Sesser High School "Red Devils"

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Sesser High School Gymnasium - 2010
Courtesy of James Horaz

The History of Sesser Goode-Barren Township High School 
Sesser (population 2,128) is located in northwestern Franklin County in the southern portion of Illinois.  The Illinois State Routes of 154 and 148 intersect in Sesser.  A landmark near Sesser is Rend Lake located 3 miles to the east.  The At & St Railroad also has two lines that form a "T" in Sesser.  Two towns of note near Sesser are Du Quoin (10 miles southwest) and Benton (10 miles southeast). 
More information is being sought regarding the history of Sesser and its school system.   It is thought that Sesser began its school system in the late 1800s.  It continued its educational excellence through many decades. Sesser Goode-Barren Township High School was probably established in the late 1800s. It was in the late 1950s and early 1960s that consolidation talks with nearby Valier (also on this site) began.  In 1963 the high schools of Valier and Sesser consolidated to form the Sesser - Valier School system.  This school still runs strong today, successful on many different levels.
The original Sesser High School building no longer stands. Sesser - Valier High School is located in Sesser. The original gymnasium is still part of the downtown Sesser landscape however.  If you have any information regarding Sesser High School please write to us at  
Sesser High School Quick Facts
Year opened:             late 1800s
Year closed:              1963
School nickname:      the "Red Devils"
School colors:           Maroon & White
School Fight Song:    "Sesser Loyalty Song"
                                        Sung to Illinois Loyalty - Click play button below and sing along!
                                         We're loyal to you Sesser High.
                                         We're white and maroon Sesser High.
                                         We'll back you to stand
                                         'Gainst the best in the land
                                         For we know you have sand, Sesser High.
                                         Rah! Rah!
                                         So crack out the ball, Sesser High.
                                         We're backing you all, Sesser High.
                                         Our team is our fame protector:
                                         On! Boys for we expect a
                                         Victory from you Sesser High!
                                         Che-he, cha-ha, cha-ha-ha-ha,
                                         Sesser High School
                                         Rah, Rah, RAH!
                                         Fling out that dear old flag of
                                         White and Maroon,
                                         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, SESSER High!

Sesser HS Gym Rear View - 2010
Submitted by James Horaz

Sesser High School had a long history of competitive teams and athletes.  The only IHSA hardware earned was in boys track however (  We are certain there were many great boys basketball, baseball, and football teams in Sesser High's history.  We are hopeful an area fan or alum will share some of their accomplishments with us so we can share them with other readers of this site.  
It is known that Sesser competed in the old Little Egyptian Conference with its neighbor Valier, as well as the high schools in Bluford, Crab Orchard, Dahlgren, Ina, Royalton, Waltonville, and Woodlawn.
Boys Track
The Sesser tack team earned a 9th place finish in 1932!  It was on the arm of an athlete named Lochiner (first name unavailable) that the Sesser thinclads excelled that season.  Lochiner earned a 4th Place medal in 1931 in the javelin and followed that up with a 1st Place finish in 1932!.  A brief summary of the State Meet of 1932 is listed below.
1930-31     Lochiner         Javelin          4th Place
1931-32     Lochiner         Javelin          STATE CHAMPION!
                 Team Placed 9th Overall at State Meet
                             Final Team Standings
                 1.)    Oak Park - River Forest   --   32
                 2.)    Joliet Township               --   13
                 3.)    Chicago Senn                 --   10
                 4.)    Libertyville                      --     9
                 5.)    Winnetka New Trier         --    8.5
                 6.)    DePue                           --     8
                 7.)    Glen Ellen Glenbard        --    7.5
                 8.)    Evanston                        --     6
                 9.)    SESSER                        --     5
                         Mt. Morris, Des Plaines Maine Township,Aurora West, Deerfield,
                         and Pontiac also tied with 5 points.
The following records were researched and submitted by our own Tom Sikorski.
1956  5-2-1  2nd place Coal Belt Conference                  Coach Gordon Herron
1957  7-1-1  Coal Belt Conference Champs                Coach Gordon Herron
1958  5-3     2nd place Coal Belt Conference                  Coach Gordon Herron
1961  5-3     Coal Belt Conference Champs                Coach Gene Earl
1962  6-2     2nd place Black Diamond Conference         Coach Ferrill Flatt

