Jul 05

The Ghosts of Wheaton — Dominating Defense

The Ghosts of Wheaton: How the 1992 'Red Grange' Tigers Conquered Illinois High School Football

Tiger defenders Steve St. Meyer (#4), Christian Olsen (#44) and David “Moose” Mickelsen (#92) stop a Lake Forest running back for a loss during the 1992 playoffs. During the 1992 regular season, the Tiger defense allowed only six offensive touchdowns and trailed only once – for three-and-a-half minutes – while outscoring opponents by an average of 30-6. “I’ve never been on a team that had that level of motivation,” team captain and starting fullback Phil Adler said. “We never worried about anything but the next play. We never thought in terms of winning or losing. We only thought about dominating the football game. We never had to worry about our guys not giving every ounce of effort.”

Jul 02

The Ghosts of Wheaton — The World

The Ghosts of Wheaton: How the 'Red Grange' Tigers Conquered Illinois High School Football

Tiger linebacker and team captain Christian “The World” Olsen returns an interception against Niles Notre Dame during the 1992 playoffs. The 52-0 domination of the Dons avenged the ghost of the Tigers’ devastating 6-3 “Snow Bowl” defeat during the 1989 playoffs that denied the program its first-ever title game appearance.

Jul 01

The Ghosts of Wheaton — Climbing That Hill

The Ghosts of Wheaton: How the 'Red Grange' Tigers Conquered Illinois High School Football

The Tiger defense defends against the Joliet Catholic Academy offense during the 1991 playoffs. The 28-6 victory over the Mike Alstott-led Hilltoppers gave the Tigers their second shot at Chicago Mt. Carmel in the state title game.

Jun 30

The Ghosts of Wheaton — Tiger Blood

The Ghosts of Wheaton: How the 'Red Grange' Tigers Conquered Illinois High School Football

There are a handful of names that best evoke the aura of Tiger football. Red Grange is the obvious first name that comes up. A strong argument can be made that the second is fullback and 1992 team captain Phil Adler.

Jun 25

The Ghosts of Wheaton — On One Leg

The Ghosts of Wheaton: How the Red Grange Tigers Conquered Illinois High School Football

Wheaton Central quarterback Andy Lutzenkirchen, injured for most of the season, tries to elude a Chicago Mt. Carmel defender in the 1990 Illinois Class 5A state title game. Making their first championship game appearance, the bruised and battered Tigers would fall 24-0, but would emerge as a program on the rise.

Jun 24

The Ghosts of Wheaton — Tiger Mania

The Ghosts of Wheaton: How the Red Grange Tigers Conquered Illinois High School Football

Wheaton Central fans cheer on their team during the Tigers’ 7-0 victory over Deerfield in the 1990 semifinal playoff round. The victory would send the program to its first-ever state title game against Chicago Mt. Carmel.

Jun 24

The Ghosts of Wheaton — One-Two Punch

The Ghosts of Wheaton: How the Red Grange Tigers Conquered Illinois High School Football

Fullback Phil Adler (#32) clears the way for running back Bobby Nelson (#2) during the Tigers’ 16-0 semifinal round playoff victory over Rockford Boylan that earned Wheaton Warrenville South a trip to the 1992 Illinois Class 5A state championship game. The rest, as they say, is history …

Jun 21

The Ghosts of Wheaton — Taking the Next Step

The Ghosts of Wheaton: How the 'Red Grange' Tigers Conquered Illinois Football

Wheaton Central/Wheaton Warrenville South Coach John Thorne took over an average football program in 1980 and by 1988 had turned it into an annual contender. Thorne retired from Tiger football after the 2001 season with a 181-65 record (a .736 winning percentage) and four state titles and two second-place finishes in 22 years.