Divernon High School “Dragons” & “Lady Dragons”

Divernon High School Complex
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As viewed at http://www.divy.net
Original Divernon High School Building
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Submitted by Phil Shadid

The History of Divernon High School

Divernon (population 1,201) is located in central Illinois about ten miles south of Springfield.  The town sits in the southeast corner of Sangamon County.  Interstate Highway 55 is the main roadway that will lead you to Divernon.  Illinois Route 104 passes by town about 1 1/2 miles to the north.  The Illinois Central Railroad parts the middle of town traveling to the north and south. Brush Creek flows to the west of Divernon.

Divernon was likely established in the late 1800s.  We are told the town was named after a character in a book titled “Rob Roy”.  The character’s name is Diane Vernon.  The town was also once a stop along the historic U.S. Route 66.

Divernon residents likely started a school system for their children in the late 1800s. It was not until the very early 1900s that high school curriculum was established.  We do not have th exact year that a high school was established, but we do know that Divernon lists its first high school graduate as earning her diploma in 1904.

Divernon High School has fourished and served the residents of the community and surrounding farm country for over 100 years.  It was in the early years of the 21st centrury that the future of the school district seemed in doubt.  Financial concerns, dwindling enrollment, and inability to offer students what some considered a well-rounded education took their toll.  In October of 2006 it was announced that the Divernon School District would be deactivated.

The Divernon School District has been annexed into the Auburn School District.  The DHS Class of 2007 was the last to earn their diplomas as the school closed in June of 2007.

The Divernon High School building will continue in a useful capacity, serving as the Auburn Junior High School for grades 7 and 8.  Divernon kids in grades PK – 3 will attend school in Divernon as well.

Divernon High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                         early 1900s (1st alum graduated in 1904)

Year closed:                          2007

Consolidated to:                     Auburn School District

Divernon HS team nickname:  the “Dragons” and “Lady Dragons”

Divernon HS team colors:       Blue & Gold

Divernon HS fight song:         “Go Divernon!”

University of Wisconsin Fight Song Tune

Lyrics contributed by Diane Howe

Go Divernon, Go Divernon              

                                               Fight for victory!

                                               We’re the team that can’t be beat

                                               So come on, team, let’s fight!

                                               Fight-Fight-FIGHT!

                                               Go Divernon, Go Divernon
Raise that score tonight!
Lead on to victory

                                               So fight, team, fight!

ATHLETICS

The Divernon High School Dragons and Lady Dragons had some real nice seasons.  The boys definitely competed in baseball, basketball, football and track.  The girls have IHSA seasonal records listed in softball and volleyball.  We are certain the girls competed in basketball and track as well.  Other sports may have been offered at the school throughout the years.  We are in need of the school’s fight song lyrics and coach’s names of several different seasons of several of the sports.

BOYS BASEBALL

The hardballers of Divernon High have two seasons listed on the IHSA website(www.ihsa.org).   The boys of 1996-97 had a record of 15 – 6 under the leadership of Coach Jeff Marsaglia.  Other team records and coach’s names are welcome and will be added if submitted.

1996-97   15 – 6                                            Coach Jeff Marsaglia

2005-06     5 – 15

BOYS BASKETBALL

Judging by the great coverage of this sport on the IHSA website, our guess is that Divernon residents loved their basketball. During many of the seasons the Dragons did not disappoint!  Overall the program won a total of FOUR District titles and THREE Regional Championships!!  There were also FIVE 20+ games-won seasons listed.  The records of the District Championship teams of 1938, 1943, and 1950 might add to that mark as well.

Several scores from the IHSA State Tournament were located on a website titled “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores.” These scores are posted below.

1912-13   10 – 2        Postseason scores & record needed.

1913-14     7 – 1        Postseason scores & record needed.

1914-15  Postseason scores. record, and coach’s name needed.

1915-16  Postseason scores. record, and coach’s name needed.

1916-17  Postseason scores. record, and coach’s name needed.

1917-18  Postseason scores. record, and coach’s name needed.

1918-20  Postseason scores. record, and coach’s name needed.

1919-20   11 – 3     Sangamon Cnty. Tourney Champs!        Coach George Bradley

                               Postseason scores needed.

1920-21 through 1932-33    Postseason scores. records, and coaches’ names needed.

1933-34                  Sangamon Cnty. Tourney Champs!

                               Postseason scores. record, and coach’s name needed.

1934-35                  Williamsville District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Glenarm Ball Twshp HS 18-17

                               2nd Rd Beat Virden 27-22

                               Semi-final lost to Auburn 23-19

Auburn lost title game to Springfield HS

1935-36                  Springfield Regional Tournament              Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Springfield Converse 26-15

                               Semi-final lost to Springfield HS 35-8

Springfield beat Riverton in title game

1936-37    Postseason scores. record, and coach’s name needed.

1937-38                  Glenarm District Champions                  Coach’s name & record needed

Early Rd Scores Needed

                               Title Game Beat Glenarm Ball Twshp 23-21

                               IHSA Regional Qualifier

                               Regional Scores Needed

1938-39   24 – 3      IHSA District Champions                        Coach’s name & record needed

                               Sangamon Cnty. Tourney Champs!

                               District Scores Needed

                               Springfield District Runner-Up

                               1st Rd Beat Virden 25-18

                               Semi-final Beat Spfld Feitshans 31-26

                               Title Game lost to Springfield HS 27-16

1939-40                  Sangamon Cnty. Tourney Champs!        Coach’s name & record needed

Postseason scores needed.

1940-41  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1941-42                   Springfield Regional Tournament              Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Springfield Feitshans 33-26

Feitshans lost to Springfield Lanphier HS in semi-final

Lanphier HS lost to Spfld Cathedral HS in title game

1942-43                   IHSA District Champions                        Coach’s name & record needed

     District Scores Needed

Virden Regional Runner-Up

                                1st Rd Beat Auburn 36-34

                                Semi-final Beat Riverton 38-34

                                Title Game lost to Spfld Lanphier 48-40

1943-44                   Postseason scores & record needed.       Coach Roman

                                                                                                  Principal Sutsmon

1944-45                   Glenarm District Runner-Up                   Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Ball Twshp 43-27

                                Semi-final Beat Pawnee 36-32

                                Title Game lost to Farmersville 34-37

1945-46                   Sangamon Cnty. Tourney Champs!       Coach’s name & record needed

Postseason scores needed.

1946-47  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1947-48  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

  

1948-49                   Farmersville District Tournament                Coach’s name & record needed

Semi-final lost to Riverton 48-31

Riverton lost to Girard in title game

1949-50                   Farmersville District Champions             Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Auburn 54-37

                                Semi-final Beat Farmersville 51-47

                                Title Game Beat Rochester 49-45

                                Springfield Regional Tourney

                                1st Rd lost to Spfld Feitshans 58-46

Feitshans lost to Springfield HS in semi-final

Spfld HS beat Lanphier in title game

1950-51                   Farmersville District Tournament                Coach’s name & record needed

Semi-final lost to Raymond 59-53

Raymond beat Farmersville in title game

1951-52                   Glenarm District Tournament                      Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Raymond 62-48

Raymond lost to Pawnee in semi-final

Pawnee beat Girard in title game

1952-53  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1953-54  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1954-55  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1955-56  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1956-57  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1957-58  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1958-59                   Palmyra District Tournament                        Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Farmersville 55-43

Farmersville lost to Spfld St. James in title game

1959-60                   Raymond District Tournament                      Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Pawnee 76-63

Pawnee lost to Palmyra NW in semi-final

Palmyra lost to Farmersville in title game

1960-61   10 – 14    Postseason scores & coach’s name needed.

1961-62  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1962-63                  Pawnee Regional Tournament                      Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Palmyra NW 55-27

                               Semi-final lost to Raymond Lincolnwood 67-55

Lincolnwood beat Auburn in title game

1963-64     2 – 19   Postseason scores & coach’s name needed.

1964-65                 Postseason scores & record needed              Coach Jay Lorton

     

1965-66  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1966-67  Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.

1967-68     3 – 20   Waverly District Tournament                           Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Palmyra NW 75-41

Palmyra NW lost to New Berlin in title game

1968-69     2 – 19   Franklin District Tournament                            Coach Mike Boyer

                              1st Rd lost to Franklin 88-39

Franklin lost in semi-final to Auburn

Auburn beat New Berlin in title game

1969-70   10 – 14   Franklin District Tournament                            Coach Al Taylor

                              1st Rd lost to Palmyra NW 44-43

Palmyra NW lost in semi-final to Auburn

Auburn beat New Berlin in title game

1970-71   17 – 7     Waverly District Tournament                            Coach Al Taylor

                              1st Rd Beat Spfld St. James 85-57

Semi-final lost to Palmyra NW 79-59

Palmyra beat Auburn in title game

1971-72   18 – 5     Franklin Class ‘A’ Regional Tournament          Coach Al Taylor

                              1st Rd lost to Girard 69-68

Girard lost to Chatham Glenwood in semi-final

Chatham Glenwood lost to Auburn in title game

1972-73   16 – 10                                                                Coach Al Taylor

1973-74   15 – 9                                                                  Coach Al Taylor

1974-75   17 – 8                                                                  Coach Al Taylor

1975-76   24 – 3      Chatham-Glenwood Reg. Champs  Coach Al Taylor

                               Sangamon Cnty. Tourney Champs!

                               Regular Season lost to State Champ Mt. Pulaski

                               Regional Scores

                               Semi-final Beat Franklin 55-49

                               Title Game Beat Virden 65-59

                               Carlinville Sectional Tourney   

Lost in 1st Rd of Sectional to Piasa (Southwestern) 66-63

Piasa SW lost to Pleasant Plains in title game

Pleasant Plains lost to Havana in Sweet 16 Rd

Divernon “Dragons” – 1976 Sangamon County Champs!
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Submitted by Erick Bristow

Photo Above:

Front Row Kneeling L-R: Lance Rettberg, Gary Nichols, Curtis Fishburn, Kenny Hogan, David Adcock

Standing L-R: Manager-Mark Molohon Craig Ladage, Marc Bourne, Mike Smith, Erick Bristow, Tim Bramley, Coach Al Taylor, Rodney Bourne, Robert Norris, Asst. Coach Rick Rossetto

 

Memories of the 1975-76 season from Erick Bristow:

Being a member of the 1976 County and Regional Championship team I can say, with all honesty, that it was one ot he greatest times of my life. After nearly 40 years have passed the legacy of that great team is still alive in the community. They never forgot what it meant to rise up after 46 years without a championship in the Sangamon County Tournament, tiny Divernon was alive with Dragon pride!

That 24-3 record included 2 undefeated conference championships as well as the County and Regional. One of our losses that season came to Mt. Pulaski, the eventual State Class ‘A’ Champion that year. As basketball in Illinois goes, you would be hard pressed to find a better team at any High School with even 3 or 4 times the enrollment in the State’s glorious HS basketball history! When we were on a roll it was a sight to behold at the little gymnasium in Divernon, One night in particular in 1976 we put up 114 points on a Greenfield team that was shell shocked, so much so the game landed an article in the STL paper about “tiny” Divernon basketball team. I really believe the 1976 team could have won it all with just a little bit of luck. Having played Mt. Pulaski that year there is no doubt we had the talent but in the end our dream season ended without ever reaching its true potential, and that remains a life-long regret for me personally.”

1976-77     8 – 14                                                                Coach Gene Woodward

1977-78     4 – 18                                                                Coach Gene Woodward

1978-79     2 – 19                                                                Coach Greg Lipe

1979-80   10 – 15                                                                Coach Bob Elkin

1980-81   11 – 14                                                                Coach Jim Edmonds

1981-82   13 – 12                                                                Coach Jim Edmonds

1982-83     9 – 14                                                               Coach Marty Miller

1983-84     6 – 16                                                               Coach Marty Miller

1984-85     5 – 17                                                               Coach Carey McVickers

1985-86     9 – 13                                                               Coach Carey McVickers

1986-87     6 – 16                                                               Coach Carey McVickers

