Paxton High School “Mustangs”

Paxton High School 1925-65
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Now Paxton Eastlawn Grade School (courtesy of
Paxton Community High School Entrance
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Submitted by Stephen Larson

The History of Paxton High School

Paxton (population 4,525) is located in east central Illinois in Ford County, about 25 miles west of the Illinois-Indiana border. The community serves as the county seat, and was founded around 1860 as Prairie City. The name later changed to Prospect City and then Paxton in honor of Sir Joseph Paxton, an Englishman who had designs of creating an English settlement in America. The plan failed, but the townspeople retained Paxton’s name as its own. In addition to the Illinois Central Railroad passing thru the center of the town, commerce also arrives via Interstate 57, US 45, and Illinois Route 9. Paxton is 25 miles north of Champaign-Urbana, and 50 miles east of Bloomington.

The history of education in Paxton goes back to 1856 when the first building was erected. Education was taken seriously in the community as Augustana College moved from Chicago to Paxton in 1863. then later relocated to Rock Island in 1875 where it remains today. The first high school courses were taught in 1872, thanks in part to aid the efforts to establish and fund Rice Collegiate Institute, which added to the educational and cultural advantages of the community.

Paxton HS Building Side Entrance
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Submitted by Stephen Larson

The history of high school buildings includes that the picture you see at the top of this page was opened for PHS students in 1925 and used until 1965 when a new building was erected. Stephen Larson tells us that the above Paxton High School building was designed by Urbana architect Joseph Royer.  Photographs of his high schools are on file at the Champaign County Archives. When the high schoolers moved into their new facility in 1965, the old building became the home of Paxton Junior High students until 2005 when they moved into a new facility. The 1925 building remains important to the Paxton community today, still being used as Eastlawn Grade School.

Paxton operated its own high school successfully for over a century until the late 1980’s when discussions began with neighboring Buckley-Loda High School for a possible consolidation. The voters in both school districts agreed to merge their schools and it became a reality in the fall of 1990, renaming itself Paxton-Buckley-Loda (PBL) High School and setting up shop in the 1965 building at Paxton. You can read more about Buckley-Loda and their separate high schools on this site.

Paxton High School Constructed in 1965 (1965-1990)
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Courtesy of Tyger McClure (“Left Click” on photo for enlarged version)


First high school classes offered:               1872

Last year of operation as Paxton HS:         1990

Merged with:                                            Buckley-Loda

Now known as:                                         Paxton-Buckley-Loda HS

School colors:                                          Blue & Gold

School nickname:                                     Mustangs

School song:                                            “On Paxton”

                                                                                    Words provided by Vala Harr Glick (Class of 1970)

On Paxton on to victory, our standards ever high…

Our loyal pledge we give to you, to do or die…

We are behind you always blue and gold, raise our banners to the sky –

Our faith is ever full and strong and unto you our hearts belong, 

dear ole’ Paxton High…

Praises we sing, to you our alma mater true,

courage and valor and loyalty to you…Rah, Rah

(First verse was repeted, with an ending of 🙂

Cha-hee, Cha-ha, Cha Rah, Rah, Rah,

Paxton High School – Rah, Rah, Rah!


The Mustangs were competitive in several sports, among them football, boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball, baseball, cross-country, track, and even wrestling. Also, Paxton had success in speech team competition, according to the IHSA website ( We believe that Paxton could have offered other activities, but there is no known information available. If you know, please contact us at the addresses listed at the bottom of this page.

PHS was a member of the Wauseca Conference along with archrival Gibson City, Danville Schlarman, Watseka, Clifton Central, Hoopeston-East Lynn, Georgetown, and Prairie Central before the league folded in 1990. For more information about the Wauseca, click here on “THE GREAT CONFERENCES” for details.


The Mustangs were successful on the gridiron, dating back to 1909 when the earliest known team in school history went 5-2. Two other teams went unbeaten, while several others lost just one game. Paxton even made their mark in the state football playoffs, earning four trips to the postseason and placing second in the 2A finals in 1984.

1909   5-2

1910   4-3

1912   4-2-2

1928   7-0-1 (excellent record!)

1929   5-3

1934   4-3-2

1935   5-3

1938   8-1    (great record!)

1939   5-1-2 (great record!)

1940   8-0-1 (excellent record!)

1946   4-3-1

1948   5-3

1954   4-3-1

1955   4-3-1

1958   0-7-1


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Submitted by Mick Weburg

**From Mick Weburg regarding the football schedule above:

“I thought you might like the (1958 Football Schedule), for what it’s worth.  I can attest that our record that year was all losses and one tie (Farmer City).”

1959   7-1     (great record!)                               Coach Pat Zuchowski

1960   4-3-1                                                         Coach Pat Zuchowski

1961   5-3                                                            Coach Pat Zuchowski

1966                                                                    Coach Norm Henderson

Asst. Coach Jerry Zimmerman

1967   7-1    (great record!)                               Coach Norm Henderson

Asst. Coach Jerry Zimmerman


1968   5-3    Wauseca Conference Champs    Coach Norm Henderson

                   (1st Conf Champ. Since 1940)        Asst Coach Jerry Zimmerman


1969   6-2    (good record!)                               Coach Norm Henderson

Asst. Coach Jerry Zimmerman

1970   5-3                                                            Coach Norm Henderson

Asst. Coach Jerry Zimmerman

1971   5-3                                                            Coach Norm Henderson

Asst. Coach Jerry Zimmerman


1972   7-1    Wauseca Conference Champs!   Coach Norm Henderson

                     (Only loss to Pontiac HS 12-6)      Asst Coach Jerry Zimmerman

Paxton HS Football Conference Champions 1972
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Submitted by James Dunnan

1973   7-2    (good mark!)                                 Coach Norm Henderson

Asst. Coach Jerry Zimmerman

1974   7-2    (good mark!)                                 Coach Norm Henderson

Asst. Coach Jerry Zimmerman

1975   5-4                                                           Coach Norm Henderson

Asst. Coach Jerry Zimmerman

1976   5-4                                                           Coach Norm Henderson

Asst. Coach Jerry Zimmerman

1977   5-4                                                           Coach Norm Henderson

Asst. Coach Jerry Zimmerman

1978  10-1 Class 2A playoff qualifier              Coach Norm Henderson

                  Beat Princeville 15-6 in 1st Rd      Asst. Coach Jerry Zimmerman

                  Lost to Fulton 22-16 in quarterfinals

Wauseca Conference Champs!

**From 1972 team member Jim Dunnan:

“Norm Henderson and Jerry Zimmerman served together as head coach and assistant coach for the Paxton High School football program for thirteen years, from 1966 -1978. During this time period they posted winning seasons in 12 of their 13 years coaching together and won 3 Wauseca Football Championships in 1968, 1972, and 1978. This was probably the longest successful run for two football coaches in the school’s history. Both of these fine men are deceased , but their memory lives on in the many young men who played for them during this time span. They both dedicated their lives to developing student /athletes and instilling valuable lifetime values in their players.”

1979   8-2  Class 2A playoff qualifier              Coach Clint Forsyth

                  Lost to Yorkville 20-14 in first round

1980   7-2  (good mark!)                                   Coach Clint Forsyth

1981   7-2  (good mark!)                                   Coach Clint Forsyth

1984  11-2  SECOND IN 2A PLAYOFFS          Coach Clint Forsyth 

                   Defeated Leroy 53-14 in first round

                   Shutout El Paso 25-0 in quarterfinals

                   Downed Maroa-Forsyth 42-28 in semifinals

                   Lost to Amboy 16-7 in championship game

**There were 2 members of the 1984 football team

who were voted by the Chicago Sun Times to the

“Little” All State Team. This is a team compiled by

their sports writers made up of the smaller schools

in the state. These two young men were

Dennis Polson & Steven Nuss.

1984 Paxton Mustangs
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2nd in State Class 2A playoffs

1985   9-3  Class 2A qualifier                       Coach Clint Forsyth

                   Beat Bismarck-Henning 39-8 in first round

                   Edged Gibson City 21-14 in second round

                   Lost to Ottawa Marquette 14-6 in OT of quarterfinals

1988   5-4                                                       Coach Clint Forsyth

1989   5-4  Last season as PHS                    Coach Clint Forsyth


Paxton High School Gym 2012 – Now P-B-L HS Gym
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Submitted by Bruce Firchau
Paxton High School Gym 2012 – Now P-B-L HS Gym
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Submitted by Bruce Firchau


Once football concluded its season, the Mustangs were also competitive on the hardwood, winning two district titles to go along with nine regionals. All of these were won under the one-class system, with six plaques being awarded in consecutive years. We are looking for win-loss records along the names of head coaches from these teams, so if you know anything, please let us know at the addresses listed at the bottom of this page.

1923-24             Ford County Tourney Champs      Coach Swiney

1926-27             Ford County Tourney Champs      Coach Orville Roll

1927-28             District Champs

1928-29             Ford County Tourney Champs      

1934-35             District Champs

1935-36             Regional Champs

1936-37             Regional Champs

1937-38             Regional Champs

1939-40             Regional Champs

1942-43             Regional Champs

1959-60             Regional Champs                         Coach Larry Smith

1965-66             Regional Champs                         Coach Larry Smith

1966-67             Regional Champs                         Coach Larry Smith

1969-70   16-2                                                         Coach Larry Smith

1985-86   14-10                                                       Coach Russ Zick



Paxton was fortunate to have three teams finish in the top ten of the team standings at the state track meet, and several Paxton athletes came home with victories in the finals.

1927 (??) Hoffman                     880 run——4th place

1957 Roger Burton                    High jump–3rd place

1975                                          880 relay—2nd place

1976 Eighth in State Finals    

880 relay—STATE CHAMPS (Mike Fiorello, Carl

            Hasselbring, Ben Lee, & John Overstreet)

                                                 440 relay—3rd place

         Ben Lee                           100 dash—4th place

                                                 220 dash—7th place

1977  Two Mile relay                                 7th place

         Chuck Tuggle                  Shotput—–7th place

1978  Brian Stagen                    880 run—–4th place

1979  880 relay                                           8th place

         Vic Zimmerman                Triple Jump-6th place

1980  Sixth in State Class A Finals 

           Steve Buchholz—STATE CHAMPION in 100 and 200 meter dashes

1981    Vic Zimmerman              Triple Jump-6th place

1982  Tenth in State Class A Finals  

           Vic Zimmerman              Triple Jump-2nd place

                                                  Long Jump–7th place

           Dan Bixby                    Shotput——-5th place

                                              Discus——–8th place

           Craig Stockman            3200 run—–7th place

1986   Phil Hull                        Discus——–6th place                      

1990   Dave Foster                   Shotput——3rd place            


Track Records of Paxton High School (through 1990):

(Provided by Tyger McClure)

100          Ben Lee                10.4             1976

200          Ben Lee                21.7             1976

400          Steve Buchhols     50.1             1980

1600        Tom Johnson      4:32.1             1977

3200        Craig Stockman  9:35.2             1982

110HH     Tracy Epps             14.7             1978

SP          Dave Foster          57′ 2″             1990

HJ           Vic Zimmerman     6′ 6″             1980

TJ           Vic Zimmerman    46′ 0″            1980 

LJ           Vic Zimmerman    22′ 5″            1981

PV          Doug Mikeworth   12′ 6″             1977

400 Rel.  Ben Lee                43.4               1976

              Bill Owens

              Mike Fiorillo

              John Overstreet

800 Rel.  Ben Lee              1:30.5              1976

              Carl Hasselbring

              Mike Fiorillo

              John Overstreet


1600 Rel Jim Niewold      3:31.7               1973

              Ron Grahm

              Jon Guthrie

              Jim Dunnan


3200 Rel Martin Cole       8:11.9                1977

              Gary Kavijecz

              T. Johnson

              B. Stagen 


Under the supervision of Fred Guyot, Paxton became a contender for a state title in cross-country. The Mustangs had a fourth-place finish as a team in 1980, and had two individuals place in the top 25 for all-state honors at the state finals.

1979   State Qualifier                               Coach Fred Guyot

1979   4th in Class A Finals                      Coach Fred Guyot

1 Peoria Bergan 89

2 Princeton 123

3 Elmhurst Immaculate Conception 142

              4 Paxton 148

5 Trenton Wesclin 178

     Mitch McClure                               8th individually in Class A finals

1981   Craig Stockman                            14th individually in Class A finals

1985   State Qualifier                               Coach Fred Guyot

          Regional Champs


Although details are few, there was only one grappler in school history that placed at the state finals. William Vest has the distinction of being the Mustang to do so, taking fourth place at 112 pounds in 1953. We are curious to find out more about the Paxton wrestling program and some of its successful matmen.


It is the belief of this writer that Paxton did offer baseball, and may have been competitive in the sport, even though there are no records of a baseball team at PHS. Again, we want to hear from you if you have information about the Paxton baseball program.

Paxton High School Gym 2012 – Now P-B-L HS Gym
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Submitted by Bruce Firchau


In the early days of the IHSA state tournament, the Lady Mustangs qualified for state twice, led by star player Angie Lee (who would go on to play and coach at the University of Iowa), along with Shalynn Darr and Sandy Burkland. Paxton also won three regionals to go along with previous hardware captured by the two state qualifiers.

1979-80    24-5   Regional Champions                            Coach George Young

                         Sectional Champions

                         State Qualifiers in Class A Finals

                         Beat Monticello 43-34 in Supersectional

                         Lost to Benton 53-50 in Quarterfinals

                         (Benton eventual state champs)

                         Angie Lee named to all-tournament team at state finals

1980-81    26-3   Regional Champions                            Coach George Young

Sectional Champions

Beat Chatsworth in 2 OT 53-49 at Supersectional

                         Lost to Rushville 58-45 in Quarterfinals

1982-83              Regional Champions

1986-87              Regional Champions

1987-88              Regional Champions



The Lady Mustangs offered excitement in the gym with its volleyball program, winning five districts, a regional, a sectional and qualifying for the state finals in a six-year period.

1977          District Champions   

1978          District Champions   

1979  21-2 District Champions  Coach Toni Molck

                Sectional Champs

                Supersectional Winner

                State Qualifer–Lost to Stewardson-Strasburg

                     20-3, 20-8 in quarterfinal round

1980          District Champions

1981          District Champions   

1982          Regional Champions


Just like the boys’ team, the Lady Mustangs had a couple of members go to the state meet and place high enough to earn a medal in the discus.

1980     Angie Lee                  Discus—4th place

1987     Julie Abel         Discus—-8th Place

Girls Track & Field Records (through 1990):

(Provided by Tyger McClure)

100            Julie Quivey              12.0            1976

1600          Leanna McClure     5:37.4            1985

3200          Leanna McClure   11:43.9            1985

100H         Angie Lee                  16.9            1980

Discus      Julie Abel               127′ 8″            1987

800 Med   Angie Lee                1:56.3            1978

                Lori Anda

                Sally Seibring

                Rhonda Jones

Paxton High School Stage
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Courtesy of Stephen Larson


The Paxton speech team was competitive in IHSA state finals competition, bringing home a total of five top-five finishes individually, and some team trophies to boot along with a ninth-place finish at the state meet in 1975.

1952      District Champions 

1953      District Champions

1954      District Champions

1962      Tim Smith               Radio speaking—2nd Pl.

1966      Douglas Smith        Original oratory—4th Pl.

1970      District Champions

1973      Linda Massey         Original Comedy—5th Pl.

Paxton HS Stage Seating
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Photo Donated by Stephen Larson

1975     Tied for 9th at state finals

              District Champions

              Sectional Champions


Cindy Eppelheimer – Dramatic Interpret.-STATE CHAMPION!


             Speech Team Standings

        1  Homewood-Flossmoor         21

9  Bensenville Fenton                6 (tie)

Watseka                              6

                    Paxton                                6 

Park Ridge Maine East          6

1978      Lisa Gritton                     Dramatic Interpret.—3rd place

1986      Regional Champions

1987      Regional Champions

1989      Regional Champions   



**From Vala Harr Glick (Class of 1970):

“First – thanks for putting this site together!  Nice trip down memory lane!

Mr. Shields was principal, and after his retirement, Mr. Larry Eggleston was appointed. During the late 1960’s we also had a very successful FFA Chapter (Future Farmers of America) under the leadership of teacher Bob Rohlfing.  This group continually won state awards as a group and individually. Also our golf team, under the coaching of Norm Henderson, always finished near the top of the Wauseca Conference.  Senior player Eric Baquero went to state in 1970.”

**Information on the Paxton Junior High School was provided to us by a former student:

“Paxton Junior High (now East Lawn)

Mascot – Pintos (Horse)

Colors – Royal Blue & White

This is what I remember from the 1975-73 junior high.

Pep Song

We’re loyal to you PJH (rah, rah)

We’re white and blue PJH (rah, rah)

We’ll back you to stand, against the best in the land

So why don’t you give us a hand? PJH!  (rah, rah)

So crack out that ball PJH (rah, rah)

We’re backing you all PJH (rah, rah)

Our team is our fame protector

On boys for we expect’a victory from you PJH (rah, rah)

This was when Pat Prina was a junior high PE teacher and basketball coach.”

**From Mick Weburg (Class of 1959):

“We learned a lot from Pat Z, Larry Smith, and Roy Nelson, great guys all,

along with all of the other teachers.  They did a great job for which I

still am grateful.  And I’m still a good typist!”

**From James Dunnan:

“Paxton constructed a new high school that opened in 1965. Football games and track meets were still held at Memorial Field adjacent to Clara Peterson Grade School until the new track and football field were constructed at the new high school in the mid-1970’s . There were many memorable games played at Memorial Field including a 20-14 win over arch rival Rantoul in 1972. Paxton overcame a 14pt deficit to defeat Rantoul who had a school enrollment of 1500 compared to an enrollment of 575 for Paxton .”


…about Paxton High School and its’ history. If you have more information about extra-curricular activities, such as coaches’ names and win-loss records, comments, words to the school fight song, or anything else, let us know. You can email us at or by sending your information thru the USPS to the address listed below. Pictures are also welcome, too.

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 N. Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

Paxton High School 1965-1990
Now PBL High School (courtesy of

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