Sunbury High’s 1st football team


A Blast from the Past

By Polly Horn - For The News



Pictured in a photo taken by Scott Patrick is the first Sunbury High School football team in 1926. Seated on the left is Ashton Perfect and on the right is Elson Condit. First row seated, left to right, are Carl Perry, Orvel Kempton, Carlton Burrer with the ball, Merrill Mathews, and Walter Adams. Standing, from left, are Raymond Jahn, Hi Morris, Hoyt Whitney, Bill Lee, Paul Stelzer, and Henry Beaver.


By Polly Horn

For The News

In The Sunbury News for June 30, 1966, Editor Bill Whitney wrote: “The first Sunbury High School football team was in 1926 and it took a lot of finegeling to get it. Galena had a team and had been playing since 1923 when their team had a 35-0 record under Coach Lybarger.”

For some reason Sunbury’s Board of Education rejected the idea of Sunbury High School fielding a football team. Bill Whitney, who later owned and edited The Sunbury News, was the older brother of Hoyt, who was one of the boys who really wanted to play.

Bill recalled the events that led to Sunbury’s first football team in an article in The Sunbury News published on June 30, 1966.

“Several boys wanted to play football but the board of education would not permit it. So the present News editor started a campaign and men were elected to the board of education who had sons wanting to play football. Action started. There was no money for uniforms or to hire a coach. G. E. McFarland was superintendent of the school and he suggested Bill Whitney go down to Otterbein College and talk with Royal Martin, athletic director. Mr. Martin had the man, a student from Dayton who was quite a football player but was ineligible to play that year.

“I talked with him and he was anxious to coach. My next move was to go to Mr. Townsend, Ohio High School Athletic Commissioner, to obtain his permission. I received an OK. Next we needed money so I took up a collection from Sunbury Merchants and obtained enough to buy sweat pants, sweat shirts, shoes and helmets and football started.”

Whitney wrote that the boys on that first Sunbury High School Football Team did not have pads or the safety equipment used today, but they did have a team. He said there were only 13 boys on that first team and some would get hurt during a game, reducing the size of their bench.

“I’ll never forget the game at Danville when we were drubbed 49 to nothing and we ended up with nine players,” Whitney wrote. “I think we paid the Otterbein student $250 for the season. Anyway we started football that year and have had a team ever since.”

Whitney said most of the players from that 1926 team stayed in Sunbury and became backers of future football teams. They would have been proud of the boys on the Big Walnut High School 2007 Varsity Football Team who won the Division III State Championship.

Horn is curator of the Myers Inn Museum.

Pictured in a photo taken by Scott Patrick is the first Sunbury High School football team in 1926. Seated on the left is Ashton Perfect and on the right is Elson Condit. First row seated, left to right, are Carl Perry, Orvel Kempton, Carlton Burrer with the ball, Merrill Mathews, and Walter Adams. Standing, from left, are Raymond Jahn, Hi Morris, Hoyt Whitney, Bill Lee, Paul Stelzer, and Henry Beaver.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2016/10/web1_Football-1926.SUBMITTED.jpg Pictured in a photo taken by Scott Patrick is the first Sunbury High School football team in 1926. Seated on the left is Ashton Perfect and on the right is Elson Condit. First row seated, left to right, are Carl Perry, Orvel Kempton, Carlton Burrer with the ball, Merrill Mathews, and Walter Adams. Standing, from left, are Raymond Jahn, Hi Morris, Hoyt Whitney, Bill Lee, Paul Stelzer, and Henry Beaver.
A Blast from the Past

By Polly Horn

For The News

Horn is curator of the Myers Inn Museum.

Horn is curator of the Myers Inn Museum.