After a highly successful decade of football in the 1940’s that saw the Salem Wildcats go 68-19-2, the 1950 squad carried over that tradition with one of the best years in school history, As a result, the team earned selection to the Salem Community High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Not only was the 1950 squad one of the most successful in Salem history, it was also one of the best overachieving groups.

Headed into the season the Wildcats had only 3 returning starters and it did endure some early growing pains with a 20-0 loss to Lawrenceville in the season opener.

In the first four years baseball was a league sport in the North Egypt Conference, the Salem Wildcats won the title every year.

The 1954 squad began that streak of dominance and as a result earned selection to the Salem Community High School Sports Hall of Fame.

The 1954 Wildcats, coached by Sam Bliss, were one of the most successful squads in school history. They went 15-3 overall and won the NEC title with a 10-2 record.

dan_wileA four-sport participant during his days in high school, Dan Wile made his name on the gridiron at Salem Community High School.

Wile’s football success at Salem in the 1953 season led him to a collegiate career at the University of Illinois and enshrinement into the Salem Community High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Wile, whose older brother Don was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986, played a big role in the Wildcats 8-1 season in 1953. Wile, a fullback, carried the ball 116 times for 890 yards, a 7.7 average. He was especially tough near the goal line, as he scored 13 touchdowns that season. That included a trio of scores in a 19-6 victory over Centralia.

joe_thomasOne of the most successful gridiron coaches in Salem Community High School history, Joe Thomas was the fifth football coach inducted into the Hall of Fame. He joins fellow SCHS pigskin coaches Fred Corray, Howard Thurman, Kenny Farrar and Van Howe.

Thomas ranks third on the school list in both NEC career coaching victories with 40 and overall victories with 47. His .653 career winning percentage ranks fifth behind Kenny Farrar (.765), Chuck Budde (.711), Scott Steward (.700) and Howard Thurman (.683).

Known for his color and toughness on the field, Thomas coached at SCHS from 1959-66 and during that time guided two conference champions. His 1961 Wildcats shared the league crown with Carmi, while the 1965 team won the title outright. Twenty years would pass before Salem would win another NEC championship.

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