Best Football Players From Small Stateline Schools
By Al Zipsie
Because football in Illinois has been moved to spring, two Illinois schools will not be able to play Wisconsin co-ops this fall.
Warren, after winning a state title in the first year with Blackhawk will not be able to play, and Scales Mound can't play it's Coop with Benton.
A local publication did a list of the best players from the Rockford and Freeport area.
Our list is a little different with a separate list of Freeport players and then one for smaller schools NUIC.
Tim Finn. Stockton. Running back. Played at the University of Dubuque. Now is the head coach at a high school in the football-crazed state of Texas.
Isaiah Bruce. Lena-Winslow. Running back/defensive end. All-State running back/defensive end on unbeaten 14-0 and 2019 state champion Lena-Winslow. Will be playing division l Iowa.
Rahveon Valentine. Lena-Winslow. Running back on 2017 state champions. Played Division 1 at NIU.
Chuck " Buzzie" Harris. Galena. Dominant offensive and defensive lineman. Played college football at West Virginia. Started at tackle for the Chicago Bears on the NFL in 1987. Later played semi-pro leagues and champion in the arena league.
John Moyer. Orangeville. Played at Eastern Illinois and from 2002 to 08 with the Chicago Rush professionally in the Arena League as a lineman. He was named to the All-Arena team from 2002 to 2005.
Matt Wenger. Dakota. Running back/linebacker. Led Dakota to it's first of three state championships in 2005 undefeated at 14-0. Played at North Central and as a senior was the Conference defensive MVP. Had a try out with the Bears. He was a three-time wrestling state champion and turned down a Division l scholarship to play football.
Jeff Eastlick. Stockton. Fullback/linebacker. Went on to UW Platteville where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. At the time of graduation, he held the most wrestling wins in school history with 2015. In football, he first started at tight end, then running back for two years and as a senior at linebacker. He is a teacher at Argyle, WI.
Joe Lobdell. Lena-Winslow. Played Division l football at Northern Iowa. On practice squads as an offensive lineman with NFL teams Colts and Chiefs.
A.J. Christensen. Forreston. 3,317 career rushing yards for the Cardinals. Was also a force on defense and kick returns as he won a pair of state championships at Forreston. Is now a running back at Coe College.
Jake Coffman. Forreston. Was a late bloomer with the Cardinals. As a senior in the state semifinal team. Became a Division 1 sack standout at Northern Illinois. Had 16.5 tackles for loss as a senior in 2010 as a defensive end.
Pat Richter. Aquin. Quarterback/defensive back. The tall signal-caller with a big arm calling his own plays out of the shotgun passed for 3,754 yards and 37 touchdowns in his Aquin career. Lost in the semi-final 15-14 as a junior in 1980. The 1981 team under coach Mike Curry was unbeaten at 13-0 and won the state title shutting out opponents in the playoffs. He went on to quarterback at Illinois State.
Jered Shipley. South Beloit. Passed for 7,480 yards for his career in the top ten in IHSA history. The Lobos had been bad before his junior year. As a senior on an offensive explosion team then in the NUIC Shipley led South Beloit to a 50-22 win for the 2002 state championship.
Kam Kniss. Eastland. Quarterback. Kam was a standout passer for E/PC. Knows put on a passing clinic in a wild 78-74 loss to Aquin. And then at North Central College breaking most of the passing records in his four years. He was inducted into the North Central Hall of Fame.
Sean Ormiston. Lena-Winslow. Running back/linebacker. Won two state titles at Forreston all state in 2019 his senior season for the Panthers unbeaten (14-0) dominating state champs. Voted the NUIC's best team ever in NUIC football fan voting. He and teammate Bruce are both headed to Iowa to play Division I football. They will be joined by a third in Gennings Dunker who will a senior this season.
Ian Kuehl. Lena-Winslow. 2018. All-State offensive and defensive lineman and member of state champion Panthers. Was also a wrestling state champ. Is now playing football at McKendree College.
Ty Harmston. Stockton. Started out as a freshman at Division l NIU as a defensive end. Switched to offensive and tight end where he had a standout senior season.
Dave Eaton. Galena. Running back/defensive back. The speedster tore up the backfield for the Pirates. Played Division 1 football in the Big Ten for Northwestern from 1988 to 90 as a kick and punt returner.
