Colfax Octavia High School "Rockets"

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Colfax Octavia High School Bldg - 1955 Yearbook
colfaxoctaviahs1955yearbookdav.jpg
Submitted by Patty Green McCarty

Colfax Octavia High School
colfaxoctaviahs1953mons.jpg
Built 1953

The History of Octavia High School
 
The towns of Colfax (population 989), Cooksville (population 213), and Anchor (population 175) are all located on Illinois Route 165 between 10 and 20 miles east (and a little north) of Bloomington. This places the three towns in eastern Illinois in the upper western portion of McLean County. You can read about the history of each town and its individual high school on this site. 
 
The year was 1948 when the school districts of Colfax, Cooksville and Anchor pooled their resources and consolidated into one district. The basketball coach of the time, Coach Paul Orr, came up with the "perfect" name for the new District. Since it was Unit District #8, Coach Orr suggested the new district be named "Octavia", from the Latin word "octave", which means eight! Hence, the Octavia School District was formed.
 
The Colfax High School building built in 1904 (and pictured on the Colfax page of this site) was used as the Octavia High School building until the new building was ready for occupancy in 1953. The Octavia School District was extremely successful in every way. The District did not really die or end like many others on this site. In 1989 the School District of Saybrook-Arrowsmith joined the Octavia School District to create the now-named Ridgeview School District. The high school for Ridgeview is located in the former Octavia High School building in Colfax.
 
Octavia High School Quick Facts
 
Year opened:                      1948
Year new district formed: 1989
School building:                 used as Ridgeview High School
School nickname:              the "Rockets"
School colors:                    Maroon & White
School Fight Song:           "On Octavia"
                                                Sung to the tune of ON Wisconsin
                                                Click the play button below and sing along!
 
                                                 On Octavia, on Octavia, 
                                                 On Maroon and White!
                                                 Fight you Rockets,
                                                 Fight you Rockets,
                                                 Victory is in sight!
                                                 
                                                 Rah! Rah! Rah!

                                                  For the pride
                                                  And the glory
                                                  Of OHS!
                                                  Onward you Rockets,
                                                  On to victory!

                                                   Fight Octavia,
                                                   Fight Octavia,
                                                   With your heart and soul!
                                                   On you Rockets,
                                                   On you Rockets,
                                                   Victory is our goal!
                                                   
                                                    Rah Rah Rah! 
 
                                                    Ever faithful, ever true,
                                                    Loyal through and through!
                                                    Winning or losing
                                                    We will stand by you!

ATHLETICS
 
The Colfax Octavia High School Rockets competed in many different sports. The boys played footbal, basketball, track, and baseball while the girls competed in volleyball, basketball, track, and bowling. There was a measure of success in each sport. State tournament hardware was won in nearly every event. A very detailed account of each season was found in the sports of football and boys basketball. The information we have discovered is listed below. If you wish to add or correct anything please contact us via e-mail.
 
FOOTBALL
                  
Octavia High School is located in the middle of a true "hotbed" of high school football in Illinois. You might say you can either sink or swim as far as being competitive. Way more often than not, the Octavia Rockets soared as members of the Sangamon Valley Conference, winning or sharing the conference title 10 times!
 
An excellent overview of the history and many successes of the Rocket football program can be found at a web site developed by current OHS Head Football Coach Mike Benton. His web site, www.ridgeviewfootball.us/, gives a very good view of the programs which fed into the current Ridgeview High School football program. Included is a year-by-year look at the Octavia Rockets beginning in 1949 and ending in 1988. The best of these seasons are listed below. 
1949-53   11 - 21 - 4                                               Coach Bob McDonald

Octavia's First Football Team
octaviasfirstteam1949mons.jpg
The 1949-50 Rockets

1954-55     5-2                                                               Coach Warren Cooper
1955-56     7-1        Conference Co-Champs          Coach Warren Cooper
1956-57     6-2        Conference 3rd Place              Coach Warren Cooper
1958-59     5-4        Conference 4th Place              Coach Warren Cooper
1959-60     4-4        Conference 3rd Place              Coach Warren Cooper
1961-62     6-1-1     Conference Runner-up            Coach Warren Cooper
1962-63     7-1        Conference Runner-up            Coach Warren Cooper
1963-64     7-1        Conference Champions           Coach Warren Cooper
1964-65     4-4-1     Conference 5th Place              Coach Warren Cooper
1965-66     8-1        Conference Champions           Coach Warren Cooper
1966-67     8-1        Conference Runner-up            Coach Warren Cooper
1967-68     9-0        Conference Champions           Coach Warren Cooper

