Franklin Center High School “Eagles”

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The History of Franklin Center High School

Franklin Center HS Building 2013
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Franklin Grove, Illinois (population 1,052) is located 8 miles east of Dixon on Illinois Highway 38. The Union Pacific Railway runs through the center of the town. Probably the most notable thing about Franklin Grove, is that is the Lincoln Highway National Headquarters is located in the vilage of 1,100. The Lincoln Highway was constructed starting in 1909 and runs through downtown Franklin Grove, as well as coast-to-coast through the United States.

Franklin Center High School came about with the consolidation of Franklin Grove and Lee Center High Schools (about 10 miles south on Whitney Road). This consolidation effort took place in 1956.  In 2004, Franklin Center consolidated with nearby Ashton (also listed on this site) to form Ashton-Franklin Center High School. The current building houses K-6 grades.

Franklin Center High School “Quick Facts”:

Year opened:                1956

Year closed:                  2004

Consolidated to:            Ashton-Franklin Center School District

Building used for now:  K-4 school

School mascot:              the “Eagles”

School colors:               Maroon & Gold

School song:                 Franklin Center Loyalty

 Sung to the University of Illinois Fight Song Tune

                                                  Thank you to Jay Johnson

                                                  Lyrics needed.

Athletics

Franklin Center High School Gym 2013
A basketball court with a basketball hoop

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Now Serves As AFC Junior High Gym (Submitted by Bruce Firchau)

Boys Basketball

FCHS had some of it’s best Boys Basketball teams in the late 1970s to the late 1980s via the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org). A couple of great coaches for Northern Illinois high schools started their coaching days here. Coach Ken Neahring started a great coaching career in Franklin Center and retired in 2003 at Maple Park Kaneland. Coach Denny Kessel coached here starting in 1972 and coached at Oregon and Mundelein before retiring in 1995.

Several postseason basketball scores were located on a website titled “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores.” When available, they are reprinted below.

Season Results:

1956-57             Rock Falls Regional Tournament                 Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd. – Lost to Rock Falls 70-28

Rock Falls won Regional Tourney

1957-58             Rock Falls Regional Tournament                 Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd. – Lost to Dixon 78-33

Dixon lost in title game

1958-59  Postseason scores, record, & coach’s name needed

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

1st Rd. – Lost to Ashton 60-47

Ashton lost in semi-final round

1960-61  Postseason scores, record, & coach’s name needed

1961-62             Stillman Valley District Tournament              Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd. – Lost to Stillman Valley 78-58

Stillman Valley lost in semi-final round

1962-63             Forreston District Tournament                      Coach’s name & record needed

       1st Rd. – Beat Leaf River 67-58

                        Semi-final lost to Stillman Valley 68-66 (O/T)

Stillman Valley lost title game

1963-64 through 1966-67 Postseason scores, records, and coaches names needed

1967-68             Mount Morris District Tournament                 Coach’s name & record needed

  1st Rd. – won, score unavailable

Semi-final – lost to Ashton 63-62

Ashton lost in title game.

1968-69             Stillman Valley District Tournament              Coach’s name & record needed

Team placed 2nd!

             1st Rd. – Beat Leaf River 57-54

                        Semi-final – Beat Mt. Morris 66-56

                        Title game – Lost to Byron 94-56

1969-70             Byron District Tournament                            Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd. – Lost to Polo 84-57

Polo lost in semi-final round.

1970-71             Polo District Tournament                               Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd. – Lost to Stillman Valley 78-58

Stillman Valley lost title game

1971-72 through 1978-79 Postseason scores & coaches names needed.

1977-78  21-6     (good record)                                          Coach Ken Neahring
1978-79  17-6     (good record)                                          Coach Ken Neahring


1979-80  25-5     Sweet 16 Finalists!!                                 Coach Ken Neahring

                         Regional Champions

                         (scores needed)

                         Sectional Champions

                         Beat Marengo 50-44

                         Title Game – Beat Lake Forest Academy 57-47

                         Super-Sectional Finalist

                                  Lost to Elmhurst Timothy Christian 46-30

Timothy Christian lost in Elite 8 round

1980-81 through 2003-04 Postseason scores and most coaches names needed

1982-83  11-15                                                                   Coach Ken Neahring

1983-84  13-13                                                                   Coach Ken Neahring

   

1984-85  21-7      Conference Champions (11-1)                Coach Ken Neahring

                                Lost Regional Championship Game

To Mt. Morris

1984-85 Conference Champions Patch
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Courtesy of Jay Johnson
FCHS Basketball Team of 1984-85
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Submitted by Jay Johnson

1985-86  20-6      Conference Co-Champs                         Coach Ken Neahring

FCHS Basketball of 1985-86
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Submitted by Jay Johnson

1988-89  19-9      Regional Champions!                             Coach’s name needed

      

1989-90  22-8      Regional Champions!                             Coach’s name needed

   

In a February 10, 1989 game against Rockford Lutheran, Franklin Center’s Ray Newcomer scored nine three-point baskets (that’s 27 points at the minimum), the most three-pointers in a game in school history.

Mel Barron Field
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Franklin Grove, Illinois
Mel Barron Athletic Field
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Baseball & Football Fields 2013

Football

Football was offered at FCHS before the co-op effort with Ashton. See Ashton High School on this site for the A-FC co-op results until 2004.

In a September 6, 1991 Four Rivers Conference game pitting the Ashton-Franklin Center co-op against South Beloit, Franklin Center’s Joshua Harmon recorded three blocked kicksThat is an Illinois High School record and only six other people in state history have done so.

Some of the better season records of Franklin Center High School are listed below. Special thanks to Tom Sikorski for his research.

1957  1 – 6           First team – First win was 12-7 over Byron

1960  4 – 2 – 2                                                                                      Coach Ron O’Connor

1972  4 – 4                                                                                           Coach Ken Neahring

1974  6 – 3                                                                                           Coach Ken Neahring

1981  4 – 4                                                                                           Coach Joe Hilliker

1983  2 – 7                                                                                           Coach Ken Neahring

1984  6 – 3                                                                                           Coach  Ken Neahring

                                                                                                           Coach Kevin Budden

FCHS Football Team of 1984-85
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Submitted by Jay Johnson

1985  4 – 5                                                                                   Coach George Schwamberger

                                                                                                   Coach John Zick

     *Started 4-1 though first 5 games, then lost QB to injury and lost last 4 games. Beat Conference “power house”, Milledgeville, for first time in school history.

Franklin Center last independently fielded a football team in 1987.  They began their co-op with Ashton in 1988.

Franklin Grove Football Field
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Franklin Grove Scoreboard
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“AFC Raider” Scoreboard Today

Wrestling

Franklin Center may have had a wrestling team before all sports were co-oped with Ashton. FCHS alum David Gleissner wrestled for A-FC and went all the way to the state tournament where he placed second in the 171-pound weight class as a junior in 2003. Gleissner was 33-4 coming into the state tournament and defeated Dusty Rademaker from Petersburg PORTA in his first bout and then beat Sam Tuggle of Clinton to get to the semi-finals. He eventually lost to Randy Murray and Kankakee McNamarain the finals, but represented the A-FC team, and FCHS proudly.

Franklin Center High School Gym 2013
A basketball court with a basketball hoop

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Now Serves As AFC Junior High Gym (Submitted by Bruce Firchau)

Volleyball

FCHS offered a Volleyball program until the co-op effort with Ashton in the early 1990’s. The team won one Regional Championship in their programs history.

1987-88   N.R.A.    Regional Champions                           Coaches name unavailable

Seeking More Information

More information is being sought about Franklin Center High School; use the Guest Commentary Form to sumbit. Corrections are welcome as well. If you have more Information about FCHS, including photos of the school, nickname, consolidation date and other great teams and high school memories you would like to share please use the Guest Commentary Form or you may also write us at:

e-mail:  ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net

USPS:

Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago,  IL  60631

Franklin Center HS Building 2013
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