Sesser Alumnus Class of 1943
John Cox

Distinguished Alumni
Graduated from Sesser High School in 1943, went on to excel in engineering as part of the Navy V12 program at Northwestern University.  John Cox graduated from the school in June of 1946 and went on to a distinguished military career. John is described by one of his military classmates, Robert Young, who played on the "Gremlins" basketball team with John,  as "...big and a great rebounder and passer.  He was a very good engineering student and basketball player plus being a fine person".

Warren Eugene "Gene" Moore




"Attended Sesser High School but dropped out when he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1941 at only 15 years old. Gene’s story is told in the award winning and bestselling book, "Playing with the Enemy", which is being made into a major motion picture by Academy Award Winning Producer, Gerald Molen. Playing with the Enemy is written by Gene’s son, Gary W. Moore."

Check out this web site for more information: .  Also read this article at the bottom of this page! 

Need Your Help
Sesser High School deserves even more recognition. The accomplishments and hard work of those who made it succeed should forever be remembered.  We are always hopeful for a photo of the old high school building and great teams, players, and coaches of Sesser's past.  These items can be e-mailed to us at  You can also write to us at:
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il.   60631


"IT WAS TRUE IN THE 1940s, and it is still true today: if you have talent, someone will notice. In Gene Moore’s case, that someone was the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Gene Moore was a farm boy living with his family in Sesser, Illinois, a town so small even map makers ignored it. As a teenager, when he wasn’t in school or helping his Pop on the farm, slopping the hogs and doing other chores with his older brother Ward and five sisters, Gene was playing baseball with the guys on the town team.

Some were twice his age. The older fellows didn’t mind having the Moore kid on their team because he could hit the ball farther than anyone else, he was the best catcher anyone had ever seen, he could throw men out from his knees, and not a ball ever got past him. Gene was 15 years old.

Word quickly spread across the United States about the country boy who could hit the ball a country mile. The Dodgers wanted to take a look at this farm kid, barely old enough to shave and still awaiting his first kiss, but brash enough to call the pitches from behind the plate and motion to the infielders and outfielders as to how they should position themselves for certain hitters.

Headed for baseball stardom with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Gene’s destiny was interrupted by Pearl Harbor. After playing ball for the Navy in the Azores and North Africa, Gene and his team were sent to the States for a special—and top secret—mission: guarding German sailors captured from U-505. Unable to field a team, Gene convinced his commander to allow him to teach the enemy how to play baseball while he and his teammates waited for the war to end so they could be called up into the Major Leagues. But Gene’s future changed irrevocably in Louisiana. His life . . . and maybe our national pastime . . . was forever altered.

Inspired by true events, Playing with the Enemy is the riveting story of a depression-era youth and his brush with destiny. Author Gary Moore, Gene’s son, did not learn of his father’s remarkable odyssey through World War II and the hardships of minor league baseball until the day before Gene’s death. Confronted with evidence of a possible career in baseball, Gene finally broke his decades of silence and spent the next several hours relieving himself of the heavy burden he had been carrying. The stunning news sent the author on his own odyssey as he researched his father’s life and interviewed dozens of people.

The astonishing story of Gene Moore’s life in and out of baseball is an exciting and often heart-wrenching saga that will capture the heart of every red- blooded American who can still smell the fresh-cut summer grass or remember dreaming of making it to the "Bigs". Jammed with memorable characters from an extraordinary time in our country’s history, Playing with the Enemy is a story that will be read and reread for generations to come.

You can read the first two chapters of Playing with the Enemy and the introducion by famed baseball author, John C. Skipper by clicking the links in the upper-left panel."

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) (April 1, 2008)

ISBN-10: 0143113887

ISBN-13: 978-0143113881