High School Football Game of the Week
THE GAME: North Central (4-2) at Rapid River (7-0).
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m. EDT
LAST YEAR: North Central won twice, 76-18 in the regular season and 64-0 in the playoffs.
TRENDING: The teams have played 18 times over the past 20 years, with North Central owning an 11-7 advantage. The Jets have won five straight and six of the last seven.
KEY PLAYERS: North Central — QB Hunter Riley, OL-DE Dalton Hanchek, OL-DL Caleb Walters, RB-DB Trenton Schaff, WR-LB Lucas Dombrowski. Rapid River — OL-DL Gavin Harris, TE-DE Logan Hardwick, RB-S Lucas Sundling, S Nate Olson, QB-S Brent Lundquist.
JETS’ COACH KEVIN BELLEFEUIL: “It’s probably a battle of our offense against their defense. Both teams have something to play for. I’m sure they are looking to pay us back and we’re playing the No. 1 team in the state. We are healthy, deeper and faster than we’ve been all year.”
RAPID RIVER COACH STEVE OSTRENGA: “They are every bit as good as Stephenson and Crystal Falls. They will be hard to stop. It’s rivalries this time of the year. You can throw the rankings out the window. Yeah, there are targets on our back and North Central wants to beat us.”
NOTABLE: This is Rapid River’s homecoming game … North Central is the two-time defending eight-player state champion … Rapid River has outscored its opponents 287-148 and the Jets have outscored their foes 376-146 … The Rockets are ranked No. 1 in the U.P. and in the Associated Press state poll. … The Jets can earn an automatic playoff berth with a win.
OTHER GAMES: Friday – Escanaba (6-1) at Oconto, Wis. (7-1), 8; Gladstone (6-1) at Iron Mountain (1-6), 7; Manistique (0-7) at Westwood (6-1), 7; Carney-Nadeau (2-4) at Stephenson (6-1), 7; Bark River-Harris (3-4) at Gwinn (2-5), 7. Saturday — Superior Central (2-5) at Flint Michigan School For the Deaf (0-5), 1.