Mount Morris High School "Mounders"

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Mt. Morris High School
mtmorrishs.jpg
Home of the Mounders (photo courtesy of Mike Lawton)

The History of Mount Morris High School
 

Mount Morris is located on Illinois Route 64 west of Oregon in Ogle County. Mount Morris is home to a number of news publication companies, including the Kable Printing Company. The town was also home to Mount Morris College, closed in 1932, and it has a population of about 2,500.
 
Mt. Morris residents organized a school system in their town in 1868. The first school building constructed was a four-room, two-story structure whcih housed all classes, including a high school curriculum.  In 1918 a second building was constructed and seperate school districts were formed for the Mt. Morris Grade School and Mt. Morris High School.  Two great websites to visit regarding Mt. Morris High School can be visited at www.mmhs1965.com and www.mmhs.ws . 
 
Mt. Morris High School was a landmark  in the town until 1994, when the school district merged with Oregon after talks of merging Mount Morris and Leaf River (also featured here) failed. Students from Mt. Morris now attend Oregon High School.
 
Lenny Wells provided the following synopsis of the final year of Mt. Morris High School:
 
"The high school was suppose to close in 1993, but the state did not come through with enough incentive money for Oregon High School to agree with the merger so we had to stay open another year longer. The school board wanted a normal school year so our football team had to scramble to get teams to play in that 93 - 94 school year. We played teams from Chicago,Wisconsin and Iowa since we were not in the conference anymore and other area teams had their schedules already completed." 
 
The former Mt. Morris High School building is currently called Black Hawk Junior High and is used for as part of the Oregon School system. It is the only school currently located in Mount Morris as a 2004 fire burned Rahn Elementary School.  A nice Facebook page for Mt. Morris High School alumni to reminisce on can be viewed at the web address of http://www.facebook.com/pages/Do-You-Remember-this-in-Mt-Morris/277773599389?ref=nf
 
Mount Morris High School "Quick Facts":
 
Year Opened:       1868
Year Deactivated: 1994
Annexed to:         Oregon High School 
Nickname:           The "Mounders"
School Colors:      Red & Black
School Song:       "Mounders"
                            (Lyrics Courtesy of JEFF HUFFORD)
                                     (Music courtesy of LENNY WELLS) 
 
                                  Mounders Red and Black
                                  Don't Give up the Game 
                                  Yeah team strong attack
                                  Carry on to fame
                                  Mounders Drive 'em back 
                                  While we cheer our name
                                  We're going to fight fight fight
                                  To win this battle 
                                  Victory is ours today!
 
Athletics
 
Mount Morris High School was very successful in athletics. Boys Basketball was their top sport, as is the case in most small schools in Illinois.
 
BOYS BASKETBALL
 
The Mounders Boys Basketball team won three IHSA District Championships in 1924-25, 1926-27 and 1970-71. They also won an outstanding eight Regional Championships and won four in a row from 1973-1976. The other championships were won in 1939 and 1941 and 1985. In 1983, they not only won a Regional Championship, but also captured the Sectional Championship ending with a 19-9 record. In a Jan. 5, 1968 game against Polo, the Mounders prevailed in SIX overtimes in beating the Marcos by the score of 79-77. Doug Shank was the coach of the Mounders in the 1970's and 1980's.
 
1924-25    N.R.A.     District Champions   Coach's names unavailable
1926-27    N.R.A.     District Champions
1938-39    N.R.A.     Regional Champions
1940-41    N.R.A.     Regional Champions
1970-71    N.R.A.     District Champions
1972-73    N.R.A.     Regional Champions
1973-74    N.R.A.     Regional Champions
1974-75    N.R.A.     Regional Champions 
1975-76    N.R.A.     Regional Champions
1982-83    N.R.A.     Regional/Sectinal Champions
                                    Sweet Sixteen Qualifier
                                    Lost to Tiskilwa 65 - 55
1984-85    N.R.A.     Regional Champions
   
GIRLS BOWLING
 
When girls sports became a reality in Illinois high schools, the Mount Morris Girls Bowling team was one of the top teams in Northern Illinois, winning District Championships and qualifying for the State Tournament in 1974, 1975, 1977, and 1978. The team achieved a Fourth-place state finish in 1974. Information is needed on the team members of these teams, as males were very common in Girls Bowling (et al Dixon's state championship in 1975).
 
1973-74    District Champions/Team Finished 4th in State Tournament!!
 
                    Final Team Standings
                    1)  Arlington Heights (Forest View)
                    2)  Hoopeston (H.-East Lynn)                
                    3)  Schaumburg (H.S.)                       
                    4)  MT. MORRIS HIGH SCHOOL
 
1974-75    District Champions
1976-77    District Champions
1977-78    District Champions   
 
FOOTBALL
 
Information is needed on past football teams at MMHS. We do know that they qualified for the Class 1A playoffs in 1991 and 1992 (their last two years of existance) under coach Vern Welp. Tom Sikorski provided some of the better seasons in Mt. Morris HS football history.  Great job boys! 
 
