The next season, 1970, Dick Varsho was back along with star running back Rich Weiler to start the 1970 season. With Chris Linzmeier gone the previous season’s top linebacker/offensive end, Bob Bassuener took over as the starting quarterback. Bob played well but he was hurt for several games. Despite those hurt’s he still earned all-conference honors as he tossed 11 touchdowns and five conversions. Rich Weiler, who gained 887-yards with 14 scores in 1969 earned the 1970 Marawood Player-of-the-Year honors as he carried 141 times for 1,301 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. He added 15 receptions for 286yards and seven more scores. With two two-point runs he totaled 130 points on the year.
Week 5 of 1970 found the Apache alone atop of the now 10-team Marawood with a 5-0 record after they beat Stratford 34-0, the fifth of seven consecutive shutouts to start the season. With the 20-0 defeat of Stratford in the season finale in 1969 they would have an eight-game shutout streak. Pittsville, Nekoosa and Stratford were now all 4-1 and Auburndale was now ranked #1 in the AP Little Ten poll. The team was averaging nearly 40-points per game but then Bassuener was injured and could only play a limited role at quarterback as well as defense. Game 6 should have been another blowout against Athens, but it was close, a real close 6-0 victory. Athens would be 2-4 after the loss but they were able to key on Weiler and it took a flea flicker play to get the Apache on the board. Bassuener came in and tossed the ball to Jerry Weber who then threw the ball to end Terry Paul for a 51-yard touchdown with two and a half minutes left in the game. That same day Nekoosa tuned up for week 7’s matchup with Auburndale with a 42-6 win over Rib Lake. It didn’t help as back-up quarterback Larry Sholes came off the bench to toss three touchdowns and to lead the team to victory.
A close 12-6 win over Pittsville was a defensive battle as the Apache stopped the Panthers on their six-yard line on a fourth and one rushing attempt that was for no gain with 90-seconds left in the game. The next and final week of the season had Stratford hoping for an Auburndale loss to Spencer. Stratford was 7-1 going into their final game and in second place in the Marawood but they tied Athens who was playing great defense, 0-0. Spencer fell to the Apache 28-14 for the schools 27th consecutive win (Or, 29th , depending on if you were reading the newspapers). In the victory Weiler ran for 166 yards and three scores on the ground and caught another score via a pass reception.
The AP would name Auburndale the #1 small school team, but things were different in the United Press International poll. It was sort of like the 1969 AP polls. UPI had, after week eight, Gale-Ettrick as #1, Auburndale #2, Kohler was #3 and Darlington was #4 as all four teams were 8-0. The next and final week poll had Gale-Ettrick (8-0) still at the #1 spot, Kohler (8-0) moving up to #2, Darlington was now 9-0 and in the #3 spot and Auburndale had dropped to #4 even with a 9-0 record. This was a head scratcher but that’s how it ended. 27-consecutive wins but again no love in the polls. End Terry Paul, offensive tackle Greg Haupt, quarterback Bob Bassuener and the Weiler, the POY in the Marawood, were all first team players.
1970 Auburndale Apache’s (Marshfield News Herald)
Dick Varsho didn’t come back as the head coach in 1971 as he took the head coaching football position at Marshfield High School and later at Cornell as he taught history there. He was replaced by Bill Silvertsen, at least the sixth head coach at the school in 10-years. Despite losing a number of stars and having to reload they were favored to again win the Marawood title and were rated atop the AP poll. The newspapers finally had the win streak totals correct as they started out with the actual 27 consecutive wins. The Apache won their first four games before they lost to Stratford who was 3-1 t the time. The Tigers held Auburndale to 21-yards on the ground and 110-yards in the air. They lost three fumbles and tossed an interception as they tumbled 18-0. The streak was over. They didn’t regroup the next week, losing 14-6 to Nekoosa but then they won the final three games to end 7-2 and surprisingly, honorable mention in both the press polls.
Now, I could end but I have a little bit more about Auburndale but not dealing with football. Going back to the summer of 1970 the Apache won the WIAA summer baseball state title, going 18-0 under the tutelage of Dick Varsho. Back in 1960 they won the spring season state title. Summer baseball began in 1965 and lasted until 2018 when spring ball became the norm. Auburndale is the only school to ever win both the spring and summer titles. Quite a feat for the small school. In 1970, star quarterback Chris Linzmeier and Don Vruwink pitched and hit the team to the title. Linzmeier was 11-0 on the mound with a 0.40 earned run average, 140 strikeouts in 70 innings as well as batting .370. Vruwink was 7-0 with a 0.29 ERA in 49 innings along with 95 strikeouts. He led the team with a .433 batting average. He hit a career total of 12 home runs including one each in the team’s 3-1 win over Melrose-Mindoro in the semi-finals and the one against Sussex Hamilton, 4-0 victory.
So, to end, you can now have a look at the streak: