The Northern News was the NMU student newspaper in 1970 and informed the campus community about events and issues at Northern. In the sports section on Oct. 9, 1970, there was a short article about a peculiar football game to take place that week.
On Sunday, Oct. 11, 1970, Gant Hall put together a football team: it wasn’t made up of any players from the Wildcats’ team, but many of the men had played in high school. The unpracticed team was created to play another local football team – from the Marquette Branch Prison.
Thirty men from NMU played a football game against some of the prisoners; the Gant team coach, John Gardner, said that the prison team was “a well organized and very physical team. One of the prison backs weighed 275 lbs. and literally walked for ten yards every time he got the ball.”
The Gant team won 13-6, after trailing 60-0 in the first half. Gardner called the Gant team, “good for a hall team,” and said that they played good defense. Because it was a new team, they only had five practices before the prison game, and the university provided 15 uniforms and the rest were provided by the prison.
The Gant team hoped to play the prison again and also had plans to play a team located in L’Anse. Previous to the Oct. 11 game, NMU had scheduled a football game against the prison, but the prison wasn’t able to play.
Written by Lucy Hough