Six former players and a coach who distinguished themselves with the Waterloo East High School football program are being recognized for their contributions next week.

The seven men are being inducted into the East High School Football Ring of Honor on Aug. 11. The 16th annual enshrinement ceremony will be closed to the public due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, but can be viewed on Facebook, Twitter and Mediacom Channel 79.6.

Inductees to the “Ring Of Honor” are selected by a panel of past players, coaches, administrators and personnel directly related to Trojan football.

Like previous “Ring Of Honor” classes -- the inaugural 2005 class through 2019, this year's group made major contributions that benefited East's football program. The 2020 honorees were chosen because they "always brought positive and distinguished recognition while donning the Orange and Black," a press release said.

The 2020 Inductees:

  • Gabe Benson - 1994 (pictured below): All-Metro and All-Conference selection at quarterback in 1994, who ranked among the top three in Class 4A in passing yards per game four times; selected Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Prep-of-the-Week after his first varsity start.
  • George Cole - 1972 (pictured below): Starting defensive tackle on a dominating defense that was the last undefeated East state championship team in 1971; ranked among the top three in team tackles with 78.
  • Allen Jones - 1965: An all-state running back, who played three years of varsity football from 1962-65; state place-winner in the 100-yard dash in track; voted Most Valuable Athlete by his peers and coaches.
  • Coach Don Hanson: Assistant coach under Howard Vernon in charge of the linemen; helped lay the foundation for future state championship teams; later held the positions of Human Resources Director and Superintendent for Waterloo Schools.
  • Ryan Saddler - 1991 (pictured below): Represented East in the 1991 Iowa Shriners Classic; was named to All-Metro Team and earned All-State Honors; started all four years at St. Ambrose College as a defensive back.
  • Curt Wilkes - 1982 (pictured below): Two-year starter at offensive guard and defensive tackle plus All-Special Teams; was leader and co-captain for the 1981 and 1982 Trojan football teams, who rarely came off the field during games.

In Memoriam:

  • Virgil Carr - 1958: Co-Captain of East's 1958 football team that won the Big Six Conference and City championships; multi-sport athlete, who was an undefeated wrestler on East's state championship wrestling team.
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