HOUGHTON - For the first time in 2012, the temperature has been taken on the U.P. football scene, as the first U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association poll was released today.
The initial number one teams are Kingsford in the Division 1-7 poll and Forest Park in Division 8.
From a local standpoint, the only ranked team this week is L'Anse, which stands in the fourth position in the small-school vote.
L’Anse’s Gavin Picciano takes a carry for the Purple Hornets in an Aug. 20 game against West Iron County at Meadowbrook Field. L’Anse is ranked No. 4 in the small-school division of the first U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association football poll of 2012. (DMG photo by Stephen Anderson)
Forest Park (3-0) claimed a hard-earned 13-12 victory Friday night against Hurley, Wis.
The Midgets, who had not been defeated in regular season play since the last time they came to Crystal Falls in 2010, outgained FP 411-169 and had 10 more first downs but ran aground three times inside the 20 in the fourth quarter.
Forest Park has never lost to Hurley at Dick Mettlach Field in seven attempts.
1. Kingsford (3) 3-0 22
2. Menominee 3-0 18
3. Ishpeming (2) 3-0 17
4. Marquette 3-0 12
5. Negaunee 3-0 6
1. Forest Park (2) 3-0 22
2. St. Ignace (2) 3-0 20
3. N. Dickinson (1) 3-0 18
4. L'Anse 3-0 8
5. Stephenson (2-1), Norway (2-1) and Pickford (3-0) 2
Other: Lake Linden-Hubbell (2-1) 1.
1. Rapid River (5) 3-0 25
2. Cedarville 3-0 20
FP, which meets Ontonagon this week, was first on two of the five panelists' ballots.
Another two first-place votes went to St. Ignace, which is 3-0 and unscored upon through three weeks after shutout victories over Charlevoix and East Jordan and a forfeit win over Rudyard in Week 3. St. Ignace begins play in its new league, the Ski Valley Conference, North Division, Friday against Indian River Inland Lakes.
The remaining first-place vote went to third-ranked North Dickinson. The Nordics lead the Mid-Eastern Conference early on after comfortable wins over Florence, Wis., Newberry and Munising.
FP has 22 poll points, followed by St. Ignace with 20 and the Nordics with 18.
L'Anse (3-0), which was also ranked ninth in the Michigan Associated Press prep poll released today, is fourth with eight points.
Fifth place is a three-way tie between Stephenson (2-1), Norway (2-1) and Pickford (3-0). All three teams received two poll points.
Lake Linden-Hubbell was the only team outside the top five to get a point.
In the large-school voting, Kingsford has run to wins in its first three games over Wisconsin teams: Minocqua Lakeland, Cedar Grove-Belgium and Rhinelander. The Flivvers will go for a fourth, La Crosse Central, this weekend before beginning Great Northern Conference play in Week 5.
Kingsford is first in the poll with three first-place votes and 22 points. League rival Menominee is second with 18 points after the Maroons put away Antigo, Wis., Milwaukee Riverside and Thumb area stalwart Harbor Beach over the first third of the season.
Ishpeming got the other two first-place votes. The Hematites, who finished just a point behind Menominee (18-17) in the voting, go for 4-0 against neighbor and rival Westwood.
The No. 4 team is Marquette, which came out on top 7-0 in a defensive struggle with Sault Ste. Marie Friday. The Redmen, who play an eight-game schedule in 2012 after dropping Calumet in Week 9, are just two wins away from automatic playoff qualification.
Negaunee is No. 5 this week with six points. The Miners rallied from 28-14 down after three quarters for a 36-34 win over Gladstone in their home opener.
Rapid River and Cedarville, both 3-0, were ranked as the top two teams in U.P. eight-man football this week.