July 25, 2024


A journey back through Ottawa vs. Streator football history, 10 years at a time

A look back at the Pirates-Bulldogs matchups in years ending with ‘3′

Streator's Drew Muntz, shown here in action against Ottawa last fall, was one of four Bulldogs named to the Northern Illinois Big 12 all-conference football team, it was released recently. Also tabbed were linemen Austin Benckendorf and Zac Benckendorf and linebacker Kyle Kurdziolek.

On Nov. 3, 1894, the Ottawa and Streator high school football programs met for the first time, with Streator winning, 14-0. The two sides then played again a few weeks later on Thanksgiving Day afternoon with the game ending in a tie.

The newspaper account from Streator Daily Free Press following the Turkey Day matchup said, “It was a rough and tumble contest from beginning to finish, but all of the boys and their followers sure seemed to enjoy it.”

Time hasn’t changed that for fans of both two sides or the young men who have worn their school colors while battling each other on the gridiron 102 times. Although the series hasn’t been played annually for different reasons, when it is scheduled, it’s one each side dearly wants to win.

Here’s a dive into history and a recounting of some of those interesting matchups in years ending with the “3″s, viewed a decade at a time.


In the eighth meeting between the programs on Oct. 3, Ottawa used its size and quickness in posting a 53-0 victory over host Streator.

The teams didn’t play in 1923 or 1933, but resumed the rivalry in 1934.


Just before halftime of the Sept. 24 game, Ottawa’s Clifford Thorpe entered the game, but instead of replacing the left guard, he substituted in at left halfback. Pirates coach Homer Hankenson tried to call back Thorpe to the sidelines to no avail. However, seconds later Wayne Stevenson was hauling in a 30-yard TD pass from Thorpe which helped the Pirates to a 13-6 triumph at King Field to retain the Silver Jug.

Stevenson gave Ottawa the lead in the first quarter on a 1-yard plunge, before Streator’s Ben Kristal made it a one-point game in the second on a 3-yard dash.


After a scoreless first half on Sept. 25 in front of 4,700 fans at King Field, Bill Novak’s Ottawa squad scored four touchdowns in the final two quarters in a 27-0 victory.

QB Fred Martin (4 yards), Jerry West (25), Jack Anderson (1) and Jim Bretag (36) accounted for the Pirates’ rushing TDs, while Lynn Jehly booted three extra points. Streator failed to break the shutout despite four chances from the Ottawa 4 in the final minutes. Ottawa held a 257-148 advantage in total yards.


In front of an estimated crowd of 4,000 on Ottawa’s homecoming, Tom Stevenson’s 2-yard plunge with just under four minutes to play capped an 80-yard drive and gave Coach Novak and the hosts a 20-13 triumph. Streator’s hope for a game-winning drive failed after an interception.

Stevenson also scored on an 84-yard run on the third play of the game, while Dan Battles added a 3-yard scoring run (PAT kick by Larry Cross) late in the first. Coach Reino Nori’s Streator club scored on a Mike Marx-to-Tom Detrick 7-yard TD pass in the first and a Marx 2-yard run in the third which tied the game at 13-all. Ottawa held a 291-187 advantage in total yards.


On a rainy night at King Field, Coach Joe Hall’s Streator club scored a touchdown in each of the final three quarters in an 18-0 victory, snapping a 14-game losing streak to Ottawa.

The Bulldogs were led by the running of Morris Washington (25 carries, 103 yards) and Willie Williams (26-102), while Steve Broadus had TD runs of 1 and 19. The third Bulldogs TD came when Jack Stephens recovered a fumble in the end zone.

Ottawa QB Don Sutherland completed eight passes for 130 yards, but Streator picked up a interception and also recovered six Pirates fumbles.


Big plays helped Streator in an 18-7 homecoming victory over Ottawa on Oct. 28 to snap an 11-game losing streak. The Bulldogs held a 6-0 halftime lead on a Mike Gallick 13-yard TD run in the second quarter. Gallick finished with 19 carries for 87 yards.

Then in the third quarter, Eric Dickman returned a punt 93 yards for a score before Gallick raced 90 yards after an interception for another. Ottawa, which led 201-139 in total yards but had six turnovers, broke the shutout in the final minute when QB John Biffany found Tom Dekreon for a 10-yard TD pass.


In Week 8 and Streator’s senior night, Ottawa grabbed a 14-0 first-quarter lead in an eventual 27-12 win.

Ottawa opened the scoring with an Aaron Shea to Jake DeWalt 9-yard TD pass before Brent Allen scored from 5 yards out. Shea had a 1-yard TD run in the third and Shane Burgwald a 25-yard dash in the fourth. Burgwald finished with 116 yards on 16 carries, with Allen (three PAT kicks) adding 74 on 10 and DeWalt 45 on 12.

Streator senior running back Ryan Lovins, who posted 176 yards on 20 carries and two TDs (3, 25), went over 1,000 yards for the second straight season while also surpassing 3,000 yards in his career. Lovins ended his Streator career with a school-record 3,170 rushing yards.


Kelly Kane’s Streator squad held a 13-0 lead at halftime and eventually wrapped up a 20-7 win over Ottawa to record its sixth victory of the season and clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 1977.

On the Bulldogs’ first possession of the game, QB Mike Hagerty found Scott Limberg (four catches, 112 yards) crossing the field all alone for a 65-yard TD. In the second period, Walter Moton, who gained 70 yards on 16 carries, tallied a 10-yard TD run. Moton also added a 4-yard scoring run in the fourth.

Ottawa running back Garin Harcar had 25 carries for 115 yards and scored the Pirates’ lone TD on a 1-yard run with four minutes to play. The Pirates held a slight margin in total yards (240-237), but committed three costly turnovers.

Streator running back Nick Harcar tries to break free from Ottawa tacklers Devon Jones (left) and Alex Hinrichs at King Field during the last contested Route 23 Rivalry game in 2013.


In what at the time was seen as potentially the last meeting between the programs with Streator leaving the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference for the Interstate 8, Ottawa grabbed a 23-6 halftime lead on the way to a 29-13 victory in the Week 3 contest at King Field.

Ottawa’s Weston Hoffman scored a pair (1, 10) of first-quarter TDs to get the hosts going. In the second, Dylan Thomas had a 5-yard TD run and Tristan Cunha booted a 22-yard field goal for the Pirates, while Streator’s Nick Harcar scored on a 52-yard dash.

In the fourth, Cahill Horner had a 13-yard TD run, while the Bulldogs’ Drew Muntz, who rushed for 153 yards on 24 carries, scored from the 10.

Thomas finished with 75 yards, Hoffman 61 and Josh Williams 36, while QB Carter Krause went 11 of 16 passing for 140, four completions to Cody Stokes for 48 yards. Ottawa led in total yards, 391-205, including holding Streator to minus-2 passing yards.


Ottawa scored on its first five possessions on the way to a 41-0 triumph over Streator at King Field in the 102nd all-time meeting.

Ottawa quarterback Colby Mortenson celebrates with teammates after running in a touchdown against Streator at King Field on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023.
Brian Hoxsey

Brian Hoxsey

I worked for 25 years as a CNC operator and in 2005 answered an ad in The Times for a freelance sports writer position. I became a full-time sports writer/columnist for The Times in February of 2016. I enjoy researching high school athletics history, and in my spare time like to do the same, but also play video games and watch Twitch.