Walnut High School “Blue Raiders”

Walnut High School

A large building with a lawn in front of it

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Photo Courtesy of Gerry Halpin


Walnut High School

A picture containing outdoor, building, old, white

Description automatically generated

Home of the Blue Raiders 1923 – 1996


Walnut is located in the northwestern portion of Illinois in Bureau County on Illinois Route 92 approximately 27 miles west of Interstate 39.   Walnut’s current population is 1,500.

The Walnut school system traces its roots back to 1890 when the high school was officially established. The first graduating class of two students recieved their diplomnas in 1894.  The brick high school building pictured above was built for $90,000 and was first occupied by students in 1923. The high school served the community proudly until 1995 when, for various reasons, the high school was deactiviated.  The high school districts of Walnut, Manlius, Wyanet, and Buda-Western all consolidated to form what is now known as Bureau Valley High School.

BVHS is located near Manlius, however Bureau Valley North Grade School is in operation in Walnut in the old grade school building.  The Walnut High School building was demolished and the land it sat upon was sold for residential lots.  The old football field, filled with the cheers of some GREAT games of the past, is now known as Raider Park and is used for the city’s youth soccer program.

Walnut HS Pressbox 2013 – At Raider Park

A picture containing grass, outdoor, tree, field Description automatically generated

Photo by Owen Pulver

Walnut HS Athletic Field 2013

A sign in a field Description automatically generated with low confidence

Photo by Owen Pulver

To view a GREAT web site on the history of Walnut and its school system please check out   http://www.crunchygods.com/walnut/ .  Excellent information and old photos to enjoy.  Congratulations to Mr. Joel Bass for his efforts to honor Walnut.

Walnut High School “Quick Facts”

Year high school opened:    1890

Year high school closed:     1995

School nickname:               “Blue Raiders” , “Lady Raiders”

School colors:                    Royal Blue and White

High school building status: Demolished – late 1990’s

High school football field:     Utilized for youth soccer program

School Fight Song:             Sung to the Ferris State University fight song tune.

                                         “Cheer on those Raiders, watch them fight.

                                         Boost those Raiders, they’re alright.

                                         We’ll stand by the Blue and White.

                                         FIGHT!  FIGHT!  FIGHT!

                                         Raiders of Walnut High.

                                         Steer that Raider varsity.

                                         Cheer that team to Victory.

                                         Fight you mighty Raiders and

                                         Gain another victory!!

                                         R, R, R-A-I.     D, D, D-E-R-S

                                         R – A – I     D – E – R – S


                                         (Special thanks to Clay Haurberg)

To hear the Raider’s fight song tune please click on the following Ferris State University web page:    http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/sports/fight.au


The Walnut Blue Raiders competed in the Blackhawk Conference from 1942 to 1977. For more information on the Blackhawk Conference check out John Ballentine’s article on the GREAT CONFERENCES page of this site. They then competed in the Indian Valley Conference from 1977 to 1995.  What defined Walnut more than other schools of its size was the number of sports it offered for its student athletes. Though known for their great success in football over the years, the Walnut High School athletes were consistently competitive in any sport they participated in.

Walnut HS Football Press Box

A barn in a field

Description automatically generated with medium confidence


The Walnut Blue Raiders were known for their excellent football teams, especially in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. The WHS football teams qualified for the IHSA state playoffs an incredible 10 straight seasons (1979-88), a streak in which they went 98 – 17!. The highlight of Walnut High School sports occurred during the 1982 football season when the Blue Raiders finished second in the IHSA State Football Playoffs for Class 1A.

As pointed out by Clay Haurberg, the Blue Raiders won 14 Blackhawk Conference Championships and 9 Indian Valley Conference Championships!! Below are listed some of the greatest of the Walnut Blue Raider football seasons.

1922       6 – 2                                                                        Coach Julius Steffen

1928       6 – 1 – 2                                                                   Coach J.R. Ingels

1938       6 – 1 – 1                                                                   Coach Noel Mosher

1943                       Blackhawk Conference Champs

1945                       Blackhawk Conference Champs

1946                       Blackhawk Conference Co-Champs

1948                       Blackhawk Conference Champs

1949       6 – 0         Blackhawk Conference Champs             Coach Steven LaRussa     

1950       7 – 0 – 1    Blackhawk Conference Champs             Coach Steven LaRussa

1951       7 – 1         Blackhawk Conference Champs             Coach Steven LaRussa

1952       8 – 0         Blackhawk Conference Champs             Coach Steven LaRussa

1953       6 – 1 – 1    Blackhawk Conference Champs             Coach Steven LaRussa

1954       4 – 3         Blackhawk Conf. 3rd Place                     Coach Steven LaRussa

1959       8 – 0         Blackhawk Conference Champs             Coach Charles Vail

1962       8 – 1         Blackhawk Conference Champs             Coach Bob Johns

1965       9 – 0         Blackhawk Conference Champs             Coach Charles Lane

1968       8 – 1         Blackhawk Conference Champs             Coach Charles Lane

1979       8 – 2         Indian Valley Conference East Champs  Coach Charles Lane

                              IHSA Class 1A Playoff Qualifier

                              Lost to Alexis 28 – 6

1980       8 – 2         Indian Valley Conference East Champs  Coach Kim Courtwright

                              IHSA Class 1A Playoff Qualifier

                              Lost to Freeport Aquin 19 – 6

                              Aquin lost in Final 4 Rd.

1981       9 – 2         Indian Valley Conference East Champs   Coach Kim Courtwright

                              IHSA Class 1A Quarterfinalist

                              Beat Annawan 21 – 13

                              Lost to Freeport Aquin 38 – 0

                              Aquin won State Championship

1982       12 – 1       Indian Valley Conference East Champs    Coach Kim Courtwright 

                              IHSA CLASS 1A RUNNER-UP!!

                              Beat Stockton 24 – 6

                              Beat Durand 16 – 13

                              Beat Kewanee Wethersfield 19 – 14

                                        Lost Championship game

                              7 – 6 to Zeigler-Royalton


1983       11 – 1       Indian Valley Conference East Champs    Coach Kim Courtwright

                              IHSA Class 1A Semi-Finalist

                              Beat Alexis 27 – 3

                              Beat Mt. Carroll 25 – 0

                              Lost to Maroa Forsyth 9 – 6

                              Maroa-Forsyth fiinished 2nd

1984        9 – 2        Indian Valley Conference East Champs    Coach Mick Peterson

                              IHSA Class 1A Quarterfinalist

                              Beat Bradford 21 – 0

                              Lost to Carthage 52 – 19

                              Carthage finished 2nd

1985       11 – 1       Indian Valley Conference East Champs    Coach Mick Peterson 

                              IHSA Class 1A Quarterfinalist

                              Beat Annawan 20 – 6

                              Beat Milledgeville 24-21

                              Lost to Durand 30 – 6

                              Durand Finished 2nd

1986       10 – 2        IHSA Class 1A Quarterfinalist                    Coach Mick Peterson

                              Beat Mooseheart 24 – 17

                              Beat LaMoille 14 – 7


                              Lost to Freeport Aquin 24 – 13

                              Aquin Won State Championship

1987       10 – 2       Indian Valley Conference East Champs     Coach Mick Peterson 

                              IHSA Class 1A Quarterfinalist

                              Beat Manlius 7 – 0

                              Beat LaMoille 26 – 0

                              Lost to Freeport Aquin 27 – 8

                              Aquin lost in Final 4 Rd.

1988       10 – 2       Indian Valley Conference East Champs     Coach Mick Peterson

                              IHSA Class 1A Quarterfinalist

                              Beat Rockford Lutheran 34 – 6

                              Beat Marseilles 20 – 8

                              Lost to Orangeville 22 – 14


                              Orangeville lost in Final 4 Rd.

As part of the Walnut/LaMoille Co-op Team:

1993        6 – 4        IHSA Class 1A Qualifier                               Coach John McKenzie

                              Lost to Cambridge 20 – 14 (O/T)

Blue Raider Football Stats By The Numbers:

-34 – Yardage accumulated by the DePue offense against the strong Blue Raider defense in 1987.

4 – Touchdowns scored on reception by Jay Payne against Manlius in 1985.

20 – Total interceptions by Walnut-LaMoille’s Brett Thompson in his career from 1989-1991, which is good for tenth in Illinois H.S. Football history.

99 – Yards ran by Chuck Woolley after recoving a fumble going all the way for a touchdown against Tampico in 1981, fifth longest in Illinois H.S. Football history.

2,137 – Total passing yardage thrown by the Walnut offense in 1985.

Boys Basketball

1936-37                  IHSA District Champs                               Coach’s name & record needed

                               District Scores Needed

                               Dixon Regional Qualifier

                               1st Rd lost to Amboy 30-16

                               Sterling beat Prophetstown in title game

1937-38                  Princeton Regional Runner-Up                Coach’s name & record needed

                               Early Rd Scores Needed

                               Title Game lost to Princeton 35-30

                               Top 2 Teams of Regional Advance to Sectional

                               Moline Sectional Qualifier

                               1st Rd Lost to Fulton 46-36

                               Fulton lost to Rock Island in title game

1940-41                  Bureau County Tournament third place finishers

                               Defeated Bureau Township H.S. for third place


1950-51                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

1952-53   17 – 10    Blackhawk Conference Co-Champs

1954-55   14 – 12    Blackhawk Conference Co-Champs        Coach Charles Vail

1958-59   18 – 6      Blackhawk Conference Champs              Coach Charles Vail

1959-60   26 – 3       Blackhawk Conference Champs             Coach Charles Vail

                                (Best Record in School History)

1961-62   18 – 10     Peru Regional Runner-Up                        Coach Charles Vail

                                1st Rd Beat St. Bede 76-66

                                Semi-final Beat Princeton 56-51

                                Title Game lost to Mendota 94-74


1977-78   17 – 8                                                                           Coach Dave McFadden

1981-82   18 – 8                                                                           Coach Dave McFadden

1982-83   18 – 8       Indian Valley Conf. Tourney Champs      Coach Dave McFadden


1984-85   14 – 11     Prophetstown Regional Runner-up         Coach Dave McFadden

                                1st Rd Beat Atkinson 51-50 (O/T)

                                Semi-final Beat Erie 65-59

                                Title Game lost to Annawan 55-51



1990-91   19 – 7       Indian Valley Conference Runner-Up          Coach Dave McFadden

1991-92   20 – 6       Indian Valley Conf. Tourney Champs      Coach Dave McFadden 

In a March 7, 1957 Regional Tournament game against Mendota, the Blue Raiders scored on 33 straight free-throw attempts and finished 45-for-53 overall in the game. That is a state record! Ronnie Gloden scored 22 of the 45 made.

Girls Track and Field

The Blue Raider girls faired well in track and field during the early 1980s bringing home 6 medals from the IHSA State Track Meet.  Their accomplishments are listed below.

1980  Michele Perino    400 Meter Run                 7th Place

1981  Mitzi Perino         400 Meter Run                 7th Place  

1981  Team Relay         800 Meter Med. Relay      8th Place

1882  Mitzi Perino         400 Meter Run                 8th Place

1982  Team Relay         800 Meter Med. Relay      8th Place

1984  Teri Atwell           200 Meter Run                 4th Place

Girls Basketball

1991-92      N.R.A.       Regional Champs          Coach John DeMay

Girl’s Bowling

1976-77     N.R.A.        District Champs             Coach Marcia (Swanson) Glaser

                                  State Meet Qualifier

1978-79     N.R.A.        District Champs             Coach Marcia (Swanson) Glaser

                                  State Meet Qualifier

Boy’s Golf

1979-80     N.R.A.        District Champs             Coach Roger Schule

Boy’s XC

Although there are no team results available at this time, we know that one athlete made his mark with the team by medaling at the State Meet:

1992-93                       Joel Eckberg                State 25th Place

1993-94                                                             State 17th Place

Boys Baseball

Walnut’s Blackhawk Conference baseball championship teams are listed below from research conducted by John Ballentine.

1958-59    9 – 1       Blackhawk Conference Champs             Coach Lyle Bruss

1966-67                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

1967-68                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

1968-69                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

1969-70                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

1970-71                  Blackhawk Conference Co-Champs

1971-72                  Blackhawk Conference Co-Champs

1974-75                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

1975-76                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

Boys Track and Field

Conference championship teams of the Walnut HS thinclads are listed below as provided by John Ballentiine:

1950-51                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

1951-52                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

1952-53                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

1955-56                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

1958-59                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

1961-62                  Blackhawk Conference Champs

Great Players

Dan Kolb      Major League Baseball Pitcher   MLB American League All-Star – 1994  Milwaukee Brewers

                            Currently pitching for the Atlanta Braves (2004)    

Ron Bohm    National Football League  St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals – 1987

Great Coaches

Steven LaRussa      Football 1949 – 56             41 – 11 – 2

Charles Vail            Football 1958 – 61             28 – 6

Charles Lane          Football 1965 – 79             75 – 45 – 1

Kim Courtwright     Football  1980 – 83            40 – 6

Mick Peterson         Football 1984 – 88             50 – 9

Dave McFadden     Basketball 1970 – 94          292 wins

Extra-curricular Acivities

Walnut had an excellent music program within the school, as it’s program won the Class D championship in the IHSA Music Sweestakes in 1995, their final year of existance.

Distinguished Alumni

*Don Marquis (Class of 1894) – Popular author and columnist. Read more about Marquis at the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Marquis

Seeking Further Information

If you have any more information you would like to share regarding the Walnut High School Blue Raiders, please complete a message at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net ..  You may also write us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.   60631

Walnut HS Backstop

A picture containing grass, sky, outdoor, railroad

Description automatically generated

On Former Football Field

Walnut HS Football Field – School Sat on Hill

A picture containing text, outdoor, sky, grass

Description automatically generated

Pressbox on the Right – Picture Taken Facing West

Walnut High School

A picture containing outdoor, old, white, house

Description automatically generated

Different Angle

Walnut Grade School

A picture containing text, tree, outdoor, old

Description automatically generated

Currently Bureau Valley North Grade School





Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: