It’s now or never for bubble teams

The sixth UPSSA football poll released Tuesday displayed some indecision in the Little Five poll. The North Central Jets (6-2), ranked third or fourth for the last several weeks defeated Bark River-Harris (2-6) 40-12 Friday night and remained No. 4, tied with North Dickinson (6-2). However, L’Anse (7-1) which defeated Eagle River-Phelps, Wis. based Northern Elite 35-13 leapfrogged both teams. The Purple Hornets received one more vote than the Nordics and Jets and was ranked No. 3. All three teams are playoff eligible. North Central will wrap up at home against Stephenson (4-4) in Week 9. At stake for the Jets is a chance to open the postseason at home for the first time in school history. Possible district matchups for North Central include Pickford (5-3) and Munising (5-3) among others, but both the Panthers and Mustangs will have some work to do. Munising has won five straight after an 0-3 start but will need to beat L’Anse in Week 9 to be assured a spot. Pickford will need to handle Onaway at home.

Another playoff bubble team, Lake Linden-Hubbell (5-3) received two votes in the poll after its 16-8 upset of North Dickinson in Week 8. The Lakes may get in with five wins on the strength of that victory, but to be assured a spot, they’ll need a victory over No. 1 Forest Park (8-0) in Week 9.

Class B Houghton (5-3) is also looking for postseason eligibility in Week 9. The Gremlins, who have not made the playoffs since 2001, will get in with a win over Hancock (3-5) in Week 9. Meanwhile, No. 1 Menominee (8-0), No. 2 Ishpeming (8-0) and No. 4 West Iron County (8-0) will try to wrap up undefeated seasons in the final week of the regular season. For the Wykons, a victory over Bark River-Harris would give them the first 9-0 season in school history.

Also looking to finish undefeated is Eight-Man No. 1 Rapid River (7-0). The Rockets travel to face 2012 state runner-up Bellaire (4-3) after having a bye in Week 8.