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Northwest Wisconsin Champions...1976-2000

Starting in 1952 the Eau Claire Leader and later the Leader-Telegram newspaper began naming an annual All-Northwest Football team. The team consisted of players from the newspaper’s coverage and largely defines the "Northwest" area of the state.

When the WIAA playoffs started in 1976 the title games were played around the state at different venues until 1984 when all the games were moved to one location, Camp Randall Stadium. Between 1977 and 2000, a team from Northwest Wisconsin took home a title in all except one year, 1983. There were just three seasons, 1983, 1994 and 1996, that a team from the Northwest did not take home the Division 6 title. In 1983 Osseo-Fairchild finished second to Peshtigo, losing 7-0 in the title game. In 1994 Thorp (11-2) lost to Hilbert 34-6 and in 1996 Greenwood (11-3) lost to Hilbert 35-15.

Before all the state title games were moved to Madison only one championship game was played in the Northwest region and that was in 1977, a game between Division 4 squads Osseo-Fairchild and Stanley-Boyd. The site was in Eau Claire at Carson Park, the main high school football stadium in the area. At that time only four teams in each Class were allowed in the playoffs. There were four playoff divisions…AA, A, B and C. In Class C there were three teams from the region that went 9-0…Osseo-Fairchild, Stanley-Boyd and Fall Creek. The convoluted selection process eliminated Fall Creek from playoff consideration. The two 1977 teams battled and Osseo-Fairchild came out on top, 14-0 and the team was able to extend their winning streak to 26-games.

Overall, there were 144 championship games played between 1976 and 2000. In the first 25-years of the playoffs the region produced 40 champions across all divisions (27.7% of all the title trophy’s that were handed out). No Northwest team took home a Division 1 trophy so if you take out the 25 D1 teams from the total championships won the percentage of title holders jumps to 33.6%. No team from the Northwest has advanced to the Division 1 title game in the history of the playoffs. This, of course, has a lot to do with the relatively few Division 1 schools in the area. Eau Claire Memorial, Eau Claire North, Hudson and Chippewa Falls have yet to make it to Madison. Superior (about as north and west as you can get in the state) made it to the title game twice in 1988 (11-2) as the runner-up and in 1990 (12-1) as the champion, but they are not in the Leader- Telegram Northwest coverage area.

The region produced the following champions between 1977 and 2000:

In the past 19-seasons (2001-2019) the number and percentage of Northwest teams has dropped. 20 teams won the title out of 132 trophies, a 15.5% and no team made it to the finals. There were 25 other teams that placed second in the championship games during the 1976-2000 timeframe and 15 teams in the period of 2001-2019. The first 25-years earned the Northwest region the nickname of the “Area of Football Champions”.

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