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News » High School Spotlight: Taft

High School Spotlight: Taft

High School Spotlight: Taft
Eagles once too tough for Butkus

Back in 1960

1The Eagles made four appearances in the Public League championship game, but the 1960 game is special. Three future NFL players were in that game. Taft beat Vocational and Dick Butkus 6-0 for the title. The Eagles were led by Al MacFarlane, who played with Louisville and the Cowboys, and Jim Grabowski, who played with Illinois, the Packers and the Bears.

70,000 at Soldier Field

2Grabowski's most vivid memory of the 1960 season is playing Mount Carmel in the Prep Bowl after beating Vocational for the city title. The Prep Bowl was played at Soldier Field in front of a crowd of more than 70,000. "It was really something," said Grabowski, the 1961 Sun-Times Player of the Year. Taft also won the Public League title in 1972.

Success on the court

3Taft was a basketball force in the Red-North under Frank Hood, who had 480 wins in 25 years as coach. Taft won six league titles in a row from 1988-89 to 1993-94. The Eagles were 28-2 in the 1991-92 season. Top players include Howard Moore, Kenny Pratt, Enoch Davis, Kevin Martin, Shawn Jackson, Colin Murray, Tom Streety, Brett Nishibayashi and Todd and Gregg Gierke.

A city softball power

4Taft's softball team also had success under Hood, winning city titles in 1986, 1988 and 1992 and advancing to the Elite Eight. ''We had a lot of great players those years,'' said Hood, who mentioned Lisa Bradberry, Tanya Lazaro, Connie Leander, Stacey Morrow, Dakota Duce, Tina Angelilli, Sue Selck, Jenny Soufal, Tanya Johnson, Juanita Silva and Jacki and Jill Meyer.

City games

5Taft has won many Public League titles in different sports. The Eagles won in baseball in 1949. With standout Gordon Lund, they won back-to-back baseball titles in 1957-58. The also won in 1964. Taft won more than 10 titles in boys golf. Paulina Bigos won a tennis championship. The Eagles also won a girls softball title in 2006 and a boys volleyball title in 2007.

Notable alumni

* Wayne Anderson: Federal judge.

* Rich Coady: Former Bears center.

* Cara Dunne-Yates: Paralympic medalist in skiing.

* Jim Jacobs: Co-writer of the musical ''Grease.''

* Terry Kath: Former lead guitarist for the band ''Chicago.''

* Ken Kortas: Former NFL defensive tackle.

* Jerry Krause: Former Bulls general manager.

* Gordon Lund: Former Cleveland Indian.

* Al MacFarlane: 1960 Sun-Times Football Player of the Year.

* Lynn Martin: Former U.S. secretary of labor.

* Donna Mills: Actress.

* Howard Moore: Assistant basketball coach at Wisconsin.

* Colin Murray: Former NU basketball player.

* Kenny Pratt: Former Iowa State basketball player.

* Gregg Schumacher: Former defensive lineman at Illinois and in the NFL.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 27, 2008

Darren Howard Name: Darren Howard
Position: DE
Age: 31
Experience: 9 years
College: Kansas State
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