Our first entry is one game in the 1975 season where the Lions eventually defended their first Northeast Conference crown by making it two in a row. “The Streak” details every game of each individual season plus a season preview and post-season review. The whole document will be presented to Coach Nalley at the All-Years Reunion as an 80th birthday gift, then made available on this website for all to read and reminisce.
So enjoy this recap of Lisle vs. Lemont from October, 1975. The game was selected randomly among the other 9 games played that year. You’ll have to wait until October to see the rest of that season’s game by game compilation. But keep checking back as we’ll be posting an excerpt from ‘72 through ’80 to give you a feel for what the whole 80+ page document will look like.
I hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane as much as I enjoyed editing it. Please let your friends, family, relatives, and other Lisle alums know to check out this blog and our site.
John Bartels, President, Carlin Nalley Foundation. LSHS Class of 1985.
Lemont touted a strong and fast defense. Their balanced offense could be explosive at times, but at a minimum, they were typically good enough to afford the Injuns a comfortable winning margin. Lisle’s defense had scored four touchdowns in conference games and shut out four opponents. Coming into the clash it was safe to assume the game would ride on the shoulders of each team’s defense.
Kevin Groce ('86) grabs a key first down completion as the Lions whipped Lemont to capture the 1975 NEC North crown.
True to form, when the halftime horn blared over the roar of the more than capacity crowd, the Lions clung to a 7-6 lead. Senior speedster Kurt Grutzmacher scored the first of his two touchdowns in the first quarter when he bolted around the corner and out-raced Lemont to the end zone from 33 yards. Dave Hanson booted the PAT and the Lions were up early, 7-0. A Pete Neisius to Kevin Groce third down completion kept the drive alive, leading to the Grutzmacher score. In the second quarter Lemont answered with the only regular season touchdown pass allowed against the Lions all-junior secondary when the visitors connected from 64 yards through the air. Overall, the rugged Lemont defense had the Lions sputtering on offense, so Coach Nalley dug deep into the playbook to come up with a way to kick-start the second half offense.
Lisle took the second half kickoff, then quickly went to a no-huddle offense as Wally Bass gained 8 yards around right end on the opening play. Immediately, the Lions lined up again with no huddle. Senior back-up quarterback Dick Maxson took the fullback slot. Standing idly near the Lions sideline, but legally in bounds, was junior Jay Grochowski. A direct snap, through quarterback Pete Neisius’ legs to fullback Maxson set the next play in motion. As Neisius carried out a quarterback sneak fake and the middle of the Lemont defense piled on, Maxson actually had the ball and let fly with a bomb down the right sideline. Grochowski gathered it in and out-raced the Lemont defense for a 65-yard touchdown. The “sleeper play” proved to be the spark the Lions needed to overcome a stunned Lemont defense and the standing room only home crowd erupted. Up 14-6 after Hanson’s PAT, and with the crowd roaring on every play, the Lions piled a total of 28 third quarter points on the visitors and rolled into the fourth quarter up 35-6. A stunning turn of events over a quality opponent.
Following Grochowski’s TD, Neisius hit Dave Gorden for a 30 yard scoring strike, then handed the ball to Grutzmacher who plunged over from the one for his second touchdown of the day. As if to remind the crowd that Lisle’s defense was still a dominant force and point-producer, two-year starter, junior Mike Stanley scooped up a Lemont fumble on his own 35 and followed a convoy of blockers as he rambled 65 yards for the Lions fifth defensive touchdown of the NEC campaign.
Neisius completed the scoring with a fourth quarter TD dive from one yard out. The rout was complete as Lisle blitzed its way to the North Division crown on the heels of a 42-6 drubbing of the Injuns. Senior Day was a rousing success. Lisle dominated the Injuns by rolling up 311 yards in total offense. Another solid and complete team victory. Now it was off to Marseilles for a Halloween Night tilt with the South Division champs to attempt to retain the NEC crown.