By Vern Cahak
Dan Thorpe, Dean Seis and John Payant were captains of Antigo High School’s 1976 state championship football team.
They, along with Joe Miller, will return to the gridiron of their glory days as honorary captains for Antigo’s 40th anniversary celebration on Sept. 24 when the Red Robins host Merrill at Schofield Stadium. The former AHS standouts will be introduced in pre-game ceremonies and participate in the coin flip.
Following the 1 p.m. game, they will again assemble at the Antigo Elks Club for a reception and program. Thorpe and Seis will join Mike Kafka as featured speakers. Legendary coach Gordon Schofield, his coaching son Greg, and grandson Tom, Antigo’s head coach, will be guests. Jeff Wagner, the play by play radio announcer for the 1976 team, will be master of ceremonies. Dinner will conclude the program.
Thorpe, now football coach at Janesville Craig High School, was an All-State quarterback and Defensive Back of the Year in 1976. He scored 43 points, rushed for 468 yards and passed for 354. He was a first team All-Wisconsin Valley Conference selection.
A four sport athletic, Thorpe also was a standout in basketball, baseball and track.
Seis was also a multi-sport athlete at Antigo High. One of the leading tacklers on Antigo’s ’76 state champions, Seis was a first team All-Conference tackle. In basketball, he received All-Valley second team recognition. Seis qualified for the state track meet in the discus event for the Red Robin track team and was also a strong shot putter.
Seis played collegiate football for the University of Wisconsin Badgers, one of the few Antigo graduates to play for a major Division 1 university.
Payant was a two-position starter at offensive guard and linebacker for the ’76 Red Robins. He earned first team All-conference honors at linebacker.
Miller was a tough linebacker who was among the leading tackles on the team. He had three crucial solo hits in the state championship game.