1926 State Champs

Town of NewberryTown of Newberry turns out to welcome home the 1926 State Champ Basketball team.Just as Ishpeming’s victory in 1900 would become a watershed moment for U.P. football, two teams in 1926 would do the same for U.P. basketball. After years of competing against teams in the Lower Peninsula in tournaments, the U.P. had yet to see a team win the coveted State Championship. There were teams that came close (see Negaunee’s 1922 team), but none was able to take home the title.

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Chassel Wins Title, Again

1956 Chassel Championship TeamBack row: Team Managers, Jack Bakkila, Phil Sauvola, Players: Kenneth Tormala, Michael Wisti, Dale Destrampe, John Pyykkonen, Robert White, Paul Makela, Coach Edward Helakoski. Front Row: Don Mattson, Terry Pokela, Alan Morin, Donald Jaakkola, Tom Peters, Alden Tormala.There are many great records set in high school sports in the Upper Peninsula, but most don’t last more than a few years. One record that may never be surpassed was set by the Chassell High School boys’ basketball team between 1956 and 1958. Over three consecutive seasons, the Panthers compiled 65 straight victories and three Class D State Basketball Championships.

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Early Football

1901 Ishpeming High Football Team1901 Ishpeming High Football Team
State Champions
Image courtesy of Ishpeming Public Schools
As early as the 1890s, high schools throughout the Upper Peninsula were fielding competitive football teams. Following in the footsteps of college programs, schools saw these games as fun extracurricular activi­ties for the students, but also as ways to bring commu­nities together. From these games, however, came great community pride and longstanding rivalries. Menominee and Marinette (Wis.) have the oldest inter­state rivalry in the country, going back to 1894.

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Great Unbeatens

In 1975, the Michigan High School Athletic Associa­tion started a state football playoff for the first time in the State's history. There had been a structured championship game in the '00s and occasional games afterwards, but never a playoff. However, for the first two years only four teams in each class (A-D) were se­lected to play in the State tournament. In 1977, it was expanded to eight teams, but this still meant that several great teams never had the opportunity to play in the state playoffs. Some of them were undefeated in the regular season. The reason they didn't get a chance is that teams were selected by a points system, which favored schools that played teams from higher classes.

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Ironwood Football 1925

IronwoodOpponents
Ironwood.....0 Superior.....0
Ironwood....41 Menominee....0
Ironwood....47 Hurley.......0
Ironwood....19 Hancock......0
Ironwood....24 Ashland......0
Ironwood....34 Norway.......0
Ironwood....47 Redford......0
In 1925, Ironwood High School put together one of the most powerful teams in U.P. football history. Led by fullback John Cavosie, the Red Devils went undefeated through six games during their regular season, outscoring their opponents 165 - 0. Cavosie not only led the team in running, but also set a world-record distance with a drop kick of 55 yards. The only blip on their season was a 0 - 0 tie with Superior, Wisconsin. At the end of the season, the State Director of Athletics decid­ed for the first time in several years to invite a U.P. team to come down and play a championship game. It was Ironwood’s first time playing in lower Michigan and its opponent was the much-vaunted Redford High School. The Red Devils were not given much chance in the championship game held on Thanksgiving Day in De­troit. But in the end, another U.P. team proved its worth, defeating Redford by the score, 47-0! Redford simply could not stop Ironwood’s passing game and open style of play.

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Newberry Dominates!

1949 Newberry Indians Football Team1949 Newberry Indians Football Team
Image courtesy of Ken Stephenson.
Between the years 1949 and 1951, there was no more dominant football program in the Upper Peninsula than that of the Newberry Indians. Under the direction of coaching legend Morley Fraser, the Indians posted a record of 22-0-1 which included a winning streak of 21 games.

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Redettes Are Champs!

RedettesFront Row: Karen Levandoski, Cheryl Aho, Janet Hopkins, Shelly Chapman, Caron Krueger.
2nd Row: Kate Jennings. Sue Micklow, Mary Erspamer. Sue Belanger, Kay Levandoski.
3rd Row: Chris Moran, Katie Miller, Lisa Coombs, Cynie Cory. Back Row: Coach Barb Crill.
In 1973, the Michigan High School Athletic Associa­tion sanctioned the first official season for girl's bas­ketball with its own tournament. In truth, schools had been suiting up girl's teams for years but there had never been a state tournament. Ewen-Trout Creek would be the first team from the U.P. to win a title in 1973 but in 1976, the Marquette girl's team accom­plished something that no other team has done before or since; it won the Class A State Championship.

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