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Updated: Nov 24, 2021

While today we end the football season the Thursday or Friday before Thanksgiving and the start of deer hunting season with the state title games, that wasn’t always the case. As I have mentioned in previous blogs and in my book, the season often ended with a championship match game on the late November holiday.


The story in the Milwaukee Sentinel on Tuesday, November 21, 1916 said it all. It admitted that the battle between Edgerton and La Crosse on Thanksgiving Day would be for the state championship. After a quarrel between Milwaukee East (also known as Riverside and the two names were interchanged by the press for many years) and La Crosse had not been settled in 1915 with both teams having legitimate claims to the crown. This year, the usual teams like Eau Claire, Madison and the Milwaukee public schools all had less than championship contending teams. Another contender was Oshkosh, who was undefeated but had several ties and played a limited number of games. More on them later. The turkey day game was to be a battle of David vs. Goliath. The newspaper said,


“After much wrangling, La Crosse high finally consented to meet Edgerton high in a football game on Thanksgiving Day at La Crosse, which will decide the state high championship. Both elevens are evenly matched as far as weight is concerned and judging by comparative scores, neither has the edge. Edgerton’s most notable victory is that over North Division high of Milwaukee and it’s win over Marquette academy. The La Crosse eleven boast’s victories over Riverside (East) high and Madison high gives them a right to battle for state honors. Neither team has suffered defeat this season”.

La Crosse had a proud sports program. The city had only one high school for the overall population of about 30,000 residents. Logan and Aquinas wouldn’t open until 1927. Edgerton had played some great football in the 1913-15 seasons against bigger schools but the “Tobacco City” had only a population of about 2,500. On Monday, November 20, in an effort to get a game with La Crosse, Marquette Academy, who had just lost to Edgerton, attempted to set up a meet for Saturday, November 25 but La Crosse already had a game for that day. It wouldn’t have been a championship game but just an added event. It wasn’t unusual for teams to setup games, sort of “on the fly”. Most teams had no real set regular schedule and especially towards the end of the season there was a mad scramble to lineup tough opponents. But, because of a previous commitment, Marquette lost out on a game against a tough team. So, La Crosse vs Edgerton was set to be a big battle of undefeated teams. That was when they agreed to meet as the details were settled on Monday, November 22.


La Crosse had not lost a game since Thanksgiving Day 3 years prior in1913 to Sparta, 13-10. Since then, they had reeled off a record of 19-0-1. 1914 had been a 7-0-0 season, in 1915 they went 6-0-1 (tying St. Paul Central 0-0) and now in 1916, they were 6-0-0 with a final tune up match with Central on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. That matchup in St. Paul was setup for Saturday, November 25. After several key fumbles and the inability of the defense to adjust properly to the baffling Minnesota shifts the La Crosse eleven lost 13-7. Since the start of 1914, La Crosse had given up only four touchdowns and four field goals. With extra points they had given up only 38 points in that timeframe while scoring 687 points. The loss didn’t diminish the outlook for the championship game. The two best teams in the state were set to battle it out.


On the same day that the results of the St. Paul Central game were printed in the La Crosse Tribune another story was listed. Edgerton fullback Marlon Ogden was ruled by the WIAA as being okay to play in the La Crosse game even though he had just turned 21 two weeks earlier. Supposedly La Crosse was fine with it as they wanted to see Edgerton in action in full strength. Also, in the same story it was mentioned that there was a special passenger train for Edgerton that will make three stops along the way to bring a brass band and about 150-200 hometown fans to the game and it would arrive in La Crosse the day of the game between 12 noon and 1pm in time for a 2:45pm start. The team had gone on ahead and was staying at a hotel in town. The fan train left Edgerton at 7:30am and was sent off by nearly 1,000 well-wishers. The price of the trip through the rolling countryside was was $6.35 round trip and a Thanksgiving dinner for two cost a whopping $.75!! Upon arrival Edgerton fans took the city by storm and racked up bets of over $1,000 in favor of their team.


Another note in the paper told fans not to worry about the game as if they normally eat Thanksgiving dinner around noon, they would have plenty of time to get to the game and it they could eat late as the game would be over by 5pm. The game was to played at Normal Field with the price of a ticket inside the 20-yard line costing $.75 and outside the 20 costing $.50. There would be no normal pricing for children. 3,000-5,000 spectators were expected to attend the game.


When the Edgerton fans and the brass band arrived, they began a march from the railroad station to the team’s hotel and then on to Normal Field where they serenaded many with songs and dance numbers and chanted a slogan “We’ll beat the ‘L’ out of La Crosse”. If you ever get a chance to look at the La Crosse Tribune in the days just prior to the game you will see that the paper printed poems and prayers on the front pages about the strength of the team and asking for divine guidance in the championship game. On Thanksgiving Day, the banner in the La Crosse Tribune read:

It was now 2:45pm and the combatants were on the field to start the battle. Now, the combatants:


Substitute members of the Edgerton team were: Back, Edward Short, lineman, Hurley Ford, lineman Rush Touton and end Chester Peters. Coach Lamereaux was assisted by A.J. Dexter.


NOTE #1: As you look at the lineup and the names in the photos you will notice that there is a lack of first names. The newspaper stories of the day as well as the school’s yearbooks didn’t often provide a player’s or the coach's first name. I, alas didn’t have access to the 1917 La Crosse yearbooks so the players first names came from the 1916 book. The La Crosse Tribune never mentioned coach Bell’s first name. The nickname for La Crosse wasn’t mentioned in the paper reports but the words “red and black” were often mentioned so that may have been what they were known as. No help from the yearbook.


NOTE #2: When I was writing my book, I was surprised that tobacco and rice were grown in this state. I had always thought of it as a southern crop. Edgerton was known as “Tobacco City” and the teams nickname was “The Tobacco Growers” long before they became the “Crimson Tide”.


Now, the game.


There were several standouts on both sides. Coming into the game the biggest star was Edgerton’s Rollie Williams, the team captain. After scoring nine touchdowns against Janesville, three on interception returns, he was well known around the state. A marked man, Williams would score 25 touchdowns on the season. It was no different in the title game. The two teams were evenly matched in terms of weight but Edgerton had speed and the backfield was well balanced. Williams hit the line hard and used his speed to pick up yards. The La Crosse Tribune declared that he was his team’s star. Also known as a great punter, he often outkicked his counterpart, LC’s Feinberg by 10-15 yards as the two teams made some gains to start the game but had to give up the ball on downs. Coach Bell’s team won the toss and chose to defend the south goal. Edgerton’s Rossebo kicked to Layman who returned the ball to the 32-yard line.


Now, I must admit I don’t know much about many of the early football offenses. I’m always finding some new wrinkles. After a few small gains LC’s left tackle, Rudolph “Rube” Blatter, La Crosse team captain, ran the ball for a 30-yard gain. I guess that he pulled when the ball was snapped and, with the backfield leading the blocking, took a pitch from Feinberg and slashed through the Tobacco Growers defense. Williams and Ogden hauled him down. After three plays that gained only one yard, Reget tried a drop-kick field goal. The snap was poor and he picked the ball up and ran around and eventually got the kick off but it went nowhere close to the goal posts. Edgerton got the ball back and gained 20-yards on line plunges before being forced to punt.


And, so it went as the two teams exchanged punts with Edgerton netting 10-15 yards after each kick. After an interception by the red and black’s Liscovec near their own 35-yard line. The quarter ended. In the second the two teams continued to exchange punts but then Edgerton was able to take the ball downfield on a series of passes. Clarke was given the ball and he went 15-yards around end to score but the referee ruled that Kepp had moved illegally. After losing five yards on the penalty, it was fourth down and the ball went nowhere so La Crosse took over on downs. They immediately punted and Edgerton got the ball back to their opponents 40-yard line. Two runs picked up three-yards then Williams passed to Ogden for thirty yards. On the next play Williams slashed into the endzone from the seven for the touchdown. Rossebo kicked the extra point and the score stood 7-0. There was a lot of excitement the rest of the half with La Crosse gaining some yards but failing on passing attempts to get the ball into the endzone.


