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Yes, I know there is only a week left in the fall 2020 season and a recap may be premature but I have to write about several player’s performances.

Robby Michael and Colin Girdaukas of Kohler/Sheboygan Lutheran/Christian have already been profiled in a previous blog. They continue to perform well and I hope they get to play one final game this week. This week. Yes, normally the final one of the season as the top 14 teams play for state titles in Madison. Well, as you know, that isn’t going to happen. Some seasonal and career records will be added and maybe a career record will be approached. Those stats will probably be in the receiving and kicking lists.

Wide receiver Jake Martens of Cumberland is emerging as one of the all-time greats. After this past weekend’s game he has hauled in 80 passes for 1,033 yards and 13 touchdowns. Pretty good numbers you say. But here is the greater bit of information. He now, with one game to go slated for this Thursday night against Stanley-Boyd Martens, has caught 244 career passes. That places him in second place on the career receiving reception list behind the 283 catches made by Micha Fulton of Wonewoc-Center made in 2005-07. Martens has 3,202 career yards for third place on the career receiving yardage list. He also has 36 career touchdown receptions which is tied for fifth place.

I should note that Cumberland quarterback Maddox Allen has 4,044 career passing yards so far as he is about to complete his junior season. With next season he could move up the career charts with ease. I say, with ease because he has a great career passing percentage of 73.6 on 287 completions in only 390 attempts. Look at what he has done so far in 2020: in eight games he has 139 completions in 171 attempts for what would be a state record 81.3%, 1,765 yards and 23 scores. Not bad you say. I don’t mean to jinx him but he also hasn’t thrown an interception this season!!!

On Friday night senior receiver Drayton Lehman of Mosinee moved to the top of this season’s receiving leader list with 95 catches. How did he do it, moving past several players for the season’s lead? Well, he caught 20 (Yes, 20) passes for 188 yards and four touchdowns against Cadott. That places him in a tie with Cadott’s Brett McChesney on the state single game reception list who caught 20 balls in 2014. Lehman has 170 career catches for the 14th spot on the all-time list.

I mentioned Colin Girdaukus of KLC earlier. At this writing they do not have a game scheduled yet for this week. They lost this past Friday to Appleton Xavier but could still play one more final game. Colin could set three season records even without playing another game. His season stands with only six games played right now with 58 catches for a state leading 1,495 yards and 18 touchdowns. That means he could set the state record for the highest per catch average on a season for 50+ receptions with his current 25.8 yard average. He could also set the state season record for yards per game with a 186.0 average. Since he and quarterback Robby Michael are both juniors they could give opponents fits in 2021. Michael leads the state this season in passing with 2,309 yards and 31 touchdowns and has 4,549 career passing yards and 55 career scores so far.

This Thursday night Lake Mills will face cross-town rival Lakeside Lutheran in a rematch of an earlier game, won by Lutheran 24-21. Lake Mills quarterback Jake Moen has 7,555 career passing yards, fifth all-time and has 81 career touchdown passes, good for a tie for eighth place. Moen also has 2,006 career rushing yards giving him 9,561 career total offensive yards, good so far for fifth all-time. Jake set the single season record last season with 4,477 passing and rushing total yards.

I mentioned earlier that there were some kickers moving up the career charts. Jared VanWatermuelen of Grantsburg will close out his career this Thursday by possibly moving into the top 10 list for career kicking points as he currently has 195. 14 career field goals and 153 extra points. He needs four more points to tie for that 10th spot.

A.J. Arndt of Hartford has moved up the career lists steadily this season as the senior has kicked 24 career field goals along with 120 extra points to move into the 12th spot in career kick scoring. His 24 field goals places him in seventh place on the career list for that category.

There will be more to add to the lists as I begin to check over team and player stats once the fall season is complete. Look for an updated records file on the WFCA website in late December or early January. If you have any additions, please send me the info to kevinpatrowsky@earthlink.net .

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

For over a year of doing research for my book, The Great Teams, the year 1930 was a problem for me. Back around 2005 or 2006 while roving through the internet I ran across a partial list of Wisconsin high school football champions. First, the authors, Andy McKillop and Bob Kieckbusch, had a list of press poll champions that ran from 1958 with the start of the UPI and then listed the AP polls through 1975. I then found another list somewhere that started with 1900 and ran through about 1955 or ’56. I’m no longer sure of the author or how they came upon the listing of teams but it was a guide for me to follow.

