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When Lee Saubert arrived on the doorsteps of Waukesha high school in 1919, neither he nor others would expect the results he would achieve in all facets of the school’s athletic life. Born in LaFarge, WI in 1893, Lee attended La Crosse Normal School and received a degree in physical education in 1917. He taught at Dunkirk, NY for a year followed by another year at West Salem. During World War I he served in the army as a machine gunner. Following his discharge he taught at West Allis high school. Then, he moved to Waukesha where he spent the next 40 years as a coach and later athletic director for football, basketball, track and tennis. As a football coach he posted a 83-37-9 record in 17 seasons and as the school’s basketball coach for 33 years, winning the WIAA state championship in 1945. Saubert was instrumental in the building of the Haertel field that is used for football and track. When a proposal was made to build a new school gym he pushed forward a successful program to build a field house for multiple sporting events.

In 1924 he helped organize the Suburban League which was the forerunner of the Suburban Conference. Waukesha would finish first in the league 1924-27 and then win three more titles in the 1930s before he stepped down as the football coach in 1937. After several slightly above average seasons, the 1924 team posted a pedestrian 3-3-0 year. Not a great year record wise but Saubert was building for the future. One of the websites I use for research ideas is E-Yearbooks.com. Unlike Newspapers.com they don’t send out notices of a new yearbook edition being added to the site, so I check the web site every few weeks. This past weekend I ran across some newly added yearbooks including some of Waukesha High School's books from 1929 and the 1930s. In the 1929 yearbook there was a story on the school’s recent football successes. The story mentioned the 1925 team that was undefeated, untied and unscored upon. That team scored 220 points and posted seven shutouts. The 1926 squad was undefeated, 8-0-0 as well and scored 370 points and allowed only 18. Unfortunately, the 1926 and 1927 yearbooks weren’t available online so I contacted Waukesha South high school where the school librarian, Mary Beth Hass, was very helpful in sending me pages from the 1925, 1926 and 1927 yearbooks. Newspapers.com doesn’t have the 1920s editions of the Waukesha Daily Freeman so I also went to the city library. I got the scores and a few bits about the team. The paper mainly only gave game stories, but I was able to piece the season together. The yearbooks gave me some of the starters' first names which the papers from that era didn’t provide. But with the added information, beyond just the scores, there was a big question to be answered. Why weren’t the two teams considered statewide as the mythical state champion? I have the answer, I think. But first, a bit of history for those of you readers who don’t know much about Waukesha County in the 1920s.

Back in the mid-1920s Waukesha was out in the country away from Milwaukee. Looking west from Milwaukee into Waukesha County there was little population other than farmers and their families. The drive from Milwaukee to Waukesha took you along pastures and farmhouses unlike todays main route along Blue Mound Road, now loaded with shopping plazas and fast-food restaurants. It was then part of the Watertown Plank Road. The road swung around a bit from where Blue Mound and Barker Road now cross near the current I-94 at exit 297 (Goerke’s Corners) in the far west part of Brookfield. Waukesha was a city of about 15,000 residents. Other members of the Suburban League were from similar size communities. In 1920, Wauwatosa had 5,800 residents but the city would jump to 21,000 by 1930. Shorewood had only 2,000 citizens in 1920 but jumped to 13,400 in 1930. South Milwaukee had about 8,000 people in 1926 while West Allis had around 25,000 and Cudahy had around 9,000. Migration after World War II saw the beginning of cities like New Berlin and Brookfield, still unincorporated farmland in the mid-1920s. Driving to play an opponent was an adventure with no big, wide roads or interstates like today. An away game could take as long as an hour and a half or more instead of today’s 30-45 minutes.

In 1924 coach Saubert had the 3-3-0 average team but he used more than just his starters and a few substitutes which was different from the era for most teams. The substitution rules were restrictive so often a player was only replaced when a teammate was injured. Only five starters returned for the 1925 season but most of the other six starters had plenty of experience because Saubert freely used the substitution rules to his advantage.

