Little Brown Jug of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
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The Little Brown Jug of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a trophy awarded each year to the winner of the high school football game played between Sault Ste. Marie and Newberry. The game has been played since 1911 and is recorded as one of the oldest rivalries in Michigan football history. Sault Ste. Marie leads Newberry in the series 51-26-5. Each year, the winner inscribes the year and score from the game. Sault Ste. Marie currently holds the Jug as of the 2013 football season.
According to one account, the Upper Peninsula's Brown Jug tradition began in 1910. After defeating Minnesota 6-0, the University of Michigan football team stopped in Newberry on its return trip to Ann Arbor when one of the coaches left behind the Little Brown Jug trophy. After defeating Sault Ste. Marie 18-6, the rivalry was born. The original Jug was later returned to the University of Michigan, but a replica of the Jug was sent by Michigan to keep the rivalry going.In 1938, the Little Brown Jug rivalry was revived after a 12-year lapse. A 1938 article on the revival of the "jug" rivalry noted: "The original jug was lost but another has been acquired to take its place. The jug will serve as a trophy and will be presented to the winner after each game." The replacement jug was donated in 1938 by J. Harry Burris of Sault, president of the Lion's Club, who told a reporter that he found the jug at a "white elephant" sale held by the Lion's Club. In 1939, three buses and 20 automobiles carried Sault players and fans to Newberry for what was described as "the annual classic for possession of the 'brown jug.'" A 1939 newspaper feature article described the rivalry as follows:
"Almost every years since 1913, the two schools have been settling their football differences on the gridiron. At times the rivalry reached a pitch where it was almost necessary to suspend relations. Everything has been going smoothly the last few years. But the competition is again on the hot side with the two teams playing for possession of the jug. The brown jug was put up for competition in the 1920s but was lost some years later."By the 1950s, the Brown Jug was one of the most coveted trophies in Michigan high school football:
"Riding on the outcome of the N-S contest is possession of the coveted Little Brown Jug, considered to be one of the most prized of Upper Peninsula high school football. The cup has been in possession of Newberry since 1948 when the Indians nosed out the Blue Devils 13-5, to snap a nine-game losing streak.
When Sault won the 1953 contest after five straight wins by Newberry, Sault's football coach presented the Brown Jug to the students at a pep assembly, as "a symbol of gridiron supremacy."
In 1966, a Sault Ste. Marie newspaper reported that the coveted Little Brown Jug was "one of the oldest in the history of the Upper Peninsula High School grid circles, dating back to 1913."
In 2005, after a lapse of several years, the renewal of the Upper Peninsula's Little Brown Jug was published in the Congressional Record by U.S. Representative Bart Stupak: "In the last game of the regular season, the Indians renewed an old rivalry with Sault Sainte Marie High School. It had been several years since Newberry and the Soo played for the 'Little Brown Jug' but the Indians rolled up a 20-0 victory, reclaiming the Jug." Some ninety years after it began, the Little Brown Jug remains one of the most notable trophies in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
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