Tiskilwa, Illinois (photos courtesy of Adnan Imtairah)
Tiskilwa High School – Photo Taken in 1956
Building Served the School System From 1912 – 1979
The History of Tiskilwa High School
Tiskilwa (population 800) is nestled in the center of Bureau County approximately 5 miles southwest of Princeton. County Highways 4 and 23 will take you to and from Tiskilwa. The Rocky Run Creek travels through town as the Big Bureau Creek flows by the east side of the community. The Iowa Railroad line passes through Tiskilwa as well. Tiskilwa is believed to be a Potawatomie Indian name, possibly the name of a chief who lived in the area in the early 1800s. The town was first settled in 1835 and dubbed “Indiantown.” The name was changed to Windsor in 1836 and finally Tiskilwa in 1852.
The school system was a very big part of the town’s heart and soul, however for various reasons the high school was deactivated in 1996. The high school aged students from Tiskilwa now attend Princeton High School. The grade school was active in Tiskilwa, supporting grades 4 – 5 for the Princeton school system for several years. The school continues to have a pre-school class.
School buildings in Tiskilwa date all the way back to 1838. A newer building was built in 1850 and an updated building in 1868. The building pictured aove and to the right was built in 1912. In 1978 the building at the top of the page was built and closed with the deactivation of the school system in 1996. The first class to graduate high school from Tiskilwa did so in 1878 with a graduating class membership of two. The newer high school building pictured above is currently vacant, however plans are constantly being discussed for its future use. The old football field in Tiskilwa is currently home to the Princeton HS soccer teams.
Much of the history information for this writing was obtained from a book written by Mary B. Steimle in 1985 called “When Tiskilwa Was Young”.
Tiskilwa High School Quick Facts
Year school opened: 1838
Year school closed: 1996
Consolidated to: Princeton High School
Tiskilwa HS nickname: the “Indians”
School colors: Navy Blue & Gold
School building: Still standing, vacant
School fight song: “Tiskilwa Loyalty”
University of Illinois Fight Song Tune
We’re loyal to you, Tiskilwa,
We’re Navy and Gold, Tiskilwa.
We’ll back you to stand
Against the best in the land
For we know you have sand, Tiskilwa!
So toss out that ball Tiskilwa,
We’re backing you all Tiskilwa;
Our team is our fame protector.
On! Boys for we expect a
Victory from you Tiskilwa!!
Cha-he, Cha-ha, Cha-ha-ha-ha!
TISKILWA HIGH SCHOOL RAH RAH RAH!!!!!
Also sung at every sporting event was the University of Iowa fight song tune with the following words:
The word is Fight! Fight! Fight! for Tiskilwa,
Let every loyal Indian sing;
The word is Fight! Fight! Fight! for Tiskilwa,
Until the walls and rafters ring
Come on and cheer, cheer, cheer, for Tiskilwa
Come on and cheer until you hear the final gun.
The word is Fight! Fight! Fight! for Tiskilwa
Until the game is won!
(Special thank you to Jim Friel for providing the words to the Tiskilwa Fight Songs. Click the “play” button on the box below to hear the University of Iowa Fight Song Tune)
Tiskilwa HS Gymnasium – South Entrance
Home of the Indians
One thing opposing teams could bank on year in and year out was that if you were playing a Tiskilwa Indian athletic team, you had better come ready to compete. Boys basketball, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, was the school’s anchor sport. The athletic program also had many successful football, track, as well as many lady Indian teams that faired well. In fact the lady Indians Track team of 1983-84 finished 2nd in the Illinois State 1A Track Meet!
Once the High School was closed the trophies won by the athletes and coaches who graced its halls were nearly thrown away. A local establishment, Kelly’s Restaurant on Main Street, accepted the trophies and proudly displaysthem on its shelves and walls. The folks of Tiskilwa still fondly remember their former school and its many accomplishments. The boy’s basketball photo and the girls track trophy photo on this page were taken at Kelly’s Restaurant. These, as well as the other sports photos on this page, were sent to us by Tim Bissonnette.
The best of the athletic accomplishments of the Indian teams and athletes, according to the IHSA web site (www.ihsa.org), are listed below.
The earliest Tiskilwa Basketball team can be traced to as far back as 1928.
With boy’s basketball in Tiskilwa comes one name that stands out in Illinois coaching circles. That name is Coach Bob Prusator. Coach Prusator was not only a well respected man on the court but was also well respected within the community. The best of the Tiskilwa Indian boys basketball teams are listed below.
1932-33 Princeton District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Lamoille 16-13
1933-34 Princeton District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Princeton 23-9
Princeton lost to DePue in title game
1934-35 Princeton District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Buda 28-14
Princeton beat DePue in title game
1935-36 Wyanet Regional Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Princeton 25-15
Princeton beat DePue in title game
1936-37 Princeton Regional Runner-Up Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Spring Valley Hall 30-12
Semi-final Beat Princeton 34-21
Title Game lost to Bureau Township HS 38-36
1937-38 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.
1938-39 Princeton Regional Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to DePue 36-10
DePue lost to Mendota in title game
1939-40 Mendota Regional Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Mendota 44-18
Mendota lost to LaSalle-Peru in title game
1940-41 Mendota Regional Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Spring Valley Hall 49-38
Hall beat Princeton in title game
1941-42Lamoille District Champions Coach’s name & record needed
Title Game Beat Lamoille 29-17
LaSalle Regional Qualifier
1st Rd lost to LaSalle-Peru
L-P beat Hall in title game
1942-43 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.
1943-44 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.
1944-45 Lamoille District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Cherry 30-29
Ohio beat Manlius in title game
1945-46 Lamoille District Runner-Up Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Malden 66-18
Semi-final Beat Cherry 34-18
Title Game lost to Ohio 50-26
OHIO (50): King 15, Meyers 11, H. Anderson 11, Brown 8, B. Anderson 5
Displayed at Kelly’s Restaurant, Tiskilwa, Illinois
Tiskilwa HS Football Field
Now the Princteton Tiger Soccer Field
Tiskilwa HS Football Pressbox
The boys football program also faired extremely well over the years. The football teams over the 44 years covered on the IHSA web site compiled a record of 241 – 121 – 2 , a .664 winning percentage!Two of the Indian football teams finished in the Class 1A Elite 8.
The photo above depicts the football field at Tiskilwa High. Though now used as the Princeton High School Soccer Field, The Tiskilwa Field was one of the most unique in the area. The hill in the background was its signature mark. The best of the Tiskilwa HS football teams as listed on the IHSA website are listed below.
1945-46 6 – 2 Coach Virgil Keithly
1946-47 6 – 2 Coach Virgil Keithly
1947-48 7 – 2 Coach Virgil Keithly
1948-49 6 – 1 Coach Virgil Keithly
1949-50 5 – 2 Coach Virgil Keithly
1950-51 4 – 5 Coach Virgil Keithly
1951-52 6 – 3 Coach Robert Perry
1952-53 7 – 2 Coach Robert Perry
1953-54 5 – 3 Coach Richard Franklin
1954-55 9 – 0 Little 8 Conf. Champs Coach Richard Franklin
1955-56 6 – 2 Coach Richard Franklin
1956-57 6 – 1 – 1 Coach Richard Franklin
The below photo and article are about Coach Franklin accepting a position to coach at Stillman Valley. ‘Left Click’ on either item to view a larger version.
1961-62 8 – 0 Little 8 Conf. Champs Coach Bob Prusator
1962-63 5 – 3 Coach Bob Prusator
1963-64 7 – 1 Coach Bob Prusator
1964-65 7 – 1 Coach Bob Prusator
1965-66 9 – 0 Little 8 Conf. Champs Coach Bob Prusator
1966-67 4 – 4 Coach Bob Prusator
1967-68 1 – 6 Coach Dave Doolittle
1968-69 3 – 5 Coach Dave Doolittle
1969-70 7 – 1 Coach Dave Doolittle
1970-71 5 – 2 – 1 Coach Dave Doolittle
1971-72 3 – 3 – 1 Coach Dave Doolittle
1972-73 7 – 0 Little 8 Conf. Champs Coach Dave Doolittle
1973-74 5 – 2 Coach Dave Doolittle
1974-75 4 – 3 Coach Dave Doolittle
1975-76 2 – 5 Coach Dave Doolittle
1976-77 0 – 9 Coach Randy Oberembt
1977-78 6 – 3 Coach Randy Oberembt
1978-79 10 – 1 IHSA Class 1A Elite 8 Coach Randy Oberembt
Indian Valley Conference Champs
1st Rd Beat Cambridge 20-13
2nd Rd lost to Hampshire 22-12
Hampshire lost to Arcola in state title game
1979-80 7 – 2 Coach Randy Oberembt
1980-81 7 – 2 Coach Randy Oberembt
1981-82 10 – 1 IHSA Class 1A Elite 8 Coach Randy Oberembt
Indian Valley Conference Champs
1st Rd Beat Alexis 40-22
2nd Rd lost to Gridley 14-12
Gridley lost to Freeport Aquin in semi-final
Aquin beat Maroa-Forsyth in title game
1982-83 7 – 2 Coach Randy Kruger
1983-84 6 – 3 Coach Randy Kruger
1984-85 6 – 3 Coach Randy Kruger
1985-86 3 – 6 Coach Greg Sarver
1986-87 2 – 7 Coach Greg Sarver
1987-88 4 – 5 Coach Greg Sarver
*1988-89 4 – 5 Coach Greg Sarver
*Final season as the Tiskilwa High School “Indians” football program. The school formed a co-op team with Bradford which began in the Fall of 1989.
The school records for the Tiskilwa football program are well kept. Here are just some of the outstanding statistics compiled by Tiskilwa teams and players:
Tiskilwa Football Stats By The Numbers:
7 – Rushing touchdowns by Doug Compton in a game against Wyanet in 1981.
8.4 – Rushing average (yards per attempt) for DougCompton in his football career (1979-1982) in which he had a total of 390 attempts.
11 – Games in 1978 in which Dave Compton had more than 100 yards rushing.
22 – Receiving touchdowns by Tom Schertz in his football career (1979-1982).