1952  4-3      Blackhawk Conference Co-Champs            Coach  J.R. Worley
1953  3-3-1   2nd place (tie) Blackhawk Conference             Coach  J.R. Worley
1954  3-2-2   3rd place Blackhawk Conference                    Coach  J.R. Worley
1955  7-0      Blackhawk Conference  Champions           Coach  J.R. Worley
1958  5-1-1   Blackhawk Conference Champions            Coach  Ray Walder
1959  7-1      2nd place Blackhawk Conference                   Coach Ray Walder
1960  8-0      Blackhawk Conference Champions            Coach  Ray Walder
1961  5-3                                                                         Coach Ray Walder
1962  6-2      2nd place (tie) Blackhawk Conference             Coach Ray Walder
1963  5-2-1   3rd place Blackhawk Conference                    Coach Ray Walder
1964  7-1      Blackhawk Conference Co-Champs           Coach  Jay Dooley
1967  5-2      2nd place (tie) Blackhawk Conference            Coach Bob Stahl
1968  5-2      3rd place (tie) Blackhawk Conference             Coach Bob Stahl
1972  8-0      Mid Northern Conference Champions        Coach Bob Stahl
1974  5-4      3rd place (tie) Mid Northern Conference    Coach Bob Stahl
1981  6-3                                                                         Coach Gerald Allison
1983  6-3      3rd place Mid Northern Conference                 Coach Gerald Allison
1990                                                                               Coach Terry Jenkins
 
1991  6 - 4    2nd place Upstate Illini South                    Coach Vern Welp
                       1A playoff qualifier
                        Lost to Manlius 12 - 0
The 1991-1992 team was led by John Urish (QB), Brent Mayer (RB), Drew Francis (RB), Matt Dempsey (WR), Dan Sheely (C), Bill Wiskur (T), and several others.  This was the school's first trip to the Illinois State Playoff's in football.  Brent Mayer was selected to the All-Conference team for the Upstate Illini North Conference as a running back.
 
1992  8 - 2    Upstate Illini South Champions                  Coach Vern Welp
                       1A playoff qualifier
                        Lost to Manlius 47 - 0    
The 1992 team went 8 - 2 and was lead by All-Conference quarterback Brad Strite and linebacker Randy James as well as team members Jason Page, Rich Highbarger, Scott Aken, Ernie Hayenga, and Corey Krieder.
Mt Morris last fielded a football team in 1992.  Last win in school history was 35-8 over Beloit, WI Catholic.
 
BOYS GOLF
 
In the mid-1970's, Mount Morris won three consectutive IHSA District Championships, coming in 1975-1977 in Class A. In 1976, they qualified for the State Tournament.
 
1974-75   District Champions                                    
1975-76   District Champions/State Meet Qualifier     
1976-77   District Champions  
 
VOLLEYBALL
 
Mount Morris won three District Championships (1976, 1979 and 1981) and a Regional Championship in 1982 playing in Class A.
 
1975-76   N.R.A.  District Champions     
1978-79   N.R.A.  District Champions
1980-81   N.R.A.  District Champions
1981-82   N.R.A.  Regional Champions 
 
GIRLS BASKETBALL
 
Mount Morris was a Girls Basketball hotbed in the late 1970's and early 1980's, winning four Regional Championships (1976-77, 1979-80, 1981-82 and 1982-83).
 
1976-77  N.R.A.   Regional Champions   
1979-80  N.R.A.   Regional Champions
1981-82  N.R.A.   Regional Champions
1982-83  N.R.A.   Regional Champions
 
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
 
A District Championship was won by the Mounders Boys XC team in 1971. Leading the way individually was Jim Buell, who placed third in the state meet.
 
1971-72              District Champions                              Coaches Name Unavailable
                         Individual Medalist
                         Jim Buell                                             3rd Place State Meet
1980-81              Lowell Miller                                       21st Place State Meet                             
 
GIRLS FIELD HOCKEY
 
The Lady Mounders also competed in Field Hockey in the 1970s under the guidance Coach Sally WesselsMt. Morris was one of the very few teams outside of the Chicago area who offered this sport.   
 
"ACTIVITIES"

Mount Morris also had their share of activity clubs. In 1942, Mt. Morris student James Asp won first place in Comedy Reading at the IHSA Individual Events tournament. Feats like this are very big due to the domination from bigger schools (like Chicagoland) and achievments like Asp's and other small school champions in activity events are very special.
 
The biggest rivals of Mount Morris was Oregon. When the merger happened in 1993, people were unsure about a stability of a combined high school. However, times and feelings get better: as displayed in a poem written in the Mount Morris Times by Oregon alum and Mount Morris resident Marni Heller in 1997:
 
"Four years ago two towns became one,
And what we thought wouldn't work has turned into fun,
Now the first class of all four years together,
Will graduate with a special bond forever. . ."
 
GREAT COACH
 
Sally Wessels was an excellent Coach and mentor for the kids of Mt. Morris and Oregon High Schools.  She also coached girls basketball and boys golf for many years.
 
More Information
 
More information is being sought about Mount Morris High School; use the Guest Commentary Form or the School Submission Form to submit. If you have more Information about Mount Morris High School, including a photo of the school, school colors and especially win-loss records and other great teams you would like to share please e-mail this website at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net .
 
You may also write us at:
 
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago,  IL  60631