Tri-County Youth Sports Grant
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1951 Pekin Football Team

Front Row: (from left) Gary Newell, Dick Heihs, Bob Zielinski, Doyle Glass, Jim Henry, Ed Skaggs, Pete Berardi, Glen Phillips, Jim Herget, Malcolm Crawford, Don Severe, manager Doc Lee.

Second Row: (from left) Assistant coach Harry Anderson, Assistant coach Joe Vucich, Emil Monge, Don Strasser, Leland Walker, Dick Schermer, Don Summers, Robert Ehrich, Larry Holmes, Ron Alexander, Dick Stockwell, head coach Jim Lewis.

Third Row: (from left) John Watson, Lyle Colson, Richard Gregory, Larry Smith, Bruce Nelson, Rich Goodlick, Paul Allen, Rich Lee, Norm Hill, Don Heihs, George McLeod.

Back Row: (from left) manager Harry Voll, manager Bob Walker, Henry Cakora, Don Wright, Al Weyrich, Gary Kleuver, Bob Jones, Jim Zieglosky.


The 1951 unbeaten Pekin High School football team was the first team in the history of the school to win 10 games. Coached by the highly successful football and basketball coach, Jim Lewis, the team was considered the mythical No.1 team in the state.

The team, then known as the Chinks, scored 309 points and permitted 71 and completely dominated Greater Peoria and Illini Conference foes except Manual, a 7-6 victim of Pekin in a storied game played at the Peoria Stadium.

Pekin won the Greater Peoria, Illini Conference and big 12 Conference titles, cementing the latter in a thrilling 33-27 win over previously unbeaten Springfield before 7,500 fans in Pekin in the ninth game of the season.

The potent Pekin offense was led by Dick Heihs, who scored 14 touchdowns; Gary Newell, who tallied nine and Jim Herget with six.

Rugged lineman Ed Skaggs was named a guard on the first all-state teams of both the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Tribune. Herget was selected to the fourth team of the Daily News. Pekin was not included in coaches' balloting for Greater Peoria honors.

THE 1951 SEASON
Pekin 28, Argo 13 Pekin 6, Streator 0
Pekin 26, East Peoria 6 Pekin 33, Central 6
Pekin 47, Canton 0 Pekin 39, Spalding 6
Pekin 50, Lincoln 0 Pekin 33, Springfield 27
Pekin 7, Manual 6 Pekin 40, Woodruff 7