robert_scolesA 1986 inductee into the Salem High School Sports Hall of Fame earned the nickname of “The Battering Ram” in powering the Salem Wildcats to a North Egypt Conference Championship in 1941 and to a 13-12 victory over Centralia in the well-publicized “Battle of Marion County.” Bob Scoles, a 1942 graduate of Salem Community High School, was named to the Champaign News-Gazette All-State Team his senior year.

Twice a unanimous first team choice for all North Egypt Conference honors, Scoles’ senior year was particularly outstanding as the Wildcats finished with an 8-1 record and won the championship with a 6-0 mark. The year before the Wildcats had tied with Flora for conference top honors, each with 5-0-1 marks, tying 7-7 in their head-to-head meeting.

1941 was to be a banner year as they opened with three successive shutouts, including a 7-0 victory over Flora, with Scoles scoring the touchdown in the last two minutes. Only Fairfield scored on the Wildcats in conference play in a 46-6 Salem win. In the opener at Lawrenceville, Scoles scored the first two touchdowns in a 20-0 win. The games at Mt. Carmel and Olney, 26-0 and 2-0 wins, were much publicized “mud baths” as pouring rain turned the fields into quagmires.

In the much publicized meeting with Centralia, billed as a duel between Scoles and Dwight Edleman, each scored two touchdowns but it was Scoles’ “battering ram” style that dominated the game with Salem having a ball possession edge of 57-24 plays.

Named with Scoles to the 1941 All-NEC Team from Salem were end Roy Gatewood, guard Kenny Roberts and tackle Leo Roberts. In 1940, named with Scoles to the first team was the late Henry “Red” Hinkley, a halfback.

After graduation, Scoles followed his high school coach to Illinois Wesleyan where Van Howe had been named coach. Scoles started at fullback as a freshman, scoring both touchdowns in a 13-0 opening win over Eureka. The Wesleyan roster was dotted with former Salem players-besides Scoles, Bill Finks, Herman Howard, Lawrence Chapman and Carl Gatewood were also listed. In a 26-0 loss to Toledo, Scoles and Howard were both injured; Scoles’ injury virtually ending his collegiate career.

After service in the Air Force during World War II, Scoles entered Tulsa University, where another promising freshman from Salem, Jim Finks, was about to embark on an outstanding career. Again, injuries forced Scoles from action.

Bob Scoles also participated in basketball and track while in high school and was a member of the 1939-40 State Basketball Team which was also inducted into the SCHS Hall of Fame.

He is now retired from General Motors and lives in Salem with his wife, the former Charlotte Jett.