Inductees The 1951 unbeaten Pekin High School football team was the first team in the history of the school to win 10 games. Coached by the highly successful football and basketball coach, Jim Lewis, the team was considered the mythical No.1 team in the state.
The team, then known as the Chinks, scored 309 points and permitted 71 and completely dominated Greater Peoria and Illini Conference foes except Manual, a 7-6 victim of Pekin in a storied game played at the Peoria Stadium.
Pekin won the Greater Peoria, Illini Conference and big 12 Conference titles, cementing the latter in a thrilling 33-27 win over previously unbeaten Springfield before 7,500 fans in Pekin in the ninth game of the season.
The potent Pekin offense was led by Dick Heihs, who scored 14 touchdowns; Gary Newell, who tallied nine and Jim Herget with six.
Rugged lineman Ed Skaggs was named a guard on the first all-state teams of both the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Tribune. Herget was selected to the fourth team of the Daily News. Pekin was not included in coaches' balloting for Greater Peoria honors.
THE 1951 SEASON
Pekin 28, Argo 13
Pekin 6, Streator 0
Pekin 26, East Peoria 6
Pekin 33, Central 6
Pekin 47, Canton 0
Pekin 39, Spalding 6
Pekin 50, Lincoln 0
Pekin 33, Springfield 27
Pekin 7, Manual 6
Pekin 40, Woodruff 7
The 1951 unbeaten Pekin High School football team was the first team in the history of the school to win 10 games. Coached by the highly successful football and basketball coach, Jim Lewis, the team was considered the mythical No.1 team in the state.
Jim Lewis served as Athletic Director, head football, golf, basketball, and baseball coach at Pekin Community High School during his career from 1933-1955. Jim received his BA from the University of Illinois and a masters from the University of Iowa. During his days at the University of Illinois he played football and basketball. Jim also served in the military. Jim Lewis started his coaching career at Pekin in 1933 with the baseball team. He compiled a record of 118-71-1 in eleven seasons under his direction. Lewis led Pekin to six regional titles in his seven seasons as basketball coach, including state trophies in 1947 (4th place) and 1948 (3rd place). Jim coached football for eleven seasons with a 71-30-1 record. The 1951 unbeaten Pekin football team was the first team in the history of the school to win ten games. The 1951 team was considered the mythical Number 1 team in the state. Pekin won both the Greater Peoria Illini Conference and the Big 12 Conference titles that year. Jim's golf teams excelled, winning a 3rd place (1948) and a 2nd place (1949) in the state tournament during his seven years as coach. Jim Lewis was one of the driving forces behind building Pekin Memorial Stadium. Jim was a member in three Halls of Fame, the Pekin High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame, and the IBCA Hall of Fame. Even by today's standards, Coach Lewis' coaching achievements are legendary.