1987-88     4 – 19                                                               Coach Carey McVickers

1988-89     4 – 19                                                               Coach Mark Verticchio

1989-90     2 – 20                                                               Coach Kent Leninger

1990-91                                                                             Coach Kent Leninger

1991-92     9 – 14                                                               Coach Jeff Stevens

1992-93   10 – 15                                                               Coach Jeff Stevens

1993-94     6 – 17                                                               Coach Jeff Stevens

1994-95   17 – 9                                                                 Coach Jeff Stevens

1995-96   21 – 7         IHSA Regional Champions          Coach Jeff Stevens

                                  Regional Scores Needed

                                  IHSA Sectional Qualifier

                                  Sectional Scores Needed

1996-97   23 – 6         Divernon Regional Champions   Coach Jeff Stevens

                                  Regional Scores Needed

                                  IHSA Sectional Qualifier

                                  Sectional Scores Needed

                

1997-98     7 – 21       Postseason scores needed            Coach Jeff Stevens

1998-99     5 – 21       Postseason scores needed            Coach Jeff Stevens

1999-00   11 – 16       Postseason scores needed            Coach Jeff Marsaglia

2000-01     3 – 24       Postseason scores needed            Coach Jeff Marsaglia

2001-02     6 – 22       Postseason scores needed            Coach Jeff Marsaglia

2002-03     9 – 19       Postseason scores needed            Coach Jeff Marsaglia

    

2003-04   21 – 9      M-S-M Conference Champions      Coach Steve Allen

                                  Postseason scores needed             

2004-05   16 – 12       Postseason scores needed            Coach Steve Allen

2005-06   13 – 16       Postseason scores needed            Coach Steve Allen

2006-07     8 – 19       Postseason scores needed            Coach Jeff Stevens

Sangamon County Tournament

Divernon played well in this tournament in the 1930s and 1940s.  The boys won the championship a total of five times, as research was completed by Mark Jurenga:

Five championships  –  1920*, 1934, 1939, 1940, 1946, 1976

One 2nd Place finish

Five 3rd Place finishes

Five 4th Place finishes

Our good friend Phil Shadid tells us of Divernon’s 1920 Sangamon County Basketball Championship:

DIVERNON, SANGAMON COUNTY BASKETBALL CHAMPS, 1920:

In a basketball tournament that until now had been lost to history, Divernon won the very FIRST Sangamon County championship in 1920, five years before the official start of the annual tourney. In January 1920 the Illinois State Journal (Springfield) reported that “some of the county schools are going to compete in a basketball tournament which they hope will become an annual endeavor.”

The tournament was scheduled to be played in February at Springfield’s YMCA with Auburn, Chatham, Dawson, Divernon, Illiopolis, Mechanicsburg, New Berlin and Pawnee taking part. Pleasant Plains, Riverton, Rochester and Williamsville decided not to send their teams to the tourney.

But tournament officials had to postpone the original dates because the Flu epidemic that winter had severely effected the Chatham, Illiopolis and Pawnee teams.

Finally, the tournament took place on March 11-12, 1920, a week after the state District tournaments concluded. None of the county teams had advanced in the Districts.

Before a packed house at the YMCA, favored New Berlin, led by legendary coach Homer Bartholomew, opened with a 23-14 win over Illiopolis, even though Junior star forward Roy Breeding and Illiopolis’ Red Delaney were thrown out of the game, with five minutes left, for fighting. (They had briefly exchanged punches earlier in the game, but the referee had not seen the altercation.) Auburn (rated second) and Dawson won their games, and third-ranked Divernon breezed to a 30-10 trouncing of Chatham.

That night (March 11) New Berlin easily beat Dawson (29-12) in a semi-final and the next afternoon Divernon pulled a mild upset with a 14-9 win over Auburn in the other semi-final. The night of March 12, the “Dragons” beat New Berlin by a lopsided score of 21-8 to claim the championship. Robert Brown led the way with 8 points for Divernon while Breeding had 6 for the losers. The Journal reported: “Team work (for New Berlin) which showed in the tournament, was not so obvious in the final game. They seemed cold. Divernon broke up play after play, and stands out supreme as the Sangamon champion.”