Undefeated Conference Champs
octavia67undefeatedchamps90.jpg
1967-68 Rockets 9 - 0

1969-70     8-0-1     Conference Champions                 Coach Warren Cooper
1970-71     6-3        Conference 3rd Place                     Coach Warren Cooper
1974-75     5-4        Conference 5th Place                     Coach Leon Kellar
 
1975-76     9-2        IHSA Class 1A Playoff Qualifier    Coach Leon Kellar
                                  Conference Champions (8-1)
                                   Elite 8 Finalist!
                                   Beat Carlinville 24 - 0
                                   Lost to Danville Schlarman 7- 6

Elite 8 Finalists
octavia75elite8.jpg
1975-76 Octavia High School Rockets

1976-77     7-2        Conference Runner-up                  Coach Leon Kellar
 
1978-79     9-2        IHSA Class 1A Playoff Qualifier   Coach Leon Kellar
                                  Conference Champions (8-1) 
                                  Elite 8 Finalist!
                                  Beat Chatsworth 40 - 19
                                  Lost to Stronghurst Southern 18 - 0
    
1979-80     6-3        Conference 3rd Place                    Coach Leon Kellar
   
1981-82     7-3        IHSA Class 1A Playoff Qualifier    Coach Tom Atwell
                                  Conference Champions (7-2)
                                  Lost to Gilman 20 - 6
     
1982-83     8-2        IHSA Class 1A Playoff Qualifier    Coach Tom Atwell
                                  Conference Champions (8-1)       
                                  Lost to Bement 6 - 0
     
1983-84     5-4        Conference 3rd Place                     Coach Tom Atwell
             
1987-88     8-2        IHSA Class 1A Playoff Qualifier    Coach Dean Bartges
                                  Conference Champions (8-1)     
                                  Lost to Chenoa 19 - 8
     
1988-89     8-2        IHSA Class 1A Playoff Qualifier    Coach Dean Bartges
                                  Conference Champions (8-1)      
                                  Lost to Lexington 28 - 12
       
Octavia High School Football Overall Record 1949 - 1988
198 - 137 - 10
 
BOYS BASKETBALL
 
The Octavia Rockets boys basketball program had some great success on the hardwood as well. A total of 4 Regional titles and 6 District titles were earned by the Rockets. The six District titles were won in succession from 1966-71. Also of note, Octavia won the prestigious McLean County Tournament 13 times while representing the Maroon and White of eastern McLean County. 
 
Two coaches set the mark for the rest of the Octavia basketball coaches. Coach Ralph Sackett led the Rockets for only four seasons, but what a mark he left! Sackett's teams went 84-16 and won three consecutive Regional Championships!  Don Carlson coached at COHS for 13 seasons (1965-66 through 1977-78). The six District titles were won during Coach Carlson's first six seasons at the school. Coach Carlson had 10 seasons with winning records and 5 seasons of 20 or more games won. Every season that Octavia competed in is listed on the IHSA web site (www.ihsa.org).
 
Scores from the IHSA State Tournament involving Colfax Octavia were found on a website titled "Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores." These scores and the located of the tournament are posted below.
 
1949-50    3-17  Octavia's First Season                                 Coach Paul Orr
                              Chenoa Regional Tournament
                              1st Rd lost to Normal U-High 55-47
                              U-High lost title game to Lexington
    
1950-51     2-19                                                                           Coach Paul Orr
                              Postseason scores unavailable
                   
1951-52     5-6                                                                             Coach Paul Orr
                              Lexington Regional Tournament
                              1st Rd lost to Chenoa 64-62
                              Chenoa lost in semi-final round
 
1952-53  11-10                                                                            Coach Bob McDonald
                              Fairbury Regional Tournament
                              1st Rd lost to Normal 70-63
                              Normal won title over Lexington
   
