Everyone loves the underdog
The story is a familiar one.
The star of the scenario is an underdog team who some how defies the odds and takes down the heavy favorite on the biggest stage.
This subject again came up during a recent conversation I was having with a fellow sports fan.
It got me to thinking about some of the more memorable local upsets I’ve seen over the years.
The first one that comes to mind was a 1973 Class District D tournament basketball game between Chassell and Ewen-Trout Creek at old Sherman Gym.
Ewen-TC came into the game with a 17-1 record, compared to Chassell’s rather paltry 5-14 mark, and was the defending Class D state champion.
Mike Carlisle of E-TC had started on the state title team and was an all-stater in 1973. Chassell finished last in the Copper Country Conference that winter.
But sparked by a career game by Pierre Soumis (he had 23 points), CHS pulled off the upset by seven points.
To make it even more special, Chassell then spilled an 18-1 Dollar Bay squad next, and made it to the finals before losing to another darkhorse in Lake Linden-Hubbell.
Speaking of the Lakes, they came literally out of nowhere in the 1988 football season to provide some high drama in the playoffs.
LL-H made the postseason only because a downstate state had to forfeit a game. The reward for the Lakes, who had already stored away their equipment, was to draw top-ranked Gaylord St. Mary.
GSM had six all-state players on that team, but coach Ron Warner’s team handed them a 36-0 pasting in Newberry. The Lakes nearly made it to the state championship game that year, but dropped an overtime game to a huge Frankfort team.
The Twilight League has seen many upsets over the years, but a 1979 performance by South Range was a notable one.
Range won the playoffs, despite finishing last in the standings.
On their way to the title, such perennial powerhouses as Superior National Bank and Partanen’s Bar were spilled.
Range shortstop Gary Guisfredi, whose father Angelo managed the team, said the team played shorthanded much of the season.
“We had to recruit a couple of Michigan Tech students just to finish the season,” he said. “But everything fell into place that season.”
I can recall at least a couple more of monumental upsets (like the 1957 Soumi College stunner over Northern Michigan University in basketball) but that’s another story for another time ….