Well, we were waylayed after posting the first few, but starting on Christmas Day, I will post 2 1000 yard lists each day starting with 1979/1980. This time, High School Football fans, I will stick to the plan.
There will be some names almost every gridiron fan will recognize no matter what part of this fine State you are located.................oh, what the heck, it's cold and snowy outside, most people aren't able to travel a bunch, so lets go ahead with 1979/1980 right now!
1979 Bobby Mills 1000 Yard Club - Top 10 Rushers:
1. Todd Harring - Dawson-Verdon.......1,943
2. Monty Vance - Bladen...............1,757
3. Mark Lovitt - Stapleton............1,692
4. Bernie Jensen -Dunning-Sandhills...1,619
5. Mark Daum - Dix....................1,485
6. Tim Peterson - Cambridge...........1,476
7 Nick Ross - Madrid Wheatland........1,419
9. Ryan Wendt - Columbus Lakeview.....1,382
10. Mark Mendlik - Fremont Bergan.....1,364
This is a nice group here. The old cowboy himself, Monty Vance notched his second 1000 yard campaign and would go down in history as their only back to hit that mark. Rough and tough Tim Peterson of Cambridge nailed his second also. Wonder if he ever thought he'd have a son that was a thousand yarder back then? This year 8-Man was split into two classes for the first time. Arthur won D-2 and Beemer completed it's second straight 12-0 season to nab the D-1 crown. How good was Bergan that year? With the Mendlik brothers and a great supporting cast, they whipped GICC 20-12 for the C-1 crown. Mark Mendlik was only a Junior. Burwell had two 1000 yard rushers that year, Todd Westover, and the late Jeff Roggasch. The old Pitspitr himself, Jerry Davenport of Sargent was clearing the way for those two. St Edward's Dave Baker and Paul Jacobson were duel 1000 yarders, a a Junior rodeo star from Hershey by the name of Shane Swanson gained 1,259 yards. Anyone remember him playing for the Huskers? State Champion Grant had Ryan Schilling (1,342). Arthur had sprinter Martin Phillips (1,039) and Kevin Roberson (1,049). Louisville had twin 1000's in Russ Grey (1,038) and Doyle Stohlman (1,210), and believe it or not, Class A defenses were so stout only Omaha Burke's Pete Hill with his 1,173 yards was able to crack the mark.
Look at the schools that are represented on this list that are no longer in existence:
Dawson-Verdon, Sandhills, Dix, Genoa (Ken Miller-1,244), Rising City (Randy Ruth-1,146), Beaver City (Andy Huetra-1,076), Oshkosh (Chris Jasnoch-1,028), and Snyder (Kenny Dirkschneider-1,025). Cruel sign of the times, but this is one man who shall never forget these schools and the athletes that contributed to their successes and the memories that will linger for all time.
1980 Top 10 Thousand Yard Rushers
1. Larry Pospisil - Wahoo Neumann..1,758
2. Rod Stewert - Daykin Meridian...1,757 (Sing a tune for me, Rod!)
3. Donovan DeBuhr - Filley.........1,715
4. Dale Martin - Bartley...........1,692
5. Jim Ruppert - Pierce............1,625
6. Terry Evans - Omaha Central.....1,485
7. Joe E. Svoboda - Lawrence.......1,476
8. Pat Findley - Omaha Cathedral...1,435
9. Roger Lindstrom - Oakland-Craig.1,386
10.Tim Berkby - Greeley............1,382
It is not often that a State Championship team does NOT have a 1000 Yard Rusher. '80 may have been an exception as "A" champ Creighton Prep had Brent Craft (1,038), D-1's Humphrey Public had Paul Slizoski (1,297), and D-2 King had DeBuhr. Waverly (B), Aquinas (C-1), and Grant in C-2 were void of a back that hit a grand on the ground. There were only 49 backs to hit a thousand in 1980 and this was the norm in those days. Better defenses? Maybe, but I think the offensive minds have progressed and the kids have just flat out become much, much bigger and stronger. The average 1000 yard list these days has swelled to around 96 names. You can deduce what you like, but I think it's just progress.
I had an ULTRA COOL first in 1980. Matt and Mitch Hansen, twin brothers form Medicine Valley were 1000 yarders. Matt had 1,310, and Mitch 1,221. Suppose they ran the ball? What is the chance of having actual TWIN 1000 yarders? Occurred only one more time in the history of the club.....stay tuned.
Kenny Hessler of Harrisburg gained 1,303 yards in '80. He is one of the veteran coaches in Western Nebraska these days. Wonder if Pat Findley's coach from the now defunct Omaha Cathedral was the legendary Roger Higgens? Ken Kaelin of Ansley (1,065) notched his second 1000 yard year and would later be a Husker. Devin Empfield of Stapleton (1,048) was a Sophomore and on his way to THREE seasons over a grand. Shane Swanson of Hershey (1,175) and Roger Suelter from Albion (1,240) were repeaters, along with Jim Ruppert of Pierce, who had the unenviable task of following the great Kevin Bretschneider. I had mentioned Bret's name a while back and somebody from Pierce (a youngster, I suspect) responded "that old bag of bones". Sign of the times?
I also asked some cheerleaders from Pierce what Bretschneider was doing these days......the answer: "Who? Never heard on him!" Sad.
Class "A" did boast THREE names on the 1980 list. Besides Prep's Craft, and Terry Evans of Omaha Central, Mark Gurley of Millard (yes, Millard) surpassed the mark. Evans really marked the beginning of "I-Back High" at Central and many legendary name would follow.
Schools on the list that are "no more": Tryon (Lynn Pyzer (1,292), Murdock (Brian Paulsen-1,166), Trenton (Jim Davis (1,082), and of course, Filley, Bartley, Omaha Cathedral, Albion, Harrisburg, Lawrence, Orchard, and Millard.