A 1954 front page of the Malheur Enterprise describes the first state championship victory for the Vale High School football team. The team, along with Doug Maag and Dottie Mendiola will be honored at the Vale High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame Banquet in October. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL).

VALE – The headline is stretched across the top of the front page of the Malheur Enterprise of Dec. 2, 1954.

“State A-2 Crown Goes to Vikings in 14-7 Grid Thriller,” it said.

Five days before, the Vale High School football team defeated St. Helens for the state football title.

The victory was the first of 12 state titles the Vikings won since and the triumph spawned five decades of Vale football dominance.

“The Vale Vikings ended their 1954 football season in a burst of gridiron glory Saturday,” the 1954 report began.

The 1954 team along with Dottie Mendiola, a 1956 Vale graduate and Doug Maag, who graduated in 1970, will be recognized Saturday, Oct. 23, at the annual Vale High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame Banquet.

The event will be at Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario. The banquet begins at 5 p.m. with a no-host reception followed by a catered tri-tip dinner at 6 p.m. The cost is $30 per person or a table for eight is $240.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 541-823-2900 and will be limited at the door.

The 1954 football team, consisting of 27 players, was special, said Paul Schaffeld, who played left guard for the champs.

“It was great year. I am very fortunate to have been part of it,” said Schaffeld, a retired educator.

In their playoff run the Vikings came from behind to beat Prineville 13-12 then defeated Coquille 27-7 to reach the title game. 

The Enterprise reported nearly 4,000 spectators attended the championship game, played in Vale.

“I just remember we worked hard. The coaches worked us hard. They were smart,” said Schaffeld, now living in Boise.

Coaches that year were Dutch Kawasoe, Arnie Lewis and Gene Chester.

“It is one of those things where we are really proud of our tradition at Vale and we embrace it,” said Jeff Aldred, current Viking football coach. “It is a special part of being involved with Vale football.”

Mendiola, who still lives in Vale, was nominated because she lived “a life of service to the Vale community,” according to a nomination from Annette Wayne.

“She worked for many years in the elementary school cafeteria, making friends with students there and continuing that friendship throughout their lives,” according to the nomination.

“She was a member of the Vale Lions club and volunteered countless hours of service. She was instrumental in organizing and maintaining the ‘antique’ park at the east entrance of Vale. She volunteers at Pioneer Place by collecting their newspapers and taking them to recycle. She also devotes endless hours to the local food bank,” wrote Wayne.

Gert DeLong nominated Maag because his family represents “family, faith, farmers and ranchers.”

“The contributions his farming and ranching business have brought to Vale and to the surrounding area are immeasurable,” wrote DeLong.

Maag’s business holdings include Jamieson Produce and Y1 Farms.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

Previous coverage:

Gert De Long honored as example for kids and Vale community

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