In the second half Edgerton was satisfied to just play defense and they did it well keeping the red and black at bay. Williams was hurt at the end of the third quarter but he stayed in the game. He only carried the ball once after that. His punting wasn’t as good in the second half as it had been in the first. Edgerton nearly scored again as Rush Tiuton blocked a punt but a La Crosse player was able to recover it and thus kept his foes from advancing the ball at that time. Still, the Edgerton defense held up, even with Williams playing hurt and the score would end up 7-0 in favor of the Tobacco Growers. Rube Blatter was a demon all over the field for La Crosse. After the game Blatter, the 188-pound tackle had nothing but praise for Williams and Edgerton in general. As a blocker, a defender or as a runner he did it all. Even though he mainly played tackle he was his teams leading ground gainer with 86-yards on the day. The Janesville Gazette pointed out that Blatter, Reget and Layman were the stars for La Crosse and every one of the Edgerton team played well. I should make a note here that the statistical reports by both the Janesville Gazette and the La Crosse Tribune were well documented, unlike 99% of other game reports in that era. Frederick Layman added 44 yards rushing to the teams total of 222 yards on the ground. Edgerton’s Williams led all rushers with 102 yards while Norman Clarke had 53 yards and Marlon Ogden added 39 as they gained 238 total yards on the ground. The team passing stats read La Crosse was 3 of 10 for 46 yards and one interception. Edgerton was 4 of 10 for 53 yards but threw three interceptions. Each team was penalized 20 yards. And so, the banner in the La Crosse Tribune the next day read:


Edgerton’s great team, their fans and the brass band boarded the train for the return trip at 6pm and a chance to enjoy their turkey dinner. They stopped in Madison to go from the east to the west side depot with the fans and band leading the way. They were cheered on by many Madison well-wishers. It would be a wild time in the Tobacco City that weekend. David had beaten Goliath.


But there was some complaining in the La Crosse Tribune on the day the paper reported the game, Friday, December 1, 1916. I’ll add parts of the story:

“With no way to detract from the glory due a wonderful football machine of the Edgerton high school it was obvious to every one in the stands at the Thanksgiving Day game the Tobacco town boy’s got “the breaks”. It is It is one of the hazards of football, to be accepted as part of the game, that luck plays no part in the outcome of so many contests. Had fortune smiled on La Crosse, as she did on Edgerton, it is possible that the state title would have remained in this city.”

In the first series La Crosse’s Feinberg was” layed out” and played for much of the first half in a daze.

“His usual alert comprehension and quick analysis of difficult situations was not there. Moreover, he was so badly hurt that, Youngberg, who had not been kicking all year, had to take over the booting duties … and it was blocking Youngberg’s punt [this happened in the third quarter as Feinberg did the kicking duties in the half] which gave Edgerton its chance to score. Youngberg couldn’t get them away as quickly as Feinberg, and the second longer it took him to swing on the ball sufficed for the Edgerton lineman [Touton or Kellogg] to get in his path”

There was a complaint that a possible interception by La Crosse was caught too close to the ground and

not allowed but maybe should have been ruled in favor of the “Bellboys”.

“Also, it is worth noting that whenever La Crosse was near to threaten the Edgerton goal, the ball was so close to the sidelines that big “Wop” Blatter, the only consistent ground-gainer on the Red and Black team, couldn’t be used for one of his big tearing dashes around the right wing”.

And finally, the concession:

“All of which is “might have been” stuff. It was tough luck---but Edgerton was the fightin’est bunch of berserkers that has appeared here in the memory of the oldest inhabitant and it would have been anybody’s game if the breaks had been the other way”.

Note: I reprinted the story directly so some punctuation is incorrect. The nickname "Wop" was used several times to refer to Blatter and at least once to his younger brother as "Little Wop". It's unclear if this was a reference to the Italian slur or if the nickname was unrelated, particularly since his ancestry was Swiss German. The paper certainly wasn't using it as an insult when speaking of Blatter but if it was this is obviously unacceptable and sadly these types of pejoratives were all too common in the papers of the time.


Postscript


Both Green Bay East and Oshkosh claimed to be the state champions. East would post a 4-0-3 record. Oshkosh would post a 5-0-2 record. The two schools played to a 7-7 tie in early November. As was typical of the Oshkosh school and the city newspaper, The Northwestern, they twisted facts. They claimed that they had a better record than Edgerton (See Edgerton and La Crosse’s season records below). Oshkosh claimed in earlier seasons as being the state champions due to being undefeated. But they often had losses to college teams and only counted high school teams in their claims.


On the same day of the title game, a few schools also played games. Marquette Academy got a game with Wabasha (MN) and lost 14-7. Menominee (MI) beat rival Marinette 3-0. Horicon beat West Allis 37-0. Green Bay East beat an 8-2-0 Breen Bay West team 7-6. Finally, to add to their championship claim and an offer to play any other contender was Oshkosh who beat Evanston (IL) Academy 13-0. Evanston had beaten some good private schools and ended with a 4-1-0 record.


