In 1975, the rivalry between the Granite City South Warriors and the Granite City North Steelers was big.
"In my senior year in '75, the rivalry was certainly there," said Tom Schooley, who competed in football, basketball and track for Granite City South.
Two years before, Granite City High School was split into two high schools. An additional high school campus was constructed on Maryville Rd. and was named Granite City North (which is now Southwestern Illinois College). The current campus on Madison Ave. was renamed Granite City South.
In the fall of 1975, Granite City South dropped out of the Southwestern Conference and became an independent. The Warriors later returned to the SWC.
"Had we stayed together as one school, we would be looking at conference championships in football, basketball and having a very good track team," said Schooley, who works as an attorney in Granite City. "But when the district decided to split, half of the talent pool went to North and half of the talent pool went to South. When they divided the talent pool, it made it much more difficult to compete in the Southwestern Conference for Granite City South."
Both North and South had strong athletic seasons in 1975, the year Gerald Ford was president, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Jaws were among the top motion pictures and disco, pet rocks and mood rings were popular.
South had one team (boys' soccer) qualify for state and had a total of three all-state medalists (Schooley, Kevin Page and Bill Rusick) and North had two state qualifying teams (girls' bowling and boys' cross country) and one all-state medalist (Keith Whelan). South's athletic director was Joe Fedora and North's AD was Don Deterding. Gilbert Walmsley and James Dumont were the principals for North and South, respectively.
North and South's 10-year rivalry ended in 1983, when North and South were merged into Granite City High School.
For the third time in four seasons, Granite City South competed at the state tournament.
South earned a trip to state by beating North 1-0 in the sectional championship match at North High. The year before, North beat South 2-1 in overtime in the sectional title match to make its first and only trip to state.
Rick Fernandez of South scored a goal with 11 minutes left in the second quarter of the 1975 sectional championship match. Back then, there were four 18-minute periods in Illinois high school soccer.
South lost to eventual state champion Hinsdale Central 1-0 in double overtime in the state quarterfinals at Illinois State University. The Warriors, who won a state title in 1972, finished 19-3-2, including a 17-match winning streak.
Gene Baker recorded 56 wins after three seasons as Granite City South coach. He coached the Warriors to a third-place finish in 1973, his first season.
Both the Warriors and Steelers advanced to the sectional finals by winning their sub-sectional title matches. North, which finished 12-10-3, beat Collinsville in the Granite City North Sub-Sectional and South knocked off East St. Louis Assumption 4-2 in the Granite City South Sub-Sectional.
South's Mark Goldschmidt and North goalkeeper Rick Demaree were named to the all-state team.
North and South each had an all-state medalist in 1975, making it the first time both schools had at least one state-place winner in the same year.
South's Kevin Page earned his first all-state medal after placing fifth in the 119-pound division. Keith Whelan became North's first all-state medalist after finishing sixth at 98 pounds.
Page beat Dave Palmer of Rockford East 6-3 in the 119 fifth-place match and Whelan lost to Mike Koch of Franklin Park 7-0 in the 98 fifth-place match.
North and South had a combined seven state qualifiers. Page, Jim Caschetta, Steve Garland, Don Hasty and Brian Wilson were South's representatives at the state tournament at the University of Illinois. Whelan and Matt McCullough were the Steelers' only state qualifiers.
South finished 19-1-1, shared the Southwestern Conference championship with Belleville East and won the district championship for the 18th year in a row. The Warriors won the Edwardsville district tournament with 101 points and the Steelers were second with 68.
But the Warriors, coached by William "Red" Schmitt, didn't win their fourth straight sectional title as Belleville East knocked off South 73-71.5 in the Granite City South Sectional. Earlier in the season, the Warriors and Lancers were awarded the share of the conference title after the two teams finished in a tie for first with 75 points in the league tournament at Edwardsville.
North, coached by Walt Whitaker, finished 16-2. The Steelers lost to South 28-15 in a dual match.
The Warriors and Steelers finished with winning seasons, but they didn't qualify for the state playoffs.
North finished with a 6-3-1 record, including a 16-7 win over South in the season opener for both teams on Sept. 5 at the South campus. South finished 5-4 after ending its regular season with a 35-20 win over East St. Louis.
The Steelers beat the Warriors for the second year in a row. They did not meet in 1973.
Down 7-3, the Steelers rallied with a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Leo Pelek scored on a 37-yard touchdown lateral pass from Larry Schleicher with 1:04 left in the game to give North a 9-7 lead. Schleicher, who had a school-record 205 yards receiving in the regular season finale against O'Fallon, intercepted a pass and scored a 30-yard touchdown run as time expired.
DeSmet ended the Steelers' hopes of going to the state playoffs for the second straight year in a row after the Spartans beat North 21-0.
The Steelers, coached by Tom Wyrostek, also had wins over Collinsville, Roxana, Mater Dei, Assumption and O'Fallon. The Warriors, coached by Stan Wojcik, had wins over Riverview Gardens, Cahokia, Collinsville, Alton and East St. Louis.
Schooley earned all-state honors in the 330-yard low hurdles for the second year in a row after finishing eighth in 38.64 seconds at the state meet in Eastern Illinois University.
He finished third in 1974.
"It was certainly an honor to get back to the state track meet in my senior year," said Schooley, who also competed in the 120-yard high hurdles and the mile relay.
Schooley went up against Greg Foster of Proviso East in the finals of the 330-yard low hurdles. Foster went on to compete at UCLA and won a silver medal in the 110 hurdles in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
"He was in lane four and I was in lane three. We had the two fastest qualifying times going into the finals," said Schooley, who was awarded the Ben Isselhardt Memorial Award for outstanding track athlete. "Unfortunately for me, I hit a hurdle and it resulted in me getting eighth. His time was almost a second faster than my mine going into the finals. He set a national record for that event in that race. Greg went into two different Olympics running hurdles. It would have been an upset for me to beat him, but I certainly gave it my good shot. I came up short."