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McKay Still Provides Inspiration for Lincoln-Way Schools

Regardless of the winner in the annual Lincoln-Way East vs. Lincoln-Way Central football game, both teams remain inspired by the legacy of former player Dave McKay.

Former Lincoln-Way guard Dave McKay wasn't a big kid.

In fact, coach Rob Zvonar said McKay was only 155 pounds. But McKay packed a lot into every one of those pounds as an offensive lineman on the 1997 state champion Lincoln-Way team.

McKay died tragically in 2001, and later that same year the Dave McKay Gridiron Grail was created as Lincoln-Way split into and Lincoln-Way East.

"It's really sentimental to me," Zvonar said. "It was my first job out of college as the head freshman coach in 1994 and (McKay) was on that team as a freshman. I knew him since he was 14 or 15 (years old)."

The Griffins lost the inaugural meeting between the two schools in 2001, but they haven't lost a rivalry game to the Knights since then, winning 11 straight—including a pair of wins in 2005 as the teams also met during the postseason.

"It's a tremendous rivalry, yeah, we've had the upper hand, but we knew if we could have success against this program we would be OK," Zvonar said.

"There have been some tremendous battles, especially in the (mid-2000s)."

Heading into Friday night's contest, the two teams were heading in opposite directions. The Griffins had handed four consecutive opponents their first loss of the season while the Knights entered on a four-game losing streak.

That disparity didn't affect attendance, as both sides of the stands were jam-packed and the parking lots were completely full 15 minutes before kickoff.

"It's a big game and an important game," Lincoln-Way Central coach Brett Hefner said. "It's only my fourth game, and only my second as head coach (in the series), and it's frustrating that we can't make it score-wise as competitive as we would've liked."

As Zvonar had an opportunity to play a lot of his roster, including many players who may not have the typical size or strength of the average football player, but work hard day in and day out during practice.

"The kid was an inspiration and showed that the little guys can do great things regardless of size," Griffins quarterback Blake Winkler said of McKay. "A lot of guys got their Dave McKay time tonight, and he's an inspiration to all the kids at Central and at East."

As for the kids at East, they'll have the trophy in their possession for yet another year.

Check out video of the Dave McKay Gridiron Grail after Friday night's game at Lincoln-Way Central.

Jennifer Erickson October 11, 2011 at 03:39 AM
Dave McKay was a very good friend of my husband and I and we still remain very close to his family. I have many great memories of Davey including being at ISU in Bloomington in November 1997 to see David and the Knights bring home the State Championship. I am so happy to see this article explaining the significance of this trophy and what it stands for. I just want these young men to know how very special David McKay was and that he was truly a one-of-a-kind!!
mary ellen October 11, 2011 at 02:59 PM
Much has changed in our area over the last ten years, but what hasn't changed the the ideals and leadership the LW coaches and staff instill in their players and we are so thankful for their example - hard work does pay off - you are and continue to be an inspiration for the LW community.
Holly Marhoefer October 11, 2011 at 03:59 PM
How very proud I am of the legacy given to the L-W community in David's name! He remains one of the dearest people in my life and the lives of those who had the honor of knowing him. David put his all into everything he did and may this loving memorial to him remind every one of us to follow his example.
Grant Davies November 03, 2011 at 11:14 PM
There are some people who are just larger in life than their physical presence. And we don't always know it if we are so close to them while they are with us. David was so much bigger on the football field because of his heart and desire. I'm sure that those who played against him never had the time to guess he was 155lbs. I'm sure he seemed much larger to them. And because of this memorial, the students who read his name on the trophy can gain some inspiration so that maybe they too can excel even when they aren't as big as their competition. With any luck they will aspire to be the kind of person he was off the field as well. This person was loved and is missed.

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