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1963 Stoughton - One of the 60s Best

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.


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