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pared for Dwenger’s flex offense but still thought his team played their hearts out. It was Griffith’s first trip to the semi-state. Dwenger went on to win a state championship. For a program that is recognized for excellence in the Calumet Region and is respected throughout the state as an annual title contender, with the exception of the magical 1997 state championship season, the Panthers past is littered with the agony of heartbreaking defeats in big ballgames. The following are the “Games Of Infamy” a list of thirteen of the more infamous losses in Griffith football history in chronological order. Number 1 – 11/3/89: Bishop Noll 25 Griffith 18 3A Sectional Championship Bishop Noll rallied with three minutes left in the fourth to defeat 10-0 Griffith 25-18 for Noll’s first sectional championship in what Noll Coach Jerry Vlasic called the Warriors biggest win in 19 years. Trailing 17-6 entering the final fram, Bill Polites scored on a one yard touchdown with 9:53 left to pull Griffith to within 17-12. After Noll fumbled the ensuing kick-off, the Panthers scored on a Greg Row one yard run to take an 18-17 lead with 5:33 left. Noll then went 64 yards in eight plays and scored with three minutes left for the victory. Griffith Coach Les Thornton noted after the game the Panthers had made too many mistakes to overcome. Griffith failed on all three of its two-point conversion attempts. Bishop Noll went on to win the 3A state championship. Number 2: 11/22/91 – Ft. Wayne Dwenger 27 Griffith 21 3A Semi-State Three A #4Griffith led 21-19 at the 7:46 mark of the 4th quarter but couldn’t keep the Saints out of the end zone as Dwenger punched in the winning score with 2:04 to play. Thornton admitted the Panthers weren’t pre-

Number 3: 11/14/92 – Angola 12 Griffith 7 3A Regional Number three Angola avenged a regional defeat from the year before at the hands of #1 ranked and undefeated Griffith by a 12-7 score, ending Les Thornton’s illustrious career as Griffith Head Coach. Angola held a 12-0 lead at the end of three quarters. With leading rusher Jerry Farrar out with an injury, Griffith was held to 40 yards rushing before finally scoring in the 4th quarter on a time consuming, 16 play-65 yard drive. Griffith got the ball back again later but an Angola interception sealed the win for the Hornets. Les Thornton, who had hoped to end his coaching career in the state championship, instead stated after the loss: “I’m a history teacher, and now I’m history.” Number 4: 11/10/94 – Tipton 25 Griffith 24 3A Semi-State – “The Radtke Gamble #1” In the first trip to the semi-state in the Russ Radtke era, Radtke earned his reputation as a gambler in a heart-breaking Griffith loss to Tipton. Bo Radtke scored on a 50 yard touchdown run in the second half and his two point conversion tied the game at 18. Tipton would then re-take the lead at 25-18 with a touchdown on their next possession before a late drive by Griffith set up the dramatic finish. Gootee would score his second touchdown of the game with no time left to draw the Panthers to within one point at 25-24. But Radtke and Griffith gambled and went for the win with a two-point conversion attempt but Gootee was stopped for a loss to end the game. Russ Radtke didn’t hesitate to gamble by going for the two-point conversion and didn’t hesitate to defend his decision either. “You always go for

the win on the road,” Radtke was quoted as saying. Number 5: 11/10/95 – Hobart 14 Griffith 13 4A Regional – “The Mud Bowl” The game was played in a driving rain storm that turned the field into a quagmire and made handling the ball tricky. With the scored tied at seven in the 3rd quarter, the number two ranked Panthers drove 65 yards in 11 plays with Kris Matson scoring his second touchdown of the game for the go ahead score for Griffith. But what happened next will forever be wrapped in legend and shrouded in controversy. As Griffith celebrated the touchdown, quarterback Bo Radtke (according to an official) made an obscene gesture to the Hobart stands. To this day, Radtke contends he was merely signaling #1 to the crowd. Regardless, Griffith was flagged for a 15 yard penalty for taunting, taking Griffith out of range for a PAT. The ensuing two-point conversion pass failed, leaving the Panthers with a slim 13-7 lead. Hobart quarterback Larry Bigbie then marched Hobart 64 yards in ten plays for the tying score. The extra point was good, and Hobart led and would go on to win 14-13. Don Howell called the win one of Hobart’s top five victories of all time. One legend arising from the “Mud Bowl” was that after the game, Bo and Shane Radtke, surrounded by Griffith players, buried a wishbone at midfield of Brickie Bowl. The truth of this legend is unknown.


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