CLAYTON — This Friday, Northmont Football will welcome five new members into its prestigious Hall of Fame. The 2015 class includes a quarterback who led his team to an undefeated season in 1963, an all league running back from the 1970s, an offensive lineman who, along with his sidekick, formed one of the best offensive linemen tandems in Northmont history, a two-way lineman who went on to play collegiately at Mt. St. Joes, and a community member who becomes the fifth member of his family to be inducted into the Northmont Football Hall of Fame.
Ed Swope, Don Fry, Mark Kennard, Sean Brooks, and David Swafford will join the Northmont Football Hall of Fame during its induction ceremony this Friday at 6:45p.m. prior to Northmont’s game against Fairfield at 7:30 p.m. The ceremony will be held at midfield of Good Samaritan Stadium and brings the total number of Hall of Fame members to 103.
The 2015 inductees will have their names added to the Northmont Football Hall of Fame display located on the Dedication Wall inside the main entrance of Good Samaritan Stadium. Their names will also be added to the Hall of Fame plaque hanging inside of the Lightning Lounge at the south end of the stadium. The Hall of Fame committee would like to congratulate these five men on this tremendous honor, and acknowledges the Northmont Thunderback Club and Englewood Florist for their contributions to the activities and awards given to the newest inductees as well as Elaine Carlisle and Ron Lewis for their involvement and dedication to the Northmont Football Hall of Fame for the past 20 plus years.
Ed Swope, a 1964 graduate, was part of an undefeated team that began the tradition of Northmont Football teams that had tremendous success under Hall of Fame coach Ned Booher. In describing his football career at Northmont, Swope had this to say, “It was great to be a part of program that took off when Ned Booher took the helm. To go 8-2 in Coach Booher’s first year and follow that up with an undefeated season my senior year is something I will always cherish.”
During his junior season, Swope played free safety and helped the team to an 8-2 record; however, it is Swope’s senior year that is most often remembered by Northmont Football enthusiasts. In 1963, the Bolts went 10-0, won the SWBL championship, and scored 383 points while giving up only 64 points that year. During his senior year, Swope made the transition from free safety to quarterback.
Coach Booher had this to say about his quarterback and captain, “Ed was able to keep opponents’ defenses on their heels with his bootleg running and passing plays. He was truly a coach on the field who was fun to coach.”
For his efforts in the 1963 season, Swope was selected honorable mention All-SWBL; but that does not entirely reflect the type of impact that he had on his team.
Swope had this to say about the 1963 team, “Being inducted to the Northmont Football Hall of Fame is a great honor. This only emphasizes what a great team we had, but also how many great players we had that year. It’s satisfying to know that I get to join such a great group of guys.”
To put things into perspective about the 1963 class, Swope mentioned that they won SWBL championships in football, basketball, and wrestling. Following his high school and collegiate career, Swope went into education and spent 29 years as a Guidance Counselor and coach in the Fairborn School District.
While contemplating his own coaching career, Ed had this to say, “Coach Booher was very demanding to play for, but as a group we responded well and it made us a better team and better people because of it.”
Ed Swope is currently retired, having spent 35 years in education, and resides in Fairborn.
Don Fry was a running back, which along with Ron Jewsikow, formed one of the best 1-2 punches at the running back position that Northmont Football has ever seen. Between the two of them, they were able to amass nearly 1800 yards rushing and led the team to a 9-1 record and SWBL championship in 1974. Like Ed Swope, Fry had the honor of playing for the prestigious Ned Booher. By the time Fry played high school football, Coach Booher had established Northmont as a perennial power in the Dayton Area. As a result, Northmont was voted the team of the decade (1970s) by the Dayton Journal Herald.
In reflecting on his involvement in Northmont Football program, Fry said, “We were like a dynasty from pee-wee football through high school. I, like most boys, dreamed of playing for Northmont and Ned Booher during my younger years. That, in addition to a rabid fan base, made playing Northmont Football a real treat. It was not uncommon for Northmont to have more fans at away games than the home team had.”
In addition to the success on the field, Fry enjoyed the relationships that were established during his years in the program.
“I really enjoyed playing for Hall of Fame Coach, Rick ‘Fireball’ Roberts. He made playing football very fun and exciting.”
When asked about his star running back, Booher said, “Don was one of the quickest backs I ever had the honor to coach. He had the ability to come to a dead stop and then explode full speed into the hole.”
As a result, Fry currently ranks No. 13 in career rushing in the Northmont Football Record Book. In describing being selected to the Football Hall of Fame, Fry has this to say.
“This is quite a surprise, but I’m very honored. There are some extremely talented players who are part of the Hall of Fame and some others who have not yet made it. To be part of the Hall of Fame is a great honor!”
Don Fry currently resides in Campobello, South Carolina.
Mark Kennard, a 1990 graduate, is known as much for his great personality as he is for his ability as an All-GMVC lineman. Kennard, along with fellow Hall of Famer Matt Gingrich, formed one of the most formidable blocking tandems in the history of Northmont Football. Not only were the two almost inseparable on the field, but they were best of friends off the field as well.