Right End Earl Blasing Center Martin Zollnar (Capt.)

Left End Bob Shortell Quarterback Stan Winde

Right Tackle Joe Adashek Fullback Clifford Goerke

Left Tackle Raymond Braeger Halfback “Zip” Hey

Right Guard George Wilber Halfback Tony Natalizio

Left Guard “Slim” Bassett

All but Braeger, Bassett and Goerke were seniors. Some future stars for the next season who gained valuable experience were juniors Harold Able, Harold Tonn, Bill McFarlane and Frank Ruekert plus freshman Al Dillingofski who played tackle in 1925, end in 1926 and fullback in 1927 and 1928.

After five weeks, yes, five weeks of hard practice, new starters were put into place and the team jelled. The team had good speed as Hey and Natalizio were known for their long scoring runs of 30, 40 or 50+ yards. Occasionally, Blasing would carry on end-around plays or even from a halfback spot. Against West Allis he took the ball 90 yards for a score. Winde was a splendid passer and tossed eight or nine touchdowns for the season. Goerke was a line plunger usually plowing between Braeger and Bassett. Braeger was nicknamed “Five yard” Braeger because he could be depended on clearing a big hole for the backs. In the Thanksgiving Day game Goerke scored a touchdown, kicked five extra points and drop-kicked a 45-yard field goal. On the season he scored seven touchdowns, kicked 24 extra points and two field goals for a total of 76 points to lead the team.

This great performance by the Waukesha team will be added to the list of 18 other squads in state history that finished undefeated, untied and unscored upon having played six or more games. This was truly one of The Great Teams and I wish the information had been made known to me prior to my book being published.

Now, to answer the question as to why this team wasn’t considered as a state mythical champion it boiled down to one thing. Publicity.

Outside of the city of Waukesha and other members of the Suburban League, hardly anyone knew about the 1925 and 1926 teams' performances. The 1925 state champion team was Green Bay East with a 9-0-0 record, the same as they posted in 1924. In 1926 Marinette was the champion with a 8-0-0 performance. That team only scored 165 points but gave up just 10 points with six shutouts. 1926 was the last year for season ending matchups not scheduled at the beginning of the year. Waukesha’s traditional season ending game was against West Allis. Marinette had won seven games in 1926 and looked for a worthy opponent and met up with. Superior, the supposed champion of the northwest with a pedestrian 3-2-3 record. Marinette won 24-0.

Beginning at the end of the 1922 season the WIAA banned season ending matchup “championship” games, which were usually scheduled on or around Thanksgiving Day. While that ruling prevented the schools from calling it a championship, that didn’t stop the local newspapers from hyping the 1926 Marinette vs Superior matchup. The Marinette, Superior, Green Bay and Eau Claire newspapers called that game a championship event. I cannot find a single newspapers story outside of Waukesha that printed a mention of the fine seasons the school produced in those years. In a November 19, 1946 edition of the Waukesha Daily Freeman the first mention I can find about the school claiming a mythical state title and that is for the 1926 season and this was in a story about coach Saubert’s basketball coaching prowess. These two teams were really “under the radar” for their time. I hope that in some small measure this blog brings them more attention.

Next up: 1926 Waukesha High School.

Much has been written about the game between Oconomowoc and Wisconsin Lutheran in their meeting on September 27, 2013. There was a featured story in the Saturday edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the day after the game as well as a story in the weekly Oconomowoc Enterprise newspaper the next Thursday. In 2017 Wissports named the game as the seventh best game in the 15 years the web page had been around (2002-2017). The Journal Sentinel reprinted their original story in 2017 as a reminder to readers of the epic battle. I’m going to cover this game but from several different directions as well covering a bit of Oconomowoc’s season.

The final score was 84-82, with the Oconomowoc Racoon’s (also known as the Cooney’s) over the Wisconsin Lutheran Vikings in an epic scoring barrage. There are two categories in the record book for total game points. The first is “Most Points Scored in a Game by One Team”. Most of the games were shutouts and big ones at that. All the games are also ones in which a team scored 100 points or more. In 1902 Stoughton beat Kewanee (IL) 145-0. Number two on this list is the 140-0, 1913 win by St, John’s Military Academy over St. Norbert’s College followed by the 138-0 win by Tomah over Elroy in 1908. The second category is “The Most Points Scored by 2-Teams in a Game”. The total of 166 points leads the record list and it's not close. The next highest scoring total for two teams in a game is 133 points, performed by Schofield D.C. Everest (73) vs. Wisconsin Rapids (63) in 1998. Two games tie for third with 132 total points. Milwaukee Bay View (74) beat Eastbrook/Hope School (53) in 2015 and Chippewa Falls (67) defeated Eau Claire Memorial (65) in 2018.

The game between Oconomowoc and Wisconsin Lutheran started slowly. With the score 8-7 at the end of the first quarter, no one could have suspected what was to happen. Both teams played to a draw, 0-0 for the first 10 minutes of that first quarter. Then the second quarter began and the scoring barrage kept up as there were eight scores between the two teams in that period. It was a battle of the two team’s quarterbacks. Lutheran’s Logan McShane ran for three touchdowns on runs of 6, 51 and 37 yards while the Racoon’s leader, Carson Larson, ran 51-yards for one score and passed for three with touchdowns of 54, 64 and 37 yards. The game was tied twice as well as the lead changing hands twice in that period. The eight scores came about every minute and a half. The first half ended 36-35 in favor of the Vikings and things were just getting started.

The next two quarters were equally frantic. The keys to the third period were a 39-yard interception return by Nick Gomez and an 87-yard kickoff return by Jarek Berg for the Cooney’s as they took a 63-58 lead as the fourth quarter started. Gomez’s interception helped put a two-score cushion between the two teams and from then on it was a battle to see who could outlast whom. In the end both Oconomowoc and Wisconsin Lutheran would score three times each in the fourth quarter. Big stats were being piled up on both sides as the two teams would end up with 1,247 total yards…708 by the Vikings and 539 by the Racoon’s. For Lutheran, Logan McShane would be 13-27-1-180-2 passing and 14-111-4 running. Terrance Ward led the Viking ground game with 265 yards on 23 carries and three scores. Anthony Carver caught six passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

For the Racoon’s quarterback Carson Larson was the leader. This was by far the best game he ever had. He was 10-20-0-295-4 through the air and he ran the ball 14 times for 198 yards and four scores. That’s 493 yards and eight touchdowns that he was responsible for. Outstanding!! But to me, the biggest difference in this epic were the feet of receiver/kicker Casey Bednarski who despite suffering from leg cramps throughout the game, came up in a huge way when needed. Oconomowoc scored 12 touchdowns to 11 by Wisconsin Lutheran in the game. That’s a difference of one score. However, Bednarski made all 12 of his extra point attempts. Lutheran didn’t attempt an extra point kick, choosing to go for two points after each touchdown. They made eight of them, with Terrance Ward scoring three of them. Not only did Bednarski make all of his extra points but he placed 11 of his 13 kickoffs into the endzone making it harder for his opponent. He also punted three times for an average of 44.3 yards per kick. The Vikings had to go much further downfield to score which is how they were able to out gain the Racoon’s. Bednarski only caught two passes in the game but gained 131 yards including his second quarter 64-yard touchdown. The other reception went for 57 yards and set up a touchdown. In my estimation his performance was the biggest difference in the game despite the huge effort by Carson Larson.

To give up 80+ points in a regulation time game doesn’t say much for either teams defense but every stop became that much more important and Oconomowoc was able to come up with a few critical holds that did it for them. The win put Oconomowoc in the lead for the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference title with a 6-0 record while Lutheran dropped to 3-3. The Cooney’s would have their first undefeated regular season in 26-years and their first conference title in 11 years as they would end up posting an 11-1 season record. The Vikings would rebound from the loss and post a 7-4 season record. Coach Kirk DeNoyer directed WISCO for 20-years and posted a 194-47 record with one WISSA title in 1997 and four WIAA state titles in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2014 with two state runner-up postings. His teams won 15 conference titles. In 2013, the win by Oconomowoc was the first against Lutheran in 15 years. Oconomowoc played some other close games in 2013 as they were able to score 436 points on the season and gave up 300 points.

The win against Wisconsin Lutheran was the talk of the school for many weeks as the players were constantly stopped in the hallways to get a clap on the back and to discuss different aspects of the game. It was a battle those players will long remember.

The season before, Oconomowoc earned a 6-3 record but failed to make the playoffs. Having lost the team’s leading receivers, running back and defensive players from the 2012 squad the next year’s performance was unexpected. The 2013 11-1 record posted by Oconomowoc was the second-best season record for the Cooney’s. In 1987 they posted a 12-1 record as the team was the Division 1 runner-up, losing to Fond du Lac 3-0. Coach Ryan McMillen was in his fifth season heading up the program and earned the award as the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference Coach of the Year in 2013. He graduated a lot of seniors from the 2013 team and the Racoon’s slumped to a 1-8 record in 2014. McMillen and his coaching staff re-built the program and went on to post another 11-1 record in 2015 and finally an 8-2 showing in 2016 before moving on to Muskego as the school’s athletic director.

The 2013 team had many stars. Carson Larson earned the WLT Offensive Player of the Year, first team all-conference, South Central region POY and honorable mention All-State. His season passing stats were 110-199-4-2,082-26 while his rushing totals were 114-994-12. He passed for 4,776 yards and 50 touchdowns while rushing for 1,345 yards in his career. He was offered a scholarship to Minnesota State-Mankato. Casey Bednarski was the team’s leading receiver with 26 catches for an incredible 846 yards and 10 touchdowns. He kicked 53 extra points in 53 attempts and kicked 11 of 12 field goals. His punting on the season was an average of 41.8 in 24 kicks. Casey earned all-conference honors as both a wide receiver and placekicker. Defensive back Logan Ballering led the team with 106 tackles and three interceptions. Linebacker Nick Gomez was second in tackles with 89 and his only interception was in the Wisconsin Lutheran game. Both earned first team all-conference. Other first team all-conference members were offensive lineman Colin Valley and defensive back Dalton Dunham.

Just as the win against Wisconsin Lutheran was the talk of the school and the community, so was the season. A season that those players will long remember.

Paging through my state record book ( State Records (wifca.org) ) I stopped at a spot that I hadn’t really explored…Longest overtime game. Wisconsin has had two six-quarter overtime games but more on these two games later. The national record is an incredible 12-quarters! The National federation of State High School Associations has a listing besides the afore mentioned 12-quarter game of the following:

  • Two teams with a nine-quarter overtime game, three games with eight overtime periods and 10 games with seven OT quarters.

  • Two teams also played four consecutive games of overtime ball.

  • Three teams had five OT games in a single season and surprisingly, none of those teams were part of the four consecutive overtime events.

With two six-quarter overtime games in Wisconsin history, we are low on the totem pole when it comes to these types of games. But the 12-quarter game is very interesting.

Back on October 29, 2010 the Jacksonville (TX) Dragons beat the Nacogdoches (TX) Fightin’ Indians 84-81. Tied playoff spot 28-28 at the end regulation the game took 12-quarters and it lasted over five hours. They traded touchdowns but the interesting thing is that Nacogdoches didn’t want to just win. At least an outright win. You see they were both fighting for a playoff spot. Back in 1969 in Wisconsin, point spreads were part of the consideration for the WISSA to place teams into the first state playoff brackets. Nacogdoches needed to win by eight points to make the post season and Jacksonville just needed to win. So, the Dragons depended on the defense to stop Jacksonville. In the end, each team scored 12 touchdowns and nine extra points. Nacogdoches failed to score in the top of the 12th and they held the Fightin’ Indians out of the endzone before they kicked a19-yard field goal to win. The game started at 7:30 pm and ended at 12:58 am. The two teams combined for 60 first downs and totaled over 1,000 yards.

A blog on ESPN had sort of a funny take on the game and overtime games in general. Check it out at: 12 Overtimes To Settle A Football Game? See You Tomorrow! - SportsCenter.com- ESPN.

You can see the winning game on You Tube at: 12 OT High School Football Game, National Record, 165 points - YouTube

Now, on to the two Wisconsin overtime games. First is the October 9, 1981 game between La Farge and Wauzeka in a Friday afternoon matchup in the Ridge & Valley Conference rivals. In truth there is little about the game but here is what I found:

From the Wisconsin State Journal…”If high school football players received overtime pay for competing, those from Wauzeka and La Farge would be hiring stockbrokers. The reason? Wauzeka’s 32-30 victory over La Farge Friday’s afternoon—in six overtimes. Allen McCarthy swept three yards for a two-point conversion after running nine yards for a touchdown in the sixth overtime to provide Wauzeka with the winning margin in the two teams Rudge & Valley Conference marathon, which lasted 2 hours and 25 minutes. La Farge, so to speak, exhausted its opportunity to win moments later when the Hornets’ John Krieg intercepted a La Farge pass for a conversion after Mike Donovan had scored on a three-yard touchdown run.”

That’s it. That’s all that the Journal wrote. Looking at the box score the game was tied 6-6 in regulation. Wauzeka gained only five first downs and gained a total of 183 yards. La Farge had even less. Only three first downs but was able to pick up 194 yards. The difference was La Farge had three passes intercepted and fumbled eight times, losing five.

The La Crosse Tribune had even less to say. “In the other conference game (after reporting on a few other teams), Wauzeka nipped La Farge, 32-30, in six over times.” Not much but there you have the recap.

Well, next up is the other six overtime game…Waukesha South 12, West Bend East 6 played on September 5, 2008. The two battled to a 6-6 standstill at the end of regulation. The field was wet and muddy. The rain made it hard for each team to hold onto the ball. Running a spread offense, East had about a dozen snaps from center skip to the quarterback although none of those led to a fumble. It was the ground game, or the lack of it that led to the teams five fumbles as they lost three. The Waukesha South Blackshirts gained only 175 yards on the ground on 67 attempts and picked up a measly eight yards in the air. The West Bend East Sun’s picked up 82 yards rushing and 53 yards passing.

On the game’s opening drive the Sun’s drove to South's two-yard line where quarterback Nick Makowski tossed deep into the endzone but Mile O’Connell intercepted. South scored first in the second quarter on a second O’Connell pick when he returned a 25-yards interception of a Makowski screen pass. Makowski in turn scored on an 11-yard run, also in the second period. Both teams missed on their extra-point kicks.

Unlike the overtime rules of the past the new set-up was just like the new college regulations where the ball was set on the 25-yard line making it harder for the two teams to get across the goal line. Previously the teams started on the 10 and teams had four downs to score. East missed a 40-yard field goal as regulation expired. South's best chance to win the game came in the third quarter of regulation when they drove to East’s two-yard line but they fumbled the ball away. The Sun’s had their best chance to win also in the third OT period when they had a first and goal on the Blackshirt's two-yard line but events led them try a 27-yard field goal which missed. In the top of the sixth overtime period South’s back Dylan Graff ran in from the one-yard line. The extra-point run failed. Graff had over 30 carries in the game and 70+ yards rushing.

The Sun’s couldn’t muster a drive in their part of the sixth and the Blackshirts prevailed. West Bend East dropped to 0-2 on the season and ended up with a 5-6 and made it to Level 2 of the playoffs. Sadly, Waukesha South’s season went downhill from there and they finished 2-7. But they both have a place in the record book.