Crystal Falls Forest Park
On the very same day in 1975 that Ishpeming defeated Hudson for the Class C Title, Crystal Falls Forest Park Trojans won the most lopsided State Final in Michigan history, in the Class D championship in Kalamazoo. After pounding Posen 67-0 in the State Semifinal, CFFP soundly defeated Flint Holy Rosary in the final, 50-0. The team was led with four rushing touchdowns by Bill Santilli, a state final record that stood for 35 years. The Trojans, under the coaching legend Richard Mettlach, would return the next year to beat Holy Rosary again by a much closer score of 14-6. But a dynasty had been created that represents the U.P.s most dominant and successful football program to date.
Crystal Falls Forest Park first consolidated as schools in 1967. Before that time, the Crystal Falls Trojans had already built an incredibly strong football program under the leadership of Coach Mettlach starting in 1956. Between 1955 and 1966, the school had a record of 69-29-2, including undefeated seasons in 1957, 1958 and 1965. In 1965, they also won the Barber Trophy, given to the best team in the Upper Peninsula. Mettlach would continue to coach the Trojans until 1990 and finished his career with a record of 239-73-6. Since consolidation, the CFFP program has the best winning percentage of program in the U.P. (.751), which is far ahead of the second place Kingsford Flivvers (.677).
In 1996 Bill Santilli, former Trojan and star of the 1975 championship team, took the reins of the CFFP program. For the past 15 seasons, the Trojans have never failed to make the playoffs. They have won eight regional titles and have reached the State Final seven times. In 2007, after making it to the State Final the previous three seasons, the Trojans won the Division 8 State Championship (their first in 31 years) with a 22-14 victory over Fulton-Middle- ton. Santilli’s record through the 2011 season was 152-42.
Several CFFP players hold Upper Peninsula football records. These include the following:
- Rushing touchdowns in Season - 30 - Seth Chernach (2005)
- Career Points - 522 - Dan Lato (1976-78)
- Career Extra Points - 97 - Levi Jarvi (1996-1999)
- Consecutive 100 Yard games - 23 - Dean Arcand (1981-83)