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Region Football – Did You Know?

DID YOU KNOW?  During the 1989 regular season, Gary Lew Wallace beat two teams that would go on to win state championships. The Hornets took down eventual 4A state champion Hobart in week one at Brickie Bowl by a score of 19-14, and in week three they went to Chicago Ave where they downed the Bishop Noll Warriors in another close one 13-11. The Warriors went on to win the Class 3A state title.

DID YOU KNOW? That despite being chased out of town after averaging seven wins for eight seasons in Hobart, Wally McCormack is the third winningest coach in school history (56 wins), behind only Don Howell and Russ Deal. His .602 winning percentage is also third best. The Brickies have had 14 head coaches in school history.

DID YOU KNOW?  LaPorte’s 7-0 start in 2016 is their best in 70 years. The Slicers actually went 9-0 in 1946 before falling to Pete Rucinski’s powerehouse East Chicago Roosevelt team in the Northern Indiana Conference championship game (also considered by many to be the Northern Indiana State Championship game).

DID YOU KNOW?  Russ Radtke’s first paid football coaching position was for a Munster football team? You read that right. Radtke was hired by Munster Athletic Director John Friend in 1974 to coach the Frank Hammond Elementary Flag football team. Long time basketball official Mike Waisnora was also a member of the staff.

DID YOU KNOW? On seven different occasions from 2000-2009, a Northwest Indiana team played in a state football championship game. The Region’s record? 2-5.

DID YOU KNOW?  Lowell started the 2005 season with a 1-4 record before going on to win their next 10 games, including a come from behind 28-27 win over three time defending champ Indianapolis Roncalli in the Class 4A title game.

DID YOU KNOW?  The Andrean 59ers went to three state championship games in four years under three different head coaches and four times in eight seasons under four head coaches?

Ted Karras, Jr. led the Niners to the 3A title game in 1997. Younger brother Jeff was head coach in 2001, Wally McCormack was there in 2002, before leaving for Hobart and Brett St. Germain in 2004 when the Niners finally won state.

DID YOU KNOW?  Of the six local teams that have played for or won a state football title more than once, only Hobart (Don Howell) and Lowell (Kirk Kennedy) have done it with the same coach.

DID YOU KNOW?  Russ Radtke has coached three different schools to a state championship football game on four different occasions. He twice led his alma mater North Judson to the Class A final game – in 1984 and 1986. In 1997 his Griffith Panthers had one of the most dominant post season runs in state history en route to a 14-1 record and the Class 4A state championship. Then in 2014, the New Prairie Cougars advanced to the Class 5A title game, in Radtke’s third year at the school.

DID YOU KNOW – The Duneland Conference once had three large class state football championship winners in a row? 1975 – Valpo, 1976 – Merrillville, 1977 – Portage

DID YOU KNOW – The East Gary Edison Eagles (now Lake Station), were the last NWI team to finish a season 10-0? The Eagles went 10-0 in 1972 – the year before the state tournament got started.

DID YOU KNOW – The Battle of the Bridge was over before it started? The Munster Mustangs won the first nine battles before the Highland Trojans finally tasted victory in the series. Currently the Stangs lead 37-15 in the Bridge victories.

DID YOU KNOW – Ivan Zimmer is the all-time leader in football coaching wins at Calumet with 67? That’s 32 more than Bob Joseph, the Warriors first head coach.

DID YOU KNOW – The Gavit Gladiators were the first Calumet Region team to appear in the state football tournament? The Gladiators went 10-0 during the 1973 regular season are were picked to represent the Region in the inaugural Class 3A tournament.

DID YOU KNOW – Crown Point and Lowell have played each other 110 times; the most between two schools in the entire state? The game between these two schools is known as “The Leather Helmet Game” and dates back to the 1890s. Crown Point leads in the series 66-42 and there have been two ties.

DID YOU KNOW – Jason Cherry of Lake Station set the record for the longest punt return for a touchdown in state history with a 99-yard score in 1997? The record has since been tied, but only once.

DID YOU KNOW – 1989 is the only year two Region teams won a state title? The Bishop Noll Warrios, coached by Jerry Vlasic, won the Class 3A championship and the Hobart Brickies, captured the 4A title.

DID YOU KNOW – Andrean and Lowell tied for the most total victories in Northwest Indiana between 2000-2009? The 59ers and Red Devils each won 97 games and a state title during this decade. The Niners edge the Devils in winning percentage .758 to .735.

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