By CHRIS LARICK
For the Star Beacon
Dave Huey’s collegiate football career came to an abrupt end at a spring practice before his sophomore year at the University of Toledo.
Huey, on a full athletic sholarship for the Rockets, got hit hard and suffered a concussion that put him in the hospital.
“It was a pretty severe concussion,” Huey said. “It took four or five weeks to subside. I decided to hang it up and turned in my athletic sholarship. Since John Schneider, a year ahead of me, ended up being all-league (quarterback) and taking the University of Toledo to its first MAC championship, I don’t think I would have been playing much, anyway.”
Huey, who will be inducted into the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club on Monday, Dec. 9 at Our Lady of Peace, began his football career in the eighth grade.
“We played flag football back then,” Huey said. “I found it interesting. It was a fun time. If you’d spin around quick enough, they couldn’t get your flag.
Those were the days (1961) before Edgewood Senior High School was built, so Huey was able to play for Edgewood High School as a freshman. He actually lettered in football and track that year, eventually winding up with 11 letters — four in football and track and three in basketball.
In football, he played halfback and quarterback as a sophomore before being switched to full-time quarterback under Dave Six as a junior and senior.
“He was great, very honest,” Huey said of Six. “He was able to turn us around. Before that, we were pretty average at best. We played with two halfbacks one a running back and one a blocking back each time. We were a roll-out offense. I would roll out and had the option of running or passing. We’d run it or fake a dive into the line and keep it myself.”
Huey’s best buddy from the fifth grade on was Tim Horst, who was inducted into the ACTC Hall of Fame a few years ago and went on to play at Penn State, kicked for the Nittany Lions for four years.
“He was my tight end,” Huey said. “We grew up together, I learned how to hit him. He was really good. I enjoyed that; he was my main choice as a receiver, or I could hit the split end going out.
“One nice play we had was I’d be calling the signals. If I called number 88, he knew what to do, a quick pass over the middle, behind the linebackers.”
Bob Lee, Dave Norris and Dave Melaragno (a year behind Huey and also a member of the ACTC HOF) were the main running backs.
“They made a nice combination,” he said. “All of us grew up together.”
The Warriors went 8-2 Huey’s senior year, but there were a couple of disappointments.
“We lost to Ashtabula, 14-7, when we led most of the game, 7-6,” he said. “That was for the city title. Then, we lost to Fairport Harbor. We were playing in the Western Reserve League at the time and they won the WRL title. That was a tough trip.”
On the other hand, Huey remembers the Warren JFK game as a high point. JFK at the time was a really good, hard-hitting team.
“We played together as a team and beat them, 28-12,” Huey said. “We were ahead by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but our guys were pretty beat up. I’d call a play and someone who was going to get the ball said, ‘No!’ One nice play we used was rolling out and throwing the ball to Tim (Horst). He was big. If he wasn’t open, I could run, then do the quarterback thing — slide.”
Huey had been elected as co-captain of the team, along with Horst, on that 1964 team. He collected more honors after the season: All-City, All-County and All-WRL quarterback. He was eighth in the county in scoring, threw nine touchdown passes and ran for seven other TDs. He completed 79 of 131 passes (60.3 percent) and averaged 7.4 yards per rushing carry.
In addition to football, Huey also played basketball and ran track at Edgewood. In basketball, he played shooting guard on a team led by center Dan Foster that also included Dennis Carter, Jeff Smith and Jeff Williams. He had 36 points against Chardon and 34 in a big game against Fairport Harbor that the Warriors won to tie Fairport for the WRL championship. In the latter game, he remembers going 16-of-16 from the foul line. He averaged about 17 points a game and was a second-team All-WRL selection.
“Sometimes, for some reason, it all comes together,” he said.
The Warriors won a couple of tournament games, but played Cleveland East in a game and were soundly beaten.
In track, Huey was a hurdler, good enough to win the conference championship, but never made state.
“I came close to state in high hurdles my junior year, but after that got a tear in one of my muscles,” he said. “I made it to the semifinals and then I got hit by the guy next to me when I was ahead a little bit. He apologized to me.”
He was recruited to the University of Toledo, where he played his freshman year before getting that concussion in the spring after that. He did play baseball for the Rockets for two years as a centerfielder and shortstop.
“I was just kind of a fill-in,” he said. “That’s why I quit after my junior year.”
Meanwhile, Huey was making a splash on campus, winning academic awards like the Pacemaker Awad in the College of Business as a junior and senior; Beta Gamma Sigma, an academic fraternity; Blue Key, an award for grades and college and Theta Chi, a social fraternity,
His senior year at Toledo, he was elected Student Body President.
“That was a year of some very challenging times with the Civil Rights movement, Women’s Rights movement, sit-ins, and the Kent State shootings,” he said.
With such a complete resume, Huey got “some nice offers,” after graduation and went to work as a CPA with Ernst & Ernst (now Ernst & Young). He then moved on to Nicholson Industries, a building materials company. His final 22 years of employment were with Block Communications, Inc. For the first 17 of those years, he served as President and General Manager of their Buckeye CableSystem company, which served 150,000 customers in northwest Ohio with cable, internet and phone services. In his final five years, he was employed as Block’s President and Chief Operating Officer. In that position, he oversaw all Block’s subsidiary companies serving the newspaper industry (Pittsburgh Post Gazette and Toledo Blade), broadcast industry with seven TV stations in four markets around the country, as well as the Buckeye companies.
Huey retired from Block in 2007 but continues to serve on community boards such as UT’s Board of Trustees; Board of Directors and Vice President of the Toledo Mud Hens baseball team; and the Toledo Walleye hockey team.
In his junior year in college, he went to a fraternity party on a blind date with his future wife, Becky (Zink).
“A few years after my football concussion, I must have still been a little ‘dazed’ because I met a girl and fell again — this time in love,” he said.
The couple has been married 43 years and have two daughters: Sarah, a teacher of journalism and photojournalism in Sylvania; and Lauren, who works as a promotions manager for Buckeye Cable Sports Network.
“Buckeye Cable Sports Network has two channels broadcasting everything at the high school level,” Huey said. “They cover over 1,000 events a year, 45 different sports.”
Dave kept busy after college playing softball and baseball with the Ernst & Ernst teams and, for a couple of years, playing intramural football. He plays golf at the Sylvania Country Club, “probably more than I should.”
Larick, a retired Star Beacon sports writer, is a freelance writer from Geneva.