WestPAC adds three for football starting in 2023

HANCOCK — The WestPAC officially announces the addition of three new affiliate members for the sport of football — Gladstone, Kingsford andMenominee — with their first season of play beginning with the fall 2023 season.

“The addition of these three storied and accomplished programs will help preserve 11-man football in the Upper Peninsula for years to come,” according to WestPAC athletic director and Negaunee coach Paul Jacobson.

“Kingsford High School is very grateful to the WestPAC for this new opportunity,” said Kingsford athletic director Chris Hartman. “This new venture will ensure a full nine-game schedule from year to year.

“The burden of obtaining a nine-game schedule at Kingsford High School has only been getting worse. Affiliation with the WestPAC will also eliminate many hours and miles of travel that we typically experience with traveling into Wisconsin and Lower Michigan. We look forward to playing U.P. schools that we very seldom play and will potentially develop a new rivalry or two.”

“We are looking forward to playing against a high level of competition right here in the Upper Peninsula, and seeing teams that match us in enrollment and demographics,” said Menominee athletic director Sam Larson. “The competition in the WestPAC conference has a strong tradition in football with many teams having great success in recent MHSAA postseason tournaments.

“We hope to be able to add to the strength of the conference for years to come.

“This opportunity will make what is sometimes a scheduling nightmare that much easier for all of us,” said Gladstone athletic director Dale Hongisto. “It allows us to play a few teams that haven’t been on our schedule in the past.

“Thank you to the WestPAC officials for inviting us, Kingsford, and Menominee to join up to make this conference that much better.”

The new members will participate within the “Large” Copper Division of the conference along with Calumet, Houghton, Hancock, Negaunee and Westwood. The “Small” Iron Division will retain the membership of Bark River-Harris, Gwinn, Iron Mountain, Ishpeming, L’Anse, Manistique, and West Iron County. The annual conference schedule will initially include two crossover / non-conference dates within the divisions.


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