Rollie Williams was considered the best player in the state and he went on to earn more honors and awards at Wisconsin. He was the first athlete at Madison to earn nine letters playing football, basketball and baseball although others before him earned nine letters in a combination of different sports. He was an All-Big Ten as a football player playing halfback and fullback in 1922 while standing only 5’8 and 170-pounds. Rollie played freshman football in 1917 but left school, maybe to serve in the military, and then returned for the 1920-22 football seasons. He also earned All-Big Ten in the 1922-23 basketball season. After college he played one season of NFL football in 1923 for the Racine Legion. He then served as the head football, basketball and baseball coach for the 1923-24 seasons at Millkin University. He then spent 42 years as an assistant football coach, head basketball coach and assistant athletic director at Iowa. Williams was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1960. He died in 1970.


In 1956 a 40-year reunion was held in Edgerton as another would be one held in 1961 and 1966, the 50th anniversary of winning the title. The first reunion drew 14 of the teams 15 players as well as their former coaches, Edison Lamereaux and his assistant A.J. Dexter. Missing was starting left halfback Norman Clarke who was killed in France in 1918 during World War I.


While most schools ended their seasons one or two weeks prior to Thanksgiving, some traditions were kept for teams like Marinette and Menominee and the two Green Bay schools. In fact, starting in 1905 and continuing through 1920 they played on each on Thanksgiving Day. The only exception was in 1918 when they played on December 7 after three postponements due to Spanish Flu concerns. After World War I, Thanksgiving Day games in Wisconsin seemed to flitter away as the big holiday for games became a November 11 Armistice Day (now known as Veterans Day). In some states the Thanksgiving Day game remained a tradition. Check out this link: American football on Thanksgiving - Wikipedia


Now, for some Thanksgiving trivia:


In 1541 Spanish explorer, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and his troop of men stopped in Palo Duro Canyon (TX) to camp and Padre Fray Juan de Padilla called for a feast of prayer and thanksgiving.


There were other “first” claims. Spanish founders of St. Augustine (FL) in 1565 shared food with the Timucaun people. Or, in 1607 colonists at Fort St. George in Maine shared a harvest feast with the Adenaki Indian’s.


Traditionally we hold a feast as a remembrance of the December 11, 1621 Plymouth (MA) celebration.

There were several other days of thanksgiving before George Washington called for a Day of Thanksgiving on November 26, 1789.


Ben Franklin derided the Congress for naming the Eagle as America's national bird. He thought, and said so often that the national bird should be the turkey.


In November, 1846 Sarah Josepha Hale began a letter campaign to create a national Holiday. She sent a letter to Abraham Lincoln urging the holiday and on October 3, 1863 he declared the first official National Holiday of Thanksgiving.


On November 30, 1876 the first Thanksgiving Day football game occurred between Princeton and Yale. The idea of a football game on this day caught on and in 1893 40,000 fans showed up to see Princeton and Yale play in New York’s Manhattan Field.


Finally, with Thanksgiving set to fall on November 30, 1939 and thus leaving only 24 shopping days before Christmas, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the date of celebration forward a week to November 23. Critics called it “Franksgiving” and congress officially moved the date back to the current spot, the fourth Thursday in November in 1941.


My Mistake: When I wrote my book, I had an error about this game. I mixed up Rube Blatter in my reports as I wrote him as part of Edgerton’s team. He would attend the University of Wisconsin where he competed in football and track and then on to Harvard to study architecture. Blatter and Williams played on the same freshman football team at Madison. Sorry for the mix-up.



This story was updated on 11/24/21 to include several selections from the La Crosse Tribune's contemporary account of the game.

I owe a lot to Mike Firkus. His records sort of helped put my record keeping on the map. More about my record keeping later.


In 2000 I read about a sophomore from tiny Hilbert who had run for 2,058 yards on 242 carries and scored 29 touchdowns. He became the first sophomore to run for 2,000 yards and this would be one of several “firsts” for him. At the end of the 1999 season after posting a 4-5 record, the teams coach, Mark Jonas, was replaced by the school’s athletic director, Mile Moreau. Coach Moreau had been the previous head coach for 19 years when he stepped down to have Jonas take over for six seasons. Jonas had posted an overall record of 47-22 with state titles in 1994 and 1996 but the school thought they needed a change at the top. Moreau had been no slouch as he directed Hilbert to the 1989 Division 5 title and had compiled a 146-42 record.