Jake Apple. Dakota. 2011. Running back/linebacker. Ran for a 1A state title game record 373 yards and four touchdowns as the Indians won the state title. Went on to be a running back at Aurora College where he was All-Conference as a senior. Also wrestling state champion.
Eric Fiene. Dakota. 1985. Fullback/linebacker. Went to be a starting offensive tackle at Northern Illinois University. His son Ethan Fiene was a star offensive lineman/linebacker for Dakota's 2011 state champions. Ethan was a starting offensive lineman at UW Platteville.
Peyton Asche. Eastland/Pearl City. Was All-State Offensive and defensive lineman where he played for his dad Randy Asche. He was big in high school but bulked up more now playing at Illinois State.
Greg Bower. Orangeville. 1988. Offensive lineman/linebacker on the Broncos 1988 state semifinal team. Orangeville then won the state title in 89 led by running back Matt Rodebaugh. Bower became a standout linebacker at Loras College. He was an assistant coach at NIU before returning to coach at Loras.
Mike Blackbourn. Aquin. All-State in 2002. With a school-record number of tackles. He played at South Dakota State University with another Aquin standout Brian Janecek. Other Aquin Blackbourn's who were standouts were Tom and Dan. The 1981 state title team had Brett and Craig Jenkins and tough linebacker Todd Curry.
Ben Reed. Eastland. Then played at Augustana and Eureka college. Last year he played semi-pro for the Detroit Cougars in the Rivals pro football league. This year he is playing for the West Texas Warbirds of champion indoor football. Games are played in Odessa TX where "Friday night lights were filmed.
Honorable Mention. Mitch Heinz Forreston. Jeremy Haas West Carroll. Brighton Haverland Eastland. Ed Thurston Aquin. Jeff Hiveley Aquin. Curt Daughenbaugh Dakota. Kendall Hardwick Galena. Jim Zeal Galena. Terry Gruenberg Lena-Winslow. Kirk Engelkens Milledgeville. Paul Hefty Milledgeville. Otis Varden. Milledgeville. Kurt King Stockton. Russ Reusch Stockton. Jeff Dower Stockton.
Preston Pearson. Played in the NFL including the Cowboys and in five Super Bowls. A standout in football, basketball, and track in high school. He ironically didn't play college football, but basketball at the University of Illinois.
Troy King. Running back at Wisconsin. 1,439 rushing yards.
Rufus Pearson. Was a star running back at Freeport and SIU. Still holds the 200 meter yea I record today.
David Weisendanger. Lineman started at NIU. Still holds the shot put.
Cal Cummings. Running back at Iowa State. Would later coach football at Freeport.
Todd Linebarger. Conference player of the year at Freeport. Was a tight end at Iowa and transferred to Southern Methodist and was a defensive end. Also basketball and baseball standout with the Pretzels.
Wes Luedeking. Went on to be running back at NIU and i inducted into the Hall of Fame
Steve McShane. Running back at Western Illinois.
Deion McShane. The current receiver at Northern Iowa. Hurdle star in track.
Bob McShane. Running back and hard-hitting linebacker.
Alex Bennett. Quarterback.
Kevin Flack. Quarterback.
Willie Weisendanger. Lineman who played on Wisconsin Rose Bowl team of 1963.
Warren Pearson. Was not on a great team they just gave him the ball and let him create.
David Olson. Two way standout on dad's team at Freeport. Tight end at Iowa.
Leroy Dixson. The speedster track star was a threat as a receiver.
Davie Pearson. A wrecking force on the defensive line.
Harry Kent. Quarterback
Todd Jenkins. Receiver. Northwestern.
Otha Brooks. Receiver. Northern Illinois.
Dennis Dunn. Running back.
Adam Schlamp. Receiver at NIU.
Gary Stearns. Receiver all century team at NIU.
Todd Brooks. A receiver at the University of Michigan.
Ron Norman Jr. All-State quarterback 1963.
Major Dedmond. Quarterback. Also wrestling state champion.
Facebook sites. Dakota Il football history.
NIC-10 Northern Illinois basketball. Rockford Northern Illinois softball honors list. Track sites NIC-10 track records. Which also has Northern Il-Southern WI records. NUIC track records.