Picked up the phone to yack with Todd County Athletic Director Chuck Wilson to ask him to weigh in on the Todd County vs. St. Francis rivalry....Asked him about how the games were between TC and SF were in the early 1970's.
"We did not play St. Francis in them days…In those days they were Class B…we were Class A," Wilson said. We were in sections and had to play teams like the Rapid City schools and Pierre."
Not sure if everyone remembers the days back when Todd County was in Class A and played in the sections. One of those years, in the early 1980's, the Falcons had a wicked team with Kevin Busch and Brad Folkers, and others that lost to then state champion, Pierre, with a left-handed dude named Troy Schaefer. Todd County lost in the sectional finals, like 92-89 and never made it to the state tournament in that era.
While TC and SF never played each other in football or basketball in the early 1970's, OH BABY did they duke it out in cross country.
Wilson, part of the 1972 state champion cross country team from Todd County let out a heavy sigh when taking about St. Francis runner Pious Eagleman and his teammate Ambrose Red Kettle..."Those kids were smooth and both of them were damn good," Wilson said.
Think the TC and SF rivalry isn't intense?
Wilson recalls a meet in Pierre in 1972 where St. Francis beat the Todd County cross country team. In those days, there were no busses, only station wagons and as the Todd County team sulked in their station wagon, head coach Rob Surrell ORDERED them to get out.
"St. Francis beat us up in Pierre and the coach was so pissed off he made us get out of the station wagon and run the course TWICE," Wilson said. "He told us we were never going to get beaten by a class A school again."
Wilson speaks fondly of coach Surrell, who was one tough son-of-a-gun!
"He demanded the most out of you every single day in practice .By the end of the season it was effortless and we dominated and won the state title in 1972."
Some of the TC runners from back in the day: (Forgive me on the spelling if they are wrong: Ambrose Red Kettle, Charlie Kloughman, Casey Hawk, Danny Junge, Chuck Wilson, Joe Peneaux, Virgil Sun Rhodes - Steve Heinert before he played football.
While we are trekking down memory lane here, not sure if young people understand that before 1975 girls basketball wasn't sanctioned as a sport. Well, title IX came along and Wilson, while he was away at college brought up the Waln girls..."Totes Waln, Beeze Waln, Mary Waln and Bev Waln," he said. "All of those girls were very good athletes and they worked very hard. There was a mentality about those kids in the early days and they just wanted to win."
Several years ago, a group from that era was honored by TC.
Wilson recalls his basketball years being coached first by Floyd Lamac and then by Wayne Trousdale his senior year.
Players: Tuffy Beardt, Wilson, Randy Whiting, Nate McNeely, Pete Small Bear. Mike Prue was on that team and was later killed in a car accident in the spring.
The rivalry will be rekindled on Saturday as Todd County and St. Francis match up with a monster day of basketball....