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.

In 1985, the playoff was expanded to 16 teams in each class. In 1990, the MHSAA created eight separate classes, doubling the number of teams eligible for the playoffs. Eventually, in 2001, it was expanded to a 32-team playoff for each of the eight classes, with any team compiling more than 6 victories in the regular season automatically getting a tournament bid.

Unfortunately, the teams on this panel were all greatly deserving of a chance to play in the playoffs, but never got their chance. We'd like to honor their excellence in this exhibit for achieving perfection, but not getting to truly finish their season.

1975 Marquette Redmen

Marquette Redmen

1975 & 1976 Norway Knights

Norway KnightsIt should be noted that the Norway Knights would eventually win back-to-back Class D State Championships in 1979 & 1980. Their record over that two-year period was 21 wins and 3 losses and they scored 661 points to their opponents 237.

1983 & 1984 Hancock Bulldogs

Hancock Bulldogs

1981 Baraga Vikings

Baraga Vikings

Images courtesy of Baraga, Hancock, Marquette and Norway Public Schools.

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