1953-54  15-  7                                                                             Coach Loren Laub
                               Fairbury Regional Runner-Up!
                               1st Rd Beat Forrest 58-57 (O/T)
                               Semi-final Beat Chenoa 71-56
                               Title Game lost to Lexington 72-63
                
1954-55  11-11                                                                             Coach Loren Laub
                               Fairbury Regional Tournament
                               1st Rd lost to Forrest 72-54
                               Forrest lost in semi-final round
    
1955-56  19-  4    McLean Co. Tourney Champs                  Coach Loren Laub
                               Fairbury Regional Tournament
                               1st Rd lost to Forrest 58-36
                               Forrest lost in title game
                               
1956-57  17-  4    McLean Co. Tourney Champs                  Coach Loren Laub
                                Normal Regional Semi-finalist
                                1st Rd Beat Chenoa 56-53
                                Semi-final lost to Fairbury 68-60
                                Fairbury lost title game to Forrest
   
1957-58  10- 11                                                                            Coach Loren Laub
                               Fairbury Regional Tournament
                               1st Rd lost to Fairbury 67-48
                               Fairbury won Regional title
 
1958-59  17-  5    McLean Co. Tourney Champs                  Coach Loren Laub
                                Normal Regional Runner-Up!
                                1st Rd Beat Fairbury 72-59
                                Semi-final Beat Forrest-S-W 65-54
                                Title Game lost to Normal 94-60
              
1959-60   6- 14                                                                             Coach Loren Laub
                               Postseason scores unavailable
 
1960-61  19-  6                                                                             Coach Charles Brannon
                                Normal Regional Runner-up!
                                1st Rd Beat Fairbury 37-36
                                Semi-final Beat Normal 63-62
                                Title Game lost to Lexingotn 62-47
   
1961-62  17-  8    McLean Co. Tourney Champs                  Coach Ralph Sackett
                                Fairbury Regional Champions!
                                1st Rd Beat Fairbury 53-51
                                Semi-final Beat Lexington 60-52
                                Title Game Beat Normal U-High 64-58
                                Peoria Sectional Tournament
                                Semi-final lost to Lincoln 60-51
                                Lincoln lost title game to Washington
     
1962-63  23-  2    McLean Co. Tourney Champs                 Coach Ralph Sackett
                                Normal Regional Champions!
                                1st Rd Beat Chenoa 74-54
                                Semi-final Beat Lexington 76-63
                                Title Game Beat Normal U-High 59-55 (O/T)
                                Peoria Sectional Tournament
                                Semi-final lost to East Peoria 74-52
                                East Peoria lost title game to Peoria Central 
             
1963-64  23-  2    McLean Co. Tourney Champs                  Coach Ralph Sackett
                                Fairbury Regional Champions!
                                Semi-final Beat Normal U-High 74-58
                                Title Game Beat Lexington 74-61
                                Normal Sectional Tournament
                                Semi-final lost to Decatur 71-40
                                Decatur won title over Rantoul
     
1964-65  21-  2                                                                             Coach Ralph Sackett
                                Postseason scores unavailable
    
1965-66  18-  6    McLean Co. Tourney Champs                  Coach Don Carlson
                                IHSA District Champions!
                                Postseason Scores Unvailable
    
1966-67  21-  4    McLean Co. Tourney Champs                  Coach Don Carlson
                                IHSA District Champions!
                                District Scores Unavailable
                                Fairbury Regional Tournament
                                1st Rd lost to Bloomington 82-71
                                Bloomington lost in semi-final round
                       
1967-68  21-  4    McLean Co. Tourney Champs                  Coach Don Carlson
                                Heyworth District Champions!
                                Semi-final Beat Tri-Valley 90-60
                                Title Game Beat Lexingotn 79-60
                                Normal Regional Semi-Finalist
                                1st Rd Beat Bloomington 73-54
                                Semi-final lost to Normal 72-68 (O/T)
                                Normal lost title game to Normal U-High
      
1968-69  18-  7                                                                             Coach Don Carlson
                                Colfax Octavia District Champions!
                                Semi-final Beat Gridley 63-58
                                Title Game Beat Wapella 65-59
                                Bloomington Regional Tournament
                                1st Rd lost to Bloomington 55-36
                                Bloomington lost in semi-final round
        
