HOUGHTON - Inter-area match-ups are the theme in Week 4 of the high school football season in the Copper Country.
Most interesting of those takes place at Meadowbrook Field in L'Anse tonight as the host Purple Hornets meet Hancock and make a bid for 4-0.
The match-up between the Bulldogs and Purple Hornets has been close in recent years, as the last four meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less, including overtime games in 2009 and 2010. The 2011 game was a 21-20 Hancock win at McAfee Field.
The Purple Hornets are ranked No. 4 among U.P. small schools by the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
Hancock, meanwhile looks to get on the winning track in the second leg of a very difficult stretch in which they could play road games at four playoff teams: Eagle River (Wis.) Northland Pines, L'Anse, Calumet and Lake Linden-Hubbell, on four consecutive weekends.
Calumet has run out of second chances if it wants to achieve automatic playoff qualification for the eighth year in a row.
The Copper Kings travel to Houghton tonight in a meeting, surprisingly, of two winless teams, though the records may not be what they seem.
Calumet, though 0-3 has lost its games by two, six and 17 points and both of its U.P. opponents (Negaunee and Ishpeming) are ranked in the UPSSA's top five, while the other features a Division I talent in Northland Pines' Austin Ramesh.
Houghton, which hasn't beaten Calumet since 2001, has been outscored 97-15 through three games.
The longest drive of the night for an area team is Lake Linden-Hubbell for the second week in a row. After outrunning North Central's aerial attack last Friday, the Lakes (2-1) travel to Bessemer to face the Gogebic Rangers.
Baraga (0-3) tries to get in the win column tonight at home against another winless team, Gwinn.
Ontonagon is officially 0-4 after it forfeited earlier this week to Forest Park, citing lack of available healthy players to face the Trojans.