Written by the late Andy Easton, Sr. for the Gillespie Area News contributed by the Gillespie Public Library
When Gillespie High School started their football program in 1920, little did they know that it would take eight years before they could field a winning team. The 1927 team won the conference and ended the season with an 8-0-1 record. It would take the orange and black another 36 years before they would be undefeated again.
Coach Bill Parmentier put together a team in 1964 that was loaded in talent in the junior-senior class and they were backed up by some outstanding sophomores. The Miners would finish the season with an 8-0-2 record and tie Staunton for the conference championship.
The Miners opened the season by defeating the Feishans 41-0. Dave Hasquin broke through the line and stole the ball from the quarterback Earl Robley and then sprinted 52 yards for the score. Jim Savant kicked the first of his five extra points and Gillespie was up 7-0. Gillespie recovered a Feitshans’ fumble with 16 seconds remaining in the half. A screen pass from Bob Boston to Frank Harris was good and great blocking by Jocko Rolando, Terry Mor and Tom Hollis allowed him to go 48 yards for the touchdown.
In the second half, Boston scored on a sneak, Harris went 20 yards and Rick Tarro 33 yards to score and Steve Benich ended the scoring in the final quarter with a 12-yard run.
Gillespie defeated Hillsboro 32-0 as Boston passed for two scores and ran for another one. Tarro and Harris also scored to put Gillespie up 32-0 at the half. There was no scoring in the second half but the Miners had three touchdowns called back.
Gillespie went to Pittsfield and beat the Saukees 20-6. This was one of the last home games that Pittsfield lost before going on their state-record 64 consecutive victories.
Bucky Chulick scored three times and Adrian Johnson tallied twice as they beat Mount Olive 48-7. Jim Savant kicked six extra points.
Gillespie tied a very good Southwestern team 13-13. Dave Hasquin scored first as he went in from eight yards out. On the ensuing kick-off, the area’s leading scorer Tom Kahl went 82 yards and kicked the point after for a 7-6 lead. Gillespie took the lead back in the second quarter when Boston hit Savant with a seven-yard strike and Savant also kicked the extra point to send Gillespie up at the half, 13-7.
In the third quarter, Kahl got loose again and sprinted 45-yard to tie the game but his extra point was wide. In 1964, Southwestern played in the W.I.V.C. Conference.
The game of the year was played in Staunton. The Miners were without the services of Dave Hasquin and Bob Cunningham who were not dressed because of a school discipline decision. Both teams scored in the first quarter and then battled the remainder of the game. Adrian Johnson busted up the middle and raced 39 yards for Gillespie’s score but the extra point was blocked. Staunton then marched 64 yards and Jim Arico went in from the two. The first run was stopped by Gillespie but they were offside. Roger Kul then went in for the point after but the Bulldogs were called for holding. On the third try a pass was incomplete.
After playing two consecutive tie games, the Miners beat Jerseyville 19-(unknown). Bob Boston hit 13 of 25 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns. Adrian Johnson went in from the two and Jim Savant had two touchdown catches.
At Carlinville, Boston hit Harris with a 75-yard bomb and Johnson ran 55 yards to setup a nine yard pass from Boston to Pat Wesley. The Cavies scored in the third quarter to cut the lead to 13-7. Dave Hasquin putt the game on ice as he ran 24 yards for the score in the final quarter.
Gillespie scored five touchdowns in the second half to defeat Nokomis 30-12. After a 6-6 tie at the half, Boston threw for two scores and Tarro ran for two. Harris and Hasquin also scored. Boston’s touchdown passes went to Savant for 16 yards and Fulton for 41 yards.
Gillespie finished the undefeated season with a 44-0 victory over Dupo. The Miners scored 38 points in the first half. Johnson scored twice on runs of 27 and three yards while Hasquin got loose on the 34-yard scamper. Tarro went 31 yards and Boston 52 yards for scores. Bucky Chulick went in from 11 yards out and Hasquin scored the final tally with a nine-yard gallop.
The 1964 team was outstanding. They had it all – speed, offense, defense, kicking, and team depth. Gillespie scored 298 points, rushed for 2,140 yards and completed 64 of 114 passes for 1,118 yards and 13 touchdowns. This team has to rank as one of the top five or six teams to represent Gillespie High School.