1969-70  24-  3    McLean co. Tourney Champs                  Coach Don Carlson
                                Leroy District Champions!
                                Semi-final Beat Lexingotn 72-52
                                Title Game Beat Wapella 63-49
                                Normal Regional Runner-Up!!
                                1st Rd Beat Bloomington CC 59-57
                                Semi-final Beat Bloomington 43-42 (2 O/Ts)
                                Title Game lost to Normal U-High 71-62 
                        
1970-71  23-  4                                                                            Coach Don Carlson
                                Leroy District Champions!
                                Semi-final Beat Tri-Valley 75-55
                                Title Game Beat Wapella (score needed)
                                Bloomington Regional Tournament
                                1st Rd result needed
                                Semi-final lost to Bloomington 58-40
                                Bloomington lost to U-High in title game  
                 
1971-72  19-  6                                                                             Coach Don Carlson
                                Fairbury Regional Runner-Up!
                                1st Rd Beat Bloomington CC 74-42
                                Semi-final Beat Gridley 76-67
                                Title Game lost to Normal U-High 61-51 
                     
1972-73  22-  2    McLean Co. Tourney Champs                  Coach Don Carlson     
                                Postseason scores unavailable
  
1973-74  19-  5                                                                             Coach Don Carlson
                                Postseason scores unavailable
   
1974-75  12-10                                                                             Coach Don Carlson
                                Postseason scores unavailable
   
1975-76   8- 14                                                                             Coach Don Carlson
                                Postseason scores unavailable
 
1976-77  12-10                                                                             Coach Don Carlson
                                Postseason scores unavailable
   
1977-78   7- 18                                                                             Coach Don Carlson
                                Postseason scores unavailable
   
1978-79  17-  8                                                                             Coach Lou Hagenbruch
                                Postseason scores unavailable
  
1979-80    8- 18                                                                             Coach Lou Hagenbruch
                                Postseason scores unavailable
  
1980-81  10- 16                                                                             Coach Gale Thoroman
                                Postseason scores unavailable
   
1981-82  17-  9                                                                             Coach Gale Thoroman
                                Postseason scores unavailable
   
1982-83  15-13    IHSA Regional Champions!                       Coach John Dolan
                                Regional Scores Unavailable
                                Normal Sectional Tournament
                                1st Rd lost to Flanagan 63-39
                                Flanagan won Sectional over Bloomington CC
         
1983-84  14-11                                                                             Coach John Dolan
                                Postseason Scores Unavailable
   
1984-85    7-17                                                                             Coach John Dolan
                                Postseason Scores Unavailable
           
1985-86  13-11                                                                             Coach John Dolan
                                Postseason Scores Unavailable
    
1986-87  22-  2    McLean Co. Tourney Champs                  Coach Rodney Kellar
                                Postseason Scores Unavailable
    
1987-88  20-  8    IHSA Regional Champions!                       Coach Rodney Kellar
                                Postseason Scores Unavailable
    
1988-89  17-  9    McLean Co. Tourney Champs                 Coach Rodney Kellar
                                Postseason Scores Unavailable
    
**School's Final Season, became Ridgeview High School in 1989.
      
GIRLS BOWLING
 
For a small school, Octavia High faired extremely well in the sport of Girls Bowling. The Lady "Queenpins", led by head coach Carmen Blair, won three consecutive District titles (1978, '79, '80) and qualified for the State Finals in 1981. In fact, Coach Blair's bowling team of 1979-80 finished SIXTH in the State Finals. Coach Blair was Octavia High's only girls bowling coach. One athlete, Joan Dowell, took a top-ten finish in 1982 as well!
 
