HOUGHTON - The voting panel for the fifth U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association football poll had some interesting choices to make this week.
Two local teams were a part of them.
After Calumet's 26-6 home win over previously unbeaten L'Anse last Friday, the Copper Kings made their first appearance in the UPSSA's large-school poll in a tie for fifth, while L'Anse fell two spots to fifth in the small-school poll.
Calumet’s Eli Anderson (36)?and Clark Kangas celebrate a fumble recovery in the first half of the Copper Kings’ Week 5 win over Hancock at Agassiz Field. Calumet enters the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association football poll for the first time this week at No. 5 in the large-school division. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
At the top, Kingsford returns to No. 1 for the first time since the first poll of the season, while North Dickinson holds on to a narrow one-point margin over St. Ignace in the small-school grouping.
Kingsford prevails in an unusual split decision this week: The 6-1 Flivvers have two first-place votes to 7-0 Negaunee's three, but Kingsford has 22 poll points to Negaunee's 21.
Both ballots with Kingsford in first place appear to have Menominee (6-1) in second and the Miners in third. Kingsford's only defeat is to La Crosse (Wis.) Central, which is 6-1 and has an enrollment slightly larger than Marquette. Menominee's only loss is to Kingsford. The Maroons have 17 poll points.
The Miners play Marquette this week, but their only mixing with the Great Northern Conference to this point was a week 3 home game against GNC backmarker Gladstone in which the Miners had to rally from two touchdowns down after three quarters. Menominee blew out Gladstone in league play, while the Flivvers and Braves meet this week.
Kingsford won a 10-0 slugfest with crosstown rival Iron Mountain Saturday, ending the Mountaineers' four-game winning streak in the series. Reed Larson scored the game's only touchdown on a four-yard run with 5:29 to play, culminating a 99-yard drive after a goal-line stand kept IM off the board.
Negaunee won a thrilling game with previous No. 1 Ishpeming Friday night 20-8 behind two long touchdowns, one rushing, one receiving from Tyler LaJoie in the fourth quarter.
Ishpeming is fourth on all ballots in this week's poll.
Menominee, which has its own rivalry game with Marinette, Wis., this week, routed Marquette 42-7 Friday.
The fifth-place tie is between Calumet and Iron Mountain. Both teams are 4-3 and have two points, while Marquette, also 4-3, received a single vote.
In the small-school voting, North Dickinson and St. Ignace continued to one-up each other for top honors.
The Nordics took North central, which entered the game 4-2, out behind the woodshed for a 56-6 beating. ND has scored at least 40 points in every game it's played and is headed to Lake Linden-Hubbell for its regular season finale Saturday. The Nordics have three first-place votes and 23 poll points.
St. Ignace is steadier than ever at No. 2 after cruising through its first serious test of the season against Pickford 39-6. The Saints have two first-place votes and 22 poll points.
Forest Park is now No. 3 on all ballots after putting away Baraga last Friday, while moving into the no. 4 slot is a 5-2 Stephenson squad. The Eagles, who have seven poll points, lost to Norway and North Dickinson so far this season.
L'Anse is No. 5 with six points this week.
Others receiving votes include Pickford (5-2) and the Gogebic Miners (4-2), who each got one point.