They Played Football In Peoria - Softcover
By John L. Mckenzie
History of the Mid State Football Conference (1958-1962)
Why a book? After a long run of over a half a century, the Mid State conference has gone the way of the Edsel car. Truthfully, it had been on life support for some time. The conference was replaced in quality and quantity by the upstart Mid Illini. Over the years some of the power shifted across river to schools like Metamora and Washington. Although Richwoods maintained a strong tradition, some of the legendary programs like Manual and Central became mere shells of what they had been. The crowds went away and several of the schools did too. A few of the schools even closed their doors. However, just as I was writing this book, a rebirth at Central has taken place in just the last few years as the Lions rebuilt their program and won a state title! It is interesting to note that the four remaining Peoria schools are back to where it all started - the Big Twelve conference! Manual and Central (along with Pekin) were charter members of the Big 12 in 1925 and spent over 30 years in the league. And now it seems that Peoria football is rebounding and thriving in a new conference. But before the final taps was played and the Mid State conference became some kind of dusty after thought, I felt that a book should be made to remember and keep alive some of the legends, rivalries and stories from years gone by. I didn't want to see a Marv Haycock or Ken Hinrichs forgotten. I wanted people to remember the great Manual teams of the late 1950's/early 1960's and mid 1970's along with the great Richwoods, Central and Spalding teams. I wanted people to remember that once there were crowds of 10,000 at Peoria Stadium. I guess I really wanted to honor the teams, coaches and players that made the Mid State conference a great league for many years.