Chesaning State Champion Football Team 1998 and 2001

Chesaning High School’s varsity football team won its last eight regular season games of the 1998 season to win the Mid-Michigan B Conference title. Along the way, the Indians outscored its opponents 265-40. Head coach Jim Szappan’s squad opened the Class B playoffs with a 37-7 victory over a strong Frankenmuth team, before beating an undefeated Millington team 28-0 to avenge their season-opening loss. In the state semifinal, the Indians defeated perennial power Jackson Lumen Christi 21-14 and would face No. 1 Belding, who was making their third-straight trip to the Pontiac Silverdome. Chesaning outlasted Belding 41-38 to earn its first football state championship in school history. Chesaning’s five playoff opponents in 1998, Frankenmuth, Millington, Jackson Lumen Christi, and Belding, had a combined record of 40-7 – with four of the losses coming at the hands of the Indians. In 2001, the Indians finished the season with a sterling 13-1 record – the first time a Chesaning football team won 13 games in a season. It took some late heroics to pull off the victory in the Division 4 state championship game as Matt Ferry returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown with 1:39 left in the fourth quarter to help upset Orchard Lake St. Mary14-7. Its playoff foes, Essexville Garber, Caro, Kingsford, DeWitt and Orchard Lake St. Mary, had a combined record of 60-13, with five of the losses coming from Chesaning. Szappan was named the Detroit Free Press Class B Coach of the Year and also was the Saginaw News Dream Team coach. Assistant coaches in 1998 were Joe Bogar, Mike McGough, Tim Haist, Matt Ralbusky, Dan Yates, Steve Tithof, Tom Dodak, Gary Gerken, Warren Harger and John Quaderer. Assistant coaches in 2001 were Scott Menard, Josh Walton, Bob Coon, McGough, Yates, Gerken, Tithof, and Bogar. Chesaning High School is the only public high school in Saginaw County to win two state championships under the current playoff format.