Negaunee Miners knock Ishpeming Hematites out of Upper Peninsula high school football rankings

On the opening play from scrimmage, Ishpeming quarterback Hunter Smith, bottom, is sacked by Negaunee's Drake Spickerman, on top of him, as the Miners' Easton Palomaki rushes in on the play, too, during their high school football game played at the Ishpeming Playgrounds on Friday. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

MARQUETTE — The Ishpeming Hematites have left the building.

Ishpeming was one of four area teams receiving votes last week in the weekly high school football polls released by the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.

But after its 49-14 loss to No. 2 Negaunee, the Hematites (2-3) didn’t receive a vote in the 11-player poll today after it had “others receiving votes” status last week.

The Miners (5-0) remain a unanimous No. 2 behind unanimous No. 1 Gladstone (5-0), which downed Marquette 48-21 at William R. Hart Stadium in Marquette on Friday night. The Braves have 25 votes and Negaunee 20 from the five select members of the UPSSA who vote each week.

In the eight-player poll, Munising (5-0) improved a spot to No. 2 after its 64-24 beatdown at three-time state championship game finalist Suttons Bay on Saturday.

The Mustangs flip-flopped with Norway (5-0) between Nos. 2 and 3 as the Knights are just one vote behind, 18-17.

Heading up the eight-player pack is unanimous No. 1 North Central (5-0), which drilled Lake Linden-Hubbell 50-0 on Saturday. The Lakes (3-2) remained in the “others” category for the second straight week.

Newberry (4-1) stayed put at No. 5 after a 56-0 blanking of Superior Central on Saturday.

The rest of the 11-player poll has Iron Mountain (4-1) third and Sault Ste. Marie (4-1) fourth as those teams switched spots from a week ago, while Kingsford (3-2) remained fifth.

The “others” list includes St. Ignace (4-1) for the second consecutive week and Houghton (4-1) for the first time.

In eight-player, Forest Park (4-1) stayed in fourth while Pickford (4-1) entered the “others” list.

In the Associated Press state polls, like the UPSSA polls also released each Tuesday during the regular season, Negaunee, Munising and Newberry are all in the top 10.

The Miners are fifth in 11-player Division 6, just behind Gladstone, which is tied for third with Standish-Sterling.

Those are the largest U.P. schools to crack the state rankings.

Leading Division 6 is Grand Rapids West Catholic (5-0) as a unanimous No. 1, followed by Clinton (5-0). After the Miners in sixth is Millington (4-1), followed by Durand (5-0), Boyne City (5-0), Kent City (5-0) and a three-way tie for 10th between Madison Heights Bishop Foley (5-0), Ecorse (5-0) and Warren Michigan Collegiate (4-1).

In eight-player, Munising is fifth and Newberry tied for eighth as Adrian Lenawee Christian (4-1) and Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian (5-0) are tied for No. 1, Martin (5-0) is No. 3 and Merrill (5-0) is No. 4. Each of those four downstate schools received at least one first-place vote.

Between the Mustangs and Indians are Bridgman (5-0) in sixth and Norway in seventh, while joining Newberry in eighth is Lincoln Alcona (5-0) and 10th is Pickford.

The other state-ranked schools from the U.P. are in each type of football’s smallest division, 11-player Division 8 and eight-player Division 2.

In D-8, Iron Mountain is sixth, while in D-2, North Central is a unanimous No. 1, Forest Park sixth, LL-H 10th and Cedarvile in the “others” column, technically in 12th.

All of this week’s games but one involving area teams are on Friday night.

Marquette’s homecoming game hosting Escanaba has been moved up to 6:30 p.m. Friday, with the other Friday games at 7 p.m. — L’Anse at Negaunee, Ishpeming at Gwinn, Hancock at Westwood, Bark River-Harris at Manistique, Pickford at Munising and Newberry at Onaway.

Saturday’s contest pits Rudyard vs. Superior Central in Eben at noon.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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