging 211.3 yards per game.

       What else might you notice?

- Five schools -- Moeller, Boone County, Middletown, CAPE, St. Xavier -- have two players on the team; Roger Bacon has three, if you count offensive lineman John ''Socko'' Wiethe, who attended Roger Bacon and St. Xavier.

- Princeton, despite its strong football history, has no players on the team. Arnold Franklin just missed being picked as our tight end, but Eric Kattus (Colerain) won the tiebreaker because of his college and pro careers.

- Gerry Faust has to be the coach. Love him or hate him, it's impossible to argue with five state titles and four mythical national championships. His teams were 174-17-2 in 18 years at Moeller.

       We did consider Bob Lewis, who won state championships in Ohio (Wyoming, 1977) and Kentucky (Conner, 1983 Class AAA). And Homer Rice, who coached Highlands to state titles in 1960 and '61 and eventually coached the Cincinnati Bengals in 1978 and '79.

       We tried to be fair. We did our best. Now it's your turn.

        If you want to argue for a player we left off, send your comments to gnoble@enquirer.com.