The 1981 team revived the tradition of Valle – Ste. Genevieve Herald

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The 1981 Valle Catholic Class football captains Kevin Siebert, Joe Patke, Bruce Wehner and Paul Roth are shown in this photo. (PHOTO SUBMITTED FROM CATHOLIC SCHOOLS OF VALLEY / Special to the Herald)

By ERIC VICCARO

[email protected]

Valle Catholic High School football has produced an exceptional tradition since the 1960s under the leadership of coach Ralph Thomure.

Who can forget this 1966 team? The Warriors outscored their opponents, 535-0, and were reported as “having the talent of a small college team”.

However, for all intents and purposes, the modern era of Valle Catholic began in 1978 under the leadership of coach Mark Benson – who implemented a program that continues to this day.

Benson was the head coach, joined by Rick Suarez and Don Boulware as the Warriors’ top assistants. Frank Wetteroth and Joel Sumner also helped pilot the team at the time.

“We were young,” Benson recalls of Valle’s rise to power. “Everyone (in Sainte-Geneviève) supported me a lot.

Valle Catholic has implemented a year-round strength training program, with players lifting three times a week, even during the offseason.

The coaching staff began to develop the numbers for the program, and by 1981 the Warriors were acclaimed throughout Show-Me state.

“They are so rich in talent and in numbers, it’s ridiculous,” St. Vincent head coach Mike Stewart said in an interview in September 1981. “I would vote for them No. 1 in state right now. ”

Ultimately, that’s what happened when Valle Catholic shared the Class 2A State Championship with Kansas City’s Pius X in a scoreless draw at the cold Busch Stadium which is still revered to this day.

The 1978-1983 players will be honored in a special half-time ceremony in the regular season final between Valle Catholic and St. Pius X (Festus) this Friday at Father John Dempsey Field.

The festivities continue this Saturday at 6 pm with players gathered for a banquet at the Elks Lodge off United States Highway 61. An Italian themed dinner is scheduled for 7 pm. The evening will include video presentations and guest speakers.

“I had a lot of fun in high school,” said Cheryl Bauman, event organizer. “They were the best years of my life. Football made it an exciting time. I liked doing this for them.

After coaching and teaching math at Valle Catholic for five seasons, Benson served as the head football coach at the St. Louis-based Priory.

(Editor’s Note: For the full story and stats, subscribe to the print or electronic editions of the Ste. Genevieve Herald. Subscribe: 1-573-883-2222.)


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