It’s no secret that our country has fallen deeply in love with the game of football. The same could be said for the much smaller scale of our local community.
Each fall, thousands spend their Friday nights under the bright lights of the area’s high school football complexes. And, every once in a while, local fans have a chance to witness a player who’s destined for greatness on a bigger stage.
This week’s 10 to Comprehend takes aim at the top ten players — who were destined for greatness — in local history.
• 10. Drew Bobb (Paint Valley Bearcats, 2000-2003)
Before heading to the University of Cincinnati, Drew Bobb left no doubt in the minds of Bainbridge football fans that he was one of the best to ever suit up in a Paint Valley uniform. As a part of the only SVC team in history to start 12-0 (2003), Bobb led his Bearcats to the Elite 8 his senior year and grabbed First Team All-Ohio honors. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound punisher also was named the 2003 District Defensive Player of the Year.
• 9. Chad Lytle (Huntington Huntsmen, 1988-1991)
Chad Lytle could absolutely do it all. In many minds, the best back the Huntsmen have ever seen, Lytle found the end zone habitually during his time near Route 772. During his senior season, Lytle managed to rush for over 1,000 yards and rack up over 1,000 yards receiving. Those numbers aren’t counting what he contributed to his team from the kick returner position. For his efforts, he was named the 1991 Division IV back of the year and was named First Team All-Ohio.
• 8. Colton Coy (Adena Warriors, 2002-2005)
If you can remember, and I’m sure most of you can, Colton Coy consistently made headlines at Adena High School for his work on the football field. While his Warriors never won a conference title during his four year tenure, Coy made sure his name was known. After leaving Frankfort, the running back took his talents to Otterbein University, where he became the Cardinals’ all-time rushing leader (5,482 yards) and was named the 2009 team MVP after racking up 1,013 yards and 10 touchdowns.
• 7. B. Jay Dailey (Unioto Shermans, 1970-1973)
The quarterback position simply came easily to B. Jay Dailey during his time at Unioto. Much like Coy, Dailey never had the pleasure of winning an SVC title. But in college, he excelled to newer heights. At the University of Dayton, Dailey set career scholarship records of passing yards (3,678), completions (233) and attempts (509). He was inducted into the Flyers’ Hall of Fame in 2015.
• 6. Chris Givens (Chillicothe Cavaliers, 2003-2006)
I had the chance to watch Chris Givens play live, and anytime the ball was in his hands, he had a chance to score. Givens caught 57 passes for 1,118 yards and 11 touchdowns during his senior year as a Cavalier and was a two-time All-Southeastern Ohio Athletic League selection as well as a 2006 First Team All-Ohio honoree. After leaving CHS, he became a Redhawk at Miami (OH) University, where he caught 157 passes for 2,121 yards and 15 scores. Givens then had a brief stint with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints before being waived by the team in 2013.
• 5. Todd Shoemaker (Paint Valley Bearcats, 1987-1990)
I don’t need to explain why Todd Shoemaker is No. 5 on our list. I can just state his numbers and it’s proof enough. For starters, Shoemaker led his Bearcats to a 1989 SVC crown. In that season, he picked off three passes from his DB position to secure a win in the SVC title game, passed for 1,553 yards and ran for 526. He was named the 1989 SVC Offensive Back of the Year as well as the District Back of the Year. In 1990, he passed for 1,250 yards, ran for 681 and scoring a combined 29 times. He was once again named the SVC and District Back of the Year and also named Second Team All-Ohio.
• 4. Chuck Jones (Chillicothe Cavaliers, 1986-1989)
At No. 4 , we come to a player who is both the biggest football mystery in our area as well as a player who many believe is the best — at any position — to ever play the game, locally. Chuck Jones was an absolute freak of a nature, in a football sense of the statement. The 6-foot-4, 290 pound defensive tackle ran a 4.9 40-yard dash. That should say enough. After committing to Ohio State, Jones ran into academic problems and never went on to play at the next level. However, in high school, he helped CHS go 10-0 in 1987 under head coach John Sines, was a two-time All-OCC and All-Ohio selection and was a USA Today All-American and the Division I Lineman of the Year in 1988.
• 3. Greg Cook (Chillicothe Cavaliers, 1962-1965)
Many know the tragic story of the late Greg Cook. The 1964 CHS graduate was an Honorable Mention All-Ohio selection but did most of his damage at the collegiate and professional levels. At the University of Cincinnati, Cook set 17 school records at the quarterback position. He was drafted in 1969 by the Cincinnati Bengals — fifth overall — and became the 1969 NFL Rookie of the Year. After injuries ended his career in 1973, Cook was inducted into the UC Hall of Fame in 1986 and was a charter member of UC’s Nippert Stadium’s Ring of Honor in 2006.
• 2. Ben Hartsock (Unioto Shermans, 1995-1998)
Hartsock was a grown man among toddlers on the football field. At Unioto, he caught 86 career passes for 1,562 yards at his tight end position and also recorded 61 tackles and 19 sacks during his senior season at linebacker. In all, he spent time at four positions for the Tanks — tight end, running back, linebacker and kicker. He became a 2002 national champion at Ohio State University before spending nine seasons with five teams in the NFL. Over his professional football career, Hartsock caught 31 passes for 312 yards and one score.
• 1. Garin Veris (Chillicothe Cavaliers, 1978-1981)
At Chillicothe High School, Veris was an absolute stud. Not only was he dominant on the football field as a defensive lineman, but he controlled his own fate in pretty much any sport he set his mind to. After being named an All-American in 1980, the two time All-OCC selection went on to play at Stanford University. He was then drafted by the New England Patriots in 1985, where he really began to shine. As a part of the Pats organization, Veris recorded 14 sacks during his rookie season and started in Super Bowl XX against the Chicago Bears. After retiring from football in 1992 with 36 career sacks, Veris was named to the Patriots’ all-80s team.
Disagree with anything here? Good! Let your voice be heard and tell us who we missed in the comments. Next week, “10 to Comprehend” run down — no pun intended — the top 10 local cross country runners of all-time. Send your nominations to email@example.com.
Did you know?
In four years at Stanford University, Garin Veris recorded 238 tackles (132 solo), 45 tackles for a loss, 25 sacks and three fumble recoveries. He would later be drafted by New England with the 43rd overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft.