Sheffield (population 946) is located in the north-central portion of Illinois in the west-central part of Bureau County. The bustling town is located on US Rt. 6 / U.S. Rt. 34 approximately 15 miles west of Princeton. Sheffield has a grand history and was an important part of western Bureau County’s early growth.
Sheffield High School Unit District # 132 and the Sheffield school system was established in the mid-1800s. Sheffield High School celebrated its first graduating “class” in 1868. The class was a total of one person. That person was Emily Pitkin, Sheffield High School’s first alumnus. A brick high school building, pictured above, was built in 1921.
The high school closed her doors in 1961 after a consolidation effort was forged with nearby Buda High School. The two schools formed Buda Western High School and enjoyed many great years of athletics. The Sheffield High School Cardinals also enjoyed many great years of success in athletics. Buda Western High School later formed a consolidation effort with other nearby towns and created the Bureau Valley School District.
The Bureau Valley School District utilized the Sheffield school building as an elementary school (K-5) through the 2005-06 school year. The decision was then made to close the Sheffield school and resume all classes in the Buda school buildings.
The Sheffiedl High School building sat proudly for six more years, being utilized only as a place for students to wait inside for the bus pick up in inclement weather. In 2012 demolition plans for the building were completed and the building was razed. All that remains of the school complex is the flag pole and athletic fields in the background. A photo of what now remains of the Sheffield school site was taken in 2013 and provided by Owen Pulver
Sheffield High School Cardinals “Quick Facts”
Year school opened: Mid-1800s
First Graduating Class: 1868
Year closed: 1961
School nickname: Cardinals
School Colors: Scarlet & White
School Building: Still standing – vacant
School Fight Song: “Sheffield High School Fight Song”
To Sheffield High the school we love
Let’s sing a song of praise
Tell of her many victories
And high her banners raise
We’ll sing her praises everywhere
We’ll work for her with zest
And show to all the world around
That Sheffield is the BEST!!
So let’s join in a cheer
While we’re all gathered here
Cheer for old Sheffield High!
We are ready to fight for the Scarlet & White
Of dear old Sheffield High!
We are proud of her name
We will add to her fame
To advance her we’ll ever try
So let’s CHEER, CHEER, the gangs all here
All out for Sheffield High, RAH!!!!
Sheffield competed in the Little ‘8’ Conference. The school offfered boys football, basketball, track, and possibly baseball. Very limited information is known by the writers of this web site regarding Sheffield HS. Assistance is being sought for more information to share with others.
The first Sheffield Basketball team has be traced back to as far as 1916, falling in a game to Kewanee by the score of 30-15. Competitive, tough, athletic, all were words used to desribe a game against the Sheffield Cardinal basktetball teams. Some incredible games were played against neighboring rivals Buda and Mineral. It is known Sheffield had some great teams in the 1940s and 1950s, however, again, your assistance is needed.
It is also known that Sheffield won the Little 8 Conference title three staight years going undefeated in the conference each year. This 21 game conference winnning streak occurred during the 1943-44, ’44-’45, and ’45–’46 seasons. Below is listed the Cardinal District Championship teams as well as some of the better years in Cardinal hardwood history.
Several scores from the IHSA Tournament were located on a site titled “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores“. The scores involving Sheffield High School are reprinted below.
Thank you to Mike Pratt for several of the items listed below..
1915-16 6 – 8 Coach Ball
1920-21 10 – 7 Coach Hacker
1921-22 Moline District Tourney Coach’s name needed
1st Rd lost to Port Byron 29-25
Moline beat Annawan in title game
1922-23 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s names needed.
1923-24 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s names needed.
1924-25 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s names needed.
1925-26 21 – 1 IHSA District Runner-Up Coach’s name needed
Lost District Championship Game
Ottawa 32 Sheffield 22
Outscored opponents 465 – 247
Bureau County Tourney Champs
Little Six Conference Champs
Undefeated Regular Season
1926-27 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s names needed.
1927-28 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s names needed.
