I’m going to turn the Nebraska high school sports pages back to the year 1961. I was a 6th grader at the time and knew a little about NSAA school enrollment figures. I always knew who the smallest schools in the state were back then because you would see their basketball scores in the paper almost immediately after the football season ended, alerting you to the fact they did field a football team.
Recently I found one of my older notebooks that contained an article by my hero Gregg McBride of Omaha World-Herald fame. The piece contained the 1961 Male enrollment figures for all schools participating in high school sports in Nebraska.
Remember, there were no NSAA recognized girls sports that I was aware back then.
Prepared for a shock? Feast your eyes on what the class by class male enrollment figures looked like 58 years ago in this state. Even more shocking is the number of schools that are merely a distant memory in a few minds, having closed their doors long ago.
*NSAA Male Enrollment Figures - 1961:
Omaha South-1423; Lincoln High-1144; Omaha Tech-1120; Omaha Central-1065; Omaha Benson-1010; Omaha North-980; Creighton Prep-904;
Grand Island-892; Lincoln Southeast-824; Omaha Westside-710; North Platte-679; Lincoln Northeast-667; Bellevue-652; Hastings-633; Fremont-606.
Omaha Bishop Ryan-594; Boys Town-573; Scottsbluff-548; Kearney-443; Columbus-418; Beatrice-363; Norfolk-351; McCook-340;
Alliance-292; Sidney-279; Lincoln Pius X-275; Fairbury-249; Nebraska City-248; South Sioux City-238; Gering-237; Omaha Cathedral-228; Holdrege-222.
Blair-220; Lexington-217; Cozad-205; Ogallala-202; Plattsmouth-201; Falls City-200; York-192; Seward-179;
Schuyler-177; Auburn-172; Kimball-167; Crete-165; Valentine-165, Broken Bow-163; Gothenburg-158, Ord-150;
Central City-148; Aurora-147; Omaha Holy Name-146, Gordon-145; Chadron-144; Albion-144; David City Aquinas-141, Grand Island Central Catholic-139;
Superior-132, Ashland-132, Wahoo-132, Ralston-130; Plainview-125; Neligh-125; Pierce-123, Wayne-123; David City High-123;
Syracuse-121; Mitchell-117; Minden-116; Papillion-116; Columbus St. Bonaventure-116; Ainsworth-114; Curtis-113; St. Paul-113; Geneva-113.
Bloomfield-111; Bayard-109; Lincoln University High-109; West Kearney-108; North Bend-106; Loup City-105; Crofton-102; Bridgeport-101;
Hebron-100; Hartington Holy Trinity-100. Tekamah-100; Laurel-100; Grant-97; Milford-97; Burwell-96; Morrill-96; Stanton-94;
Hooper-94; Wisner-94; Wood River-94; Bassett-93; Oakland-92.
Madison-92, West Point-91; Tecumseh-91; Hastings St. Cecilia-91; Fremont Bergan-90; Fullerton-90; Imperial-90, Pawnee City-90;
O’Neill-89; Rushville-87, West Point Guardian Angel-86; Valley-85; Wilber-85; Oshkosh-84; Pender-84; Wymore-83; Arlington-83;
Scribner-82; Chappell-81; Benkelman-80; Crawford-80; Sutton-79; Harvard-79; Lyons-79; Ravenna-78; Henderson-78; Cambridge-78;
Anselmo-Merna-78; Minatare-78; Newman Grove-77; Deshler-77; Gibbon-76; Creighton-75; Osceola-75; Sidney St. Pats-75; Arnold-75;
Shelton-74; Seward Concordia-73; North Platte St. Patrick-73; Omaha St. Joseph-73; Scotia-72; Wakefield-72; Ponca-72; Norfolk Burns-71;
Red Cloud-71; Humboldt-71; Ansley-71, Hay Springs-71; Franklin-71; Randolph-70; Battle Creek-70; Tilden-69; Springfield-Platteview-69;
Weeping Water-68; Sargent-68; Blue Hill-68; Leigh-67, Valparaiso-67; Utica-67; Waverly-65; Arapahoe-65; Oxford-65; Stromsburg-65; O’Neill St. Marys-65.
Humphrey St. Francis-65; Lexington St. Ann-65; Elkhorn-64;
Clarkson-64; Louisville-64; Winside-64; Omaha Sacred Heart-62; Winnebago-62; Hemingford-62; Wausa-61; Genoa-60; Osmond-60;
Howells-60; Nelson-59; Wauneta-59; Emerson-59; Callaway-58; Atkinson-58; Exeter-58; St. Edward-58; Allan-57;
Randolph St. Francis-57; Potter-54; Dodge-54; Palmer-54; Bennington-54; Gretna-53; Dawson-Verdon-53; Niobrara-53; Beaver City-52; Stapleton-52;
East Butler-51; Verdigre-51; Coleridge-51; Hershey-51; Dakota City-51; Mead-51; Litchfield-51; Hayes Center-51; Nebraska City Lourdes-50; Butte-50; Falls City Sacred Heart-50;
Overton-49; Alliance St. Agnes-49; Fairmont-49; Mullen-49; Pilger-49; Bertrand-49; Spencer-49; Elwood-49; Ewing-49; Nehawka-49; Adams-48; Cedar Bluffs-48;
Spalding Academy-48; Trenton-48; Friend-48; Eagle-48; Walthill-48; Alma-48; Lindsay Holy Family-47; Wayne Hahn-47; Millard-46.
Springview-46; Johnson-46; Dorchester-46; Lynch-46; Sutherland-45; Cedar Rapids-45; Peru Prep-45; Hartington-44; Newcastle-44; Odell-44; Kenesaw-44; Wilcox-44; Ceresco-44;
Stuart-43; Clarks-43; Culbertson-43; Orleans-43; Nebraska Christian-43; Dalton-42; Lyman-42; Polk-42; Lewiston-42; Amherst-42; Clay Center-42; Paxton-42;
Lawrence-41; Palmyra-41; Sumner-41; Prague-41; Atkinson St. Joseph-41; Brock-40; Elwood-40; Pleasanton-40; Giltner-40; Elm Creek-40; Farnam-40;
Guide Rock-39; Greeley Sacred Heart-39; Bruning-38; Cortland-38; Eustis-38; Harrisburg-38: Beemer-38; Sterling-38;
Big Springs-38; Homer-38; Murdock-38; Davenport-38; Creighton St. Ludger-37; Diller-37; Fairfield-37; Arcadia-37; Axtell-37; Bartlett-37;
Gurley-37; Cook-37; Lodgepole-36; Doniphan-36; Loomis-36; Beatrice St. Joseph-35.
Elgin St. Boniface-35; Taylor-35; Bradshaw-35;
Lewellen-35; Shelby-35; Venango-35; Maywood-34; Humphrey-34; Wahoo Catholic-34; Filley-34. Lebanon Beaver Valley-34; Indianola-34;
Thedford-34; Beaver Crossing-33; Juniata-33; Silver Creek-33; McCool Junction-33; Bladen-33; Brady-33; Dannebrog-33; Orchard-33.
Decatur-32; Page-32; Shickley-32; Cairo-32; Edger-32; Hildreth-32; Chadron Assumption-32; Wolbach-32; DeWitt-32; Fort Calhoun-32; Stratton-32.
Hyannis-31; Bancroft-31; Chambers-31; Wallace-31; Holmesville-31;Sprague-Martell-31; Table Rock-31; Avoca-31; Western-31; Shubert-30; Waco-30; Dunbar-30; Clearwater-30; Holbrook-30; Campbell-30;
Emerson Sacred Heart-30; Doniphan-29; Comstock-29; Hampton-29; Gresham-28; Arthur-28; Rosalie-28; Benedict-28;
Monroe-28; Tryon-28; Bennett-28; Madrid-27; Center-27; Uehling-27; Platte Center-27; Firth-27; Waterloo-27; Hickman-27; Chester-26; Creston-26;
Talmage-26; Craig-26; Bartley-26; York St. Joseph-26; Nebraska Deaf-25; Stamford-25; Holstein-25; Weston-25; Naper-25; Snyder-24;
Haigler-24; Elk Creek-24; Milligan-24; Kearney Catholic-24.Harrison-23; Maxwell-23; Mason City-23; Elsie-23; Oconto-23; Rising City-23; Herman-23;
Naponee-23; Dix-23; Panama-23; Primrose-23; Alexandria-23; Nehawka-23.
Plymouth-22; Barneston-22; Upland-22; Marquette-22;
Mitchell Sunflower-22; Wynot-22; Stella-21; Boelus-21; Meadow Grove-21; Brule-21; Oakdale-21; Wilsonville-21; Long Pine-21; Malcolm-21; Kilgore-21; Ashton-20; Eddyville-20; Broadwater-20; Palisade-20; Hordville-20;
Riverton-20; Belden-20; Belgrade-20; Brunswick-20; Red Willow-19; Douglas-19; Glenvil-19; Republican City-19; Inman-19; Elgin-19; Liberty-19;
Trumbull-19; Yutan-18; Salem-18; Hardy-18; Melbeta-18 Walton-17; Elba-17; Duncan-17; Roseland-17; Dunning-17; Garland-17;
Cody-17; Phillips-16; Halsey-16; Bushnell-15; Ruskin-15; Tobias-15; Daykin-15; Farwell-15; Edison-14; Wood Lake-14; Steinhauer-14;
Bloomington-14; Clatonia-13; Merriman-13; Royal-13; Spalding High-13; Parks-12; Huntley-12; Humboldt-Bratton Union-12; Virginia-12.
I honestly do remember all these towns from either watching a game, playing there with my Dad’s band, or just simply passing through them at one time or another.
One of the male enrollments that really sticks out like a sore thumb is that of Millard High, who had only 46 boys in 1961, the smallest school in Class C.
The first thing that crossed my mind was “who did they play in football that year?” I could not locate a 1961 football schedule for Millard High, but I do know they dropped a 33-0 decision to Class D Ceresco on November 3rd of that year.
Putting that in perspective, today Millard West high school alone has approximately 940 boys. The 2017 population of the entire town of Ceresco, who has not had a high school since 1967, was listed at 885.
If it’s any consolation to dear old Millard High, Ceresco was, after all the number 1 rated 6-Man football team in Nebraska in 1955, then repeated that honor in the 8-Man ranks in 1958, just 3 years prior to the 33-0 victory over Millard in the 11-Man ranks.
And…..to illustrate Millard High school’s rapid rise in student population back in that day, their high school enrollment increased from that 1961 male enrollment of 46 to a total student population of 600 just nine years later in 1970 when they opened the new facility at 14905 Q Street.
But alas, there was never a chance to get even with those orange and black Ceresco Eagles, whose school closed its doors in 1967.
Some things just do not seem fair, do they?