MARQUETTE - Some great high school football seasons proved to make slam-dunks out of Team of the Year voting at the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association fall meeting on Thursday.
Ishpeming was named on 21 of 22 ballots in voting for Class C's Bruce C. Craig Memorial Trophy, with West Iron County earning the other vote.
Both Division 7 schools went 9-0 this season, but it was the Hematites that were the unanimous No. 1 pick in the state Associated Press D7 poll the entire season.
Ishpeming was named on 21 of 22 ballots in voting for Class C’s Bruce C. Craig Memorial Trophy, with West Iron County earning the other vote.
Both Division 7 schools went 9-0 this season, but it was the Hematites that were the unanimous No. 1 pick in the state Associated Press Division 7 poll the entire season. (Journal file photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
As defending Division 7 state champion, Ishpeming played with a mercy-rule running clock for most or all of the second half of every game this season but one, a 28-24 victory over Mid-Peninsula Conference runner-up Negaunee.
Overall, the Hematites outscored their opponents 386-64, an average score of 43-7.
WIC posted the first undefeated season in school history, winning the West PAC over powers like Calumet, Eagle River, Wis., Northland Pines and upstart Houghton.
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Another near-unanimous pick as Team of the Year occurred in Class D/Division 8, where Forest Park also got 21 of 22 votes with North Central getting the other one to earn the Randy Mattson Memorial Trophy.
Forest Park went 9-0, including a 35-8 win over North Central in Week 5, while making its 18th straight playoff berth that has included seven appearances in the state Division 8 championship game.
The Trojans won every game this season by at least 17 points, including five by more than 30 points, with a schedule that included four Michigan and one Wisconsin playoff teams.
North Central (7-2) had its best season since 1993 despite starting the season with just 17 players.
Menominee (9-0) was a unanimous pick for the Class A-B Floyd Barber Memorial Trophy after leading the UPSSA Big Five poll the entire season and rising to the top of the state AP Division 5 rankings late in the campaign.
Despite starting the season with just 29 players, the Maroons outscored their opponents 413-93, an average score of 46-10, and won their four Great Northern Conference games by an average of 42 points.
Menominee, like Forest Park, is making its 18th straight playoff appearance and has won four state championships in that span.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.