Denfeld vs. Central: The Pranks


Now that the Denfeld and Central High School student bodies have been united, it seems like a good time to look back at some of the pranks students played on each other.

The most infamous, of course, was during the 1974-75 school year. Denfeld kids somehow managed to hoist a Volkswagon to the top of Central High School. The car had “Hunters” painted on the side.

The statute of limitations is probably up, so anyone willing to come forward, admit participation and explain how it was done will surely be held harmless. (Although I can’t promise some middle-aged Central grad won’t toilet paper your house. And I suppose administrators could still revoke your diploma. Better keep quiet.)

One rumor I heard was that the whole prank was based on a lesson from a physics class at Denfeld.

Another prank I remember hearing about, I think also from the 1970s, involved Denfeld kids setting a greased pig loose at Central. Again, anyone with details should chime in on the comments.

And, of course, there was the fall of 1979, when Central kids threw eggs at the Denfeld marching band before the Homecoming game, which prompted Denfeld kids to throw eggs at Central’s band during halftime. I think that was the last significant prank before Duluth Public Schools entered an era of civility and brotherhood and whatnot.

Certainly there were some other good pranks not mentioned here. Let the discussion begin. Hell, we’ll even let cake eaters participate.



about 14 years ago

I know who did the car thing ... my uncle and some of his friends. At least that's what they tell me. :)

Tim L.

about 14 years ago

The rooftop Volkswagon prank is legendary.  Kids still talk about it to this day.  

I was at the Denfeld-Central game when the egging incident occurred.  It was one of the most incredible spectacles I've ever seen.  Rumors had been swirling for days that something big was going to happen at the game, prank-wise.  A few hours before game time, it was narrowed down to something involving eggs.  Central's band  marched onto the field and when it got to about the 40-yard line, one egg went flying.  Then another, then a few more, and so on.  Within about 10 seconds, there was a steady barrage of eggs pelting the entire band.  No exaggeration, there must have been 500 eggs thrown.  At one point, the guy who led the band out onto the field was down crawling on all fours, trying to compose himself, but was still being hit with eggs.  It just went on and on.  If I recall correctly, the crowd finally ran out of eggs, the band members finished their number and left the field, literally with egg on their faces.  I might add that it was hilarious.

We never topped either of those pranks.  Closest we came was our senior year ('88) when we toilet-papered East the night before we played them in football.  That was pretty good.  We covered the trees and it looked really cool.  One DHS kid poured a couple gallons of maroon and gold paint on a sidewalk and in a hallway just inside a door that happened to be left unlocked.  There were about a hundred of us out there doing this and it really was pretty harmless fun.

Paul Lundgren

about 14 years ago

Oh, and there's a mention now on Facebook about Denfeld kids putting a portable toilet on top of Central one or two years before the Volkswagon. Can anyone confirm?


about 14 years ago

How is dumping gallons of paint harmless fun?


about 14 years ago

There was a legendary prank at a Colorado high school where someone let three goats loose in the building. They each had a number painted on their side- 1,2 and 4. School officials spent hours looking for the non-existent goat number 3!

Tim L.

about 14 years ago

"How is dumping gallons of paint harmless fun?
Karasu | Sep 15, 2010"

Ummmmm, because it was just paint?  Lighten up.

Paul Lundgren

about 14 years ago

Henry Louis Chwastek wrote on Facebook: 

"The car was stripped to the shell and axle stubs were used to roll it. I was the one that made the axle stubs in John Sloan's machine shop class."


about 14 years ago

As an alumni of Central High School class of 1972 I remember working on the homecoming float using a classmate's family snowmobile trailer. We worked hard on it only to have it torched ... total loss. I think they caught those responsible but ouch! It used to be Denfeld would paint the cannon outside the school (old building, sold for scrap for the war drive in the 1940s) in their colours. Harmless then.


about 14 years ago

I do know a little about the pig incident. It happened in the late morning and the pig (extremely agitated) couldn't really be coaxed or touched after it was in the car (for the trip to Central). One of the stockiest, meanest guys did the actual carrying of the snarling, biting pig, brought it to the front doors and let it go inside the school. I always wondered how they got the pig out.


about 14 years ago

I was at East in 1988 when the TPing took place. It was really impressive and awe inspiring.

Paul Lundgren

about 14 years ago

Below is the Duluth News Tribune's account from its Oct. 27, 1979 issue, which notes a second Volkswagen incident.

Rivalry rears its ugly side The football rivalry between Denfeld and Central high schools spilled into the streets Friday, according to Duluth police. Police said a rented truck carrying about 75 Central students was stopped on its way to Denfeld Friday afternoon, and officers confiscated several clubs and chains from the youths. The students were then dispersed. Incidents of egg and bottle throwing also occurred in the Denfeld area. Slogans were spray-painted on sidewalks around Central over several nights, police said. On Wednesday night, an old Volkswagen body was placed in front of Central's main entrance. Police caught one person and issued a ticket for littering, according to detective Michael Maki. Maki said no charges had been filed in the incidents. "If you can get if defused, you're satisfied," he said.
In a story about the game, DNT reporter Mark Stodghill noted that Denfeld quarterback Mike Fails and Central quarterback James Pascoe "had plenty of competition in their aerial attack. Students from both schools pelted the field with eggs throughout the game, but not many had the arms or the heads to put them where they wanted." By the way, Denfeld won 69-7. Apparently, Denfeld's old scoreboard couldn't display numbers higher than 59, so after the Hunters' ninth touchdown it went tilt. Classic West Duluth.


about 13 years ago

Both stories are true from 1979. I'm a 1980 Denfeld grad and was at both Central when the pig was let loose and the game that night when the eggs flew at the Central band.


about 13 years ago

It was a toilet seat on their flag pole the week of the Denfeld-Central Football Game, fall of 1973.


about 11 years ago

I was in the Central Band the night of the egging.  Not fun and a bit expensive.  Both schools had to pay for the cleaning of the other schools band uniforms.  I can also say that with the barrage of eggs that I did not get hit or even any egg on me.  I also remember our Drum Major picking up eggs that didn't break and throwing them back.  I was also attacked after the game by egg throwers, fortunately they had bad aim and missed me. Not a fun night to play in the band.  As for the score, no big deal we didn't win a game all season.

Ron Ozan

about 9 years ago

I can tell you the story is true about the pig being let go inside Central. I was there. The pig came from a senior girl's (Julie) boyfriend's farm. We drove up to Central in Packy's van. The poor little pig was inside a gunny sack and we dumped oil on the pig at the door and let him go. We got chased back to the van and as we climbed back inside the van there was a police officer at the back of the van telling us to pull the van over. I think he had hold of someone leg too. So Packy pulled over and we all got IDed. Two of us were 18 at the time so the police wrote us up for littering as we dropped the oil bottles and gunny sack at the front door when we ran. If I remember correctly Duker and Packy were the adults and had to go to court. The tickets were split amongst everyone who was there. I think it cost me like $12.50 or something in the neighborhood. Plenty of laughs as we drove back to Denfeld. Thanks Packy, Julie and everyone else for a great memory.

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