THE CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 47th Annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Football State Championships will be held Thursday and Friday, Nov. 16-17, at Camp Randall Stadium on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.
ADMISSION TICKETS: The WIAA uses GoFan Ticketing for all digital and cashless tickets. Admission for a single game is $11 plus online fees for adults and students. An all-day pass for Thursday is $30 plus online fees, and $25 for an all-day pass for Friday’s games. All tickets must be redeemed on a mobile device. To purchase tickets, visit the WIAA website at: https://www.wiaawi.org/Tickets#4269710-11-player-football. Children 2-years old or younger do not require a ticket.
Thursday, Nov. 16
Div. 7 - Edgar (12-1) vs. Black Hawk/Warren, Ill. (12-1) - 10 a.m.
Div. 6 - Stratford (12-1) vs. Darlington (12-1) - 1 p.m.
Div. 5 - Wrightstown (11-2) vs. Aquinas (12-1) - 4 p.m.
Div. 4 - Luxemburg-Casco (12-1) vs. Lodi (13-0) - 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 17
Div. 3 - Rice Lake (12-1) vs. Grafton (11-2) - 10 a.m.
Div. 2 - Waunakee (13-0) vs. Badger (13-0) - 1 p.m.
Div. 1 - Marquette (11-2) vs. Franklin (13-0) - 4 p.m.
FINALS TO AIR ON WIAA STATE TELEVISION NETWORK: Watch the live broadcast of the WIAA State Football Championahips Thursday and Friday on the WIAA State Television Network of stations. Here is a listing of the network stations and the channel guide for the broadcasts:
Spectrum Channel 190
TDS Channel 29
Mediacom Channel 106
TDS channel 35/1035
DISH Channel 10
Solarus Channel 10
The finals will also be streamed live on the WIAA State Television Network stations' websites at no cost or registration on WKOW.com, WAOW.com, WXOW.com and WQOW.com. In addition, watch the championship finals live on the 27 News Now, News 9 WAOW, WXOW News 19 La Crosse and WQOW News apps.
LAST YEAR RECAP: Kimberly won the Division 1 championship by defeating Mukwonago 34-30. In Division 2, Kettle Moraine downed West De Pere 27-10 in the final, and Monroe rolled past West Salem 35-14 to win the gold trophy in Division 3. Columbus won the crown in Division 4 with a 23-21 victory over Catholic Memorial, and Aquinas downed Mayville 22-14 to win the Division 5 title. Stratford defeated Mondovi 32-14 in the Division 6 championship game, and Regis won Division 7 with a 41-7 win over Shiocton in the final.
CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS HISTORY: The WIAA began sponsoring the playoff tournament series in 1976. The first two championships featured four divisions. In 1978, the field expanded to five divisions. The playoffs were again expanded to include six divisions in 1981. In 1996, the playoff field was further expanded to 192 teams qualifying for the post-season. In 2002, the tournament expanded to its current seven-divisions format with 224 teams. The championships have all been at Camp Randall Stadium since 1982. The finals were not conducted in 2020 during the COVID pandemic. St. Mary’s Springs has won the most championships with nine. Kimberly and Stratford have the second-most number of State titles with eight. Edgar, Lancaster and Waunakee are next on the list with seven. Arrowhead, Homestead and Monroe have each won six titles. Catholic Memorial, D.C. Everest, Menomonie and Osseo-Fairchild each have won five. Edgar leads the membership in title game appearances with 14. Arrowhead, Darlington and St. Mary’s Springs are next with 13. Waunakee follows on the list with 12. Lancaster and Stratford have 11 appearances, and Kimberly has 10.
DIVISION 1 NOTES: Marquette advances to the State championship game for the second time. The only other experience in the final resulted in a State title in 2009. Prior to joining the WIAA, the Hilltoppers won eight WISAA titles (1975, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1994, 1997 and 1999). They finished runner-up to Hamilton in the Greater Metro Conference standings this season. They defeated perennial power and former defending champion Kimberly 14-7 at Level 4 to earn the opportunity to return to the final. In eight of their 11 wins this year, the Hilltoppers have shut out their opponent. They have outscored the opposition 490-93 through 13 games. Franklin will appear in its fifth championship final, seeking its second title in three seasons. The Sabers won the Division 1 crown in 2021 and won the Division 2 championship in 2006. Their other two experiences resulted in runner-up finishes in Division 1 in 2013 and 2016. They are the champions in the Southeast Conference this season, and they rolled past Hamilton 35-0 in the State semifinal to gain their berth in the championship game. The Sabers have outscored their four playoff opponents by a combined score of 160-20, and their average scores per game advantage this season is 39.9-8.0.