Divernon placed three on the All-County 10-man tournament team ( Virgil Case, Llewellyn Dean and Harvey Starkweather).

Divernon’s rich basketball history will now include a SIXTH county championship to their credit: 1920, along with 1934, 1939, 1940, 1946, 1976.

BOYS FOOTBALL

There were not any great records listed on the Divernon High School football stats listed on the IHSA website.  It is actually quite a statement to the Divernon school that the school maintained a football program into the 1980s. We are certain that they were likely never the larger of the two schools stepping on the field on any given Friday night.  We are also certain there were some real nice seasons in the school’s storied history.  If you have this information, please drop us an e-mail.

Erick Bristow tells us the Divernon team of 1973-74 was a one of the all-time greats. The team went undefeated at 9 – 0 in spite of not having a home football field. The Dragons played all of their games on the road, with their “home” games played at Virden High School. A remarkable feat for any-sized school! Ercik sent us the following information about this team:  “Divernon certainly had some great football teams. In the 1973-74 season Divernon, not even having its own field, we played home games at Virden as I recall, finished 9 – 0! Almost all those games were played on the road and when you consider that the entire school probably had only about 100 students then it makes it even that much more remarkable that virtually every male student was on the football team and they were good enough to beat everyone they played, all of which were obviously larger schools.”

1973-74    9 – 0    Undefeated Season!           Coach’s name needed

1977-78    1 – 8                                                  Coach Coy Angelo

1978-79    1 – 8                                                  Coach Coy Angelo

1979-80    1 – 8                                                  Coach Coy Angelo

1980-81    0 – 9

1981-82    0 – 9

GIRLS SOFTBALL

Two Regional Championships highlighted the Lady Dragons of the softball diamond.  These are currently the only two seasons we have information about.  Season records and coach’s names are needed to complete this sport’s history at DHS.

1990-91   14 – 6       Regional Champions

1997-98                  Regional Champions         Coach Daillen Pomerenke

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

The Lady Dragon netters had some excellent seasons during the 1980s and early 1990s under the coaching of Shelli Wilmarth.  The team of 1998-99 even earned an IHSA Regional title.

1982-83   10 – 11                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth

1983-84   11 – 12                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth

1984-85     5 – 12                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth

1985-86   12 – 12                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth

1986-87     8 – 14                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth

1987-88   12 – 12                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth

1988-89   17 – 8                                                    Coach Shelli Wilmarth

1989-90   14 – 11                                                  Coach Shelli Wilmarth

1990-91   16 – 9                                                    Coach Shelli Wilmarth

1991-92   23 – 6                                                    Coach Shelli Wilmarth

1992-93   23 – 7                                                    Coach Shelli Wilmarth

1993-94   22 – 6                                                    Coach Shelli Wilmarth

1998-99   28 – 8         Regional Champions          (Coach’s name unavailable)

2006-07   21 – 10       School’s Final Year               Coach Linda Regan

 

BOYS TRACK & FIELD

1933-34     Individual Medalist          Bukant         Shot Put       4TH Place

INDIVIDUAL EVENTS

1948    Individual Medalist       Blanche Dickey        Serious Category     5TH Place

FOR THE RECORD

The following facts about Divernon High School’s final school year were provided to us by Phil Shadid:

“A total of 14 seniors graduated in May 2007.  A total of 70 students were in the high school when it closed. The girls volleyball record for their final season, 2006-07: 21-10. The boys basketball record for their final season, 2006-07: 8-19. Other sports for boys and girls were played, but only as a co-op arrangement with Auburn or Pawnee.

Ironically, the final home game of any sport ever played in the Divernon gym was in February 2007, when the boys lost to Springfield Ursuline, 69-48.  The Ursuline team did not know at that time, that their own school would be closing the same time as Divernon.”

Need More Information

The folks who worked to make Divernon High School a reality and a success should not be forgotten. There are many missing items that should be shared and remembered forever. If you have this information, please e-mail it to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net or write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.  60631

 


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