Argos celebrates class of champions

Former players and family members from the historic ’78-’79 Argos HS boys soccer and basketball teams were recognized at halftime of the Dragons game Friday night.
By: 
Ron Haramia
Sports Writer

The Argos community partied like it was 1979 Friday night.

During a reception before the high school boys basketball game, then again at halftime, former players and family members of the 1978-79 boys soccer and basketball teams celebrated the 40-year anniversary of that historic season. During that memorable school year, the soccer team won the state championship, then the basketball team became the smallest school since Milan to advance to the one-class Final Four while in the middle of a 76-game regular-season winning streak that remains a state record.

“This is a special night,” said Argos soccer coaching icon, Eugene Snyder. “It’s great talking to the kids. One of the best things now is to see how successful they have been in life. It was a very enjoyable time and Phil Weybright was one of the best basketball coaches in Indiana.”

The soccer title was challenging, but not too much of a surprise, as the Dragons also won it in ’73 and ’76. Five games in the fall of ’78 were decided by just one goal, but the championship - over Carmel - was a convincing 5-2. The bball part of the story is even more compelling. The team went 21-5 in ’77-’78, but with just one class, winning a sectional was a big deal for any school, much less a small one like Argos.

“I was fortunate. We had really good players,” said Weybright, who was in his sixth year at the helm (out of 14) at the time. “The year before we won the Bi-County and the sectional. We had four starters coming back and had a really good sophomore and junior class. I knew we’d be good, but I didn’t know we’d be that good. We had talent; almost everyone was on the soccer team too. In fact, we had basketball practice before the soccer team went to state. Coach Snyder and I got along so well and he understood we had to get started. There was a lot of correlation between the two sports - the passing, the teamwork aspect.

“It’s hard to believe it was 40 years ago. It was crazy. A lot of people wanted class basketball at the time, but a lot didn’t so they were rooting for us. We had three or four TV stations here. We were out of school that week (spring break) and that made it even more crazy. They would go to kids’ houses. There was definitely pressure on the kids.”

After defeating Fort Wayne Harding, 66-64, then Marion, 84-83, at semistate, Anderson ended the dream season, 74-64.

“We played extremely well all season and then when we got to the finals, we just didn’t shoot that well,” Weybright continued. “I think it was tightness. I felt it too. I had as much pressure on me as I’ve ever had in my life.”

Could it happen again? If not at Argos, somewhere else?

“It could - at the Class A level maybe,” concluded Weybright. “It was a great experience and I wouldn’t change it for anything. You just appreciate it more as the years go by.”

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