1928-29 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s names needed.
1929-30 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s names needed.
1930-31 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s names needed.
1931-32 Princeton District Champs Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Tiskilwa 32-16
2nd Rd Beat Beat Buda 24-12
Semi-Final Beat Lamoille 32-7
Title Game Beat Buda 27-21
Moline Sectional Tourney
1st Rd Lost to Galesburg 7-5 (O/T)
Galesburg lost in title game to Kewanee
1932-33 Princeton District Tourney Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Malden 26-15
DePue beat Malden in title game
1933-34 Princeton District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Buda 29-14
Semi-final lost to Princeton 25-19
Princeton lost in title game to DePue
1934-35 Princeton District Tourney Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Spring Valley Hall 32-31
2nd Rd Beat Bureau Township 43-20
Semi-final Rd Lost to LaSalle-Peru 31-18
L/P won District title
1935-36 Sheffield District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Lost to Manlius 26-18
Manlius lost in semi-final
1936-37 Princeton Regional Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
Sheffield did not compete in District
1st Rd of Reg. – Beat Malden 23-22
Semi-final lost to Bureau Twnshp 35-27
Bureau Twnshp won District title
1937-38 Sheffield District Runner-Up Coach’s name & record needed
Early Rd Scores Needed
Title game – lost to Buda 27-26
1938-39 Postseason scores, coach’s name, and record needed
1939-40 Cambridge District Champs Coach’s name & record needed
Early Rd Scores Needed
Title Game Beat Neponset 51-37
Kewanee Regional Tourney
1st Rd lost to Geneseo 40-25
Kewanee beat Galva in title game
1940-41 Sheffield District Runner-up Coach’s name & record needed
Beat Neponset in semifinal 51-35
Lost to Mineral in championship 26-40
1941-42 12 – 17 Sheffield District runner-up Coach Edward Daniels
Beat Manlius in semifinal 41-30
Lost to Mineral in championship 46-22
1943-44 Little 8 Conference Champs Coach’s name & record needed
Postseason scores unavailable
1944-45 27 – 3 Atkinson District Champs Coach Wayne Sturm
Little 8 Conf. Reg Season &
Conf. Tourney Champs
District Tourney Scores
1st Rd Beat Buda 39-22
Semi-Final Beat Cambridge 29-25
Title game Beat Atkinson 46-33
Regional Tourney Scores
Lost to Geneseo 42 – 36
Geneseo lost title game
Information on Sheffield High School’s District Championship team of 1944-45 was provided to us by Brian Hoxsey:
“In 1944-45 season, Sheffield High School claimed a district championship with a 46-33 victory over Atkinson High School . Sheffield’s season ended with a loss to Geneseo High School in Regional play, putting their final record at a grand 27-3.
(*Information gathered in Dixon Evening Telegraph archives)”
1945-46 19 – 7 Atkinson District Runner-up Coach Wayne Sturm
Conference Champs (7-0)
District Tourney Scores
1st Rd Beat Annawan 51-35
Semi-final Beat Tampico 66-32
Title game Lost to Atkinson 41-39
1946-47 5 – 18 Atkinson District Tournament Coach Wayne Sturm
1st Rd Lost to Mineral 56-30
Mineral won District title
1947-48 12 – 12 Atkinson District Tournament Coach Wayne Sturm
Little 8 4th Place (5 – 3)
District scores unavailable
Atkinson won District title
1948-49 12 – 14 Atkinson District Tournament Coach Wayne Sturm
Little 8 3rd Place (5-3)
F/S Conf. Tourney Champs
Atkinson District Scores
1st Rd Beat LaFayette 62-40
Semi-final Lost to Atkinson 66-27
Atkinson won District title
1950-51 Atkinson District Runner-up Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Atkinson 70-54
2nd Rd Beat Neponset 73-50
Title game Lost to Mineral 39-36
1951-52 6 – 7 Atkinson District Tournament Coach Randunzel
1st Rd Lost to Annawan
Annawan lost in semi-final round
1952-53 Atkinson District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
Semi-Final lost to 59-55
Atkinson beat Mineral in title game
1953-54 16 – 4 2nd in Little 8 (7 – 2) Coach Johnson
District scores unavailable
1954-55 8 – 14 District scores unavailable Coach James White
1955-56 7 – 14 Atkinson District Tourney Coach James White
1st Rd lost to Buda 38-18
Buda beat Atkinson in title game
1956-57 11 – 13 Tampico District Tourney Coach Andrews
1st Rd lost to Neponset 47-45
Title Game Tampico beat Atkinson
1957-58 15 – 14 Atkinson District Tourney Coach Andrews
1st Rd Beat Lyndon 60-54
Semi-final lost to Neponset 55-37
Neponset beat Atkinson in title game
1958-59 8 – 15 Annawan District Tournament Coach Andrews
1st Rd Lost to Tampico 80-59
Tampico lost in semi-final round
1959-60 10 – 15 Annawan District Tournament Coach’s name needed
(JV went 8-13)
1st Rd Lost to Tampico 80-66
Tampico lost in semi-final round
1960-61 15 – 9 2nd place in Little 8 Conf. Coach Carmon Mest
Annawan District Tournement
1st Rd Beat Atkinson 58-51
**Semi-Final lost to Annawan
Title game Annawan beat Tampico
**Final game for Sheffield High School boys basketball.
**Wendell Smith (Class of 1953) was Sheffield’s all-time leading scorer.
Records of football offered at Sheffield High School date back to the early 1900s Several records researched and documented are listed below. Please contact us to help fill in some more of the great Sheffield football team records and accomplishments.
1916 2 – 5 Coach’s name unavailable
From the 1916 yearbook provided by Mike Spratt:
“Interesting quoter from yearbook: “First 2 weeks were taken up in showing the boys how to fall on the ground without hurting themselves.”
1920 6 – 1 Coach Hacker
Season highlight – An 87 – 0 drubbing
of neighbor Bureau Township HS
Outscored opponents 205 – 25!
From the 1926 yearbook provided by Mike Spratt:
“Fourteen boys out for team (my grandpa was a freshman), first game against Neponset with Sheffield losing. No wins this year. Quote from yearbook: “Due to unfavorable conditions the team was forced to disband and only a few games were played.”
1941 2 – 4 Coach Edward Daniels
1944 8 – 0 Little 8 Conference Champs Coach Wayne Sturm
Outscored Opponents 402 – 19!
1945 6 – 0 Little 8 Conference Champs Coach Wayne Sturm
1946 4 – 2 2nd place tie Little 8 Coach Wayne Sturm
1947 7 – 1 2nd place in the Little 8 Coach Wayne Sturm
Outscored opponents 334-47
(As of this season…Coach Sturm’s teams have won 35 out of the last 40 games!)
1948 4 – 2 – 1 2nd place tie Little 8 Coach Wayne Sturm
1950 5 – 3 – 1 Coach Bob Cronsiter
1951 4 – 5 4th in Little 8 Coach Fred Radunzel
Asst. Coach Schwind
1952 9 – 0 Little 8 Conference Champs Coach Fred Radunzel
Names of Players in Photo Above (submitted by Anne Drew):
Left to Right, front row: Jack Gentry, Kaye Garrison, Harold Lambert, Wayne Smith, Conrad Hewitt.
Backfield: Driscoll Drew, Roland Fisher, Terry Nutter, Wendell Smith
In the back: Coach Radunzel
1953 4 – 5 Coach Johnson
1954 3 – 6 Coach James White
1955 2 – 6 Coach James White
1956 2 – 6 Coach Joe Salisbury
1957 5 – 3 Coach Joe Salisbury
1958 5 – 1 – 1 2nd place Little 8 Coach Joe Salisbury
1959 2 – 6 Coach Joe Salisbury
1960 3 – 5 Coach Joe Salisbury
Sheffield last independently fielded a football team in 1960.