Coach Ed Domsitz said, “Kennard and Gingrich were one of the greatest pairs of offensive linemen I have ever coached. Seeing Mark Kennard join Matt Gingrich in the Hall of Fame kind of completes something that I feel was much needed and deserved.”
Initially, Kennard played for Hall of Fame Coach Norm Skaroupka and then finished his career under the direction of Coach Domsitz. During his senior year, Kennard helped the Bolts to a 7-3 record and earned all league recognition for his efforts. Despite being somewhat undersized for the position, Kennard made up for that with effort, intensity, and a deep-rooted passion for the game. Hall of Famer and position coach Dave King describes Kennard as a game changer whose intensity and leadership often willed the Bolts to victory.
“I specifically remember a game at Tecumseh where we got behind early and Mark Kennard, through his leadership and fiery personality, simply refused to let Northmont lose that night,” King said.
Upon reflecting on his career, Kennard said he is very proud of the relationships he created and the improvement his teammates made during their high school career.
“We had never won more than 3 games going into our senior year, so I am proud that we stuck together and were rewarded with a successful season (7-3) my senior year. The best part about it is that my best friends, still to this day, were part of that team.”
Now, Kennard can add Hall of Fame member to his list of credentials and accomplishments.
“It is surreal to be inducted into the Northmont Football Hall of Fame. I never even gave it a thought that someday I would be part of that prestigious group. Like most linemen, I was never a star of the team but it is nice to be noticed and appreciated,” he said.
Mark Kennard is currently a Director of Business Development and resides in Dayton.
Brooks, a quiet personality off the field, allowed his ability as a two-way player speak volumes on the field. Sean Brooks played both offensive and defensive line his senior year, guiding the Bolts to a 10-2 record and the school’s second postseason victory. During the 2008 season, the Bolts only losses were to Cleveland St. Ignatius and Cincinnati Elder, the two teams that played for the State Championship that season. For his efforts that season, Brooks was selected 1st Team All-GWOC, 1st Team All Area, and 2nd Team All-SW Ohio.
Brooks had this to say about his days as a Thunderbolt, “My football career, including my senior year, was the best time of my life. I’ve done bigger things, but that season is still the highlight of my career. Despite the loss to St. Ignatius, we came together and ended up accomplishing things that very few in the program have accomplished.”
Dave King stated, “Sean was the heart and soul of the offensive line. He made all the calls, was very smart, and had great athleticism.”
Hall of Famer and Defensive Coordinator Collin Abels added this, “Sean was the consummate team player. In a day and age when few players play both ways, Sean was an excellent player on both sides of the ball. In 2008, we may have had players who were more well known that Sean, but he was as effective and important to our success as anybody on that team. It’s an honor to say that I had the opportunity to coach Sean Brooks.”
Not only is it impressive when you look at Sean’s accomplishments in high school, but what he was able to achieve during his collegiate career is equally amazing. Following his career at Northmont, he went on to attend Mount St. Joeseph University. During his collegiate years, Brooks played four years of football (two time All Conference), wrestled for four years (All-American senior year), and ran track for four years. He did all of this while holding a part-time job and ultimately earning a MBA in business.
Regarding the Hall of Fame, Sean says, “This is the biggest honor I’ve ever received. Some people wait 15-20 years to be inducted into the Hall of Fame; so to be inducted only 6 years out of high school is very gratifying. I would like to thank my family for pushing me to be the best I could be.”
Sean Brooks currently resides in Mason, and works as a Commercial Real Estate Agent.
The final member of the 2015 class, Dave Swafford, is being recognized for his significant impact off the playing field, one that ultimately played a big role in the development of the Northmont Football Program. Dave Swafford had four sons and a daughter, all of which were part of the Northmont Football Program and left a positive impact on the program. Likewise, Swafford left his mark on the program. When approached and asked by Coach Booher, he agreed to take over as Director of the Northmont Pee-Wee Football Program. Under his guidance, the pee-wee program grew in size and mirrored very closely the high school program. At the time Coach Booher asked Swafford to take over the program, it was looking like the program was going to fold, leaving the Northmont youth without an opportunity to learn the game of football.
Coach Booher mentioned this about the importance of Mr. Swafford, “As Director of the pee-wee program, Dave did an outstanding job establishing standards for practice times, coaching guidelines, and regulations applicable to young players. Great job Dave, thanks!”
Despite playing a pivotal role in the development of the Northmont Football Program, Swafford remains very humble about his accomplishments.
“Seeing the pee-wee organization grow from nothing to the organization that it is today is very rewarding, but the best part was being closely involved with the program and being a devoted fan for the past 50 years,” Swafford said.
In addition to his role with the Northmont Pee-Wee Football, Swafford also was a charter member of the Thunderback Club, assisted with team statistics, and finally assisted in writing weekly game articles that appeared in the Englewood newspaper.
When asked about being inducted into the Hall of Fame, an emotional Dave Swafford responded, “This is the thrill of a lifetime. Being associated with Northmont Football has been very rewarding, and to be included in the same group with my four sons is special beyond what words could describe.”
David Swafford is currently retired and resides in Clayton.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind