From former coach Jim Johnson:
"I coached at several levels of grade school sports at Sparland in 1964-66, and by then, the old "hilltop"
school building, thus the nickname "Hilltoppers" for the high school teams, while the grade school teams were known as
the "Sparks". The high school's mascot was the mountain sheep, while the grade school used a lighting bolt.) had
become the grade school, a new high school building and gym having been built on the west edge of town -- still on the river
bluff that represented the hilltop of Sparland.
The old high school (now the elementary) gym floor had a floating center line, permanent stands on both
sides, and a stage at the east end. A large section of classrooms was situated on the floor directly over the gym, and
movement within them caused the plaster ceileingin the gym to partially collapse at least once (fotunately AFTER the
season was over.)
Sparland had some great athletes -- Rick Sutherland, Chuck Scoon, Bob Ratliff, Steve Endress, Stan Spellious,
and Denny Bogner, to name a few, and Marty Parrish who, along with Sutherland, Scoon,
and Spellious, would have been a football coach's dream, as all had all-state capability.
But alas, Sparland never fielded a football team. Fortunately, however, a consolidation of Sparland with Mid-County
of Lacon-Varna also ushered in the first football in Marshall County since Mid-County dropped the sport after the
1955 season (during which I, as a Washington High School freshman, played against Mid County twice, with Washington winning
both contests, 33-0 and 14-0) via the creation of a "co-op" team among Midland, Henry-Senachwine, and Wenona, But
Sparland athletes alone could have held their own in football had they ever been given the opportunity!"
From Lucinda Murphy Russell:
"I am a member of Sparland's alumni and had heard from my mother-in-law that Sparland did have a football team long ago.
In the 50's Bill Moody was one of the best basketball
players. As the buzzer was about the end the game, he threw the basketball across the gym and made a basket.
During that era, there was an annual freshmen initiation. Our freshmen class (1955) was the last students to get
initated. Examples: Floyd Murphy had to wear womens heels and borrowed a pair of size 10 shoes
from Mrs. Wilson (music teacher living in Lacon). Wearing a garlic necklace, dozens of braids, clothes on
backwards was required of someone. I had three bruises on my leg from a cattle prod was used by Tom Peugh
during the afternoon event in the gym. Doreen Streitmatter and ? were blindfolded and had to chase
a marble across the gym floor. The class had to walk downtown from the high school at the top of the hill in their "costume"
and scrub the downtown sidewalk near the post office with a toothbrush. Most other details have dimmed with age. We were the
last class to get initated.
I enjoyed seeing the Sparland High School website. Thank you."