Though not really recognized as a high school sport by the IHSA, girls basketball did exist in the early 1900s. The girls traveled to other towns to take on other teams of the area. A few of the seasons documented in yearbooks are listed. Most of this research has been conducte by Mike Spratt. Quotes from Mike’s research appear in italics below.
1912-13 2 – 0 Coach’s name unavailable
1913-14 3 – 0
“The girls were 2-0 on the season and decided to play against a 2-0 Walnut team in a Championship game in Princeton. Sheffield won 17-12. We had 5 girls out for b ball.”
1915-16 5 – 1 Coach’s name unavailable
“Six girls were on team.”
“One game played in public between our freshman and sophomores. Sophs won 17 to 10.”
The yearbook of 1916 pointed out that the girls participated in gymnastics that year. Mike Spratt’s research tells us 9 girls were out for the sport and Miss Boyd was the coach!
The boys competed in baseball as well. Mike Spratt’s research included the following information from Sheffield High School yearbooks.
1913-14 3 – 1 – 1
“Fourteen players out, 5 games played in the fall of ’13, 3 wins, 1 tie, and 1 loss to Tiskilwa. They then played 10 games in the spring of ’14.
1920-21 4 – 0 Little Six Conference Champs Coach Hacker
“Ten boys out, SHS Won “little 6″ conference title, going 4-0 while beating Buda, Walnut, Manlius, and Wyanet.”
TRACK & FIELD
Sheffield HS excelled on the oval track as well. The following information was supplied by Mike Pratt.
1941-42 15 Boys Out for Track Coach Edward Daniels
1944-45 Little 8 Conference Champions Coach Wayne Sturm
21 Boys Out for Track
**Sheffield awarded Little 8 Conference sportsmanship trophy for winning conference football, basketball, and track titles for 1944-45!
1945-46 16 Boys Out for Track Coach Wayne Sturm
1946-47 3rd in Little 8 Conf. Meet Coach Wayne Sturm
22 Boys Out for Track
1947-48 Little 8 Conference Champs Coach Wayne Sturm
27 boys on team
3rd at Galva Meet (35 Teams participated!)
880 Yard Relay Team Set Record
(Doc Gilter, Duke Malmquist, Dave Griffin, Duane Nelson)
1948-49 19 Boys Out for Track Coach Wayne Sturm
1951-52 Little Conf. 2nd Place Coach Cronister
Undefeated in Triangular Meets
1953-54 Team placed 4th in Little 8 Conf. Meet Coach Johnson
Harold Lambert represented Sheffield HS at State
Meet in the hurdles!
1954-55 14 boys out for team Coach James White
1955-56 20 boys out for team Coach James White
1956-57 14 boys out for team Coach Andrews
1957-58 2nd Place in Little 8 Conf. Meet Coach Lehning
19 boys out for team
1958-59 10 boys out for team Coach Lehning
1959-60 12 boys out for team Coach Lehning
1960-61 Little 8 Conference Champions Coach Lehning
27 boys out for team
880 relay placed 4th out of 30 schools at Galva Relays: (Joe Edlin, Austin Folk, Dick Kaufman, Dave Smith) Yearbook states that this was one of Sheffield’s best track teams in several years up to this point!!!
The boys competed in this sport for a short time. They won conference championships for certain from 1950-51 through 1953-54!
1950-51 Little 8 Conference Champions
1951-52 Little 8 Conference Champions
1952-53 Little 8 Conference Champions
1953-54 Little 8 Conference Champions
GIRLS ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
Sheffield High School girls participated in the Girls Athletic Association. In the 1946-47 school year 28 girls participated in this club coached by Miss Iona Burgess!
We are truly hopeful some of the esteemed alumni of Sheffield HS will provide the details and share a story or two. It is also known some of these teams were even inducted into the Bureau County Sports Hall of Fame.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
If you have any information you can share regarding Sheffield High School, especially a photo of the high school building, please complete a Guest Commentary Form. You can contact us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at:
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il. 60631