DIVISION 2 NOTES: Waunakee advances to the title game for the 12th time and for the fourth time in the past six finals. The Warriors have captured the State championship seven times, including three consecutive Division 2 championships from 2009-11 and two more titles in 2017 and 2021. They also won Division 3 crowns in 1999 and 2002. Three of their four runner-up finishes came in Division 2 in 2005, 2012 and 2019, and one came in Division 3 in 2001. The Warriors finished first in the Large Division of the Badger Conference this fall. Their return to the title game comes by virtue of their 24-14 victory over Kaukauna at Level 4. The 14 points surrendered by the Warriors in the semifinal game ties for the most points yielded in a game all season, outscoring opponents by a staggering total of 621-67, an average of 47.8-5.1. It is the first time Badger has advanced to the championship game in program history. Their furthest advance in the playoffs prior to this season was to Level 4 in Division 1 in 2012 and 2016 and in Division 2 in 2015. The Badgers earned their first trip to Camp Randall with a 28-6 victory over Sun Prairie East at Level 4. They were the champions in the Southern Lakes Conference this year. Badger has outscored their opponents by a cumulative total of 476-129 for an average margin of victory of 26.7 points per game in 2023.
DIVISION 3 NOTES: Rice Lake is making its eighth trip to the State final and its second in the past three seasons. The Warriors have won two State titles, including Division 3 championships in 1979 and 2017. Their five runner-up finishes occurred in 1980, 1982, 2004, 2014 and 2021. They were the champions in the Middle Border Conference this season. They advance to the title game by ousting Notre Dame in their Level 4 game, 30-15. The Warriors are averaging 41.2 points per game this season and have scored 50 or more points in five of their last seven games, including their four playoff wins. Grafton embarks on its fifth experience in the State finals and its first since 1984. The Black Hawks’ previous four appearances came during an eight-year span from 1977-84. They won back-to-back Division 2 championships in 1981 and 1982 and finished runner-up in Division 2 in 1977 and 1984. This season, the Black Hawks were co-champions with Wisconsin Lutheran in the East Division of the Woodland Conference. They downed Stoughton 17-6 in their Level 4 match-up to earn a berth in the title game. The Black Hawks averaged 40 points a game during the regular season. They have had competitive games in the last three levels of the playoffs with the average winning margin of 4.6 points over that span.
DIVISION 4 NOTES: Luxemburg-Casco will make its first appearance in the football championships. The Spartans advance to the title game after a 23-21 victory over Catholic Memorial at Level 4. The game was decided by a field goal in the final moments of the contest. They were the champions in the North Eastern Conference during the regular season. The Spartans’ margins of victory in their Level 3 and Level 4 wins were three and two points, respectively. They have outscored their opponents by a total of 436-148 this year. Lodi is making its third appearance in the title game and its first since winning the championship game in 2017. The Blue Devils’ first title game experience came in 2015 when they finished runner-up. Their return to the championship game comes by virtue of their 49-29 shootout win over Baldwin-Woodville at Level 4. The Blue Devils were the champions of the Capitol Conference this season. They have outscored their opponents by an average of 39-9 per game this year. Their narrowest margin of victory this season has been 13 points. The Blue Devils’ advantage in scoring per game through 13 games this season is 40.5-6.5.
DIVISION 5 NOTES: Two-time defending champion Aquinas will be making its fourth State Championship game appearance in pursuit of its fourth State title. In addition to the last two years, the Blugolds won the Division 5 championship in 2007. As a former member of WISAA, the Blugolds won Division 2 titles in 1993 and 1995. This year, they were the champions in the Coulee Conference. They continue their quest for a third straight State championship following their 58-14 victory over Horicon/Hustisford at Level 4. Aquinas has scored more than 40 points in a game in eight of their 12 wins this season, including three of their four playoffs. Wrightstown, like their opponent, is pursuing its fourth championship in the Tigers’ fourth State championship game appearance. They won State championships in each of its two Division 4 experiences in 2006 and 2011. The Tigers also captured the Division 5 championship in 1998. They defeated St. Croix Falls 33-12 in the semifinals to advance to the title tilt. They finished runner-up in the North Eastern Conference this year behind Luxemburg-Casco, which is playing for the Division 4 championship this week.
DIVISION 6 NOTES: Defending champion Stratford returns to the championship final for the 11th time in pursuit of its ninth State title. The Tigers are the only program in State history to win six straight titles, all coming in Division 6 from 2003-08. They also won the Division 5 crown in 1986. They recorded runner-up finishes in Division 5 in 2018 and 2019. This season, Stratford won the title in the Large Division of the Central Wisconsin Conference. The Tigers defeated Grantsburg 35-21 in the State semifinal to advance to the championship final. Their only setback of the season was a 40-6 loss to Edgar, which has advanced to the title game in Division 7. Stratford has outscored their opponents by an average of 37.8-10.6 points per game through 13 games this season. Darlington returns to the title game for the 13th time. The Redbirds have won four State championships, earning Division 5 titles in 1987, 1990, 1991 and 1995. In addition, they have placed runner-up eight times, once in Division 4 (1997), three times in Division 5 (1993, 1994, 1996) and four times in Division 6 (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). The Redbirds return to the State final comes by virtue of a 34-28 win over Kewaunee at Level 4. They are the champions of the Southwest Wisconsin Activities League this season. The Redbirds have won their final three playoff games by seven points or less after having a 33.1 average margin of victory through their first eight wins of the season, not including a forfeit victory in Week 5 of the season.
DIVISION 7 NOTES: The two qualifying programs have a history of facing off in the championship game. The title game features a rematch of the 2019 title game and also the 2018 championship game prior to Black Hawk forming a co-op program. It will be the second State finals appearance for the Black Hawk/Warren, Ill. co-op. The Warriors defeated the Wildcats in their first appearance as a co-op in the 2019 championship game. As a stand-alone program, Black Hawk played in the championship game four times. They won the title against Edgar in 2018, and won their first championship in 2013. The Warriors finished runners-up in 2017 and also in Division 6 in 1998. They are the co-champions of the Six Rivers Conference this season with Potosi/Cassville. The Warriors return to Camp Randall following a 36-7 win over Reedsville at Level 4. Other than their only loss of the season, the Warriors average margin of victory this season is 28.5 points, outscoring the opposition 496-118. Edgar will play in the State title game for the 14th time, which leads all other member schools. The Wildcats have won seven championships. They won the Division 7 crown in 2016; Division 6 championships in 2009 and 2010; Division 5 titles in 1992, 1999 and 2001; and a Division 4 gold trophy in 1979. In addition, the Wildcats have runner-up finishes in 1991, 1998, 2000, 2008, 2018 and 2019. They were the champions in the Marawood Conference this fall. The Wildcats defeated Bangor 21-3 at Level 4 for the chance to earn their eighth title. After falling in the first game of the year, the Wildcats defeated Stratford, which is playing for the Division 6 title this week, 40-6, and recorded shutouts in nine straight games. They have outscored opponents 464-47 this season.
EIGHT-PLAYER RECAP: Florence (11-0) capped an undefeated season by winning the State 8-player football championship with a 32-30 victory over Thorp (9-3) at South Wood County Stadium. The game-winning score was a 1-yard plunge by quarterback William Kelley, his third rushing touchdown of the game, with 7:29 remaining in the fourth quarter. Florence held the edge in total offense, outgaining Thorp 485-432, including 480 yards rushing, which ranks second most in a State 8-player championship game. The Bobcats dominated the time of possession in the game, controlling the ball for 30:48 compared to 17:12 for the Cardinals. Logan Schuls led Florence in rushing with 272 yards and two scores, and Kelley rushed for 194 yards and three touchdowns. Kelley also completed just 1-of-5 passes for five yards. Defensively, Joey Holstrom led the team with seven tackles, and Dustin Williams picked off two Thorp passes. Sutton led the Cardinals’ offense with 355 yards of total offense. He rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns, and he completed 14-of-22 passes for 220 yards and two scores. Logan Hanson rushed for 77 yards and caught three passes for 32 yards and a score. Schultze led all pass catchers with five receptions for 53 yards, and Landon Penk caught three passes for a game-high 75 yards. Hanson and Sutton also led the Cardinals on defense with 13 and 11.5 tackles, respectively, and Sutton added an interception. Florence won the 8-player football title in its first appearance in the championship game, and Thorp finished runner-up in its first experience at State. The game set a State 8-player championship game attendance record with 1,459 spectators.
FOLLOW FINALS ON SOCIAL MESSAGING: Receive updates of the State Football Finals on the WIAA State Tournament X account @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaafb. Also like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram at wiaawi.
NEED RESULTS?: Results and statistics will be available on the WIAA website approximately 15 minutes following the conclusion of each title game at: https://www.wiaawi.org/Sports/Fall/Football/Tournament.
WILSON IS THE OFFICIAL BALL: Wilson is the official game ball of the WIAA State Football Finals. Wilson footballs are also the official ball at Levels 3 and 4 of the playoffs. The agreement with Wilson is effective through 2023.
STATE FOOTBALL FINALS APPAREL: Fans can commemorate their experience at the 2023 football championships at Camp Randall Stadium with exclusive souvenir merchandise for sale at Bucky’s Locker Room located below Section Y and in the concourse behind Section A. Additional WIAA football championships merchandise is available online now through Sunday, Nov. 26 prior to midnight. Access the link to the WIAA football championships online store through a partnership with Fox Cities Embroidery on the Football Tournament homepage at https://www.wiaawi.org/Sports/Fall/Football/Tournament. Customized championship apparel for each team will also be available after the finals with links to the store on the Football Tournament homepage.