December 12th, 2012 at 3:16 PM ^

Thank you for posting this or I might have never read it.  This is simply an amazing story that deserves more attention.  The sadness and the triumph both come through and it would make for a wonderful movie, even, in the right hands (Peter Berg?).  But I feel so bad for these families and these kids and for them to win the state title AND have their kicker have Down's Syndrome and be so happy, it kinda puts everything into perspective doesn't it?


December 12th, 2012 at 4:45 PM ^

Really an incredible story. To suffer so much adversity in a season, and to come through and win the state championship with such an undersized and unathletic squad is a chilling story. Especially when they had to go through 5 star Malik McDowells team! A poster mentioned two more facts that make it even more amazing (sharing with everyone just in case you didn't read the comments):

- The star running back for the 2010 Ishpeming team tore his ACL in the state semi finals, thus losing such a close game in the finals without him was a huge disappointment

- The QB for the 2012 team was Alex Briones, Derrick Briones brother (the WR who died unexpectedly)


December 12th, 2012 at 3:38 PM ^

FWIW, I drive from Grand Rapids to Marquette about once a month. Ishpeming is about 45 minutes from Marquette right on the shores of Lake Superior. It's a beautiful brick building that sits about 100 ft from the icy cold waters. It's an amazing setting, and I remark each time I pass it about how lucky these kids are to have such a beautiful school. I had no idea how lucky they really are to have the football coach that they have. Inspiring!


December 12th, 2012 at 3:42 PM ^

Ishpeming is about 20 minutes west of Marquette and not on Lake Superior.  I think you're thinking of Munising, which is 45 minutes east of Marquette, and I know their high school is right next to the lake.

The Claw

December 12th, 2012 at 4:14 PM ^

My dad is from Munising and my gramps still lives there.  I vacation there every summer to see him.  He's 94.  I love the fact that Munising had a ski jump team back in the day.  My dad was on the team.  Not sure if they still do it today or not.


Awesome story.  Way to go team. Nice to see a U.P. school win it all.



December 12th, 2012 at 4:13 PM ^

I think the article talks about the "shores of Lake Superior," which confused me as well. Prior to reading the article, Ishpeming just meant that we finally got decent cell reception on our way through the UP to visit home, with gas stations that were open and modern.



December 12th, 2012 at 3:37 PM ^

I worked the game for fsn. As a camera op. great game and a great story.
They talked about this during the game. But not in as much detail,I am so glad I read this story.
What that team and town went through, and to win the game that they were over matched in. That is why you play the game... And why I love sports. Thanks for posting the story.


December 12th, 2012 at 4:18 PM ^

This was a nice story. Terrible circumstances to endure, and the article does a good job of illustrating that life moves onward after the championship is won. 

But for just those few moments, a small school from the UP (not even one of it's "glamour" towns!) faced down a recruited team with D-1 prospects in Detroit, and won. Isn't that what sports are supposed to be about?


December 12th, 2012 at 4:28 PM ^

I was reallly glad when they won the state championship. There was a lot more to that game than I think most people were aware of at the time which made it that much more special.

oriental andrew

December 12th, 2012 at 4:32 PM ^

This article represents the best of what sports is about.  It is truly about camraderie and relationships, as much as it is about personal achievement and winning games. 

Sidenote: can we please dispense with the "onions" and "dust" and "allergies" thing?  Seriously, just call it what it is - an emotional reaction to an emotional story. 


December 12th, 2012 at 4:37 PM ^

I'm 5 minutes down US 41 from Ishpeming. A buddy of mine has been filming Kostreva (the championship record-breaking MVP)  for recruiting tape. As the season went on, everybody could feel this turning into a bittersweet story.


People drove to the east side of Marquette to greet the Hematite champs on their way back from Detroit where US 28 meets 41. They were heralded in the holiday parade the next day that had perfectly been postponed due to weather.


If you took the Hematite home crowd (hell, even away in some cases) and packed them into a section of UM stadium, you would know exactly where they were from State Street. They love their football and they are deserving of the success.


I've met and interview Coach Olson and other players in the past, and I'm glad the championship went to such a deserving team.


Rock on, Hematites!



December 12th, 2012 at 8:02 PM ^

I am getting tickets to that movie...except that it may be one of the few films that has to remove a tragedy or two so it seems more realistic...jeesh.  Awesome story of human (really kid's) triumph.


December 12th, 2012 at 8:08 PM ^

One of my favorite aspects of traveling back to Michigan every Thanksgiving is watching the MHSAA finals in football. I remember watching this game with my dad, we especially enjoy any championship that doesn't involve a Detroit Catholic League team (I'm a Harper Creek Alum, I lost to St Mary's once with Jermaine Gonzales at QB and watched HC lose the past two years... all in the semifinals). The announcers called it David vs Goliath and all of the pregame revolved around Loyola's super massive offensive line


December 12th, 2012 at 8:29 PM ^

tom izzo was basketball coach at ishpeming way back,    ishpeming won the first state championship in footbsll in class b in 1975 when they beat the favorite hudson team which had a 72 game winning streak longest in nation at the time.


December 12th, 2012 at 11:06 PM ^

Thank you, thank you, thank you. That story was awesome. Loved it, loved the video of Eric's struggle. The story was so good, I'm going to make sure Mrs. Kass reads it and watches the clip. I absolutely never would have read the story if you hadn't posted here.