Wilmington High School will honor the 50th anniversary of the 1969 football team’s South Central Ohio League Gold Football championship season.
A gold football was given in the SCOL to a team that went unbeaten during league play.
Led by the late Jim Knowles, head coach of the Hurricane, WHS won the six-team SCOL with a 5-0 record. The Hurricane finished 7-3 overall.
The team will be recognized after the first quarter of Friday’s Homecoming game against Goshen at Alumni Field.
Coach Knowles passed away in 2015 but Dave Lieurance said Knowles’ wife and family will be on hand Friday night along with players, coaches, trainers, managers, support staff, cheerleaders, fans and family members of the 1969 team.
Gates are scheduled to open at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
The 1969 team opened the season with losses to Hamilton Taft 22-14 and Cincinnati Moeller 40-0. As a side note, Mark Daniel was quarterback of the Moeller team and his father Dave Daniel, was a standout at Wilmington High School in the 1940s.
Following the 0-2 start, WHS defeated Miamisburg 50-8 in the final game before the start of league play.
Wilmington was not a big team in terms of physical size and some have described it as “small in stature, but big in heart,” according to Lieurance who was a member of the support staff of that team.
The Hurricane stormed McClain 28-0 then defeated Washington 14-6 on the Blue Lions Homecoming game. More than 4,000 reportedly attended that game in Fayette County.
After a relatively easy win over Hillsboro, 40-0, Wilmington went again to Fayette County to meet Miami Trace. The score was the same as the previous trip, Wilmington was a 14-6 winner.
That put Wilmington at 4-0 in the league with Circleville remaining as the only team standing between WHS and SCOL Gold.
With Homecoming Queen Robyn Adair and a standing room only crowd looking on, the Hurricane rallied from a 14-8 halftime deficit to defeat the Tigers 30-14.
Wilmington ended the season with an 18-12 win over Dayton Patterson and a 20-14 loss to Cincinnati Courter Tech.
According to the Nov. 5, 1969 edition of the News Journal, there were 20 seniors in the football program that year, including Mike Graham, Duane Petty, Tom Smith, Gary Van Pelt, Doc Norman, Jim Dean, Lonnie Walp, Nick Walp, Dana White, Dan Brosnan, Bill Mullins, Larry Reinsmith, Mark Campbell, Dennis Pusateri, Curt Gilbert, Pat Peterson, Carl Singleton, Steve Allen, Fred Lovelace and Dan Lovelace.
Others in the football program that year, according to News Journal records, were juniors Vince McQuillen, Bob Gano, Randy Harris, Mike Earley, John Banks, Al Bruns, Joe Holdren, Dave Haag, Tom Coffee, Neil Blackburn, Dave McDermott, Jeff Garman, Phil Johnson, Jim Cain, Dick Groves, Randy Lewis, Scott Goodwin, Dave Slaughter, Tyrone Morrison, sophomores Mike Labuzinski, Milt Murphy, John Wolary, Mike West, Joe Arvai, Doug Henry, Ed Bartram, Kevin Ford, Gary Bumgarner, Jim Plymire, Gary White, Tenny Martin, Tim Martin, Dave McQuillen, Barry Wisecup, Tim Van Pelt, Rick Haines, Randy Coffee, Steve Schutt, Lou Hamilton, Bob Groves, and freshmen Dick Hiatt, Tom Atsalis, Tom Scott, Chris Campbell, Frank Hale, John Bartram, Ron Kirk, Tim Shoemaker, Tom Hicks, Norman Hamilton, Keith Hill, Ted Vance, John Maple, Don Ward, Tom Payne, Dave Hayslip, Mike Camp, Jeff Honnerlaw, Bob Raizk, Bob Kendall, Jim Leonard, Bob Olinger, Rod Weller, Matt Buckley, Doug Buckley, Brian Drummond, Eddie Allen.
Graham, Petty and Van Pelt were team captains. Van Pelt was named team MVP.
Several members earned All-SCOL honors, including Pusateri at center, Smith at tackle, Graham at running back, Van Pelt at guard, Cain at cornerback, Petty at quarterb ack, Jeff Garman at fullback, Singleton at defensive tackle, Norman at defensive end.
Honorable mention SCOL honors were bestowed upon Allen, Campbell, Mike Earley, Randy Harris, Joe Holdren, Dan Lovelance and Fred Lovelace.