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.

The 1949 season started off slowly for the Class B Indians, with a close 7-6 victory over Negaunee and then a 13-13 tie against Class A Marquette. But then the Indians’ season went into high gear with a series of lopsided victories including a 63-0 defeat of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The season ended with a highly antici­pated game against the Petoskey Northmen, who were ranked #1 in the state by the Detroit Free Press. Out­played in the first half, the Indians rallied in the second, scoring 35 unanswered points on their way to a 35-13 victory and recognition as the best Class B team in the State.

Newberry newspaper article1951 Newberry Indians Football Team1951 Newberry Indians Football Team
Image courtesy of Ken Stephenson.
The winning ways continued in the 1950 season. Led by backs Joe Vilemure and Don McIntyre, the Indians dominated all of their opponents, ending the season with a perfect 7-0 record. No team came within three touchdowns of Newberry in any of the games. The Indians outscored their opponents by an incredible 217 to 20. They ended the 1950 season ranked third in the state Class B behind Niles and Cadillac.

The 1951 season would go down as the greatest in Newberry gridiron history. The team went a perfect 8-0, extending their winning streak to 21 games, the longest in U.P. sports history at the time. The Indi­ans scored 276 points to their opponents 16. In the closest game of the season, Newberry defeated Mar­quette 28-2. Running back Tom Taylor and center Jim Anderson were named to the All-U.P. team by the U.P. Sportswriters Association. The team also received the coveted Barber Trophy for being voted the best team in the U.P. They would also end the year ranked #1 for Class B in the state by the Detroit Times.

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