For his work in 2000 Firkus was named to an honorable mention spot on the AP All-State team. He had a big game against Marshall in a Division 5 Level 2 win as he gained 331 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. He led the team to an 11-2 record. The next week after trouncing Marshall, Mike ripped off 191 yards against Pardeeville. He was also named to the Post-Crescent’s All-Area team. Each week the newspaper listed the Honor Roll of prep stars for the week. It would have 12-15 names on it and covered different sports. Mike was listed at least seven times that season and prior to the team’s final game, he was the overall player of the week. Listed as being 6’0, 180 he was a powerful force in the Hilbert Wolves offense. He also had breakaway speed as he showed against Mishicot when he reeled off an impressive 89-yard touchdown run. Against Reedsville he ran 14 times for 270 yards with td runs of 53 and 71 yards. The team would lose in the semi-finals to eventual champion Osseo-Fairchild, 21-14.


Next up was 2001 and Mike Firkus was again leading the team and this time it would be all the way to the state title game. In the Division 6 level 3 game against Black Hawk Mike rushed for a play 77-yard run on the third play of the game and finished with 268 yards four touchdowns. The team would lose to Spring Valley 34-3 in the finals as Firkus rushed 25 time for only 81 yards and was shut out from the goal line. He again made first team All-Area and again earned honorable mention All-State on the AP squad after rushing for 2,078 yards on 206 carries and 35 touchdowns. At the time the 2,078 earned Mike Firkus the only player to gain 2,000 yards in a season as a junior.


Running back Matt Deeley held the Hilbert career record of 4,842 yards on 872 carries and 68 touchdowns, set in the 1992-94 seasons. Matt was, at the time, #20 on my career rushing list. It was posted on Wisconsin High, my first major on-line posting. Going into his senior season in 2002, Mike Firkus had his sights on making the state championship game. He had gained 4,134 yards and scored 64 touchdowns. I’m sure he thought a bit about breaking the school record but it was Madison he thought of. But the records came. In the third game, a 35-0 over Valders, Mike passed Deeley in career touchdowns. Two weeks later, in a 61-0 crushing of Howards Grove he passed Deeley’s career record.


In the 1995-98 seasons Luke Hagel of Random Lake climbed to the top of the carrier rushing mountain. He carried 883 times for 6,495 yards and a state record 112 touchdowns. Firkus would have to go a long way to match that. Was he up to the task? Teams were keying on him more than ever and he was having to carry the ball more often. But he was up to the task. The yards began adding up as the team was winning. In the D-6 semi-final against Thorp, played in the Dells, he gained 212 yards to pull ahead of Hagel with 6,607 yards.


The team would post a 12-2 record and lose a heat breaker to Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs 16-14. The team had a last-minute chance to win on a 50-yard field goal but the snap was bad and a scramble with the ball leading to a pass went incomplete. The win was the first WIAA championship for Springs coach Bob Hyland. Firkus gained 100 yards on 25 carries but again was shut out of the endzone. The team was 36-5 in his three seasons and as coach Moreau said “We’ve played 41 games in the last three years, you can only 42. What else can you ask of these kids? They left their heart out on the field. That’s all you can ask.” Moreau would coach three more seasons and retire only to come back and coach for three years at Kaukauna. His overall record would be 215-59 and earn a spot in the WFCA Hall-of-Fame. Firkus would again earn All-Area, being named as the Player-of-the Year. He followed up these honors with being named to the AP first team All-State squad.


Mike Firkus would end his career with 808 carries, 6,707 yards, an 8.3 yards per carry average and 94 touchdowns. The record would last for 16 seasons when Bryce Huettner of Iola-Scandinavia would pass Firkus up with a total of 6,870 yards. The record would only last one season when in 2019 Tyler Tenner of Racine Lutheran would pass Huettner with a total of 6,932. Below is a chart for 12 all-time career rushers and a breakdown of the top-5 leader’s season-by-season.



I presented the records so you could compare the play of Mike Firkus against others. Westby’s Steve Hougum, as noted in my blog about the 1992 rushing race for the single season rushing record, was the first player to gain 2,000 or more yards in a season. Here are the other significant rushing firsts.