As I did my research, I added schools to the list and made a few changes because I didn’t agree with the original findings. For some seasons in the 1900-1924 period there could be as many as 6 or 7 schools claiming to be the state champions. It took a lot of work to determine who was the real champion. Just read the sections in my book on the early Eau Claire and Oshkosh teams. As I filled in the list of yearly champions, I became more comfortable with my choices. I bounced team info off of my editor, my son Tom, who also helped with the research but in the end, I was satisfied with how the yearly champions were determined. But one thing stuck out at me when I looked the list over. We didn’t have a champion or a season record for 1930, the only year except for the 1900 Milwaukee South Side team on the list without a season record. South’s record may never be known since no yearbook is available nor were there many stories, if any, on high school football teams for 1900 being mentioned in the Milwaukee newspapers. South is considered champion because in other papers outside Milwaukee they declared them to be the best.

However, there were lots of reasons for not having a champ recorded for the 1930 season until I got some extra help.

We were ready to go to press except for several read throughs to check for punctuation and verifying the spelling of people’s names. I had contacted the Superior Public Library right when covid-19 caused many places to close. I understood how hard it was for people to get books and information from their local library. My oldest daughter works for the Pewaukee library and she had to do much of her work from home for several months. Schools closed as well and the school librarian wasn’t available. I live in Milwaukee so a hike to Madison to the state historical society wasn’t an option as that had closed as well. I had to live on my subscription to newspapers.com to give me help but they don’t have the Superior Telegram or the Duluth Telegram online. Right when the shutdowns began my son and I determined that the probable champion would be either Waukesha or Superior based on info from other newspapers. We needed to confirm those stories on the two teams.

We had found a listing in one paper that had a number of statewide conference standings for the 1930 season with one or two games left to go in the season. That was a start. We had many “usual suspects” to look at but none fit the bill of being considered a champion team. We looked at the Green Bay area and the Fox River Valley Conference schools but Manitowoc’s 6-1-1 record wasn’t the best and they weren’t an overwhelming team. An OK offense with a good enough defense but not our top choice. Marinette was part of the conference at that time but they finished in the middle of the pack with Green Bay East and West. Eau Claire had a few losses so they were out of the running along with the La Crosse schools. The Big Eight Conference began in 1930 and included the Madison schools, East, West, and Central plus Kenosha, Beloit, Janesville the two Racine schools, Horlick and Park. Park was the top team with a 6-1-1 overall record and they were in the same position as Manitowoc. Good but just not good enough.

The overall sticking point is that in all the seasons between 1901 and 1957 there are 68 champions or co-champions. Only eight of those teams had a tie and nine had a loss. The worst season was 1910 with Oshkosh posting a 5-2-1 record. But their two losses were to college teams and their 0-0 tie was in the “championship” game against Eau Claire. After the tie Oshkosh declared themselves to be the champion as no high school had defeated them in several years and few people disputed the title despite that tie. I was looking for a clear winner. Maybe an undefeated team with a tie would be OK if they played good overall competition.

I then moved my search closer to the Milwaukee area. Watertown had posted a 7-1-0 record with their only defeat at the hands of the University of Wisconsin High School. Wisconsin High was a city of Madison school run by the University to help teach college students classroom presentation. It opened in 1914 and closed in 1974. The school was not as large as the other public high schools in Madison so they were not part of the Big Eight Conference. Despite losing to Wisconsin High, Watertown became a school in the running for the title. Kenosha finished second in the Big Eight but had an overall 7-1-2 record. Could they be number one even with a 12-9 loss to Racine Park and not being the conference champion? I thought not. Since Green Bay East, co-champion with Delafield St. John’s in 1929 when both were 9-0-0, was out of the money could the Lancers be considered for the title? St. John’s posted a 7-1-0 record against tougher competition than what Watertown faced but their loss was a 19-0 defeat at the hands of Culver (IN) Military Academy who won that years National Military Prep School Trophy. Tough for me to say but no, they weren’t they wouldn’t be the state champion. But they were closer than anybody else.

The Milwaukee City Conference had co-champions with Washington and East Side tied with 5-1-1 records. They tied in the season finale and both had losses to Tech, a middle of the conference team so things boiled down to two teams. Waukesha and Superior but I had no final record for either. Finally, in August I was able to make an appointment to look at microfilm at the State Historical Society. I would have to wait three weeks to get in. I knew Waukesha, the Suburban Conference champion had a 6-0-1 record based on the information in the newspaper that had posted conference records. What I found in Madison was that they had lost a game to Wauwatosa 2-0 and ended with a 6-1-1 record. Disappointing. Some of the information I found on Superior showed that school with a 6-0-1 record. Could they be the number one team? I had contacted the Superior Public Library in mid-September and the reference desk was now open to help…for four hours a week. I was only asking if they had the 1931 Superior High School year book and to pull it out and read me the scores for 1930. I was told there were several requests ahead of me and I would have to wait. So, I waited. I also called the Superior High School and left message for the school librarian to look the info up. I got no response.

