Area Well Represented In Latest UPSSA Football Poll

Four local teams find themselves in the latest Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association football rankings.

Ishpeming (5-0) holds as the top-ranked team in the small schools category, garnering all six first place votes. Gwinn (4-1) fell two spots to fourth after suffering their first loss of the season last week against Houghton. The two squads will play this Friday night in Gwinn.

Westwood (3-2) checks in at number four in the large school division while Marquette (2-3) drops two spots to fifth after a three-point loss to Petosky on Saturday. Calumet (5-0) was unanimously selected for the top spot in the rankings. Westwood hosts Hancock (2-3) this Friday while Marquette visits Kingsford.

Full rankings:

1-Calumet (6) (5-0)
2-Escanaba (3-2)
3-Kingsford (2-3)
4-Westwood (3-2)
5-Marquette (2-3)
6-Gladstone (3-2)
7-Hancock (2-3)                       

1-Ishpeming (6) (5-0)
2-Iron Mountain (4-1)
3-West Iron County (4-1)
4-Gwinn (4-1)
5-St. Ignace (2-3)
6-L’Anse (3-2)
7-Norway (2-3)

1-Pickford (6) (5-0)
2-Engadine (4-1)
3-Stephenson (4-1)
4-Forest Park (3-2)
5-North Central (4-1)
6-Cedarville (3-2)

Westwood Football Picks Up Forfeit Victory, JV Rolls Manistique

The Westwood High School varsity and junior varsity football teams each picked up victories over Manistique this week; the Emeralds forfeited the varsity contest due to lack of available players and the Patriots JV squad cruised to a 36-6 win Thursday night in Ishpeming.

Westwood got the scoring going with 1:10 left in the first quarter as Travis Uren scampered 16 yards into the endzone, capping an 80-yard touchdown drive. Uren then converted the two-point try, giving the Pats an 8-0 lead. Westwood went up by two scores on their next possession as Luke Mariuzza capped a 90-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge. The two-point conversion put Westwood up 16-0 with 7:11 left in the first half.

A promising Emerald drive stalled in the redzone when Zach Carlson came up with his second interception of the game. The Pats drove 91 yards in less than a minute, culminating in a 68-yard touchdown run by Stephen Kangus. The two-point try failed and Westwood led 22-0 at halftime.

The third quarter started with another long scoring drive as Westwood marched 85 yards down the field on their first possession, topped with a five-yard touchdown run from Uren. Following the failed two-point conversion, a botched Manistique punt gave Westwood the ball at the Emerald 32-yard line. Moments later, Mariuzza found the endzone from five yards out then carried the ball in for the extra two points on the next play. Manistique’s only score came on a 99-yard fumble return for a touchdown with 9:03 left in the fourth quarter.

The Westwood JV team is now 3-1-1 on the season while the Patriot varsity squad moves to 3-2 overall.

Charles Belt on NMU men’s basketball playing Michigan State

Northern Michigan University men’s basketball assistant coach Charles Belt joined the SportsPen with Blake Froling and Jake Durant to talk about the Wildcats’ upcoming exhibition game with Michigan State on Tuesday, October 30.