Ron Winemiller on the Benton Rangers summer

by Steve Dunford

I asked  Benton Ranger Basketball Coach Ron Winemiller about what kind of Summer his team had on the hardwood,

He said they played about forty games.   The Rangers faced Goreville, an opponent in the Goreville Invitational in December, they also faced Vandalia, Greenville, Paris and Teutopolis.  They faced Missouri schools of Dexter,  Benton, and Cape Central.

On one trip to the 217, the Rangers were commended for helping a local farmer load a water tank in the back of a farmer’s truck.  The website shared a link of the story from the Benton Gazette.  Below is the link.

Rangers to the Rescue!

Gone will be Timmy Henson, Austin Wills, and Derek Oxford, Henson and Oxford were for year starters, counting Timmy’s freshman year at Thompsonville.   However the five of Gehrig Wynn, Cade Thomas, Hamilton Page, Parker Williams, and Blaine Pankey has played together since Junior High.  I am unsure of his other Seniors, but Coach Winemiller said his seniors will have to log the bulk on the minutes this year, but he was impressed with the growth of the underclassmen.

He said Mt. Carmel, Effingham St. Anthony and T-Town were the best three Illinois teams the Rangers played this summer.

I did not talk about the Southern Illinois to River race, as I talked about the GEC race with Pete Gordon.  I would have the Rangers as an upper division team.

With Blake Dure back, and point guard Will Gibbs transferring from Carrier Mills, I think Harrisburg will be the team to beat in the conference. Since the Bulldogs will be 2A this year,  I would not be one but surprised if Randy Smithpeters makes another trip to Peoria with this team.

Daryl Murphy just reloads every year down at Murphysboro.  Joe Hosman was singing the blues down at Massac County, and ended up 6-4 in the conference, and a .500 record on the season.

Herrin will have its third coach in third years in Benton Native Sayler Shurtz.   They will be pretty young, with a good nucleus.  I can guarantee you this, West Frankfort will win more than one game in the SIRR Ohio this year.  The Redbrids have a very strong junior class coming in.  If I was an opposing team, I would not want to go to Max Morris Gym this season.  There will be a lot of upsets there.

In four months, the Rangers will be tipping it up at the Goreville Tournament.  It does not seem like in four weeks, teams will be under the Friday Night Lights.


Rangers take third in the 1933 IHSA State Tournament

by Steve Dunford

In this series, 1933 is the year district scores are added to the database I get the scores from years past from.  You will see scores from several schools throughout the county that no longer exist.

To see some of these across Southern Illinois, here is a link to the site

The Rangers finished third in the IHSA State Tournament by defeating Gil;espie 36-18 in the third place game.  This is noteworthy, a Franklin County team finally got by the Canton Little Giants, as Benton picked up a 23-21 win.

On the Rangers road to Champaign, they picked up a four point win over the West Frankfort Redbirds, in the WF district tournament.

They won the Carbondale Sectional by blowing out the Metropolis Trojans 31-18.  In the quarterfinals and semi-finals, they had barnburners to Johnston City and Galatia.

Here is a full list of scores below.


Benton 21-12 Zeigler
Nason 23-18 Waltonville
Ewing 34-22 Ina
Woodlawn 31-21 Thompsonville
McLeansboro 36-20 Macedonia
West Frankfort 36-24 Sesser
Benton 74-19 Nason
Woodlawn 25-24 Ewing
West Frankfort 42-20 McLeansboro
Benton 67-15 Woodlawn
Benton 21-17 West Frankfort


Vergennes 29-18 Tamaroa

DuQuoin 20-10 Christopher

Hurst-Bush 27-19 Valier

Hurst-Bush 37-20 Vergennes

DuQuoin 30-13 Ava

Murphysboro 33-19 Elkville

Hurst-Bush 21-19 DuQuoin

Hurst-Bush 35-27 Murphysboro


Herrin 51-19 Willisville

Metropolis 46-22 Hurst-Bush

Galatia 21-19 Cairo

Benton 18-16 Johnston City

Metropolis 34-24 Herrin

Benton 35-32 Galatia

Benton 31-13 Metropolis


BENTON (31): Wallace 12, Manis 9, Henry 7, Parrish 3.