1977-78    District Champions                                    Coach Carmen Blair
                Qualified for State Finals Tournament
1978-79    District Champions                                    Coach Carmen Blair
                Qualified for State Finals Tournament
    
1979-80    District Champions                                    Coach Carmen Blair
                       
                 Team Finished SIXTH in State Finals Tournament    
 
                        Final Team Standings 
 
                1.)  Rich Central            10,136 pts.
                2.)  Dixon                           9,913
                3.)  Abingdon                    9,706
                4.)  Chillicothe IVC           9,476
                5.)  Gurnee Warren          7,177
                6.)  COLFAX OCTAVIA    7,124
                7.)  Midlothian Bremen   7,036
                8.)  Lemont                        6,935
                9.)  Evergreen Park          4,666
               10)  Hoffman Estates       4,640
 
1981-82      Individual Medalist    Joan Dowell    10th Place
 
BOYS TRACK & FIELD
 
The boys track and field team brought home a total of 7 individual medals in State Competition. One athlete in particular, Gayln Sweet, excelled to the point that earned a gold medal (STATE CHAMPION) for two consecutive years in the high jump. Making this feat even more incredible is that it was accomplished when there was only one class in track & field in Illinois! Gayln's effort in 1969 even earned the team a 9th place finish!
 
For more excellent information on the Octavia High School Track Program check out www.ridgeviewtrack.com/halloffame.htm, a site developed by current Ridgeview High Coach Mike Benton.
 
1968-69    Team Finished NINTH in STATE Meet Competition
                
                Individual Medalist
 
                Gayln Sweet          High Jump         STATE CHAMPION!!
              
                Final Team Standings
               
                1.)  Alton                              25
                2.)  East Moline                  16
                3.)  Chicago Englewood  15
                4.)  Chicago Hts. Bloom  13
                5.)  Morton West                10
                6.)  Proviso West                 9
                7.)  Proviso East                  8
                7.)  Palatine                          8
                9.)  COLFAX OCTAVIA        6
                      York, Thornton. North Chicago, Wheaton North, St. Charles
                      also tied at 9th with 6 points
 
1969-70    Individual Medalist    
                   Gayln Sweet      High Jump                STATE CHAMPION!!
                   FOURTH BEST HIGH SCHOOL HIGH JUMP IN THE NATION!!
            
1977-78    Individual Medalist    
                   Jeff Brinkman    330 Yard Hurdles   5TH Place
           
1979-80    Individual Medalist
                   Mike Peterson   880 Yard Run           6TH Place
              
1980-81    Individual Medalist
                   Mike Peterson   880 Yard Run           2ND Place
                
1985-86    Individual Medalist
                   Kregg Ummell     1600 Meter Run     5TH Place
                    
1986-87    Individual Medalist
                   Kregg Ummell     1600 Meter Run     2ND Place
                        
BOYS BASEBALL
 
The Rocket baseball program also earned a Regional Title. Unfortunately, this is all that is known about their success. If you have any more information, especially season records and coaches' names, please drop us an e-mail.
 
1954-55          Conference Champions
1960-61          Regional Champions
 
GIRLS BASKETBALL
 
The Lady Rocket roundballer's records are listed for the seasons of 1980-81 through 1987-88. Their best record during that time is the last one listed (11-9).  The coach during these 8 seasons was Lou Hagenbruch.
 
1987-88   11 - 9                                                       Coach Lou Hagenbruch
 
GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
 
Only three seasons of the Lady Rockets volleyball records are covered on the IHSA web site (1986-87 through 1988-89). The coach of the team during this time was Cathy Weber.

Dennie Bridges/Octavia Class of 1957
denniebridges.jpg
Courtesy of Illinois Wesleyan University (www.iwu.edu)

OUTSTANDING ALUMNUS
In addition to being at a three-sport athlete at Octavia, Dennie Bridges (see photo to the right) was able to communicate to his players as a successful basketball coach at Illinois Wesleyan University. The Class of 1957 graduate went on to attend IWU and continued representing the university in three sports until he graduated in 1961. Bridges became the Titans' mens' basketball coach in 1965, staying on the job for the next 36 seasons as his Titans compiled a record of 667-319 before stepping down after the 2000-01 season. The 667 wins are the second-most by any Division III mens' basketball coach, winning the Division III title in 1997, & bringing home third place finishes in 1996 and 2001. Along with that, Bridges' teams won 17 conference titles and qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament 14 out of 18 seasons. Today, the former Rocket is still serves at Illinois Wesleyan as its athletic director.
 
IF YOU HAVE ANY MORE INFORMATION
 
If you would like to provide ANY more information on the successes of Octavia High School please e-mail us. Additional photos and other information can be e-mailed to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net. You can also write to us at:
 
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago,  Il.   60631