1998 – Basketball: Seward, 1948 and 1949

Seward High School basketball, coached by Tom McLaughlin, made a name for itself in the era of 50 years ago, making it to the state championship game three consecutive years in 1947, 1948 and 1949. Only a handful of schools after the time when districts determined state tournament teams could boast of three-in-a-row trips to the state finals.

The Hall of Fame chose to bestow its Golden Anniversary Award, planned for an outstanding team in the school 50 years ago, on Seward’s championship teams of 1948 and 1949, both of them.

The late Roland Rivers made all the all-state teams during the 1947-49 era and was the leading Class B scorer in the state two years in a row when Seward won its state championships.

The 1948 team posted a 20-2 record and came to Lincoln for a state tournament sweep with wins over Cozad (41-33), Crete (41-33) and Ord in the finals (52-42). The 1949 team collected a prized regular season victory over Class A’s highly-regarded Hastings and its star Chuck Stickels (who is in the Hall of Fame), and the Bluejays finished off a 21-1 season with another successful trip to the state tournament–beating Loup City (51-38), Gothenburg (51-44) and Omaha Holy Name in the finals (33-29).


Dick Briggs 49
Ted Dierberger 48(s)
Don Hagemoser 48(s)-49(s)
Jim Hayes 48-49
Don Imig 48-49(s)
Dick Miller 48
Cleon Nagel 48
Roland Rivers 48(s)-49(s)
Don Rolfsmeier 48(s)-49(s)
Jack Rousselle 48-49
Bernard Scheer 49(s)
Bruce Schroeder 48
Eldon Schuknecht 49
Don Strunc 48(s)
Norman Walla 49
Dick Welsh 49
Ken Wergin 48-49
Coach Tom McLaughlin
Assistant–Cecil Walker

1999 – Basketball: Lincoln Northeast, 1949-50

The 1949-50 Lincoln Northeast basketball team, a veteran team that had won the Class A state championship the previous year, played a good one on their new coach.

In Ed Johnson’s first game, they lost. Scottsbluff beat ‘em. At Northeast, no less.

Apparently, no one pushed the panic button. The team did not lose another game that year. And Ed Johnson hung around and became a legend in Nebraska high school basketball coaching (inducted into this Hall of Fame in 1994).

Scottsbluff figured twice in the 1949-50 school year. It was Northeast’s state tourney finals opponent and the Rockets this time had all the answers, culminating their 19-1season with a 36-31victory.

Northeast averaged 49.6 points per game. Opponents could score only 30.4 per game. Jack Wood and Paul Fredstrom won all-state honors.

Guard Bill Bowmaster notes that 13 of the 14 players on this team, and the 1949 team, also played football at NE. And Northeast finished second in The World-Herald’s final football ratings to Omaha Tech, the football team honored by the Hall of Fame as a Golden Anniversary Team in 1999.

Lincoln Northeast Basketball:

1950 – 19-1
Junior Amend F
Gerald Bingham F
Bill Bowmaster G
Paul Fredstrom C
Jim Gekas F
Ed Glass F
Harvey Groth C
Richard Grell G
Leon Lehr F
Duane Rankin G
LeRoy Seng G
George Stephens F
Jack Wood G
Coach: Ed Johnson
Manager: Jack Childress

1999 – Football: Omaha Tech, 1949

The 1949-50 Omaha Tech school annual staff tried its best to review the football season and make it sound interesting. “It would be virtually impossible to pick out the one outstanding game of the season,” editors concluded. “Every one was thrill-packed.”

Well. To put it a few other ways, every game also was a romp… a flat-out walkaway… a good thumping… a very long night for the opposition. Victories all for the Tech High squad anywhere from 13 points to 46. Coach Ken Kennedy’s team had six shutouts and gave up only two touchdowns in an 8-0 season that was aptly rewarded at the end with the state championship.

This team was behind just once all season long, briefly in the Benson game when Benson scored the first touchdown. Tech won the Missouri Valley championship, the Intercity Conference championship as well as the state title.

“The impressive way the Maroons marched through an undefeated campaign is all happy history for Tech rooters,” wrote The World-Herald’s Don Lee. “They’ll have a right to crow about the Blitz of “49 for as long as they wish.”

Ray Novak, Ralph Brown, Mike Cottrell, Jerry Lawson, Leonard Singer and George Sader all made all-conference, which gives us an idea on how dominating this team was in a strong conference. Brown, Singer and Novak were all-state. Novak was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a pioneer athlete on the same day this team was honored as a golden anniversary team.

Tech High in 1949

Game by Game — 8-0
Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln, 28-0
Omaha North, 13-0
Omaha South, 46-0
Omaha Benson, 34-6
Omaha Central 28-0
Omaha Creighton Prep, 38-0
Lincoln High, 33-7
Sioux City Central, 33-0


Eddie Anderson
Dick Artison
Dick Boonstra
Art Erickson
Alfred Brown
Ralph Brown
Clayton Bullard
Bob Caffarelli
Bliss Carlson
Dick Case
Al Cattano
Mike Cottrell
Dick Crounse
Leon Farris
Wallace Gray
Milton Hearn
Jack Howell
Ray Kennedy
Jerry Lawson
Don Madison
James McGary
Don Mosiman
Ray Novak
Bill Olderog
Jack Pearson
Aaron Reed E
Roger Rosenquist
Lou Rusin
George Sader
Leonard Singer
Jack Spina
Norman Swanson
Gene Waldecker
Coach Ken Kennedy