METROPOLIS (13): Cagle 7, Kidd 3, Bean 3.




Springfield (H.S.) 30, Hutsonville 15

Gillespie 25, Chicago (Lake View) 23

Harvey (Thornton) 39, Mahomet 28

Benton 23, Canton 21 (2 OT)


Springfield (H.S.) 17, Gillespie 14

Harvey (Thornton) 28, Benton 19

Third Place

Benton 36, Gillespie 18


Harvey (Thornton) 14, Springfield (H.S.) 13


Rangers lose in the quarterfinals of the 1932 at state

by Steve Dunford

The Benton Rangers lose to Kewanee in the first round of the IHSA state tournament to Kewanee 12-11 in 1932.

They won the Johnston City Sectional by beating the Galatia Bearcats 23-18.  With the next post there will be district scores involved as well.

Johnston City Sectional

Metropolis 23-19 East. St. Louis

Benton 8-4 Galatia

Dupo 33-27 Marissa

Galatia 30-28 Cairo

Galatia 36-27 Metropolis

Benton 43-11 Dupo

Benton 23-18 Galatia

BENTON (23): Henry 13, L. Smith 4, Lawson 3, Rector 2, Rhodes 1.

GALATIA (18): Hall 9, J. Jones 5, O. Jones 3, Wiggins 1.

1931-32  State Tournament

Canton 19, Springfield (H.S.) 12
Lawrenceville 31, Rantoul 21
Kewanee (H.S.) 12, Benton 11
Berwyn-Cicero (Morton) 29, Hillsboro 12

Canton 24, Lawrenceville 20
Berwyn-Cicero (Morton) 28, Kewanee (H.S.) 20

Third Place
Lawrenceville 27, Kewanee (H.S.) 19

Berwyn-Cicero (Morton) 30, Canton 16

Rangers fall to JC again in the 1931 sectional…Indians finish 4th in the state

by Steve Dunford

Thank you all for the positive response as I have been looking back into the archives of some of the postseasons in the past.

For the rest of the month of July we will be focusing on High School Basketball and talk to area coaches about their summer.

I will be changing to High School football and the other fall sports mode on August 1st.

In 1930, there was not a Franklin County school that made it to the sectionals.  Carbondale beat Mt. Vernon for the sectional finals and fell in the quarterfinals at state.

In 1931, the Rangers fell to the Johnston City Indians in the semi-finals of the Carbondale Sectional.  JC Beat Simpson in the Championship game.  The Indians took the fourth place trophy back to Williamson County as they fell to Chicago Harrison in overtime.

Here is the sectional and state tournament scores from 1931.


Murphysboro 22-12 Cobden

Simpson 19-17 Pinckneyville

Benton 47-15 Chester

Johnston City 17-7 Equality

Simpson 12-10 Murphysboro (OT)

Johnston City 17-15 Benton

Johnston City 14-12 Simpson (OT)

1930-31  State Finals


Chicago (Harrison) 44, Mt. Vernon (H.S.) 33

Decatur (H.S.) 24, Collinsville 23

Galesburg (H.S.) 30, Peoria (Manual) 22

Johnston City 23, Rantoul 14


Decatur (H.S.) 27, Chicago (Harrison) 20

Galesburg (H.S.) 28, Johnston City 27

Third Place

Chicago (Harrison) 28, Johnston City 26 (OT)


Decatur (H.S.) 30, Galesburg (H.S.) 26

Benton bows out of the Harrisburg sectionals to the state champs, the JC Indians in 1929

by Steve Dunford

The Benton Rangers ended their 1929 campaign falling to the Johnston City Indians, 29-28 in the Harrisburg Sectional.  The Rangers were coached by H.B. Tabor, finished their campaign with a 21-7 record.   It sounds like JC went for the two point conversion in the last seconds, instead of kicking the extra point.

Johnston City was coached by LaRue VanMeter.  They were 31-3 on the season defeating Champaign 30-21 in the title game.  I remember their old gym had 1929 State Champs painted on one end of the floor.

Harrisburg Sectional

Johnston City 20-15 Harrisburg

Pinckneyville 42-18 Simpson

Benton 32-20 Anna

Johnston City 21-15 Pinckneyville

Johnston City 29-28 Benton


JOHNSTON CITY (29): Davidson 12, Hafell 6, Suduris 6, Pierce 2, Baline 2, Groves 1.

BENTON (28): Mundy 11, Foulk 9, Manis 5, Henry 2, Eskew 1.



Champaign (H.S.) 43, Mt. Carmel 30

Freeport (H.S.) 30, Wheaton (H.S.) 28

Peoria (H.S.) 27, Witt 18

Johnston City 14, Lincoln 9


Champaign (H.S.) 40, Freeport (H.S.) 24

Johnston City 19, Peoria (H.S.) 15

Third Place

Freeport (H.S.) 27, Peoria (H.S.) 15


Johnston City 30, Champaign (H.S.) 21

Steven Anderson picks up the W for Herrin Post #645

HIGHLAND, IL – (Zachary Rainey, Effingham Daily News.  Please click on the link above for the full story.  The line score will be below)

NOTE:  The Herrin American Legion baseball team’s roster is loaded with a lot of players from Franklin County.  I will be keeping a close eye on them throughout the post season run.

WP – Anderson (5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K); LP – Thoele (5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HB)

Newton Post 20: Goedde (1-3, 1B); Bierman (1-3, 1B, RBI); Grunloh (1-3, 1B); Jansen (0-2 BB); Weber (1-2, 1B, R);

Herrin Post 645: Oxford (1-2, 1B, RBI, BB, R); Schimpf (0-1, BB, HBP, R); Hartline (1-3, 3B, 2 RBI, R); Chamness (1-3, 1B, RBI); Bush (1-3, 1B); Parks (1-3, 2B, R); Gibson (BB);

Corn – Phelps inducted into SI Miners HS coaches Hall of Fame tonight

by Steve Dunford

MARION, IL  –   This evening the Southern Illinois Miners will make their third and fourth inductions into their Southern Illinois High School Coaches Hall of Fame this evening.  So far, all four have strong Franklin County ties.

Dick Corn the long time coach of the Pinckneyville Panthers, and Tony Phelps was the long time volleyball coach of the Benton Rangerettes, will be inducted this evening.  Corn will join his high school coach, Rich Herrin in the HOF.  The other inductee legendary football coach Mike Rude, was a star athlete for Christopher High School.

Corn’s teams brought two state Class A Boys Basketball state titles from Peoria back to Perry County in 1994 and 2002.  The Panthers finished fourth in the state in 2006. as well.

His Panther team came very close to brining a state title home from Champaign as well, losing a heartbreaker in the championship to Pana in 1988.

Between 1975-2007 Corn’s record was 708-259.  Along with the state hardware, his teams won 24 Class A regional titles, and seven sectional titles.

Phelps’ record as coach of the Rangerettes 476-148-7 between 1998-2015.  His teams won 12 regional titles, five sectionals, and made two state tournament appearances.

Phelps also owns a regional title in Boys Basketball as coach of the Benton Rangers.

Phelps later started the volleyball program at Morthland College in West Frankfort.  Rich Herrin started the Men’s Basketball program, and Mike Rude started the football program at Morthland.  The school scrapped their athletic program in the spring.

The induction will be at 6:30 during the pre-game show.  The Miners will be facing the Washington (PA) Wild Things at 7:05.

Southern Illinois Healthcare is the sponsor of this event.  SIH is also a sponsor of  Support for the event, as well as the website is appreciated greatly.





Rangers bow out in the 1928 quarterfinals to Canton

by Steve Dunford

It has been around a week since I have did one of these looking back of old post season games.

The Canton Little Giants dominated Franklin County teams when they would get to what I assume was Huff Gym on the University of Illinois campus.

The roaring 20’s belonged to the Redbirds, but 1928 belonged to the Benton Rangers, as they bowed out to the eventual state champs.

Benton hosted the sectional that year.  Appearing in the sectional were a lot of consolidated schools now.  In the future, they would have been district schools.

I am going to provide a couple links below.  The first is where I get sectional scores from.  The second is where I get the state tournament scores off the IHSA website.  There have been several requests for them.  When I get into the 1930’s, there will be regional and district scores appearing.

The Rangers defeated the Carbondale Terriers 21-9 in the Sectional Championship game.

Benton Sectional:

Carbondale 26-10 Mound City

Benton 22-12 Marion

Elkville 23-22 Karnak

Carbondale 25-24 Enfield

Benton 17-12 Elkville

Benton 21-9 Carbondale


BENTON (21): Harper 7, Samuels 6, Eskew 4, Doty 4.

CARBONDALE (9): Bricker 4, Holder 2, Phillips 2, Garner 1.

1927-28  State Tournament


Witt 33, Streator (Twp.) 31 (OT)

Canton 23, Benton 11

Aurora (West Aurora) 28, Rochelle 14

Griggsville 22, Hutsonville 21


Canton 19, Witt 17

Aurora (West Aurora) 31, Griggsville 24

Third Place

Witt 40, Griggsville 26


Canton 18, Aurora (West Aurora) 9

McMahon to Continue Baseball Career at Maryville

BENTON, IL-  (William McPherson, Benton Gazette.  Please click on the link for the full story.  Here is an excerpt.  The photo is from the Gazette as well.)

The Benton Rangers starting pitcher Ian McMahon has announced his intention to play baseball at Maryville University, located in St. Louis next fall after completing his senior year with the Rangers.

McMahon made the announcement on social media earlier this week.“I am very excited to announce my commitment to Maryville University (Maryville University Baseball) to continue my athletic and academic career! I would like to thank: my family, friends, all of my teammates and my coaches who have helped me get to this point in my career!

McMahon, who will be a starting senior next year with the Rangers, was named both All Conference and All-South in his Junior season. As a pitcher, Ian went 6-3 with an ERA of 2.30. McMahon led the Rangers in innings pitched, and in strikeouts with 65—more than double the number two spot on the list. McMahon has been a part of three straight conference championship winning teams with Benton.

Offensively last season McMahon batted .319 and hit three homeruns, tying teammate Bryden Picklesimer for most on the team.



Shurtz named new Boys Basketball Coach for the Herrin Tigers

by Steve Dunford

HERRIN, IL –  The voice of the Herrin Tigers, Mike Murphy, broke this late last night.  The Herrin School Board named Benton native Sayler Shurtz as their head basketball coach last night.

Shurtz, spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach to Jacob Emling at Elverado.  In those two years, the fortunes turned at Elkville, going from an 0-25 season two years ago, to a 21-7 season, sharing a South Egyptian Conference title with Meridian and Cobden.

Shurtz also comes from a pedigree of coaches in his family.  His father Rod, was head coach of the Benton Ranger team that finished third in Class A in 1992.  That team was led by Jo Jo Johnson.  His brother Seger has led the Christopher Lady Bearcats to back to back regional titles.

Shurtz replaces Herrin AD, Mike Mooneyham, who came back for a one year second tour of duty after Irv Lukens resigned.  Mooneyham still remains as Athletic Director.

I look forward to talking with Coach Shurtz in this upcoming basketball season.  Coach Mooneyham was always accessible, and that means more than you know in preparing to write about a game.

In some other SIRR-Ohio news, the West Frankfort school board has hired Jory Dial to replace recently retired Richard Glodich as athletic director.  Dial has served as a long time assistant to football coach Brian Beery and served as an assistant to Matt Hampleman last year in girls basketball.

He was also an assistant in boys basketball to Kevin Toney and Dan DeWerff.  I will try to get with Coach Dial soon.