The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media


Grant vs. Antioch: A Forgotten Rivalry?

A once iconic rivalry has recently become disregarded between schools.
2022 | Junior Joel Bulka against Grant Community High School on Feb. 7.

When someone from Antioch thinks of a rivalry, most people instinctively think of Lakes Community High School. In spite of that, for over seven decades, it was the Grant Community High School Bulldogs from Fox Lake. Grant was built in 1930, and from that point on, the Bulldogs were a rival for the Antioch Community High School Sequoits; the schools would transition conferences together, going from the Northwest Suburban Conference to the North Suburban Conference to present-day, in which they compete in the Northern Lake Country Conference. 

1969 | Senior Jim Shore goes up for a rebound against a Grant player.

Many coaches have served long terms at Antioch, but none longer than Illinois High School Coaches Hall of Fame Del Pechauer and Michael Gordy. They have a combined experience of 90 years at Antioch, dating all the way back to 1977. Whether it is coaching football, track and field, softball or any sport in that manner, these coaches have most likely coached the team and won a championship along the way. Both have been critical in Antioch’s athletic success over the years, and no one else knows Antioch’s history better than them.

“In the late 70s and early 80s, when Grant and Antioch played each other, the entire school was buzzing about the upcoming game,” Gordy said. “Every Grant vs. Antioch contest was kind of like a homecoming in the level of interest it generated.”

It may be hard to believe that the Sequoits used to share the same hatred for another conference rival, but seven miles southwest, the town of Antioch developed an opposition for the Bulldogs.

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“It started because we are close to each other,” Pechauer said. “Just a short drive down Route 59, and we both have the same type of kids: tough and hard-nosed.”

In the early days of the rivalry, both student bodies took the saying “put your money where your mouth is” a little too seriously. Brawls were not uncommon during football games; the aggressiveness of the fans would eventually lead to a bizarre rule change.

1982 | Senior Matt Stevens breaks off for a long gain on his patented reverse plays against Grant.

According to Arthur Blecke, who was a dean and eventually became principal, and Ted Derousse, who was a P.E. teacher and a football coach back in that era, the rivalry was so intense that student fights would regularly break out in the dark areas, adjacent to the bleachers,” Gordy said. “Because of the difficulty in supervising those areas in the dark, the school board voted to eliminate the lights and night games.”

This history seems more like a folktale to today’s high schoolers, but for those who grew up in the 20th century, this rivalry was on par with the best. From the football games that were played on grass at the present-day upper lot of Antioch to the basketball games played in Antioch’s south gym, there was no shortage of banter or teasing, although it may be magnified in today’s age of social media. 

Many pregame and postgame antics exceed even today’s standards. During the days without security cameras, annual pranks were given. English Department Chair DeeAnn Andershock attended ACHS from 1977 to 1981 and had no shortage of stories to tell.

1984 | Sophomore Jerry Kurszewski slides into home as Antioch takes the lead over Grant.

“The most fun was always the before or the after,” Andershock said. “We used to do [pranks] to one another, so they would put forks in the football field; then, we burned the letter A in their field and they burned the letter G in ours.”

For many in Fox Lake, playing the Sequoits is still a date circled on calendars, although the rivalry is almost like a hopeless romantic in the Antioch-Lakes split era of Lake County. Ever since the opening of Lakes in 2004 and the rearrangements of school boundaries, Antioch quickly redirected its hatred to Lake Villa. Ever since, the Bulldogs have been lost in a triad where they have remained the middle child, losing the attention of both schools. 

Alumna Paige Gruber graduated from Antioch in 2016, now teaching English and coaching dance at Grant. She has been able to see two sides of the same coin, introduced to a whole new rivalry when she arrived at Grant. 

“When I started working at Grant Community High School, coworkers, parents and students would often playfully tease me when I told them I was from Antioch,” Gruber said. “I suppose the rivalry was more prominent before Lakes came into existence.”

2013 | Junior Matt Powers blocks Grant center in a game the Sequoits would end up losing.

While this may have been a surprise to Gruber, those from Fox Lake seem not to have forgotten about the past. Even if there are no fights breaking out beneath the bleachers, Antioch and Grant will always compete against each other until the end of the two school’s time.

“I think the rivalry between Antioch and Grant is viewed as some healthy envy,” Gruber said. “I think our rivalry has lasted as long as it has because it offers a lasting competitive relationship; it makes events fun and engaging.”

At the end of the day, two core memories all graduates are able to attest to are rivalries and competitions. There was definitely no shortage of high-level competition between these two lakeside schools.

Over the decades, the tide was constantly shifting between the two schools in a constant battle for the best team in the Chain O’ Lakes. Although alumni of both schools can attest to their overstated temporary greatness, during the late 70s and early 80s, Antioch was the unanimous victor.

“The four years I was [a student at Antioch] were the years that our boys basketball team went to the Elite Eight,” Andershock said. “It was my senior year when our football team went to Super-Sectionals.”

Although the youth may not know the complete history, Antioch and Fox Lake will forever be in the record books, pinned against one another in Northern Lake County. Nonetheless, the only thing better than one rivalry is two.

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About the Contributor
Joey Neumann
Joey Neumann, Sports Digital Director
Joey Neumann is a senior and has been on staff for three years. He plays football, basketball and competes in track and field for the school. In his free time, Neumann enjoys watching movies and shows, hanging out with friends and weight lifting.
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