Luverne, Ellsworth, Heron Lake finish 1958 football season undefeatedLUVERNE — While the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants were winning their respective divisions and heading for the ever-famous 1958 National Football League championship game, sudden-death overtime thriller, at Yankee Stadium, a trio of area high school teams finished with undefeated records. Winning the 11-man Southwest Conference title were the Luverne Cardinals, while Heron Lake claimed the championship of the eight-man Seven Star Conference, and Ellsworth rolled undefeated through the six-man Tri-County Conference.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
LUVERNE — While the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants were winning their respective divisions and heading for the ever-famous 1958 National Football League championship game, sudden-death overtime thriller, at Yankee Stadium, a trio of area high school teams finished with undefeated records.
Winning the 11-man Southwest Conference title were the Luverne Cardinals, while Heron Lake claimed the championship of the eight-man Seven Star Conference, and Ellsworth rolled undefeated through the six-man Tri-County Conference.
Each of those three schools was in the midst of a strong era of athletic success, especially on the gridiron.
“We had a good spread of athletes,” recalls Luverne’s Bill Mulligan, who was the Cardinal fullback on offense and an outside linebacker on defense. “We went undefeated in both ‘57 and ‘58. Both teams were very good. We had some fast guys that won some relays in track.”
After winning all eight of its games in 1957, Luverne came back with another stellar season in ’58, going 7-0-1 with an early season 7-7 tie to the Brookings Bobcats at Brookings, S.D. being the Cardinals’ only non-victory.
Luverne had opened with a 34-6 win over Fulda and then claimed a key 27-20 victory over Jackson in Game 3.
Impressive late-season wins came over Marshall (34-6), Benson (33-6), Worthington (28-0) and Pipestone (20-7).
Joining Mulligan in the LHS backfield in ’58 were quarterback Tom Getman and halfbacks Dennis Mahoney and Dick Carter.
Left guard Dave Connell and center Steve Hoiland were two of the key members of the Cardinal offensive line.
Both Hoiland and Mahoney — who later played basketball for Worthington State Junior College — were named to WCCO Radio’s All-State “Team of the Week” during the course of the season.
Luverne’s coach was Arling Anderson.
Ellsworth Outscores Opponents 261-70
On the afternoon after Minneapolis Laker rookie “Hot Rod” Hundley entertained basketball fans in an NBA intra-squad game at Worthington’s brand new gymnasium, Ellsworth rolled a 58-6 homecoming victory over Beaver Creek, improving its record to 5-0.
A clip from the Monday afternoon issue of the Daily Globe on October 6, 1958 described the game this way:
“Ellsworth scored in every way possible. They (the Panthers) picked up points on touchdowns on the ground and in the air. Two safeties added to the total and a 40-yard field goal by Jerry Matthiesen climaxed the scoring.”
Matthiesen, who completed 45 passes for 616 yards and rushed for 352 yards as the Panther quarterback that season, scored three touchdowns in the EHS homecoming win.
“Jerry was an athlete,” recalls Don Meester, who along with his cousin Harlan, played on back-to-back Panther powerhouses. “We had a great team in ’57 too. We had a bigger line that season.”
Jim Schweitzer, Ed DeBoer, Dale Wagmeester and Paul Yeager were among those stellar performers for Ellsworth in ’57.
In ’58, the Panther starting offensive line was Harlan Meester at center, while Dallas Bauman and Daryl Heikes were the ends.
Matthiesen was joined in the backfield by halfbacks Duke Lenderts and Le Roy Visker.
Heikes had 37 catches that season and scored several touchdowns.
Playing key roles on defense were Barry Henrichs and Denny Lenderts, while Don Meester, Junior Boelman and Mike Lenz also contributed.
Heikes and Bauman each recorded safeties in the that homecoming win over Beaver Creek, while Visker scored a pair of touchdowns and Heikes, Boelman and Lenz each crossed the goal line once.
Ellsworth closed out the season with wins over Edgerton (39-6) and Magnolia (40-6).
Matthiesen tossed a pair of TD passes to Bauman and one to Heikes in the win over Magnolia, while also rushing for a six-pointer. Duke Lenderts added a pair of rushing touchdowns, as the Panthers won big over the Bulldogs, who had the league’s most feared player in 225-pound Lloyd Voss.
Voss later starred at Nebraska, winning the Outland Trophy as the nation’s outstanding collegiate offensive lineman. After his career with the Cornhuskers, Voss played for several NFL teams, including the Green Bay Packers.
Ken Miller coached Ellsworth to its perfect 7-0 season in 1958 and then guided the Panthers to a conference championship in basketball too.
Falcons block five Punts in 32-0 win
Heron Lake, which had shifted from six-man to eight-man in 1957 and welcomed new coach Lloyd Hallada, put together back-to-back undefeated seasons in ’58 and ’59 after going 6-2 in Hallada’s first season.
“I sure had fun on fall Friday nights in those three years in Heron Lake,” recalls Hallada, who at age 80 is still teaching driver’s education at Crosby-Ironton. “Our captains were always such great leaders and we had smart, quick kids that loved the game of football and were hard-hitters.”
After opening with a 26-13 non-conference win over Ruthton, the Falcons had five players score touchdowns in a satisfying 46-6 triumph over defending Seven Star champion Lake Park. The Iowa school had whipped the Falcons, 61-0, the season before — one of Hallada’s only two losses in 25 games.
Heron Lake’s defense blocked five punts in a 32-0 victory over Ocheyedan in Game 3, and the Falcons went on to post wins over Okabena (19-13), Sioux Valley (33-7), East Chain (19-13), Brewster (43-20) and Round Lake (52-40).
Seniors Jim Stenzel, Carroll Freking and Jim Schaffer were Heron Lake’s captains in that ’58 campaign.
The Falcons outscored their opponents by a 270-112 margin that season, and then came back and outpointed nine opponents by a 273-50 count the next season, racking up 18 straight wins — starting with a 6-0 victory over Round Lake in the last game of ’57 and ending with an 8-6 win over East Chain in the final contest of ’59.
1958 All-Conference football teams
Members of the starting offensive unit of the 1958 Southwest Conference team were: left end, Paul Stubbe, 195, Jackson; left tackle, Connie Schmidt, 190, Worthington; left guard, Dave Connell, 175, Luverne; center Steve Hoiland, 158, Luverne; right guard, Jerry Demars, 195, Pipestone; right tackle, Don Benda, 182, Jackson; right end, Gary Natterstad, 155, Jackson; quarterback, Tom Getman, 158, Luverne; left halfback, Delano Jones, 145, Windom; right halfback, Mark Aamot, 160, Jackson; fullback, Dick Carter, 163, Luverne; alternate back, Gene Craven, 178, Jackson.
The defensive team was left end, Paul Strubbe, 195, Jackson; left tackle, Schmidt; nose guard, Connell, right tackle, Benda; right end, Joe Maras, 185, Windom; linebackers — Hoiland, Demars and Getman; defensive backs — Dennis Mahoney, 156, Luverne; Gerry Osterberg, 156, Worthington; Aamot.
The Seven Star — made up of Heron Lake, Okabena, Sioux Valley, Brewster, Round Lake, Lake Park and Ocheyedan — had the following first team: ends, Dave Garmer, Brewster and Greg Diemer, Heron Lake; guards Gary Schuett, Okabena and Jack Baumgarn, Sioux Valley; center, Jim Stenzel, Heron Lake; backs, Kenny Freking, Heron Lake; Steve Rohwer, Okabena; Larry Fisher, Sioux Valley.
The second team was made up of these eight players: ends, Dale Aden, Okabena; Dick Carlson, Heron Lake; guards, Lew Kieffer, Heron Lake; Conrad Fisher, Sioux Valley; center, Grant Miller, Round Lake; backs, Dennis Arthur, Lake Park; Dale Peters, Okabena; Dick Dyke, Sioux Valley.