The second Greatest on the Gridiron semifinal features one of the most dominant teams in Warren County history against one that rose up from relative obscurity to play for a state championship.
The 1970 Temple Buccaneers were a juggernaut by any description. They finished a perfect 9-0, with six shutouts, and outscored their opponents 424-24. They scored more than 50 points in five consecutive games, including two 70-point performances against Utica and Sumner Hill.
The Buccaneers won the Black Big 8 championship for the third year in a row, and finished things off with a 6-0 victory over New Orleans powerhouse St. Augustine in the Red Carpet Bowl. It was the final game of Temple’s Warren County record 39-game unbeaten streak, as the school closed at the end of the 1970-71 school year.
St. Aloysius had outstanding teams all through the 1970s — it won five Capital Conference championships from 1971-78 — but slipped to back-to-back 7-5 records in 1979 and 1980.
The 1981 team got things back on track in a big way.
The ‘81 Flashes posted three consecutive shutouts, and five total, in winning their first nine games. Playoff victories over Mount Olive and Dexter followed to put St. Al in the MHSAA Class B championship game. It was the first season in which the MHSAA held a state playoff.
The run ended with a 26-13 loss to Sturgis, but the Flashes earned a top spot in the program’s storied history. It would be another 30 years before a St. Al team finished with a double-digit win total or played for a state championship.
Which one will it be? The dominating juggernaut from the 70s or the scrappy underdog from the 80s? Only one can advance to the Greatest on the gridiron championship game, and your votes will decide which it will be.