Warsaw's First Varsity Football Team To Reunite At Homecoming

Johnie J. Logue
Enterprise Staff
This Friday against Butler, the very first Warsaw Wildcat Varsity football team will be honored at homecoming before the game.
It was September 1, 1978, at Windsor that the Warsaw Wildcats would play their very first varsity game. Head Coach Alan Meyer and Assistant Coach Ken Bowden had high hopes with a JV team that was undefeated the year before. As with any first year program, the Wildcats took their bumps in route to an 1-8 season. They lost their first game to Windsor 31-0. Windsor had qualified for the state playoffs the year before, so the Wildcats didn't actually pick an easy opponent to begin the season with. Again, like any new team, Warsaw was plagued with fumbles and penalties in their attempt to get on the scoreboard. 
On September 23, the Wildcats would claim their very first victory 34-18 over Strafford  at home. That first team included Mark Porter and Scott Rolf as the quarterbacks, Ron Carlson, Gary Martinez and Ernie Flores as the running backs.  Rolf was also the split end while Mike Munson played tight end and did the kicking duties. Sophomore Paul Eason played wide receiver.
On the offensive and defensive lines were Tim Bitteker, Tom Durham, Steve Porter, Richard Shields, Daniel Carpenter, Clay Kreisel and John Pylbon . In the backfield were Billy Shinn and John Hilty, among others.
Lou Degraffenreid was the first homecoming queen and Robyn Hessefort was the first princess. Warsaw played the Archie Whirlwinds at 2:00 in the afternoon on Saturday in that first ever homecoming game and lost 20-14. They had a pep rally and a bonfire on Friday night and a parade through downtown Warsaw on Saturday morning.
In one of the highlights of the season, Junior Gary Martinez ran for 195 yards on 34 carries in a 20-6 loss to Sherwood on the road.
We hope to have interviews and more highlights next week, so make sure you pick up a paper.
WHS invites all former players, coaches and anyone affiliated with the 1978 team to attend the festivities. It should be a great time. The game starts at 7:00 PM, so you will need to arrive early