1982 Oak Hill Football Team
Oak HillOak Hill was primed for a state football championship run when coach Jim Law departed in early 1982 for Taylor University. Terry Lichtenberg was a young man in a hurry.
Lichtenberg left Cincinnati Moeller High School’s program to replace Law, and the Golden Eagles’ state title aspirations became real that fall following a wild tournament run.
To this day, the 1982 Eagles remain the only Grant County team to win a state football title, and only Marion twice (1988 and 1990) and Eastbrook (2004) have advanced to a championship game. They won four playoff games on the road and defeated Southridge 14-7 in the Class A final that was played at Lawrence Central High School.
“Coach Law was Oak Hill football ,” said Joel Martin, an offensive guard in 1982 and now Oak Hill superintendent. “He was all we had known. But the transition to Coach Lichtenberg went easier than we thought, and it helped that the rest of the (coaching) staff carried over. Coach Lichtenberg was a great motivator, and the coaches put us in position to be successful.”
Oak Hill started the season 8-0 and held the No. 1 Class A ranking for two weeks following a 21-14 victory over Tippecanoe Valley, then the top-rated team . Then came the Eagles’ only loss at North Miami 21-14.
Once in the playoffs, the Eagles started out with a 13-7 victory over Jimtown and defeated Woodlan 12-6 in overtime after the Warriors missed an extra-point kick in regulation. In the semistate, they won 28-6 at LaVille in the snow and single-degree wind chill.
The state championship game was played in the driving rain. Late in the game, Southridge was deep in Eagles territory driving for a potential tying touchdown when safety Dave Spargo intecepted a pass in the final two minutes and preserve the win.
Among the Eagles offensive standouts were receiver Mick Miller, quarterback Champ Detamore and running back John Rowe, who gained first team all-state honors. Mike Shane was a standout linebacker and went on to earn All-Big Eight honors at Iowa State. Martin received the IHSAA Mental Attitude award during postgame ceremonies.