  • Only player to gain 400+ yards in a single game twice…Jim Baier, Elmwood…401 yards in 1961 and 400 yards in 1962

  • First player to gain 2,000 yards or more…Dick Barbour, Hillsboro…1970…2,238 yards

  • First player to gain 4,000 or more yards in a season…Jim Baier, Elmwood…1959-62…4,644. It is also noted that the second player to gain 4,000 yards was ken Helland, Boyceville…1959-1962…4,039 yards.

  • First player to gain 2,000 or more yards in a season as a sophomore…Mike Firkus, Hillbert…2000…2,058 yards

  • First player to gain 2,000 or more yards as a sophomore and a junior…Mike Firkus, Hilbert…2000 and 2001…2,058 and 2,078 yards.

  • Only player to gain 2,000 or more yards in three consecutive seasons…Mike Firkus, Hilbert…2000-2002…2,058, 2,078 and 2,577 yards.

  • First player to gain 5,000 or more yards in a career…Steve Hougum, Westby…1984-86…5,192 yards

  • First player to gain 6,000 or more yards in a career…Luke Hagel, Random Lake…1998-98…6,495 yards

  • Most Games in a Career: 100-yards or more…Mike Firkus, Hilbert…2000-2002…34

There are other possible firsts to mention but as you can see, Mike Firkus ranks right up there with the top backs produced in Wisconsin. Most of the above mentioned, like Firkus, came from small towns, small schools but they had great talent. Few ever played college football. Mike Firkus, by all accounts, did not.


Now, on to my link with Mike Firkus which is sort of a personal history. It’s sort of long so stay with me, please.

In 1994 I responded to a request from the Milwaukee Journal sportswriter Cliff Chrystl who asked for anyone to submit any record that they knew about. Some people responded. I sent 48-pages of various stats to Cliff and he called me within a few days to ask how I came about my records. A few days later Cliff called and asked if he could send a photographer to my house and follow-up on our conversation. I don’t remember the photographer's name but he asked me to show my stats on my dining room table and then asked me to stand behind the pile of pages of information. In the August 28 Sunday edition for the Journal my story was presented along with a list of records that had been known, several I had confirmed and one new record that I had added. That record was the 551-yards passing in a single game set by Lomira’s Steve Steer in 1965.


The next day, Monday, I got a phone request from Jim Austin of The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune asking where one of the Rapids players placed on my list of single game rushing. Jim had seen the story about me in the state edition of the August 28 Journal. Brian Dupuis had rushed for 310 yards and scored three times in a 27-0 win over Wausau East on Friday night, August 26. Dupuis had broken a school record set in 1951 of 293 yards gained by Russ Stimac. He was still short of the Valley Conference single game rushing record of 321 yards by Stevens Point’s Rick Reichardt in 1960. A story in the paper on Thursday, September 1 resulted with my list of players with 300-yards or more. It was only a list of 34 names. That was the total I had found up to that time. At the top of the list was Jim Baier of Elmwood who in 1961 gained 401 yards in a game as a junior. Missing from the list was his second 400 -yard game set in 1962. By the way he was the first player to gain 400-yards in a single game and may be the only one to do so twice.


I continued to gather stats and began to do lists of weekly leaders from around the state and then sending those lists off via e-mail to about 25 newspapers and to a new website called Wisconsin High which is now part of the Rivals.com system. I had asked the WIAA if they would be interested in taking me on full time as a state record keeper for all sports but they declined saying that wasn’t their mission but that of the individual sports organizations. I pointed out that states like New York, Ohio, Indiana Illinois, Arkansas and New Mexico (hat’s all I could find at the time that were state associations that kept their own records) all had people working for their state group and several were sponsored by outside companies that supported the state organizations. It was a no-win battle. I would have to go it alone.


I would work my day job and cruise the web information and the Milwaukee Public Library for weekly information. Then, I got my biggest break thanks to Mike Firkus of Hilbert and the Appleton Post-Crescent. My name had been mentioned in several of the Post-Crescent stories about Mike Firkus and how I supplied the paper with information. At this time the Post-Crescent contacted me to confirm career stat leaders. I sent them information and the word began to spread that I kept records and requests for information came flooding in. In 2004 I contributed stats to WisSports for a season preview yearbook that was being produced. At the same time the Appleton paper asked me for records and I am proud to say they filled an entire Thursday, August 26 sports page with my single game, season and career leaders in passing, rushing, receiving and scoring. In the top center or the page above the list of career rushing leaders was a picture of Mike Firkus. Somehow the story landed in other areas of the state and I became the go-to guy for records. I don’t mean to toot my own horn but think about it. If I hadn’t collected stats, maybe someone else would have been the stats geek. I just got to the forefront ahead of others. I was lucky. I haven’t gotten rich doing my hobby but I love doing it. And, I love it when others send me information to add or correct the records. It isn’t just my record book. It’s everybody’s. And everyone wants some recognition in life. Players would learn that they had set a school or conference record but did Steve Hougum, Luke Hagel or Jim Baier know that they had set state records at the time? No. But Mike Firkus did know. Others...players, coaches, parents, newspapers, other web sites and parents have looked to see if their name is in the records. Keep looking. And if you know where Mike Firkus is, let me know.

