Easton High School "Hawks"

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Easton High School Building
eastonhsdav.jpg
Easton, Illinois

Easton School Inscription
eastonhsfrontentrancedav.jpg

The History of Easton High School
 
Easton (population 373) is located in west-central Illinois about 35 miles southwest of Peoria and 30 miles northwest of Springfield.  Illinois Route 10 meets County Highway 21 at Easton.  The town was platted in the center of Mason County.  Samuels Ditch flows to the west of town while Ross Tyrell Ditch flows to the east.  The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad runs through town on a northwestern angle.
 
Research and information is needed on the history of Easton and its school system. It is probable that Easton began an educational system for its children in the late 1800s.  The high school served the town's children for over eight decades.  It was in the late 1980s that consolidation efforts got the best of Easton High School.  After the 1988-89 school year the towns of Easton, San Jose, and Mason City combined forces to form a new school district. The new district was called the Illini Central School District.  The high school and a grade school were located in Mason City.  
 
Easton folks were able to maintain a grade school in their town until the end of the 2006-07 school year.  The Illini Central (Easton) Grade School was held in the former Easton High School building until that time.  The former Easton High School building was recently sold and is intended to be used as a factory.  Thank you to Josh Ebbert for this bit of information. 
 
Holly Birch advises the Easton High School gymnasium building may still be used when needed for events by the Illini Central School District.  
 
Easton High School Quick Facts
  
Year opened:                            late 1800s
Year closed:                             1989
Consolidated to:                        Illini Central School District
Easton High nickname:              the "Hawks"
Easton school colors:                Purple & Gold
School Fight Song:                   "Easton Loyatly"
                                                               Sung to Illinois Loyalty
 
                                                We're loyal to you Easton High.
                                                We're Purple and Gold, Easton High.
                                                We'll back you to stand
                                                'Gainst the best in the land
                                                For we know you have sand, Easton High.
 
                                                Rah! Rah!
 
                                                So crack out the ball, Easton High.
                                                We're backing you all, Easton High.
                                                Our team is our fame protector:
                                                On! Boys for we expect a
                                                Victory from you Easton High!
                                                        
                                                Che-he, cha-ha, cha-ha-ha-ha,
                                                Easton, Easton,
                                                Rah, Rah, RAH!
       
                                                Fling out that dear old flag of
                                                Purple and Gold,
                                                Lead on your sons and daughters
                                                Fighting for you
                                                Like men of old, on giants.
                                                Placing reliance, shouting defiance
                                                Oskee-wow-wow---------
                                                Amid the broad green plains that nourish our land,
                                                For honest Labor and for Learning we stand.
                                                And unto thee we pledge our heart and our hand,
                                                Dear Alma Mater, EASTON HIGH!

Easton High School
eastonschool.jpg
Now Illini Central Grade School

Athletics
 
Easton High School offered boys sports for many years and joined all other Illinois schools in the early 1970s by offering girls sports. The boys competed in basketball, track, and possibly baseball. The girls played basketball, volleyball, and track. Conference affiliation, great teams and coaches, all are items needed for this page.
 
We are told that many of the trophies and a great many pictures of Easton High School's storied past are available for viewing at the Easton Fire Hall.
 
Girls' Volleyball
 
The Lady netters of Easton High had a couple of seasons to remember.  The 1986-87 year was a magical one indeed. The girls volleyball team of that year finished SECOND in the IHSA Class "A" Volleyball Tournament. The girls made one other Sweet 16 appearance and won Regional Championships in three other seasons including 1988-89, the school's last. Only the 1986-87 school year has information on it. Information is needed on the other great Easton teams and coaches as well.
 
1983-84               Regional Champions
1984-85               Regional Champions
1985-86               Regional Champions
                          Sectional Champions
                          Sweet 16 Finalists
 
1986-87  33 - 4    Team Finished SECOND in IHSA Class "A" Tournament!!  Coach Betty Cress
                          Regional Champions
                          Sectional Champions
                          Super-Sectional Champions
                          Elite 8 Quarter-Final Winner over Mendon Unity
                          Final 4 Semi-Final Winner over Breese Mater Dei
                          Class A Championship Finalist -
                          Lost to Stewardson-Strasburg 15-7, 15-6
 
1988-89              Regional Championship
                          School's Last Season
Boys' Basketball
 
The boys' basketball team of Easton High School held there own for several seasons as well. The program produced nine District title teams with one of those teams moving on to win the Regional Championship also. There is very limited information available on the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org) regarding the many great seasons of Easton High basketball lore. We are looking for the team records and coaches names of hte better teams on EHS history.
 
