Inductees AFTER SWEEPING through an eight-game unbeaten season in 1942, Coach Ennio Arboit took his Spalding Institute team to a 9-0-0 season in 1944, the fourth unbeaten season in the school's history, but the first that finished with nine wins and no ties.
Four days prior to its opening game, the team was involved in a near fatal accident when the truck transporting the team to Bradley Park for practice tipped over on Main St. Several serious injuries were incurred, including starting halfback John Kenning. However, a "green" sophomore and future college "Little All-American" Bob Flanagan took over his position.
The Irish had much more trouble than its 1942 counterpart, scoring 211 points while yielding 63. It was involved in a one-point win over Manual and a two-point decision over St. Bede Academy.
Shutouts were produced over Bloomington Trinity and Quincy Notre Dame while the most lopsided win was over Eureka, 34-6.
The Irish placed five players on the all-Greater Peoria first team: tackle Ed Uranich (All-State and later to be the school's head football coach), All-State guard Tom Hecht, center Tex Weicherding, end Ed Dwyer and quarterback Harry Sonnemaker (team and city MVP). Named to the second team were guard Willie Densberger, tackle Hank Donnelly, halfback Tom Gorsage and fullback Ed Ritter.
THE 1944 SEASON
Spalding 32, Bloomington Trinity 0
Spalding 26, Pekin 6
Spalding 19, East Peoria 7
Spalding 20, Quincy Notre Dame 0
Spalding 32, Central 12
Spalding 34, Eureka 6
Spalding 15, Manual 14
Spalding 19, Woodruff 6
Spalding 14, Peru St. Bede 12
AFTER SWEEPING through an eight-game unbeaten season in 1942, Coach Ennio Arboit took his Spalding Institute team to a 9-0-0 season in 1944, the fourth unbeaten season in the school's history, but the first that finished with nine wins and no ties.
As a member of the first four-year class at Limestone High, Larry Stranz was eager to help get a positive athletic tradition started for the Bartonville school. All he lacked was talent.