(10-18-22) The Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) held its first football playoffs in 1973…50 years ago. There were only three classes, all of the championship games in each class were played on the field of one of the opponents. The championships did not play at a central site until the 1984 season at the Hoosier Dome.
South Bend Washington (12-0) would win the 3A title beating Indianapolis Cathedral (11-1) at home 19-13…they have not won another title since.
In 2A Greenfield-Central (12-0) hosted the game and beat Blackford (9-3) 21-12…they have not won another title since.
In 1A Mishawaka Marian (10-2) would travel to Providence (11-1) and become the first IHSAA State Champion with a win on the road 21-14. Un like the other two state champions in 1973 the Knights would win two more titles….both in the 1970’s, 1975 and 1976, both were in 2A.
Not everyone qualified for the playoffs and ping-pong balls did not select the teams. 1st year of the IHSAA Playoffs, four teams from 3 classes (12 teams) qualified based on a point system.
Regional Results (Fri-Sat., Nov 9-10, 1973)
South Bend Washington 27 Hammond Gavit 14
Indpls. Cathedral 32, Bloomington South 28
Blackford 28, Wawasee 14
Greenfield Central 28 Tell City 7
Mishawaka Marian 42 Woodlan 0
Clarksville Providence 40, Hamilton Heights 0
State Championships (Nov 16-17, 1973)
Class AAA: (Fri., Nov 16)
SB Washington 19 Indiapolis. Cathedral 13
Class AA: (Fri., Nov 16)
Greenfield Central 21 Blackford 12
Class A: (Sat., Nov 17)
Mishawaka Marian 21 Providence 14
The 1982 post-season was the last one using a point system to decide which schools qualify for the playoffs. Forty-eight schools in 3 classes (16 per class) qualified for the playoffs which were played on Tues, Nov 2; Sat, Nov 6; Fri, Nov 12 and Fri-Sat, Nov 19-20.
In 1983 a cluster system was used for two years in which 64 cluster champions (16 per class) qualified for the playoffs. Class 4A was added to the original three classes.
1985 would be the first year that all teams (316) were able to participate in the post-season. There were five classes to determine championships, it was the first year for a 5A championship.