Twenty years ago last week, the Coal City football team won its one and only state championship. Playing in the IHSA Class 2A title game against Carlinville, the Coalers finished off a perfect 14-0 season with a 20-6 victory over the Cavaliers.
Late in the football season this fall, the faculty at CCHS honored the team on its 20th anniversary for the event, giving them special recognition in front of the home crowd.
“It’s awful special for these guys. This is a bond that they will have forever,” Coal City coach Ken Miller said. “For 13 years they went to school together and they accomplished something that no other team has been able to accomplish here. It will be something that they can share with each other forever. Now here we are 20 years later and they are able to share it with their kids.”
“Extra special,” “brotherhood” and “good to be home,” were some of the ways a few of the honored members of the team felt about the special occasion.
“It feels good to be back here. I mean its been a long time. I haven’t been to too many games over the years to tell you the truth, but it doesn’t feel like 20 years,” Coal City outside linebacker/running back Tim Micetich said. “It feels like yesterday that we were out there. Time flies. It’s good to be honored and its great to be back in town. I’ve kind of been all over, including Europe, and it feels good to circle back home.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum is current Coal City coach Brad Schmitt. He seemingly has never left since he has been serving as the Coal City girls basketball coach for the past 11 years.
“I think it’s extra special. When you play high school football with your best friends, it’s nice that we are able to come back and celebrate something like this,” the former split end and free safety said. “We’ve talked about it and re-hashed the old times. We had a great ceremony inside and are thankful for what the Coal City administration did for us. It’s a good time for us to come out and reunite. I wish everyone could have been here but it’s just not possible. We’ll pass on the pictures and things to everyone else and I’m sure this will be something that will last forever.”
According to tight end/defensive end Cory Wingerter, the time that everyone put in for the sake of the team has bonded them to this day.
“It feels great to come back. It’s been a while since I’ve been here,” he said. “I coached at Braidwood  for a while as an assistant. I miss everybody so it is good to see these guys. It’s good to talk to your brothers. We’re all brothers and we always will be brothers for the rest of our lives. This means a lot to have been a part of history here and it’s nice to be remembered.”
Coal City opened that postseason with a 35-8 win over Watseka, defeated Seneca 38-6 in round two, beat Decatur St. Theresa 28-8 and Aledo 20-19 in the semifinals before defeating Carlinville 20-6 in the championship.
“I always felt that the conference was going to prepare any team for getting ready for the playoffs,” Miller said. “I remember playing the second game against Seneca and the wind was blowing and it was cold and it was not a very nice day for football. For us to get through that part of the playoffs was key. Our conference really prepared us.”
Still Miller said he thinks the motivation for the entire season may have come the year before when Coal City lost a tough 25-21 decision to Marengo in 1992.
“I think maybe [the motivation] came from the year before when we got beat in the semifinals,” Miller said. “It was a game we could have won and that was when a lot of these guys were juniors. It wasn’t hard to get them motivated for the next year. They hit the weight room and they were here in the summertime to put the work in. I think that was the big thing – where it ended the year before.”