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100 years of Washington high school football will be celebrated Saturday

Fans regularly fill the home stands at Babcook Field for a Washington football game.
Steve Stein
Fans regularly fill the home stands at Babcook Field for a Washington football game.

This is a historic year for the Washington Community High School football team.

The Panthers are entering their 100th season. This is the 40th year for the team's 12th Man booster organization. The 35th annual 12th Man golf outing was held earlier this month.

If that's not enough history and significant anniversary numbers, this is the 19th and final season for Washington football coach Darrell Crouch, who is retiring.

Crouch's record with the Panthers is 145-52, his team has made the state playoffs 15 straight years, and he's had seven seasons with 10 or more victories.

One of those seasons with double digit wins was 2013, when the Panthers went 12-1 and played in a state semifinal game just six days after a tornado devastated the city, making national news.

A celebration of 100 years of Washington football will be held Saturday at Countryside Banquet Facility.

Crouch and John Venturi, who coached the Washington football team in its lone two state championship game appearances, will be among the speakers.

"This is a huge opportunity to celebrate our program," Crouch said. "I can't wait to see the ex-players who will be there.

"We're going to unveil that night a special 100th anniversary helmet that our players will be wearing this season:"

Washington's record is 562-353-33 in its 99 years of football. The Panthers lost 41-28 to Woodstock in 1983 and beat Rockton Hononegah 28-12 in 1985 in Class 4A state championship games.

Neighboring Morton has been the Panthers' most frequent opponent through the years. Washington has dominated the series with the Potters 61-17.

The Panthers are 30-34 against arch-rival Metamora and 45-28 against East Peoria, two other nearby schools.

Among Washington's career statistical leaders are Randy Meneweather (2,835 rushing yards), Isaac Fisher (5,186 passing yards), Dakota Bullard (1,055 receiving yards), Sam Walter (290 points), Chris Friend (202 solo tackles) and Colton Underwood (32 sacks).

Only once in 99 years of Washington football have the Panthers had two 1,000-yard running backs in the same season. That was in 2017, when Josh Schellenberg rushed for 1,199 yards and Walter rushed for 1,149 yards.

Doors will open for the celebration at 6:30 p.m. Speakers will talk starting at 7:30 p.m., then there will be a DJ at 8:30 p.m., and live music from 10 p.m. to midnight.

Tickets are $10 pre-sale, $15 at the door.

Pre-sale tickets are available at Lindy's Downtown Market, Brunk's Sports Center, Ipava State Bank, O'Dea's Cleaners and Shirt Laundry, Washington Community Bank, Teamworks by Holzhauer, Kep's Sports Bar & Grill, and The Brickhouse BBQ, Burgers and Brews.

Countryside Banquet Facility is at 659 School St., in Washington.

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