42 – Total number of rushing touchdowns during Doug Compton’s career.
49 – Career touchdowns by Doug Compton.
93 – Passes received by TomSchertz in his playing career.
103.1 – Receiving yard average per game by Mark Perry in 1984.
326 – Passes completed by Jeff Prusator in his career (1983-1985) going 326-for-708.
2,155 – Total rushing yards by Dave Compton in 1978.
4,750 – Total amount of passing yardage and total offense yardage from JeffPrusator in his career.
Seasons as the Bradford-Tiskilwa co-op football program:
1989-90 8 – 3 IHSA Class 1A Playoffs Coach John McKenzie
1st Rd lost to Alexis 28-0
Alexis lost in 3rd Rd.
1990-91 6 – 3 Coach John McKenzie
1991-92 5 – 4 Coach’s name needed
1992-93 6 – 3 Coach’s name needed
1993-94 5 – 4 Coach’s name needed
1994-95 1 – 8 Coach Greg Sarver
1995-96 0 – 9 Coach’s name needed
Boys Track and Field
The boys track and field teams at Tiskilwa had great success also over the years. The team from the 1981-82 season finished 8th in the State Track Meet. Below are listed the male athletes and best team finishes as listed on the IHSA web site.
1977-78 Ray Schindel 330 Yard Low Hurdles 8th Place
1978-79 Bob Kunkel 880 Yard Run 5th Place
1980-81 Todd Schertz Shot Put 3rd Place
Tom Schertz Discus 7th Place
1981-82 TEAM PLACED 8th AT THE 1A STATE MEET
Todd Schertz Shot Put 3rd Place
Tom Schertz Discus 4th Place
Tom Schertz Shot Put 7th Place
Doug Compton Long Jump 5th Place
1982-83 Tom Schertz Shot Put 4th Place
Brian Stewart Triple Jump 6th Place
1984-85 B.J. O’Neil 300 Meter Low Hurdles 4th Place
Tiskilwa HS Girls 2ND Place Track Trophy
DIsplayed Proudly at Kelly’s Restaurant, Tiskilwa, Illinois
Girls Track and Field
The lady Indians had their share of incredible success in sports also. None better however than the Track and Field team of 1983-84. Led by all-state performer Lane Suarez the team finished 2nd in the Illinois State 1A Girls Track Meet! The trophy for this great team can be viewed in the photo above. It can be viewed in person at Kelly’s Restaurant in downtown Tiskilwa.
The individual winners and the better teams are listed below.
1980-81 Teresa Colby 800 Meter Run 4th Place
1982-83 Lane Suarez 800 Meter Run 3rd Place
1983-84 TEAM FINISHED 2ND AT IHSA STATE TRACK MEET
SCORED 34 POINTS, TEUTOPOLIS SCORED 46
Lane Suarez 400 Meter Dash State Champion
Lane Suarez 800 Meter Run State Champion
800 Meter Medley Relay Team State Champions
4 X 400 Meter Relay Team 5th Place
1985-86 Missy Sims Shot Put 7th Place
1986-87 Missy Sims Shot Put 2nd Place
Girls Volleyball Teams, known as the “Volley Dolls”, were also very successful winning four regional championships under the direction of Coach John Garvin. The team’s records are not know at this time. We are seeking help for this information.
1984-85 N.R.A. Regional Champion Coach John Garvin
1985-86 N.R.A. Regional Champion Coach John Garvin
1990-91 N.R.A. Regional Champion Coach John Garvin
1991-92 N.R.A. Regional Champion Coach John Garvin
Girls Basketball was first offered in the IHSA in 1973; however, before the establishment of Title IX, there was a girls basketball team at THS that competed on a very limited schedule.
Tiskilwa’s lady Indians won two state titles in the Girls Basketball “Postal” Tournament, in 1938 (beating Normal) and 1939 (beating Elkville). They also had a third place finish in 1941.
We are seeiking information on the better girl’s basketball teams which competed at THS. If you would like to share some information please complete a school submission form.
Bob Prusator –Boy’s Basketball 1958 -1986
531 -199 overall (#54 All-Time, #28 for victories at one school)
Class A Elite 8 – 1982-83
8 – Regional Titles
4 – District Titles
11 – 20+ game-winning seasons
Boy’s Football 1958 – 1967
53 – 20 overall
Two undefeated / untied seasons
Two one-loss seasons
Coach Prusator has been inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Bureau County Sports Hall of Fame.
Tiskilwa High School had many great activities that made it an amazing facility in which to gain a well-rounded education. The school offered FFA, FHA, student government, chorus, dances, and many other activities.
One activity that set it apart from other small schools in the area was the Tiskilwa Pep Band. The band was well known throughout the area and even throughout the state in the 1970s. The Tiskilwa Pep Band even holds the distinction of being named the FIRST pep band to perform at an IHSA basketball tournament! Please read the page below scanned directly from the 1976 IHSA Class ‘A’ State Basketball Tournament Program sent to us by Jim Kouzmanoff.
To view a short video clip of the Tiskilwa High School Marching Band in action during the 1980 Northern Illinois University Homecoming parade in DeKalb check out this YouTube video sent to us by “Tom”: