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When the 1962 season ended, Stoughton’s record was 6-2-0. The defense had posted four shutouts, allowing only 28 points and giving up 124.8 yards a game. On offense they rushed for 1,366 yards and passed for 682 yards for a 256.0 yards per game average. The JV team posted a 5-1-0. Things looked bright for the Vikings in 1963 despite losing some key members on the defense. They ended up in second place in the Badger Conference.

Coach Gil Krueger welcomed back several 1962 starters, a cadre of the former JV members and a key senior who had never played high school football. A lot was expected with the addition of 6’5 end Dan Moeser, a three-year starter on the basketball team. Quarterback Luther “Lute” Selbo had been the starter the previous season when he completed 36 of 72 passes for the 682 team passing yards. With Moeser, Selbo now had a reliable receiving threat who was not only tall but he had speed and the ability to leap high or out-reach defenders for passes.

The Vikings opened the season at home with a 34-0 win over non-conference foe Watertown. Selbo triggered the offense and was 9 of 18 for 162 yards and a 34-yard touchdown while running for one. Moeser caught all three passes that were thrown to him for 45 yards. The defense and special teams played a big hand in the win. Reggie Nelson returned a punt 44 yards for a score and he was one of nine players who carried the ball in the game. The next week Stoughton only gained 106 yards on the ground in their 33-6 win over Monroe but Nelson and Selbo were the stars. Nelson scored on a 75-yard kickoff return, a one-yard run and a 35-yard pass. Selbo was 9 of 15 for 164 yards and two touchdowns.

Game three was a showdown with rival Monona Grove, the 1962 Badger Conference champion at Monona and the Stoughton teams only conference loss. Stoughton trailed 14-12 at halftime in a defensive battle but the throwing of Selbo to Moeser was the difference as the Vikings ended up winning 25-14. Selbo was 10 of 16 for 155 yards and three touchdowns and Moeser hauled in six passes for 110 yards and two scores. The next week was a 45-6 homecoming win over the new addition to the Badger Conference, Sun Prairie. It was again the Selbo, Moeser and Nelson show. “Lute” opened up more eyes as he continued to be accurate in his throwing by going 14 of 24 for 233 yards, four touchdowns and a conversion pass. Moser caught two touchdowns as did Nelson who also had a td run.

Coach Krueger was using more substitutions on both sides of the ball. In the first four games the team had allowed nearly as many points as the previous year in eight games but the offense had scored nearly as many points as well. As they leveled Middleton 51-13 Krueger used 32 players and again Selbo was the big star throwing 14 passes for eight completions, 203 yards and another four scores. Bob Moe returned an interception 42 yards for a fourth quarter touchdown as well as scoring the final touchdown, a 45-yard pass from Selbo. With the win Stoughton moved up to the number three spot in the AP poll. Their sixth win was a 27-6 victory over Fort Atkinson and although Selbo was 12 of 21 he only gained 119 yards and a touchdown with that score, a 22-yard reception going to Dan Moeser. They followed up with 39-6 blowout of Edgerton as Selbo completed 10 of 18 for 175 yards and two touchdowns. Reggie Nelson, the conference’s leading scorer, ran for two touchdowns and caught a td pass. Game eight was a high scoring win for Stoughton as they beat Jefferson 46-26. Luther Selbo earned the AP State Player of the Week as he completed nine passes in 15 attempts for a season high 255 yards and had four td passes. Dan Moeser caught two touchdown passes plus an extra point and halfback Keith Fuller also caught two scores. The Madison Capitol Times had a banner at the top of the game story after the 46-26 win saying “Stoughton Grabs Title Tie”. The team was 7-0-0 in conference play and Monona Grove was 6-1-0, each with a game to be played.

Maybe the paper thought Monona still had a chance of tying for the title if Stoughton lost but what chance did Wisconsin High School (part of the UW-Madison student teaching program) have with a 1-5-2 record going into the finale. Monona would beat Jefferson 42-12 to end in second place but Stoughton would trounce Wisconsin High 38-7. This would be the schools final football game as the university would close its doors at the end of the school year. Coach Krueger said “These kids make me look good” and against Wis. High they looked very good. Again, Selbo had a great game despite having some passes dropped, eight in all, as he was 15 of 30 for 252 yards and another four touchdown passes. Moeser hauled in four passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. It was quite a night for Keith Fuller. He ran for 40 yards on six carries and one score but was also on the receiving end of seven Selbo passes for 79 yards. The Vikings would end the season with a 28-1-0 four-year conference record and a perfect 9-0-0 1963 season.

The honors for the team came fast. Luther Selbo was named to the AP First Team All-State squad. Records were sparse then and so it wasn’t until many years later that it was discovered that he had set several state records. He ended the season with 99 completions in 166 attempts, gaining 1,807 yards and 24 touchdowns. The completions, yards and touchdowns were all single season records. They would only last two seasons when broken in 1965 by Lomira’s Steve Sterr. There was a lot of competition for the first team honors. Racine St. Catherine’s Dan Koenings put up a fine season by tossing 197 passes with 95 completions, 13 interceptions, 1,643 yards and 18 touchdowns but ended up on the AP second team. Gary Bandor, made the third team. A previous blog gives you much details on his season and life.

Reggie Nelson led the conference and team in scoring as he also led the team in rushing. He carried 66 times for 441 yards and 15 touchdowns. Chuck Sundby was second on the team, rushing for 273 yards on 50 carries and one touchdown. Kurt Fuller was third in rushing, 57 carries for 241 yards and 10 total touchdowns along with 14 receptions for 158 yards. Both Nelson and Fuller made first team all-conference. Dan Moeser led the team in receptions with 30 catches for 582 yards and an outstanding 11 touchdowns.

The team earned a third-place spot on the final UPI poll, behind #1 Wausau and #2 Waukesha. These were the only big school teams in the poll.

“Lute” Selbo moved on after graduation to North Central College (Naperville, IL) where he set numerous records and earned NAIA All-America honors. He played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. He returned to school for graduate work at Winona State and then spent 34 years at various Wisconsin schools (Weston, Hudson and West Salem) as a teacher, coach and administrator. His last standing record at North Central College, pass completions in a game, was eclipsed in 2018, one week after he died.

Coach Krueger had an interesting and varied coaching career. After graduating from Milwaukee West Division High School, he attended Marquette University where he played football and basketball. After playing a year of pro football for the Los Angeles Rams, he moved back to Wisconsin and started teaching and coaching in 1954, a career that lasted until 1987:

  • Grantsburg Head basketball coach 1954-55

  • Stoughton Head football coach 1956-63

  • North Central College Assistant football coach 1964-65

  • Manchester College Head football coach 1966-68

  • UW-Platteville Head football coach 1969-73

  • Northern Michigan Head football coach 1974-77

  • New Mexico State Head football coach 1978-82

  • New Jersey Generals (Pro football) Assistant football coach 1983

  • UW-Superior Head football coach 1984-87

As the coach at Stoughton, he posted a 52-11-1 record. As a college head-coach he posted an overall 104-114-4 record and won the 1975 NCAA Division II title with a 13-1 record while being named College Coach of the Year. Krieger was named by the AP as the 1963 State Coach of the Year and was named to the WFCA Hall of Fame for his high school and college duties. He passed away in 2016.

Dan Moeser not only earned first team all-state in his only season of playing football but he also was named to Coach and Athlete Magazine as an All-American. He followed this up by scoring 461 points on the basketball team and was named to the AP First Team All-State squad. As mentioned in an earlier blog he was one of only nine athletes to ever earn First Team AP All-State in both sports in the same school year. He went on to attend Tulane where he played varsity basketball for three years and averaged 12.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and then followed with a law degree from UW. In 1979 he won the first of six six-year terms as a Dane County Circuit Judge. He retired from the court in 2011.

This was truly one of the “Great Teams” of the 1960s.

Going into the 1965 football season there were high expectations for the Lomira Lions and the team’s quarterback, Steve Sterr. In 1964 the school had hired a new coach, John Doyle, who had been the head football coach, track coach and athletic director at West Grant. Doyle was a cross between Vince Lombardi and Woody Hayes, a bear of a coach who was fiery on the field as he directed his teams. He was good at what he did, a future WFCA Hall of Fame Coach, and in his first year at Lomira he coached them to a 5-1-1 record. He had the foresight to convert a 6’2, 181-pound end to the quarterback position that year. Steve Sterr was that player. A nice, friendly, easy going team player Steve didn’t let his ego get in the way and he was a major bright spot on the squad as he passed for nine touchdowns and ran for five. Steve was also a solid basketball player who led the Fox Valley Tri-County Conference in scoring during the 1964-65 winter season with a top game of 45 points against Brandon. He led the team to the conference title, their first in many years. In the spring he pitched and played first base for the baseball team and in track he was a high jumper and ran in the relays.

As the fall of the 1965 school year rolled around Steve Sterr was set for a big year and he would produce. He started slow in the first game, a 18-6 win over Fall River with only 74 yards passing and one touchdown. After the team fumbled six times, piling up numerous penalty yards and a number of dropped passes, coach Doyle lit a fire under the team. The next week the team came to life and the pass combination of Sterr and junior end Eric Bloohm became the Lions focal point. The team moved from a mainly running team to one that also relied on the pass to open things up. The offence blossomed as they would pass for over 2,000 yards and run for over 1,500 yards on the season. In that second game Steve picked apart non-conference opponent Ozaukee 48-0 as he completed 13 of 17 attempts for 232 yards and six touchdowns. The season continued as Lomira stayed undefeated. Sterr continued to play well as he showed his earlier six-touchdown game proved to be no fluke. In game five, a 32-7 win over Green Lake he tossed four touchdowns. The next week, a 33-6 win over Winnebago Lutheran, he completed 14 of 26 passes for only 143 yards but three went for scores. It would be in game seven, a 53-0 win over Oakfield, both Sterr and Bloohm would have the game of their lives and set a number of state records.

Steve Sterr: Eric Bloohm:

Most Passing Attempts…53 Most Pass Receptions…14

Most Completions…37 Most Receiving Yards…257 (2nd All-time)

Most Passing Yards…551 Most Receiving Touchdowns…4

Most Passing Touchdowns…7

There is no doubt that Sterr set these game records as only a few statewide players prior to that October 15 game had ever even passed for 300+ yards in a game or passed for four touchdowns. Early historical receiving records are very limited but all indications are that Bloohm set the record for receptions and touchdowns caught in a game and placed second in all-time receiving yards (In 1918, Superior High’s Ted Whereatt gained 279 yards on nine receptions). Sterr earned AP State Back of the Week honors.

Sterr directed the team to a final 9-0-0 record with the Lions winning the Fox Valley Tri-County Conference title for the first time since 1947. They would finish ranked #2 in the AP Small School press poll with Lomira finishing second to #1 Randolph by two points in the final voting. Steve also set a number of season state records:

He was the first quarterback in state history to ever pass for 2,000 or more yards in a single season.

Most Passing Attempts…216 Most Completions…129

Most Yards…2,245 Most Touchdown Passes…29

Many of the records Sterr set would last only a few years, especially when the Chippewa Falls McDonell “Flying Circus” came along in the 1980s and ‘90s. The one that lasted the longest was the individual game passing yards record. It wasn’t broken until 37-years later in 2002 when a 6’10 Southwestern High School quarterback named Jeff Skemp set the current game record of 612 yards. Steve earned second team All-State on the AP honors lists.

Basketball season started up and he continued his strong scoring performance from the year before. In January against Reeseville he scored a then school record 48 points in a 116-40. Sterr would score a school record of 1,152 career points and a single season scoring total of 542 points. He earned AP honorable mention All-State for his play on the court. Many thought his best sport was played with the roundball.

Having played on the Tereasa American Legion baseball team during the summer in past years. Steve had developed as a good hitter/fielder at first base and as a fair pitcher. He helped the Lomira team to a conference title in 1966. He also starred that spring in track.

Arizona State and its coach, Frank Kush, came calling and out of the many football offers he chose to go to Tempe. Kush and Lomira’s coach Doyle had similar coaching styles and maybe that is what first attracted Steve to sign with the Sun Devils. However, he returned back to Wisconsin because he was homesick. He enrolled at UW-Eau Claire and played the second half of the 1967-68 basketball season and then went out for football in the fall but later quit. Like the other two players I’ve profiled the past few weeks the Army came calling and he was drafted and spent two years in the service. When he got out of the Army he was no longer in shape to continue to play college sports. But 50+ years later he is remembered by his friends and coaches as a high schooler who he was a super talent and a great teammate.

I want to thank several people for their help in this blog. Current Lomira athletic director Eric Schalk who put me on to contacting Eric Bloohm, Gene Schroeder, John Muentner, Kim Bonack and John Doyle.

Last week I mentioned a little about Mickey Vandehey. Few athletes could ever hope to have the career Mickey had. He was raised in Auburndale, a very small village with around 400 inhabitants located about 10 miles east of Marshfield. The high school had about 275 students, pulling in a lot pupils from the area farms. Their old football conference, the 3-C, disbanded in 1962 so they played an independent schedule until joining the Marawood Conference later. However, they were part of the Marawood for basketball and track and the Cloverbelt Conference for baseball.

Vandehey carried the Auburndale Apaches to many wins in football, basketball, track and especially baseball. Playing quarterback Mickey started four seasons and directed the team to an overall 26-4-1 record. Starting as a freshman in 1960 he directed the team to a 6-1-0 record. Game stats from that year are sparse. For the most part only the game scores are known. With the help of current football coach and athletic director, Jay Anderson, some of the team stats have been found in the local papers. Other newspaper stories from around the state have helped to shape his stats for that year. He started at quarterback and defensive back as well as handling all the kicking. Overall, he passed for 560 yards and nine touchdowns while running for three more touchdowns. He kicked 19 extra points and averaged 40-yards per punt.

In 1961 as a sophomore Vandehey began to blossom and the team posted a 7-1-0 record as he passed for 1,036 yards and 11 touchdowns, scored on five runs and on an interception return plus he kicked 16 extra points. This was all in seven of the eight games scoring stats are available. Any individual game stats for Mickey were not listed in the papers but his four touchdown passes and an interception return for a touchdown were highlights of the team’s fifth game of the year, a 41-0 win over Colby. Auburndale played in the 3-C Conference in 1960 and 1961 and they finished in second place both years. Their only 1961 loss was to Greenwood, 21-19 in game seven.

Mickey was filling out in size as he reached his junior year. He stood 6’1 and weighed about 185 pounds. It should be noted that only the stats from his junior year are truly complete. In 1962 he led the team to an 8-0-0 record and a #11 ranking in the AP poll. The 3-C Conference disbanded and in 1962 and 1963 the school played an independent football schedule. With his great 1962 stats he earned First Team All-State by the AP. Mickey completed 57 of 113 passes for 1,057 yards, 21 touchdowns and only six interceptions. On the ground he carried the ball only 53 times but gained 572 yards and 16 overall touchdowns. He not only passed and ran the ball but he continued as the team’s kicker to handle it all… kickoffs, extra points, field goals and punting. He converted 34 extra points, a field goal and averaged 43 yards per punt. On defense he intercepted nine passes and of his 16 touchdowns scored, three were on punt returns and one was a kickoff return. In the teams fifth game, a 34-19 win over Mauston, Vandehey accounted for all the teams points as he passed for two touchdowns, ran for three scores and kicked four extra points. A week later Auburndale stomped Gilman 62-0 and Mickey was again the star. He passed for five scores, ran for another and added touchdown punt returns of 46 and 47 yards while he kicked eight extra points. Game seven was also a special effort by Vandehey who passed for three touchdowns, ran for two and kicked three extra points. He again was involved in all the teams points in the 33-19 win against Adams-Friendship.

In his first three seasons Mickey Vandehey was building a strong reputation as an all-round athlete but it really started as an eighth grader when he routinely struck out the Auburndale high school players and others as he competed in a summer league baseball program. People began to take notice of the young boy and expectations were high as he entered high school. Along with his baseball and football prowess his scoring of 988 points on the basketball court during his freshman through junior years were impressing people. His ability to play on the outside or go to the basket for a field goal or rebound made him a star on the court. On the baseball diamond he was even more impressive. He played for the school team as well as the Marshfield American Legion baseball team as a pitcher and a first base man. While baseball is a game of stats, few are recorded in the local papers. He hit the ball well and threw hard, posting multiple no-hitters for both teams. He pitched the Apaches into the state baseball tournament as a junior but he injured his arm. During the summer between his junior and senior seasons he was able to recover his arm strength and helped lead the Marshfield American Legion team into the state finals throwing no-hitters against Eau Claire and Rice Lake. It should be noted that the Eau Claire team was made up of almost all of the Eau Claire high school team that won that state championship. Growing up he was semi-ambidextrous and so, when he hurt his arm a legend began about his throwing a no-hitter lefthanded (his natural throwing arm) in one game of a double-header and then shifting to his right to throw in the next game, another no-hitter. In a 2013 radio interview while being inducted into the Marshfield Area Baseball and Softball Hall of Fame he admitted he did throw on occasion both left and right-handed but didn’t remember back-to-back no-hitters that way. He said he was very strong as a lefty but certainly not as strong throwing right-handed. While injured as a junior he played the outfield and caught with his left hand and threw with his right. He was also a power hitter with many home runs. One home run, in a legion game against Beloit was measured as traveling 485 feet.

