A Newspaper Rant
About 100-years ago most newspapers began to dedicate more news space for high school football. As I’ve mentioned before, the coverage was gradual with some game stats, box scores, season stats, some career stats, player profiles and expanded team stories. Looking back at older newspapers before 2012 the local teams got plenty of coverage in the papers. Because of the downturn in readership newspapers have moved more and more of their content to the internet. The size of the newspaper dwindled as more and more advertising went online so the newspaper companies streamlined their services.
Take a look at the Wisconsin newspapers acquired by Gannet. If you look at the Saturday editions of the Fond du Lac Reporter, the Stevens Point Journal or the Green Bay Press Gazette you will find almost the same content. A story about the upcoming Packer game and a feature on that day’s Wisconsin Badger game. Nowhere in the sports page will you find a story on the local football games from Friday night. To get that you have to go online and maybe it would be a short story with very little box score info.
Do I blame the newspapers for not recording history in print? Since the first newspaper was printed in 1609 in Germany and the Low Countries, people have relied on the newspaper for news, advertising, society and woman’s interest as well as sports. Now, much of that has gone away from these papers. For many people to find an obituary or a sports story you have to go online. When I was a young boy, living in southwestern Michigan my family didn’t get just one newspaper on a daily basis. We had three!! The local Niles paper as well as the South Bend Tribune and the Chicago Tribune. I got the Niles Daily Star and the South Bend newspapers when I attended St. John’s Military Academy and later, Arizona State. Moving back to Wisconsin I narrowed things down to the Milwaukee Journal. The point is that until five years ago, I received on my doorstep a daily paper. So, am I part of the problem for the downturn in readership? How about my three children who are now college graduates and never once looked at the Journal when they lived in my home? That seems to be the same thing for many families. The internet became their source for news. To them it just seemed easier because they can get the latest information now and not later. The problem I have is that for prep football information gathering moving forward it is/will be hard to get older information without that paper. Without having a good archive it is hard to get the older facts that I and others need. Newspapers.com has provided a great source of news gathering during the pandemic. Since last March I’ve only been able to visit two libraries to look at microfilm and I had to drive 70-80 miles one way to view the papers. Thank goodness for Newspapers.com. However, not all newspapers are part of that file. I just wish that the Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Sentinel and the old community newspapers were part of the Newspapers.com program.
Record Setting Games
As you may know there are thousands of games played each year and most of the time a record isn’t set in those games. While doing some research I ran across three games that stood out for setting records in a single game. These are all from the 1990s. The first was the 1995 Division 5 championship game between Darlington and Hurley, a 63-6 win for Darlington who set ten Division 5 records, eight of which are still listed as #1 in those categories:
TEAM RECORDS INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Most points in a game…63 Most touchdowns…Doug McGowan…5
Most points by two teams…69 Longest punt return…by McGowan…82 yards
Largest margin…57 Most points in a game…by McGowan…30
Most total yards…406
Most yards rushing…387
The next game was the 1998 shoot-out between D.C. Everest and Wisconsin Rapids which was a thriller. Everest won 70-63 as there were nine Wisconsin Valley Conference records set or tied on September 4. All appear to still be current conference records. I have a future story concerning this game.
Most points scored by two teams…133
Most points by two teams in a half…70…D.C. Everest 41, Wis. Rapids 29 (First Half)
Most first downs by two teams…56
Most points by a losing team…Wis. Rapids…63
Most net yards gained…by Wis. Rapids…660
Most net yards gained by two teams…1,311
Most points…Nathan Dahl…44
Most touchdowns…Nathan Dahl…7
Most touchdown receptions (Tied)…Derek Abney…3
Next up is the 1999 Division 6 state title game, a 54-6 win by Owen-Withee over Mineral Point. O-W posted 13 divisional records with nine still leading in a stats category set during the romp. They were:
Most points in a game…54
Most touchdowns by one team…8
Most points by two teams…60
Most points in a half…41
Most points in a quarter…21
Fewest rushing yards allowed…0 (Zero)
Largest margin of victory…48
Most touchdowns by one player (Tied)…by Jeff Tolzmann…4
Most conversions kicked…by Jason Laube…7
Longest punt…by Jeff Tolzmann…72 yards
Best punting average by Jeff Tolzmann…44.8 (Tolzmann had a 29.2 average coming into the game) on four punts
Longest kickoff return…Jeff Tolzmann…80 yards
Longest punt return…Jeff Tolzmann…22 yards (Not super long but still a record)
I point these records out because they are remarkable individual and team performances and even though they took place 20+ years ago they need to be recognized. It is remarkable that 24 of the 32 records have stood the test of time.