APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) – The Kimberly High School Papermakers have set a new state record, winning 49 straight high school football games.
They defeated the Appleton West High School Terrors 45-14 Friday in the Banta Bowl at Lawrence University in Appleton.
The Papermakers bested a record of 48 straight games set by two other schools: Manitowoc Lincoln and Waunaukee. Manitowoc Lincoln won 48 straight games from 1983 to 1987, earning three state titles along the way.
Kimberly’s last loss came during the 2012 playoffs.
Players celebrated on the field by posing for a picture with the scoreboard behind them. They also dumped a large bucket of ice water on their head coach.
“I told those guys it’s not going to sink in for any of them for a while,” said Kimberly head coach Steve Jones. “What we’ve accomplished so [far], the goal is to continue to get better, and you don’t consider those things when you’re in the moment.”
“It feels great,” said Kimberly running back DJ Stewart. “Growing up and watching all the Kimberly teams come through. I’ve always wanted to be one of them. To be able to honor them in this way is just really special. This is for all the past Kimberly teams that have come through. It’s just a great experience that they put us in, and I’m just happy I could come out there and execute for them.”
Fans were already excited at halftime, when Kimberly was leading 35-7.
“49 in a row, that is huge,” said Kimberly fan Mark Janssen. “A state record, and they do– every weekday– approach it all the same. They play to win that game and it’s great. The tradition is great. The cheering is great.”
“It’s super exciting,” said Kimberly fan Kelly Jorgensen. “It comes down to fantastic coaching, a fantastic commitment by the boys and their families to make sure you have a great team year after year after year. Teams that work together, teams that work hard, teams that leave it all on the field.”
The question now is how long the streak can continue. Behind a school in Missouri, Kimberly has the second longest active winning streak in the country.