(Football) Four U.P. teams set to host games this weekend

Three weeks into the MSHAA football playoffs and there are seven U.P. teams still alive, with four hosting regional match-ups this week.

Division 5

Standish-Sterling Central at Menominee: Saturday, 2 p.m.

Menominee (11-0) will put their unbeaten streak on the line Saturday as they host a Standish-Sterling Central team (9-2) that blanked Gladwin 26-0 last week. The Maroons are also coming off a convincing win, as they thumped Grayling 47-14 last week. Menominee’s defense forced three interceptions and the Maroons had two players rush for over 100 yards (Justin Brilinski, James Brown) while Devon Harris also added 90 yards to help pace the Maroons ground game.

Division 6

Negaunee at Ithaca: Saturday, 1 p.m.

The Miners (10-1) are coming off a big 42-19 win over Boyne City but will have their hands full as they face an Ithaca team (11-0) who has won three straight state titles and is the No.1 ranked team in Division 6. The Yellowjackets are led by by quarterback Travis Smith, who was 21-of-27 for 261 yards and two touchdowns in last weeks 42-7 win over Maple City Glen Lake.

Negaunee finished the season ranked seventh in Division 6.

Division 7

Lake City at Ishpeming: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Ishpeming (11-0) returns home on Saturday after blanking West Iron County 34-0 last week to face a 10-1 Lake City team that thumped Lincoln-Alcona 56-14 last week. The Hematites, who won the Division 7 state championship last season have been ranked No. 1 all season. Ishpeming’s offense has only been held under 40 points four times all season. Hematites quarterback Alex Briones racked up 129 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s win.

Division 8

North Dickinson at Forest Park: Friday, 7 p.m.

North Dickinson (8-2) will hit the road to take on Forest Park (11-0) as they look to avenge a 43-20 loss against the Trojans earlier this season. The Nordics are coming off a 35-13 win over North Central last week while Forest Park edged L’Anse 16-9. The Nordics are hoping the return of senior running back Tim Hruska will help give them an edge over the Trojans. Hruska had missed the team’s first match-up due to an ankle injury. The Nordics have made the playoffs for a state record 23 years, while the Trojans have won 10 of the last 11 district championships.

Division 8

St.?Ignace at Beal City:

Friday, 7 p.m.

St. Ignace (9-2) travels downstate to take on Beal City (11-0). The Saints squeak into the regional match-up after edging Johannesburg-Lewiston 20-14 with a touchdown in the final 15 seconds of the game. Beal City beat St. Ignance last season in the state semifinals.

Division 9 (8-man)

Kinde-North Huron at Rapid River: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Rapid River (11-0) will host Kinde-North Huron (8-3) in hopes of making a return to the state championship game the following weekend. The Rockets are coming off a 50-21 win over Engadine for their third straight regional championship. Quarterback Jake Pearson continued his impressive senior campaign, racking up 306 yards rushing for three touchdowns, while throwing for another score. North Huron is also coming off a big win, as it dropped Owendale-Gagetown 64-22 last week.