Shabbona High School “Indians”

Shabbona High School – 2011
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Now Indian Creek High School
Early Shabbona High School
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Shabbona, IL

The History of Shabbona High School

Shabbona (population 929) is located in north-central Illinois about 10 miles southwest of DeKalb and 10 miles southeast of Rochelle.  Shabbona is located in the southwestern portion of DeKalb County. U.S. Route 30 is the main roadway leading to and from Shabbona and connects it to Interstate Highway 39 just six miles to the west.  Indian Creek and Shabbona Lake are just south of town.  The Burlington Northern Railroad also travels through Shabbona.

According to the official website of the city of Shabbona, , the village of Shabbona Grove was organized in 1872 about three miles south of the town’s current location.  The town moved to its current location following the railroad tracks that were laid there.  It even “swallowed up” the then existing town of Corntown. The town is named after a famous and courageous Indian Chief named Chief Shabbona.

Shabbona Grade School – 2011
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A grade school of some sort was in place by the late 1800s.  It is likely the high school followed shortly after. Shabbona High School served the community and surropunding area well for over nine decades.  It accepted the children of the Rollo School system in 1955.  It was not until the early 1990s that consolidation talks took place with its nearby neighbor, Waterman. A consolidation effort between the two school districts became a reality in 1993.  The result was the creation of the Indian Creek School District.

The high school for the new district was located in Shabbona.  The building pictured in black & white above was the original Shabbona High School, which was replaced by a more modern structure (which has also been torn down). The third building to be graced with the “Shabbona High School” name still stands as the current home of Indian Creek High School.

Shabbona High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                               late 1800s

Year closed:                                1993

Consolidated to:                           Indian Creek School District (Shabbona)

Shobbona HS team nickname:      the “Indians”

Shabbona HS team colors:           Maroon, Black, & White

School Fight Song:                      “Shabbona Loyalty”

    We’re loyal to you Shabbona,

                                                We’re maroon and white, Shabbona,           

                                                We’ll back you to stand

                                                ‘Gainst the best in the land

                                                For we know you have sand, Shabbona!

                                                Rah! Rah!

                                                So crack out the ball, Shabbona

                                                We’re backing you all, Shabbona

                                                Our team is our fame protector:

                                                On! Boys for we expect a

                                                Victory from you Shabbona!


                                                Che-he, cha-ha, cha-ha-ha-ha,

                                                Shabbona, Shabbona,

                                                Rah, Rah, RAH!


                                                Fling out that dear old flag of

                                                Maroon and White,

                                                Lead on your sons and daughters

                                                Fighting for you

                                                Like men of old, on giants.

                                                Placing reliance, shouting defiance


                                                Amid the broad green plains that nourish our land,

                                                For honest Labor and for Learning we stand.

                                                And unto thee we pledge our heart and our hand,

                                                Dear Alma Mater, Shabbona High!


The Shabbona High School Indians and Lady Indians competed hard and were successful during many seasons in their history. They were a great source of pride for the town and school system. The boys competed in baseball, basketball, track, and soccer while the girls were offered volleyball, track, softball, and basketball.  School team colors an fight song are needed, as well as the better team records and coach’s names.

Girls Track & Field

The Shabbona Lady Indians gave the school its highest finish in State Tourney Competition! The girls finished THIRD in the 1978 State Class ‘A’ Track Meet. The effort of NANCY PURDY led the way with two Gold Medals in the one mile and two-mile runs, an incredible double! The mid-1980s were hi-lited by the three Medals won by DEE DEE JESKE including a GOLD in the high jump in 1985!!

1978-79      Team Finished THIRD in STATE MEET Competition!!

                  Individual Medalist

                  Nancy Purdy       One Mile Run             STATE CHAMPION!!

 Two Mile Run             STATE CHAMPION!!

                   Final Team Standings

                   1)  New Lenox (Providence Catholic)              31

2)  St. Joseph (S.J.-Ogden)                             16

3)  SHABBONA HIGH SCHOOL                    12

3)  Auburn                                                        12

5)  Freeburg                                                     11

5)  Kankakee (McNamara)                               11

7)  Piasa (Southwestern)                                   9

7)  Normal (University)                                       9

7)  Teutopolis                                                     9

10)  Prophetstown, Johnston City, Edinburg,       7

Mahomet (M.-Seymour)

1984-85       Individual Medalist – Dee Dee Jeske    High Jump   STATE CHAMPION!!

1985-86       Individual Medalist – Dee Dee Jeske     High Jump  3RD Place  

1987-88       Individual Medalist – Dee Dee Jeske     Long Jump  6TH Place


Boys Basketball

Two undefeated regular seasons, four District titles, five Regional titles, and a Sectional title hi-lited the SHS success in this sport. If you can help fill in the abundance of missing information please send us an e-mail.

1956-57      21 – 5                                                                 Coach Francis Wagner

1957-58      26 – 2                                                                 Coach Francis Wagner

1958-59      32 – 1      UNDEFEATED REGULAR SEASON!           Coach Francis Wagner

                                  Shabbona District Champions

                                  1st Rd Beat Sandwich 99-62

                                  Semi-final Beat Kirkland 102-35

                                  Title Game Beat Waterman 92-48

                                  DeKalb Regional Champions

                                  1st Rd Beat Genoa-Kingston 68-39

                                  Semi-final Beat Sycamore 58-33

                                  Title Game Beat DeKalb 48-37

SHABBONA (48): Wisted 17, Straw 14, Fleming 10, Espe 4, Mullins 3.

DEKALB (37): Di. Anderson 13, Berke 6, Pillmore 6, Lundberg 4, Da. Anderson 4, McAllister 2, Land 2.

Hinsdale Sectional Tournament

Semi-final lost to Hinsdale 58-56 (2 O/Ts)

HINSDALE (58): Riessen 17, Haarlow 17, Goulding 13, Brown 11.

SHABBONA (56): Fleming 19, Wisted 17, Straw 12, Mullins 8.

Hinsdale lost to Aurora West in title game

                                   Aurora West lost to Springfield HS in State Title game


**Ron Espe was point guard on Shabbona’s Cinderella basketball team of 1959. Other starters on that team included Gerry Wisted, Marv Straw, Dennis Fleming and Bill Mullins. A nice article about this team is available at the bottom of this page.

Shabonna HS Basketball Team 1958-59
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Submitted by Dean Bentley

The Shabonna High School Basketball Team of 1958-59

                                                       by Brian Hoxsey

The Indians were 8-0 entering the annual DeKalb Holiday Tournament (which featured schools much larger than tiny Shabbona).  Shabbona rolled to the title with wins over Rochelle (66-41), Aurora West (69-67), Maine (59-46) and Rock Falls (78-64) in the championship contest.  Following that tournament, Shabbona was given a fourth position ranking in the United Press International’s ratings of the state’s top teams.

Little Ten Conference Champs in both the regular season (9-0) {the closest game was a 70-52 win over Leland} and league tournament (defeated Earlville 97-38, Serena 81-35 in the semifinals and finally Leland 91-51 in the title game.)  That 40 point win in the championship game is still the largest margin of victory in the tournament’s 89 year history. (Marv Straw, Jerry Wisted and Ron Espe were all named first team All-LTC, while Bill Mullins and Denny Fleming were on the All-LTC second team)

They ended the regular season 27-0 and began post season play in their own district tournament.  They opened with a dominant 102-35 over Hiawatha and captured the title with a 92-48 drubbing of Waterman, who fell to the Indians for the third time that season.

Next, the Indians moved to the DeKalb Regional, they started with a 63-38 victory over Genoa-Kingston.  They moved into the title game with a 58-33 win over Sycamore to set up the third straight regional title match-up with DeKalb, who had beat them the previous two years.  The Indians were able to get over the hump as they triumphed over the Barbs 48-37 to capture the regional title and move on to the HInsdale Sectional to play the host squad.

With a jam packed gym of over 5,000 fans the Indians were out-sized by the taller Red Devils and trailed 19-15 after one quarter.  Hinsdale’s Dave Brown nailed a 35-foot desperation at the halftime buzzer to give his club a 32-25 advantage at halftime.  Shabbona found themselves down by ten (41-31) early in the third period, but mounted a come-back to trail just 45-43 entering the fourth quarter.  The Indians took their only lead of the game with :19 left in regulation when guard Denny Fleming scored a lay up to make it 54-52, but Hinsdale was able to convert two free throws with :08 left to send the game to overtime.

Hinsdale opened the scoring in overtime with two free tosses, but Shabbona center Jerry Wisted put the teams even again (56-all) with a lay in. In the final seconds, with the game still tied, Bill Mullins stole the ball from Hinsdale and made a quick pass to Wisted, who nailed a jump shot that sent the Indians joyfully running into their locker room.  However, after a lengthy discussion between officials at the scorers table, it was ruled Wisted’s shot came a fraction of a second after the official timer’s gun.  In the second “sudden death” overtime, Hinsdale won the jump ball and seventeen seconds later Brown was fouled and calmly sank both ends of a one-and-bonus sent end Shabbona’s magical season.

Notes:  Every seat in the gym was filled and hour and fifteen minutes before tip-off.

Hinsdale’s front court went 6-foot-8, 6-5 and 6-3, while Marv Straw was Shabbona’s tallest player at 6-4, Wisted 6-2, Mullins 6-1.  The Indians out-rebounded Hisdale 30-17 in the game.

Marv Straw was named 5th team all-state by the Champaign News Gazette following the season.

Those who moved on:

**Marv Straw went on to play at Iowa State.  A three-year starter, Straw was named All-Big Eight in his senior season after averaging 14.9 points per game and 4.6 rebounds and was awarded the George Clarkson Award, given to the top senior player in Iowa Collegiate basketball. He completed his career at Iowa State scoring 813 points in three varsity seasons (Freshmen could not play varsity in college in those days.). Nominated for selection to Iowa State’s All-Century Basketball Team in 2007.  Marv Straw was selected by the St. Louis Hawks (N.B.A. draft) with the second pick in the eleventh round, but never played professionally. For more information regarding Marv Straw including college statistics please visit

**Jerry Wisted went on to have a great college career at Illinois Wesleyan.  Wisted was named All-College Confernece of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) in both his junior and senior seasons.  Illinois Wesleyan won the CCIW championship Wisted’s first three years and finished third in his senior year in which he was named team captain.  Is still on the Illinois Wesleyan’s all-time scoring list with 1,248 points which ranks him 21st all-time following the 2007-08 season. Also played baseball and led CCIW in RBI in 1963.

1959-60      26 – 5         District Champions                           Coach Francis Wagner

Coach Wagner’s leaves

to continue career at

Crystal Lake HS

1960-61      23 – 8        District / Regional Champions           Coach Ernie Oest

(started the season 6-5)

                                   District Tournament

                                  beat Malta (88-55)

                                  beat Hinckley-Big Rock (70-62)

                                  beat Central (Burlington) (77-57) in finals.

                                   Regional Tournament

                                  beat DeKalb (61-52)

                                  beat St. Charles (62-58)

                                  beat Rochelle (51-45) in finals.

                                    Ottawa Sectional Tournament

                                  beat Toluca 63-60

                                  fell to Ottawa Pirates 71-54 in finals.


1961-62      25 – 4        District Champions                             Coach Ernie Oest

1962-63      19 – 6                                                                      Coach Ernie Oest

1963-64      16 – 7                                                                      Coach Ernie Oest

1969-70      21 – 4        District Runner-up                                 Coach David Fultz

1971-72      28 – 1        UNDEFEATED REGULAR SEASON!  Coach David Fultz

                                  Plano Christmas Classic Champs

                                  Regional Champions

                                  Sectional Champions

                                  CLASS “A” SWEET 16 FINALISTS!

                                  Lost to Elgin St. Edward 56 – 54 (O/T)

(St. Edwards lost in Elite 8 round)

**The star player for this team was Dan Anderson. In the Super-Sectional overtime loss to Elgin (St. Edward), Anderson had 17 points, while teammate John Espe had 14 points and 16 rebounds. Shabbona had a close call in the Sectional championship defeating Amboy 62-60 in double overtime.

(Thank you to Mark Jurenga and the 1971-72 State Finals Tournament program.)

1975-76      12 – 14       Regional Champions                         Coach David Fultz
1979-80                        Regional Champions                         Coach David Fultz

                                   Plano Christmas Classic Champs

Boys Baseball

The boys of the baseball diamond won one District Championship, that coming in 1948-49.  Again team records and coach’s names are not currently available.

1948-49    District Champions

Boys Cross Country

The following information was supplied by a Shabbona High School fan regarding the Shabbona boys cross-country program:

“(Some of) the winningest team(s) in Shabbona History were the boys’ cross-country teams of 1960’s. While the state was all one-class, Shabbona excelled as one of the best.  Shabbona was coached by John Coughlan, possibly the only coach in U.S. history to be honored as National High School Cross-Country Coach of the Year, National Division I NCAA Cross Country Coach of the Year, National NCAA Division I Indoor and Outdoor Track Coach of the Year. Coach Coughlan left Shabbona in 1967 to lead Maine East High School to a State Championship before becoming head coach at Illinois State University where he retired. Coach Coughlan has been inducted into various hall of fames.

As the number one runner on varsity all four years, Joel Espe was also Shabbona’s first ever state qualifier in any sport. Shabbona scored 15 points (a perfect score) in the Little Ten Conference in 1966placing runners in 1,2,3,4,5,6, & 8th place. The team ranked 5th for all schools in the state. Espe earned all-state honors in cross-country and track where he was the first state medallist from Shabbona in the state track finals. His records were never broken in over 40 years of competition.

Only two small school runners ever medalled in the 2-mile when the IHSA was all one class. Craig Virgin (3 time Olympian, twice world cross-country champion) and Shabbona’s Joel EspeEspe coached Cross-Country and Track at Fennimore, Wisconsin winning numerous team and individual State championships. His 1981 tream scored 15 points in the Sectional Championship and a record setting 23 points in winning their 5th consecutive state championship. The following year, Espe’s cousin, Scott Krahenbuhl medalled in the long jump at the State Finals.”

Congratulations to Joel EspeCoach Coughlan, and the Shabbona High School harriers!!

Girls Basketball

Coach Ken Dawson led the Lady Indian roundballers to three consecutive Regional Championships. Included in this string was an overall record of 67 – 6 and an UNDEFEATED regular season record in 1985-86. Coach Dawson’s overall record at Shabbona during his nine seasons at the helm was an excellent 143 – 60, a .704 winning percentage!!

1981-82     12 – 7                                                                  Coach Ken Dawson

1982-83     14 – 8                                                                  Coach Ken Dawson

1983-84                                                                                Coach Ken Dawson

1984-85     17 – 2                                                                  Coach Ken Dawson

1985-86     22 – 1   UNDEFEATED REGULAR SEASON!  Coach Ken Dawson

                            Regional Champions

1986-87     22 – 2   Regional Champions                           Coach Ken Dawson
1987-88     23 – 3   Regional Champions                           Coach Ken Dawson

1988-89                                                                                Coach Ken Dawson

1989-90     16 – 7                                                                  Coach Ken Dawson

Girls Volleyball

The girls proved themselves on the vollyball court as well winning Regional Titles in 1983 and 1993.

1982-83           IHSA Regional Champions

1992-93           IHSA Regional Champions

Girls Softball

Coach Gary Richardson led the girls softball program to three good seasons in the four that he coached at the school.

1989-90      7 – 4                   Coach Gary Richardson

1990-91    13 – 5                   Coach Gary Richardson

1991-92    15 – 4                   Coach Gary Richardson

1992-93                                Coach Gary Richardson


Boys Soccer

The Shabbona High Scohol boys soccer program won 2 Regional Titles.

1980-81   14 – 5         IHSA Regional Champions           Coach Dave Eckstrom

The Shabbona boys soccer team won a Regional championship during the 1980-81 season winning the title game over Waterman 1-0 in a Penalty Kick final.  The teams were tied 0-0 after regulation and played 2 20 min OT periods. Shabbona outscored Waterman 3-1 in penalty kicks. The IHSA State Tournament for Soccer at that time was a one-class tournament. The Shabbona boys would lose in the first round of the Sectional Tournament this year to Bolingbrook HS 3-1.


1985-86    14 – 5 – 4   IHSA Regional Champions            Coach Craig Voight

                                  Semi-Final Beat Dixon 4-1

                                  Title Game Beat Ottawa

                                  IHSA Sectional Qualifier

                                  1st Rd lost to St. Charles HS 2-0


Boys Track & Field

Three athletes carried the Shabbona banner in boys track & field. Joel Espe earned a 6th place medal in the 1967 meet, a one-class meet.  Presenting the medals to the athletes that year was Jesse Owens!  Joel’s effort was followed in 1968 by his cousin, Scott Krahenbuhl, who placed 6th in the long jump, again in a one-class event.  Derek Jeske won medals at the IHSA State Class ‘A’ Track in the long jump in consecutive seasons during the mid-1980s!  Derek is a brother to the Lady Indians track star, Dee Dee Jeske who also medaled for Shabonna in the mid-1980s (see above).

1966-67        Individual Medalist – Joel Espe               2-Mile Run         6TH Place

1967-68        Individual Medalist – Scott Krahenbuhl   Long Jump        6TH Place

**From Cheri Espe:

On January 3rd, 2012, cousins Joel Espe and Scott Krahenbuhl were inducted into the Shabbona High School Hall of Fame. They were the first athletes from Shabbona HS to ever advance to the State Championship in any sport and the first to medal at a State Championship in any sport. Both did so when it was a one-class system in Illinois.”

**Maurice DeWitte represented Shabonna HS in the 1-mile run in the early 1950s. Maurice would advance through the early meets and qualify for the IHSA State Meet in this event in the spring of 1952. Though he did not earn a medal, Maurice was an excellent example of the talent at Shabonna HS, especially considering his accomplishment was in a one-class track meet system!

Shabonna HS Trackster Scott Krahenbuhl
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Scott Krahenbuhl set the conference record in the 180 low hurdles his senior year with a time of 21.7 seconds. He was the first track athlete from Shabbona to ever get a first place finish in the District Track Meet. He competed in the long jump at the state track meet his junior year and senior year he placed 6th, at that time there was only one class. During his senior year, Scott beat the conference record in the 100 yd dash, 220 yd. dash, 180 yd. low hurdles, and long jump. Scott was a varsity letter winner and starter in basketball for two years. During Scott’s senior year he had 385 points, 61 steals, 41 assists, and 207 rebounds. He averaged 14.3 points per game and led the conference in scoring with 385 opints. In baseball, Scott played center field. Shabbona was conference champs his sophomore,  junior, and senior year. He received the Dr. Harry L. Keene Athletic Award his senior year. Scott attended Northern Illinois University and participated on the Varsity Track Team and Freshman Basketball Team.

1985-86        Individual Medalist – Derek Jeske           Long Jump        8TH Place

1986-87        Individual Medalist – Derek Jeske           Long Jump        5TH Place


It may have had a short existence, but the Indians did offer 6-man football prior to World War II as the school was a member of the Northern Illinois 6-Man League. Our thanks to conference historian Tom Sikorski for the information listed below.

1939   4-2        Coach unknown

1940   3-2        Coach unknown (missing two results)

1941   1-1        Coach unknown (many open dates, there might have been more games)


From DonnaSue Wilder Rohrer:

“A friend posted this site on facebook, with Shabbona High School. It was very interesting to read about. I have NEVER heard that Shabbona when it moved north pushed out a town named “Corntown.” And the story on the ’59 boys basketball team must’ve been so exciting! I know some of those guys, but to me they are the dads of some boys I went to school with and were school board members when I was in school. In ’59 they were baskeball stars. A great history. Thank you for this site. I also read about Rollo & Lee. I didn’t know Lee had been a high school. Thank you for this site and I will also pass it on.”


If You Have ANY Further Information

If you have any further information or corrections regarding the history of Shabbona High School please forward it to us so that it may be shared on this site. You can contact us via e-mail at or via real mail at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.   6063

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