L’Anse joins U.P. top five

HOUGHTON – Another local team made its first appearance in this week’s U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association football poll this week.

The L’Anse Purple Hornets took over the fifth spot in the Division 8 ballot from Lake Linden-Hubbell for the fifth version of the weekly vote.

Forest Park remains the unanimous No. 1 in the division after putting away Baraga last Friday. St. Ignace, a 40-6 winner over Pickford last week, is No. 2 with 19 poll points.

North Dickinson, the No. 3 team with 16, busted open a tight game in the fourth quarter to take the Mid-Eastern Conference championship over No. 4 North Central.

The Nordics and Jets were tied 14-14 going to the fourth quarter in Felch, but ND took the lead midway through the fourth quarter on a fourth-down screen pass to Derek Wagner, then added to their lead on a Noah Berg 51-yard touchdown run on the next drive.

North Central got to the end zone one more time, but the Nordics put it away on Wagner’s third touchdown of the game, a 24-yard run just before the final gun.

The 5-2 Jets have eight poll points, while L’Anse has five.

Gogebic (5-2) also got two points.

In Divisions 1-7, Ishpeming won its huge showdown with Negaunee but still couldn’t leapfrog Menominee in the voting.

The Maroons dominated 56-27 in the 107th annual M&M Game with Marinette, Wis. Marinette hung around for a while, but five Menominee touchdowns in the second half were more than enough for the Maroons to even the all-time series at 50-50-7.

Meanwhile, in Ishpeming, the game much of the U.P. had been looking forward to all year delivered on Friday night.

Alex Briones ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns as the Hematites prevailed 28-24.

“I just wanted to right the wrong from last year,” Ishpeming coach Jeff Olson said to the Mining Journal of Marquette, referring to Ishpeming’s only loss in its 2012 state championship season, which came at Negaunee.

Negaunee is still a strong third in this week’s vote.

West Iron County moved up to fourth after a head-turning win that gives them nine fingers on the WestPAC championship trophy.

The Wykons routed Northland Pines, Wis. 39-6, picking off Eagle quarterback Cooper Kerner four times. All four picks came in the first half as WIC blew the game wide open with 27 second-quarter points for a 39-0 halftime lead.

West Iron needs a win Friday over Hancock to clinch the league title outright.

The Wykons jumped over Marquette, which was idle this week. WIC has nine poll points and Marquette seven.

Marquette plays Negaunee on Friday night in Negaunee in a game that will have major implications on both teams’ playoff seeding.