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WISCONSIN HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PROGRAMS WITH THE MOST WINS AT THE END OF EACH DECADE…1890-2023

Since 1990 Milwaukee Marquette University High School has been the winningest state football program.  It was a long road for a school that started playing the sport in 1907 to forge to the top spot.  Since 1885, when Delafield St. John’ Military Academy began playing football the school led the state in each decade, for 100+ years.


While St. John’s is no longer number one, they still are in the top five of all-time wins.  They built up a large lead in the top spot that allowed them to maintain the lead until that lead began to slip in the 1960’s. 


Thanks to the advent of the state playoffs, first with the private schools beginning in 1969 followed by the public schools in 1975, a number of teams have been able to climb the lists.  St. John’s made the WISAA playoffs a few times and even won a title, schools like Milwaukee Marquette, Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs and Waukesha Catholic Memorial have been able to play extra games to move up the ladder.  These three schools have won a number of titles since the WIAA allowed the private schools to join their organization at the end of the 1999 season.

What’s incredible is the fact that several schools…Edgar, St. Mary’s Springs, Catholic Memorial and Waunakee didn’t start their programs until the late 1940’s or early 1950’s.  But, thanks to the playoffs and superb coaching by the likes of Jerry Sinz, Bob Hyland, Bill Young and three HOF coaches for Waunakee (Dick Trotta, Gayle Quinn and Pat Rice) these schools have jumped up the ladder. These guy’s have won a combined 46 state titles (19 WISAA and 27 WIAA) in the last 54 seasons.  But remember there were no title games during the 2020 COVID year. 

 

Back in 2021 I sent information to MaxPrepos.com (High school football: Programs with the most wins at end of each decade for last 120 years (maxpreps.com)) for a similar story by Kevin Askeland, but of course, it was a national article.  Looking at the WISSORTS FORUM that Kenosha’s Bill Dorst posts for the ALL_TIME WON/LOST (All-Time Win/Loss Records - WisSports Playground…scroll down to the December 10. 2023 listing) I began to research seasonal records and while my numbers may differ from that by Bill Dorst, I think my overall listing is correct.  Why?  Because most of my records were supplied by the schools themselves or my personal research.

 

The following is the progressive list of the Top 10 winningest programs for each decade beginning with 1899 which covers the first period of Wisconsin high school football beginning 1885.  After that it is each for each decade…1900-1909, 1910-1919. 1920-1929, etc.  My original list included 26 schools but I’ve parred things down.  If I had put all the schools into this story, it would take ages to sift through for you, the reader.  So, like the MaxPreps story I’ve kept it at 10 schools. There are a few schools that the records are incomplete with a lack of information…Milwaukee South Side/South Division, Milwaukee Boy’s Tech/Bradley Tech, Milwaukee Washington, Lancaster and Burlington to name a few.  While I have the records for Platteville beginning in the 1920’s their early records are missing. 

 

Speaking of Platteville, I’m sure that if you have read some of my previous stories, particularly DARLINGTON: THEN AND NOW (wihifootball.com).  You will see that some of the “other” lists that are online aren’t up to date.  The person who has the early Platteville records has not sent me the early season by season records otherwise that school would be on the lists much earlier than I have them and in the top 5, if the numbers match up.  Another list has Waunakee with 700+ wins which, according to the school’s official web page tally is not even close.

 

What you should do is look and see how teams rose and fell from decade to decade.  Madison High School was a great program until the mid-1920’s and then they began to lose more than they won after the opening of Madison East and Madison West.  The same is for Wausau East but in a different matter.  Wausau had been a good winning program but picked up steam when Win Brockmeyer became the head coach.  After he left in 1970 the program seemed to deteriorate with the opening of Wausau West and Wausau Newman.  Look at Green Bay East and West as the two schools were some of the top programs in the state for many years but since 2000, they have had few winning teams. Delafield St. John’s, the school that first played the sport in 1885 hasn’t fielded a varsity 11-player squad since 2021 and has dropped down the list.  On the other hand, look at Milwaukee Marquette’s records since the 1980’s.  That school won 94 games in the 1980’s, 91 in the 1990’s, 96 in 2000-2009 and 93 in the 2010’s and quickly rose top the top 10.

 

With Pat Rice stepping down at Waunakee, will they be able to keep their winning ways?  What will happen with St. Mary’s Springs when Bob Hyland steps down after the 2024 season?  How long will Edgar’s Jerry Sinz and Catholic Memorial Coach

Bill Young keep at it; and will their programs continue strong after they leave?  I just wish they all would continue to coach for many years to come as they add so much more to the sport than just wins.  We’ll see where the programs are at the end of 2029. 

 

Thanks to all the schools who helped with the original list which really is about 23 schools that I tracked.  Thanks to Patrick Foran at Marquette, Travis Winkers at Darlington, Troy Andreshak at Edgar and the people from Bloomer, Peshtigo and West De Pere and Catholic Memorial who helped greatly with the research and the school and city libraries of Marinette, Waunakee, Muskego, Port Washington, Oshkosh and the Milwaukee Public Library and the Milwaukee County Historical Society.

And a special thanks to Bill Dorst and Cliff Christal for helping in so many ways.


Delafield St. John’s Military Academy


Most football wins at the end of each decade:

 

1885-1899

Delafield St. John’s Military Academy             68

Madison H.S.                                                       30

Oshkosh                                                                29

Darlington                                                            24

Milwaukee South Side                                       19

Eau Claire                                                             17

Beaver Dam                                                         16

Neenah                                                                  16

Green Bay East                                                     15

Marinette                                                               9

 

1900-1909

Delafield St. John’s M.A.                                    129

Madison H.S.                                                         72

Oshkosh                                                                 69

Eau Claire                                                               61

Marinette                                                                49

Beaver Dam                                                             48

Darlington                                                                47

Green Bay East                                                        40

Green Bay West                                                      29

Neenah                                                                    24

 

1910-1919

Delafield St. John’s M.A.                                       176

Madison H. S.                                                        118

Oshkosh                                                                  112

Eau Claire                                                                  94

Marinette                                                                  89

Green Bay East                                                         81

Green Bay West                                                       72

Darlington                                                                 63

Beaver Dam                                                              60                                           

Marquette                                                                 51

 

1920-1929

Delafield St. John’s M.A.                                          226

Madison H.S./Central (Name changed in 1929) 181                                         Marionette                                                                 161

Green Bay East                                                          148

Oshkosh                                                                     140

Eau Claire                                                                   138

Green Bay West                                                        128

Darlington                                                                  101

Beaver Dam                                                                97

Marquette                                                                  97

 

1930-1939

Delafield St. John’s M.A.                                           286

Green Bay East                                                           213

Madison Central                                                        210

Marinette                                                                     195

Eau Claire                                                                    190

Green Bay West                                                         183

Oshkosh                                                                      176

Darlington                                                                   145

Beaver Dam                                                                130

Milwaukee Marquette                                               129

 

1940-1949

Delafield St. John’s M.A.                                           335

Green Bay East                                                           259

Marinette                                                                    258

Green Bay West                                                         239

Madison Central                                                       239

Eau Claire                                                                    224

Oshkosh                                                                        207

Darlington                                                                   196

Wausau                                                                       195

Milwaukee Marquette                                              185

 

1950-1959

Delafield St. John’s M.A                                            369

Marinette                                                                    309

Green Bay East                                                           306

Green Bay West                                                          300

Eau Claire                                                                     276

Madison Central                                                         267

Wausau                                                                        262

Darlington                                                                    257

Milwaukee Marquette                                               240

Oshkosh                                                                       240


1960-1969

Delafield St. John’s M.A.                                            395

Green Bay West                                                           352 

Marinette                                                                       347

Green Bay East                                                             340  

Eau Claire Memorial (Name changed in1962)        337

Wausau                                                                         331

Beaver Dam                                                                  305

Darlington                                                                     304

Oshkosh                                                                         303

Milwaukee Marquette                                                301

#11 on the list is Madison Central which closed after

the 1968 football season with 275 wins.

 

1970-1979

Delafield St. John’s M.A.                                               436

Marinette                                                                        413

Green Bay East                                                               402

Green Bay West                                                             385

Eau Claire Memorial                                                      384

Beaver Dam                                                                    370

Milwaukee Marquette                                                  369

Wausau East (Name changed to East in 1971)         361

Darlington                                                                       354 

Oshkosh West (Name changed to West in 1972)    351

 

1980-1989

Delafield St. John’s M.A.                                               479

Marinette                                                                        476

Milwaukee Marquette                                                  463

Green Bay East                                                               454

Green Bay West                                                             442

Eau Claire Memorial                                                      439

Beaver Dam                                                                    419

Darlington                                                                       402

Antigo                                                                              395

Wausau East                                                                     386



1990-1999

Milwaukee Marquette                                                    554

Marinette                                                                          549

St. John’s Northwestern Academies (Name changed

when St. John’s and Lake Geneva’s Northwestern Naval

and Military Academy merged in 1995)                       517

Green Bay East                                                                   515

Darlington                                                                          514

Green Bay West                                                                483

Eau Claire Memorial                                                        482

Beaver Dam                                                                      449

Mayville                                                                              435

Antigo                                                                                 431   

 

2000-2009

Milwaukee Marquette                                                     650

Darlington                                                                          584

Marinette                                                                           575

Green Bay East                                                                   555

St. John’s Northwestern Academies                           545

Eau Claire Memorial                                                         521

Mayville                                                                              509  

Mayville                                                                              509

Green Bay West                                                                495

Peshtigo                                                                              482

 

2010-2019

Milwaukee Marquette                                                        733

Darlington                                                                              675

Marinette                                                                               605

Green Bay East                                                                    576

St. John’s Northwestern Academies                           576

Eau Claire Memorial                                                           575

Platteville                                                                               547

Peshtigo                                                                                 541

Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs                                    534

Mayville                                                                                  533

 

2020-2023

Milwaukee Marquette                                                         765  

Darlington                                                                              713

Marinette                                                                               610

Eau Claire Memorial                                                            584

Delafield St. John’s Northwestern Academies        579

Green Bay East                                                                       578

Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs                                        575

Mayville                                                                                   567

Platteville                                                                                  566

Waunakee                                                                                561 

 

Other schools I tracked: 

Stevens Point                                                                          553

Peshtigo                                                                                   545

Antigo                                                                                      540

Beaver Dam                                                                            529

Bloomer                                                                                  529

West De Pere                                                                          528

Neenah                                                                                     518

Edgar                                                                                        513

Waukesha Catholic Memorial                                           513  

Oshkosh West                                                                        503

Green Bay West (They have won only 2 games in the 2020’s) 

                                                                                                   500

Wausau East (They have also won only 2 games in the 2020’s).

                                                                                                   479

Prairie du Chien                                                                      474  


If you have season by season records for a team that might make my list, please let me know. Thanks.

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