With its postseason ticket punched in Week 6, looks to improve to 8-0 for the first time since 2004 this week, when it travels to conference foe on Friday.
Our “Overtime on the Road” matchup, the Panthers (7-0, 3-0), ranked fifth in Division 8, can clinch at least a share of their second straight Northern Michigan Football League Leaders division title with a win over the Rayders (5-2, 2-1).
Set to meet for just the third time, Frankfort won last year’s contest, 20-0, en route to winning its first district championship since 2009. The Panthers rallied to beat , 26-21 in Week 6, and appear primed for a lengthy postseason run.
Charlevoix has responded nicely since its 49-7 loss in Week 5 to current Division 7 No. 8 Glen Lake, grinding out wins over (21-0) and (16-9), to clinch its third consecutive winning season and second playoff berth in three years.
Conference title watch
In addition to Frankfort, has the opportunity to secure a share of its ninth Jack Pine Conference title since 2007 with a win over on Friday. Clare and Frankfort would join , , and , who have all clinched at least shares of league championships.
Pack your bags
Nine more local teams joined in and packed their bags for the MHSAA playoffs.
, , Clare, Pine River, , , Charlevoix, St. Ignace and all qualified for the postseason with wins last week.
Postseason bids up for grabs
Ten area teams can secure playoff berths with wins this week (last appearance): (2014), (2014), (2012), Morley Stanwood (2015), (2015), Beaverton (2000), Vestaburg (2015), Onekama (2015), Glen Lake (2015) and (2015).
What to watch in Week 8
(6-1, 5-0) at Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (7-0, 5-0) – The winner of this one claim’s the inaugural Midwest Central Michigan 8 Player Football Conference championship outright. Tri-unity Christian won last year’s 11-man meeting, 54-40.
D8 No. 2 St. Ignace (6-1) at Ishpeming (3-3) – Don’t let Ishpeming’s record fool you. Although the Hematites have lost more games this season than the previous four seasons combined, there’s a reason Ishpeming has made the Division 7 state title game each of the last four years. The Hematites won last year’s meeting, 20-14.
D 2 No. 6 (7-0) at Birmingham Brother Rice (4-3) – This could be a signature win for Central’s program. Brother Rice has nine state titles to its credit and rebounded nicely from its first losing campaign since 1985. This marks the first meeting between the schools.
Winding down on the pitch
With districts beginning next week, the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association rankings were released earlier this week, with eight local programs making the cut.
Traverse City West moved up to 15th in Division 1, while Ludington rounds out the Division 2 poll in 20th. (11th), Charlevoix (12th), (19th) and (20th) find themselves ranked in Division 3, while (ninth) and (15th) are placed in Division 4.
Ten northern Michigan volleyball programs are ranked in the latest Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association polls.
Cadillac and Grant remain ranked at fifth and 10th, respectively, in Class B, while Traverse City St. Francis checks in at fourth and 10th in Class C.
Class D remains the most populated by local teams, with Leland (third), (sixth), (seventh), (ninth), Engadine (honorable mention) and Forest Area (honorable mention).
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