Friday night, October 2, as I was reviewing the bibliography section of my book, I saw that I had mentioned the Monroe County Historical Society which had helped me with information on the 1907 Sparta championship team. Several other historical societies had closed because of the pandemic and were probably open now but hadn’t responded to my message from four to five months previous on other subjects. I wondered if the Douglas County Society would have what was needed so at about 8 pm I wrote a request. A few minutes later I was astounded to find an e-mail from Jon Winter, the business manager for the Douglas County Historical Society. I had requested yearbook information on the 1918-20 Superior teams to help fill in any gaps I might have. I also asked about the 1930 team. Here it was, nearly 9 pm on a Friday and someone was willing to help. And to offer to send me information the next day!!! He did so and I was surprised with about 35 jpeg files on the four teams. Jon led me to discover that 1930 Superior had a 8-0-1 record, best in the state. Their tie was against Ironwood (MI), the Michigan Upper Peninsula champ.

There I had it. I could fill in the open spot for 1930 with a team name and a record. It was a long and drawn out process but worth it.

Here is their record:

Now, anybody have info on 1900 Milwaukee South Side? Maybe a grandparent's or great-grandparent's yearbook from 1901 that I could look at?

It’s said records are made to be broken and in early October a new one was set in Wisconsin high school football. How did we get to the record? It’s sort of a long and twisting story but first let’s talk about the game that the new record was set.

It was Friday, October 9, 2020.

New Holstein was visiting Kohler to battle the co-opted schools of Kohler, Sheboygan Lutheran and Sheboygan Christion.

The game was nearly over. Only 17 seconds left on the clock and Kohler/Sheboygan Lutheran/Christian was on their 21-yard line, 79 yards away from the New Holstein goal. On first down quarterback Robby Michael threw his 34th pass. It went Incomplete. On second down he completed pass number 35 for a short five-yard gain to Casey Verhagen. It was his eighth and final catch of the game on a night any receiver would be proud of as he gained 128 yards and a touchdown. With 10 seconds left KLC quickly got to the line and Michael tossed a 50-yard pass to the fastest player on the field, Colin Girdaukes who hauled the ball in on about the 25-yard line and ran toward the goal. He stumbled at the 15 but stayed upright and went untouched into the endzone and KLH tied the score 50-50. Or did they? A flag had been thrown. The officials discussed for a moment if Girdaukes has stepped out of bounds. The flag was picked up and the score stood. By making the catch and gaining 74 yards Girdaukes ended up catching seven passes for a state single game record 339-yards plus three touchdowns and two 2-point conversions. With the game tied and no time left on the clock coach Ryan Eigenberger did something unusual for his team. He sent Justin Hendrikse out to kick the team’s first of the season 1-point conversion. KLC usually went for two points and now they were trying their first conversion kick of the season. With no timeouts left Eigenberger didn’t have time to discuss what 2-point play his team would run so he chose to kick. It worked out.

The snap was perfect. So was the hold. And so was the kick and KLC won a 51-50 barnburner. Besides the state record receiving yards put up by Girdaukes, quarterback completed 24 of 36 attempts for 579 yards and four touchdowns with only one interception. The 579 yards placed Michael in the third spot on the all-time single game passing list. It was a great night for KLC. But how did we get to this record?

Well, I’ve spent many hours in libraries and online doing research for my files on state football records that are posted on the WFCA website at https://www.wifca.org/staterecords . I’ll bet I’ve scoured nearly a hundred different newspapers from Wisconsin and nearby Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan, running down leads supplied by coaches, players and fans. Sometimes my eyes are blurry from looking at microfilm or printed papers after a “long day at the office”. But in the end, it is the finding of important information and confirming a reported stat that I love. Before I bought a computer and began e-mailing coaches and newspapers for information it was all library work. In the early days I spent most of my spare time at the Milwaukee Public Library in downtown or made treks to Madison to scan microfilm at the State Historical Society building on the University of Wisconsin campus. My biggest break was when the Milwaukee Journal asked for state records information in 1995 and I sent them 48 pages of hand written stats. They did a story on me and the information came flooding in from others wanting to confirm a school, conference or state record or just wanting to contribute. They wanted to know, according to what I had, where a player placed on a single game, season or career list. I contributed to several websites, mainly in their football forum section and then began to collate weekly leader lists for passing, rushing, receiving and scoring and sent them out to newspapers free of charge. Some printed my stats but most didn’t. Still, the papers would contact me with questions concerning a certain player or team. I would be asked to confirm the status of a certain record. So here is how we got to the new receiving record.

Before the 1950's there were few newspaper stories that the reader would find individual player statistics. Oh, there would be a mention of a player with a long run and the distance but usually very little statistical game information. Often nothing more than who scored a touchdown and who scored an extra point. Often there was no explanation as to if the extra point was a run or a kick.

A rare find in searching various early 20th century newspapers was a story, while researching the great Superior high school teams of 1918-20 that I found a huge bit of information. In 1918 when the Superior Telegram mentioned in a game story between Superior high school and Two Harbors Minnesota, Superior quarterback Harold “Fat” Steel completed nine passes to end Ted Whereatt for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Superior crushed Two Harbors 75-0. The 279 yards wasn’t mentioned as being a record, just as a matter of fact in the story. No other stat information other than a record of which player scored was in the article. Superiors offense was unusual for its time as instead of the players lining up close to each other and always smashing the opposition with a powerful run game, the players lined up in what could be called a spread formation. Each lineman would spread their arms out and line up finger-tip to finger-tip. The linemen would be about six feet apart. The quarterback would line up behind center with the fullback right behind him and the halfbacks spread on either side, also finger-tip to finger-tip. By spreading out they could make better angle blocking on the line and open up the field. According to the newspaper stories, like other teams from the era Superior was a run orientated team and only passed occasionally to loosen up the defense. Superior would maybe throw three to five times a game, which was a lot in those days. Aside from a few good throwing quarterbacks in the 1910’s through the 1940’s there was little chance for a receiver to haul in many passes. An end was a blocker on offense and a defensive end or linebacker on defense. Not a major offensive tool.

The record for receiving would stand 63 years when it was broken by Waukesha North’s Jeff Sanford who hauled in nine passes for 311 yards and three scores. Sanford was the first player to gain 300 yards or more in a game. Jeff would set the record but I wouldn’t discover it until 2009. The single game receiving record would change hands a few times starting in 1998 when Chippewa Fall McDonell end Bryan Dahl gained 286 yards. The next season West Bend East’s Ryan Rohlinger would catch passes for 292 yards. Two years later Stratford coach Cal Tackes sent me an e-mail stating that he and his staff had reviewed game film and confirmed that end Ryan Pachinak had caught eight passes for 299 yards and three scores. Pachinak now moved to the top of the list. By now, if a coach had game film and they could make a copy and send it to me or sit down with a local reporter and review the footage for confirmation I would certify a record. In 2003, on consecutive Fridays the state receiving record was broken. First by Jordan Zimmerman of Auburndale who gained 304 yards. I had just finished reviewing the video sent to me when I got a call from the stats man at Mosinee who told me that Eric Vehlow had caught nine passes for 307 yards. By the next Thursday I had the game film in hand and confirmed the new record. Remember, I still didn’t know about Jeff Sanford’s 1981 performance.

In late 2009 while looking up other information at the Waukesha Public Library I ran across a Waukesha Freeman story about Sanford’s big game. He now moved to the top of my list…for about four months. It was early 2010, just after my latest set of records was posted on the WFCA website, when I received an e-mail from Justin Last of Winneconne who said he had caught 12 passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns in a game in 1996. His former coach also e-mailed to confirm totals and he said that the newspaper story on the game against Ripon had the totals wrong. The Oshkosh Northwestern newspaper had him with 11 catches for 320 yards (still a record) but Last had one more reception for four more yards. I looked up the story but with the coach confirming the new set of figures I went with 324 yards. One thing not in dispute was that Last caught five of those passes for touchdowns. The first Wisconsin player to get to that standard. In 2013 Tanner Vik of Spooner moved past Last into first place with 331 yards worth of receptions. The newspaper reports had Vik with seven receptions for 293 yards and five scores but the coaches or stats person reported on WisSports.net eight catches for 331 yards and the five td’s so I took it as gospel. And so, the record stood until October 9, 2020.

I can’t wait to hear of a new record.