He also participated in track as a junior for three meets. Without any training he competed in the Marawood Conference meet winning three events. In the next meet, the WIAA sectionals, he broad-jumped 21feet, 10 inches. At the state meet he broad-jumped over 20 feet. He even took up golf and scored a 37 on the par 33 Marshfield Country Club course.

Now, as a senior and standing 6’2 and about 195 pounds he was a big man on whatever field he played. The 1963 football season rolled around with the tough schedule ahead it looked like Mickey would have to carry mush of the load on his back. With most of the 1962 team returning and playing a tougher independent schedule again, the Apaches faced Marshfield in the football season opener. Even though their opponent had about four times the number of students than at Auburndale, Vandehey led the team to a 30-18 win. He tossed three touchdowns on 6-9 passes for 167 yards, kicked three extra points and a 30-yard field goal. He followed up with a 42-13 win over Edgar and then they played Stevens Point, another very large school to a 12-12 tie. Mickey was slightly injured in that game as the SPASH defense harassed him all night. Vandehey had driven the team to the Stevens Point nine-yard line as time ran out. According to the Marshfield News-Herald, the referees were whistle happy throughout the game and seemed to be holding Auburndale back. A botched extra point snap didn’t help nor did Vandehey’s throwing four interceptions while under repeated pressure. With a 2-0-1 record they prepared for a showdown with Thorp. As described in last week’s blog, things didn’t go well for Auburndale as they lost 34-0. They also lost their star quarterback for much of the game as well as the next week. a 32-6 loss to Spencer. Mickey sat that game out and along with the two losses and being bothered with a lingering strained ligament in his left leg that clinched his not making any of the all-state first three AP teams. Despite the injury and low overall performance’s as he hobbled through the rest of the season, he would get honorable mention notice. The Apaches finished 5-2-1. His career totals were 3,633 yards passing, 54 td passes, 34 other touchdowns scored, a career 42+ yard punting average over 80 extra point kicks.

Time off between the fall and winter seasons gave Mickey some time to heal. The basketball season started fine and they reeled off 11 consecutive wins to end the season and win the Marawood conference title. When the team center missed a number of games due to a football injury Vandehey played under the basket. The season end though was disturbing. On Sunday, May 1 the Apache basketball center, Ralph Bores, took part in a pre-planned, non-sanctioned game held at Stratford between other players from Stratford, Rozellville and a few other schools. Bores signed up ahead of the event to play, unaware of the WIAA rules on participating in a non-sanctioned WIAA game during the season. The WIAA was alerted by someone from Pittsville who attended the event and several days later not only Bores but the entire team were expelled from the state tournament. The season ended with a 16-3 record, with Mickey missing one game. The removal from the playoffs left a bitter taste in not only Auburndale but area basketball fans who felt that maybe Boras should have been penalized some way but not the entire team. It was thought that if Boras or other members of his team had just gotten together and picked teams at random all would have been ok but being on a “pre-planned” team was not excusable. Playing in 18 games, Mickey scored 549 points on the season for a 30.5 average. In his final game he scored 63 points in a 124-45 win over Athens. For his career Auburndale posted a 69-15 record with Vandehey in the lineup as he scored 1,537 points. His overall performance on the season earned him first team all-state on the AP team. This honor also earned him the distinction as being the first and only athlete in state history to earn all-state in football as a junior and first team all-state in basketball as a senior.

Next up was the baseball season. Auburndale played well and Mickey would have a great year. He had signed a letter of intent to play football for Illinois but then the Chicago White Sox came along and offered him a $50,000 bonus to play professional baseball. He thought of his family and how the money could help so he signed as a two-way player. He would pitch then play outfield or first base. Baseball was different in those days as the minor league draft as we know of it today didn’t exist so any team could sign a player. Playing pro ball is where his old arm problems flared up again and he spent much of the next two years nursing injuries including a torn rotator cuff. He was released by the White Sox and then the army came calling as he was drafted. After two years in the service Mickey attended UW-Oshkosh and earned a degree but not before trying football again. In 1968 the Green Bay Packers were hurting for a punter and so Mickey tried out for them. Vince Lombardi liked what he saw but because his hang time wasn’t exactly what they were looking for Lombardi decided to go with a more experienced player. Vandehey moved to Augusta after college and taught physical education and coached there for many years. He helped coach the boys varsity basketball team, the football team and was head coach of the girls basketball team for about 11 years. Two of his students at Augusta were his two sons, both good basketball players, who played college ball and learned from one of the state’s all-time best athletes.