Cadillac’s First State Champions
While the Cadillac football team will make its first-ever trip to the state finals on Friday, the Vikings are a program with a rich tradition and history.
One of 12 teams in state history with 500 or more wins (547), Cadillac claimed mythical state championships in 1950 and 1962.
Prior to the first Michigan High School Athletic Association postseason tournament in 1975, state champions were selected by the Detroit Free Press, Associated Press and United Press International. The championships were mythical in the sense that were was no head-to-head competition.
Led by head coach Hiram Becker and featuring Michigan State product and future Detroit Lions draft pick Bert Zagers, Cadillac completed its second consecutive undefeated season en route to winning the 1950 Class B state championship
Zagers, who would lead Michigan State to the 1952 national championship and a 9-0 season, was selected in the seventh of the 1955 NFL Draft by the Lions and later played three seasons with the Washington Redskins (1955, 1957-58). He rushed for 1,170 yards on 103 carries during Cadillac’s 1950 season.
As a halfback and defensive back with the Redskins, he totaled 477 rushing yards, 356 receiving yards and six touchdowns on the ground and on punt returns in 32 career games.
Coach Becker led the Vikings from 1948-1959, going 59-38-5.
Cadillac claimed another mythical state championship in 1962 with coach Dick Abraham at the helm based on combined rankings of the AP, UPI and Free Press.
Champions of of the old North Central Conference, the Vikings rolled to an 8-0-0 season in 1962, outscoring opponents 363-45 and rebounding from a 2-5-1 season a year prior.
The Vikings have recorded four more perfect seasons (1963, 1973, 1979-80) and first reached the MHSAA state playoffs in 1991 after a 9-0 regular season.
1950 Cadillac Football Season 9-0-0
Reed City 12-6
Traverse City 40-13
Mt. Pleasant 38-6
Big Rapids 40-0
1962 Cadillac Football Season 8-0-0
Traverse City St. Francis 41-0
Mt. Pleasant 33-7
Big Rapids 51-13