1943-44              District Champions
 
1944-45  32 - 2    District/Regional Champions         Coach Lyle Drake
                          Mason County Tourney Champs
                          West Central Conf. Champs

Easton High School Basketball Team of 1944-45
eastonhsbball194445dav.jpg
Submitted by Phil Shadid / Courtesy of Gene Hermann, Bob Kuntzmann, & Ted Connolly

BACK ROW, L TO R: Paul Jockisch-mgr., Dean Pottorf, John McCoy, Marvin Huber, Dale Phelps, coach Lyle Drake. 
FRONT ROW, L TO R: Gerald Riegel, Don Hovey, Stanley Cunningham, Richard Lynn, Gene Hermann, Harold Clark.
 
             From our good friend Phil Shadid regarding the team of 1944-45:
 
The Hawks won the San Jose Holiday Tournament, the West Central Conference and the Mason County Tournament.  A loss to Ashland on Feb. 9, 1945, was their only blemish on the regular season.  They then won the District Tourney and beat Springfield Feitshans (44-40) to claim the Havana Regional.  In the Sectional at Pekin on March 06, they bowed out with a 47-38 loss to Peoria Central (1038 students).  Coach Drake's boys led the Peoria team entering the fourth quarter, but a 11 point surge by the Lions cost Easton the game.
 
Coach Drake (also principal) was a graduate of Western State Teachers College (now Western Ill. Univ.) and had a Masters degree from the Univ. of Illinois.  He was in his eighth year as coach of the 86-student school.  His top players were: 6-3 Gene Hermann, 6-1 Stanley Cunningham, 6-foot Richard Lynn, 5-11 Donald Hovey, and Harold Clark.  First off the bench was Gerald Riegel.
 
The weekly newspaper, Mason County Democrat, ran this profile of the team just before the conclusion of the season: "Except for Cunningham, the others on the team came from farms in the Easton vicinity, and none had played basketball except in high school.  The were drilled in the only department of the game which counts: good shooting from any angle of the floor, combined with a fast break and tight defense. All of the players use one-handed shots for both long and short attempts, and take pride in their defense as well as offense.  The team as a whole has averaged 45 points per game, to their opponents 26."
                          
1954-55              District Champions
1955-56              District Champions
 
1956-57  23 - 2    Mason County Tourney Champs    Coach Ed Reeves.
                         Lost to Ashland during the regular season
                         and lost to them in the District tournament. 
                         Easton HS won their conference, and the
                         Mason County Tournament, and kept the
                         "Green Duck" for the entire season!
 
1958-59              District Champions
1960-61              District Champions
1961-62              District Champions
1964-65              District Champions
1971-72  19 - 9                                                          Coach Hugh Friday
1972-73  22 - 2                                                          Coach Hugh Friday
1981-82  19 - 8                                                          Coach Doug Graven
1982-83  17 - 10                                                        Coach Doug Graven
1983-84  18 - 10                                                            Coach Doug Graven
 
**From our good friend Phil Shadid:
 
"Information regarding the MASON COUNTY BOYS BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT, which was held for 68 years, and ended in 1989:
 
EASTON: won 6 County Tourney championships and finished second 9 times!!"
 
Boys Track & Field
 
Two Easton High School tracksters made the trip to the IHSA State Finals brought home some hardware. One "kid", a boy named Holl, won the Class "B" State Championship in the pole vault in 1925!! In 1986, Jerry Payne followed that up with an 8th Place finish in the 800 meter run.
 
1925B     Lyle Roll          Pole Vault             STATE CHAMPION!!
1986A     Jerry Payne     800 Meter Run       8TH Place
 
Theatre

The Illinois Theatre Festival is the largest, non-competitive high school theatre festival in the world. It was organized in 1976 by teachers from the Chicago suburbs. This festival is still going strong as they perform at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and Illinois State University every other January. Easton High school participated in this festival in 1978 and 1985.
 
Special Thanks
 
The photos on this page are courtesy of Jon, Jim, and Dan Wheat taken in January of 2006! 
 
Need More Information
 
If you have any more information that will help make the Easton High School page complete, please e-mail us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net. You can also write to us via real mail at:
 
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il.  60631

Easton Grade School 5th Grade Team 1958-59
eastonfifthgradebasketball5859dav.jpg
Submitted by Rich Lascelles