Much was finally resolved in week six of U.P. High School football, but there remains more to be worked out and that will come this week. A consensus in the Division 8 UPSSA poll is getting closer to fruition as Forest Park (5-1) was bulldozed 55-27 by North Dickinson (6-0). Those that witnessed the thrashing say it wasn't even that close, as the Trojans were mercied with a running clock at one point before coming within 35 points to stop it again.
With the victory North Dickinson vaulted up to No. 1 in the poll with three first-place votes after being ranked No. 3 the previous three weeks with one first-place vote. Forest Park dropped to No. 4 from No. 2 with the defeat.
Another formidable opponent awaits the vaunted Nordics this week as they travel to North Central (4-2). The Jets are trying to get back to the playoffs after a one-year absence and need two more victories to secure a berth, with games remaining against the Nordics, Bark River-Harris (0-6) and Stephenson (4-2).
Also benefiting from Forest Park's collapse was undefeated L'Anse (6-0) and St. Ignace (6-0). The Saint's dropped to No. 2 despite thrashing Fife Lake Forest Area 70-6. Pollsters agreed the Nordic's victory was more significant. The Saints will get a test this week as they travel to No. 5 Pickford (5-1) in likely their toughest test of the season. The Panthers fell for the first time in week six as the 6-0 Mancelona Ironmen (ranked No. 5 in the Division-7 AP poll) rolled 36-8. It was the 15th straight regular season victory for Mancelona. Pickford remained ranked at No. 5 though it received a challenge from Stephenson.
The No. 3-ranked L'Anse Purple Hornets survived a scare from Ironwood (2-4) in week six. The Purple Hornets required overtime, but got the job done 36-28. Calumet (3-3) awaits L'Anse this week.
The Big Five poll remained largely unchanged. The top four teams all rolled on with victories with only No. 5 Marquette (4-2) suffering a loss to No. 2-ranked Kingsford (5-1). The Redmen remained ranked at No.5 though Iron Mountain (4-2) is nipping at their heels. The Mountaineers dealt Manistique (3-3) a stiff blow to their playoff hopes in week six, clipping the Emeralds 12-7.
Ishpeming (4) (6-0) 23
Kingsford (1) (5-1) 21
Menominee (5-1) 15
Negaunee (6-0) 11
Marquette (4-2) 4
Other:?Iron Mountain (4-2) 4
North Dickinson (3) (6-0) 23
St. Ignace (2) (6-0) 22
L'Anse (6-0) 13
Forest Park (5-1) 12
Pickford (5-1) 3
Other:?Stephenson (4-2) 2
Cedarville (5) (6-0) 25
Superior Central (4-1) 16
Rapid River (5-1) 4
Poll is conducted by a five-member panel for the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. First place votes follow team name.
The big game of the week features No. 1 Ishpeming (6-0) visiting No. 4-ranked Negaunee (6-0) in what should be a classic. Though if last week is any indication, both teams should be on watch. The two 5-0 vs. 5-0 matchups in week six fizzled. Besides North Dickinson's blowout over Forest Park, another key matchup in Eight-Man football failed to live up to expectations.
No. 1 Cedarville (6-0) put an end to their contest against Rapid River (5-1) after the first quarter, rolling to a surprising 70-12 victory and establishing themselves as the team to beat in the Eight-Man division.
Rapid River will try to save face this week when they travel to face No. 2-ranked Superior Central (4-1) The Cougars are coming off a bye and a lopsided defeat to Cedarville themselves. This game is effectively for second-place in the Bridge Alliance Conference.