I’ve been receiving reports on new additions to the state record book. With the regular season completed and the playoffs beginning I thought I would do an update on the new additions to the record book. In no particular order they are:


Armond Wempner, OLB, Fond du Lac…tied with two others for Most Sacks in a Game…5 vs. Oshkosh West.


Ben Wesoloski, QB, Wittenberg-Birnamwood…multiple records vs. Nekoosa, a 79-8 win:

Most Touchdowns Responsible in a Game…11 (9 by passing and 2 by rushing

Most Touchdown Passes in a Game…9 (18-29-0-522 yards)


Kaden Schmidt, WR, Wittenberg-Birnamwood…caught 11 passes from Ben Wesoloski for 301 yards and a single game record of 7 touchdown receptions. His 301 yards ranks #11 on the list of Single Game Receiving Yards.


Bryce Dixon, WR, Menominee Indian…Bryce hauled in 8 passes for 288 yards and 3 scores against Cadot.


Maddox Allen, QB, Cumberland…Best Season Pass Completion %: 80.54…Just found that he set it last fall (2020)…completed 149 of 185 attempts.


Maddox Allen is the only player to have made the list twice in the category of Best Completion % In A Game (Min. 10 Attempts). Both games, in the fall of 2020 and this season were against Chetek-Weyerhaeuser…11 of 11 in 2020 and 16-16 in 2021. He nearly made it a third time as a sophomore, again against Chetek-Weyerhaeuser when he was 14 of 15 for 260 yards and 4 scores. As a freshman, seeing only limited playing time he was 2-2 against C/W. For his career against C/W he is 43 of 44 passing.


Maddox Allen also enters the record book for the Fewest Interceptions Thrown In a Season (Min. 175 Attempts) with only one in his 185 attempts in the fall of 2020. By the way, he is moving up the career passing yards list as he has 6,000+ going into the playoffs. With a 73.9 completion percentage this season he has a career average of 73.6, best all-time for a minimum 500 career attempts.


Elandis Peete, RB, Wauwatosa West…tied 6 others with Most 2-point Conversion Runs in A Game with four conversion runs. He did it THREE times in the teams first four games this season.


Trevor Garski, QB, Mosinee…Best Completion % In A Game…100%...17-17-0-316-6…#2 on the list in a 47-7 win against Hayward.


Trey Colts, RB, Cambridge…#7 on the Most Yards Rushing In A Game with a 20-carry, 444-yard, 6 td game against Dodgeland…a 53-7 win.


Trey Colts, Brysen Cashen,RB, of Stevens Point Pacelli and Alijdh Maner-Parr, RB, of Hartland Arrowhead have been added to the Single Game Scoring list after scoring 7 td’s in a game.


Jonah Jensen, QB, Brookfield Academy…#10 on the Most Yards Rushing By A Quarterback In A Single Game with a 20 carry, 350-yard, 6 td in a 49-42 performance vs Catholic Central.


Robby Michael, QB, Kohler/Sheboygan Lutheran/Christian…Passed for 7 touchdowns (Tied for 8th place overall) in a 59-0 win over Sheboygan Falls. Michael completed 26 of 30 passes for 431 yards in the contest.


Kohler/Sheboygan Lutheran/Christian…This may be a first time a team has had TWO-career 2,000-yard receivers on the same team, both as seniors. Currently, after the first play-off game, WR Colin Girdaukas has 183 receptions for 3,298 yards and 47 touchdowns. Meanwhile, WR Casey Verhagen has hauled in 139 passes, good for 2,198 yards and 24 scores. More on the three…Michael, Girdaukas and Verhagen…and their season and career stats later at the end of the season.


Cole Toennies, DB, Middleton…Cole has moved into a tie for fourth place on the Most Punt Returns For Touchdowns in a Season with 4 runbacks this year and could add to that as his team enters the Level 1 round of the play-offs.


Aahlijah Jones of South Milwaukee and Collin Conzemius of La Crosse Aquinas both have four kick-off returns for touchdowns this season to tie with 8 other players for first place in the Most Kick-Off’s Returned For Touchdowns in a season. Sadly, Aahlijah’s season is complete but Collin has at least one more game as his Aquinas team enters the Level 2 play-offs undefeated. Max Janson of Glenwood City has three returns as his team also heads into the Level 2 play-offs.


Elliott Lowney, WR, Shawano finished his career with 150 catches for 2,875 yards and 26 touchdowns.


Sam Gabler, DL, of Greendale Martin Luther, has posted 34 tackles for loss so far this season which places him in fourth place for a season sack total.

That is as far as I can see for 11-player stats. A number of players will be added to the career leader lists as the rest of the season plays out.

Now onto 8-Player records.


Wyatt Jensen, RB, Luck…Wyatt rushed for 430 yards on 19 carries and 8 touchdowns in a 63-57 win over Shell Lake. He also scored twice on two-point conversions for a total of 52 points, third highest in state history. His 430 yards ranks sixth


Wyatt Jensen leads the state with 18 two-point conversions, followed by Athens RB Caleb Borchardt with 17.


Chris Brockman, RB, Bruce…Brockman rushed for 278 yards on 29 carries for 8 touchdowns in a 76-52 win over Alma Center Lincoln. Chris also hauled in two touchdown receptions for a state, All-Classes, record 10 touchdowns. His 60-points is an 8-Player record.


Dan Tinker, QB, Bruce…Tinker followed Brockman into the end zone as he ran for 7 two-point conversions. This is also an All-Class single game record. He also passed for 2 conversions.


Jace Paul, QB, Alma Center Lincoln…Jace didn’t pass for the most yards in a game but he did tie for 7th place in Single Game Touchdown Passes when he threw for 6 against Bruce.


Danny Griffith, QB, Saint Mary Catholic/Valley Christian… Griffith has been extremely hot the past three weeks as he passed for 6 td’s against North Crawford and Elkhart Lake Glenbeulah…tied for 8th place on the Single Game Touchdown Passes but he went one better as he tossed 7 td’s against Oakfield, good for a tie with three others for 4th place. His 12-14 passing against Oakfield was a 85.7%, a tie for second place on the Best Completion % In A Game.


Will Watrin, DB, South Shore…returned an All-Class state record of 7 kick-off returns for touchdowns.

A number of defensive stand-outs are moving up the lists Single Season and Career records lists in tackles, sacks, tackles for loss and sacks. There will also be some players under the heading of extra point kicking moving into the record books. Here is an example:


Hunter Cronauer, DE, Wabeno/Lena … currently has 15.5 sacks, tied for 2nd place on the single season sack list and 35 tackles for loss.



Now for a special note about a line I had in my blog from last week (Oct. 18, 2021), “The Passing Parade”. In the story I named Joe Ferguson of Shreveport Woodlawn (LA) as the first high school quarterback to throw for 3,000 (3,290) yards in a season back in 1968. Well, Kevin Askeland of MaxPreps has come across an earlier record setter. Although not officially recognized in the Virginia State records book, Horace Gatewood of Smithfield Westside (VA) completed 165 of 232 passes for 3,496 yards and 41 touchdowns the year before Joe Ferguson, in 1967. Gatewood’s team played in the Virginia Interscholastic Association which was a group of all-black schools, segregated from the VHSL. Horace Gatewood led his team to a 9-1 record as his team scored 501 points. The teams only loss was a forfeit for using two ineligible players in the season opener. Thanks to Kevin for finding the record. There are a lot of records from segregated schools that need to be uncovered and added to the “Official” record books.


Anybody out there ever watch the movie “Remember the Titans” with Denzel Washington? Well, his real-life character, Herman Boone, came to T.C. Williams HS in Alexandria, Virginia after successfully coaching at E. J. Hayes H.S. in Williamston, North Carolina. Hayes was another all-black school. His 1966 team went undefeated and was named by Scholastic Coach Magazine as the top offensive team in the country. It would be cool (At least I think so) to confirm all of their records, but that would be another story and hard to verify. Most of those segregated schools were closed and information in the local papers and their yearbooks were sparse. More later on all the new state record book additions. Thanks.