One of the questions I've been getting asked is “Why isn’t my team mentioned in the book?” “Did you ever look at TEAM X?”
Well, the answer is maybe I never discovered enough information on a school to be able to consider the team. Prior to the radio interview last week, I went to Muskego High School and dropped off a copy for the co-host, Ryan McMillon, to look over. He asked me if Muskego was in the book and I said, no, but the reason for that is their story hasn’t ended. They are still going strong and that chapter will be added in the future. There is plenty of information about Muskego. Yet, some chapters are yet to be discovered.
Another person who purchased my book, Cameron of Hudson, asked me about the Belmont teams of the late 1970s. Their parents had attended the school back then and it was a fair question. I replied that I had heard a little something about the teams but in truth I never spent time researching the school’s teams. Cameron said that information on their end would be coming to me soon and I look forward to seeing things. Belmont, a small town near Platteville, doesn’t have their own newspaper and I would have to rely on the Platteville Journal newspaper for the facts. After Cameron wrote me, I tried finding information online and there were just some game scores with almost no story in the Wisconsin State Journal or The Capitol Times. I’m sad to say that like several other key Wisconsin newspapers (The Milwaukee Journal, the Milwaukee Sentinel and the Waukesha Freeman) the Platteville paper isn’t listed on newspapers.com.
This all got me thinking about the 2020 season and I ran across a series of stories written by Travis Wilson on WisSports.Net. Travis is the General Manager and the principal football writer for the web site. One story I referenced is his season ending recap of the 2020 fall football season. As usual he wrote a very solid and informative recap covering a lot of material for the 2020 season this past week. Check it out here:
In the recap Travis mentions that Belmont in 2020 was the top 8-player team even though the playoffs were cancelled for the season. Now there isn’t a lot online from other sources about the 2020 Belmont football team but I did catch a story or two and I’ve been able to put the following together.
With only a 2018-19 school enrollment of 99 students, coach Brandon Wiese felt that the football team would be better served by moving to 8-player football. The Braves started 8-player ball last season and this year things really paid off. In 2019 the team finished with a 9-3 record, losing their final game to Wausau Newman Catholic, 49-16 in the semi-finals. Because of covid-19 they were only able to play six regular season games and an unofficial title game against Gilman, the only other undefeated 8-player team. The Braves came out on top 24-20 in a hard-fought game played in Mauston on November 8th.
The big star for Belmont the past two seasons was Riley Christensen who some colleges are taking a look at. Riley played quarterback and linebacker for Belmont and is 6’2", 220. In 2019 as a junior, Riley played all 12 games and passed for 854 yards and 11 touchdowns and ran for 1,960 yards and 30 scores. This year he passed for 478 yards and 9 touchdowns and ran for 1,372 yards and 26 more touchdowns. Remember, these stats were in just seven games. In the battle against Gilman Riley, he carried the ball 43 times for 347 yards and all four of his team’s touchdowns.
Before the season kicked off, Belmont was getting statewide recognition. Early on, coach Wiese had been named the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week and with all the problems covid-19 gave their schedule, Wiese kept his team focused on the next game and staying healthy. Born and raised in Fennimore, coach Wiese played football, basketball, golf and baseball for his high school and went on to attend UW-Platteville. He spent 2014 as an assistant at Potosi for one season before moving to Belmont, first as an assistant and then being promoted in 2016 to the head coaching job. When accepting the award from the Packers, Coach Wiese, as usual, passed a lot of praise on to his assistants for their hard work. I’m sure the success will continue.
So, if you have other coaches, teams or players that you feel should get some mention, don’t hesitate to send me a note and maybe send me some information as well. Thanks, and Cameron, I can’t wait to see what information about the 1970s Belmont teams you have for me!