Indians off-week on target

Newberry re-enters Little Five rankings despite not playing

Westwood’s Adam Hyttinen, center, defends from L’Anse’s Foster Miller, right, as Westwood’s Erik Anderson runs the ball Friday night, Sept. 8, 2017, at Westwood High School. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

NEGAUNEE — Without playing last weekend, Newberry re-entered the Little Five rankings today in the weekly high school football poll conducted by the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association and released this morning.

The Indians (3-2) had been in the others receiving votes category, though just by one vote, and moved into fifth place after former No. 5 Bark River-Harris lost at home on Saturday to Lake Linden-Hubbell.

Also in the Little Five, Westwood (5-1) held the No. 2 position after blanking Gwinn 42-0 on Friday, while L’Anse (4-2) slipped from third to fourth after losing at home to the Gogebic Miners 26-7 on Friday.

Munising (3-3) and re-entered the “others” list despite losing to No. 1 Norway 31-0.

In the Big Five, Marquette (2-4) lost on Friday to Kingsford 21-0 to fall out of the others list.

The top teams in the Big Five, Little Five and Eight Player were nearly unanimous as they have been most of the season.

But there’s a new team atop the Big Five — Escanaba (5-1), which received four of the five first-place votes after knocking former No. 1 Menominee (4-2) 42-21 on Friday. This marked the Maroons’ first Great Northern Conference game and first game against a Michigan team this season.

Norway (6-0) continued to get all the first-place votes in the Little Five, as did Stephenson (6-0) in the Eight Player. The Eagles stayed on top despite three other teams also sporting perfect 6-0 marks — No. 2 Rapid River, No. 3 Pickford and No. 4 Cedarville, which shares that spot with 4-2 Forest Park.

Ten U.P. teams continue to be ranked or receive votes in The Associated Press’ statewide polls also released this morning.

Stephenson, Rapid River and Pickford hold the top three spots in the AP’s Eight-Player rankings in the same order as the UPSSA has them, while Cedarville, Ontonagon and Forest Park are in the others list.

In 11-player rankings, Norway holds the highest AP spot at No. 7 in Division 8. Kingsford is eighth in Division 5, Escanaba tied for 10th in Division 4 and Gladstone is in the other list in Division 5.

In Friday night games involving area and ranked teams, Little Five No. 2 Westwood is at Ishpeming, Little Five No. 5 Newberry is at Little Five No. 1 Norway, and Big Five No. 5 Hancock is at Gwinn.

Westwood will attempt to reach the six-win plateau that has all but guaranteed an MHSAA postseason berth since the playoff field was doubled in 1999, while L’Anse and Newberry can move within a game of that level. Newberry will only need five wins as it is playing an eight-game schedule.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.