1976 Apache football team inducted

Five individuals and a team will be honored at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8 in the eighth annual IVCC-LPO Hall of Fame induction ceremony in La Salle-Peru High School’s historic Matthiessen Auditorium.

 The 1976 football team, the team that will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, finished 6-3, the best record since IVCC resumed football in 1970 and set the stage for IVCC becoming a national football power in the late 70s and early 80s with five Midwest Bowl appearances.

Coach Vince McMahon’s squad was made up primarily of in-district players from strong high school programs at La Salle-Peru, St. Bede, Ottawa, Mendota and Hall.

The Apaches were led by first team All-State picks Kevin Murphy, a linebacker, fullback Lonnie Denton who went on to start for 1978 Division II national champion Eastern Illinois, and defensive back Bill Pearson (eight interceptions).

Other standouts included punter Bill Manley; offensive linemen Kevin Wall, Joe Kolodziej, Otis Dungan and Art Zimmerman; tight-end Bud Matthews; quarterback Tom Kimrey; wide receiver Pat Reeder; running backs Tim Dessing, Rob Baughman, Tom Samolinski and Mickey Venegas; center Kevin Savio; defensive backs Charlie Hyson, Gary Gahan and Steve Opsal; linebackers Scott Piecha and Bob Ochse; and defensive linemen Dave Rucinski, John Fletcher, Paul Kasperski and Alvin Tingle.