MENOMINEE, Mich. (WJMN) – Thanks to their victory over the Marquette Redmen back in week 7, Menominee will be taking home some portion of the G.N.C title no matter the outcome of the game on Friday. If the Maroons win, they will take the title outright, but if they fall, we could see three co-champions between Menominee, Marquette, and Kingsford.
For the Flivvers, not only is the championship on the line but with a win, the chances of a home playoff game at Flivver Field will increase. This is a prove-it game for Kingsford, who have fallen short in multiple big games this season.
“After our loss to Marquette, you know, we’re kind of behind the eight ball a little bit,” said Mark Novara, Head Coach of Kingsford Football. “Once, Menominee beats them now we’re right back in that mix. That’s definitely something for us to play for, which a couple of weeks ago we’re outsiders. So, we were hoping something like this would happen so we would get a chance. So, that’s a real positive for us, right? And of course, the whole playoff thing is critical. We played in a couple of big games for us this year and it hasn’t gone well for us. So, we’re really looking forward for our kids to respond in a big playoff like-atmosphere. Make sure we are playing our best football as we head into this postseason.”
With a win over Petoskey last week, Kingsford showed that they can do damage on the field both through the air and on the ground even with some injuries rattling through the squad. So with some reinforcements returning for Kingsford here in week 9, such as all U.P. Dream Team lineman Lucas Tappy, they will need to stay balanced in order to take this one home.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind place deep with tradition,” said Novara. “It’s Menominee, when you think of Menominee you think of that stadium and their football team. For us, on our end of it, I think it’s really controlling the football again. The longer we got it, the less time they got it. Hopefully, we can control the ball and have the same type of running success that we had.”
The G.N.C title has escaped the Maroons since 2016 and now it looks as if the stars may be aligning for them to take it home on Friday night. This game not only gives Menominee the potential to capture the title outright in front of their home crowd, but it is also the Maroon’s homecoming and final home game of the regular season at Walton Blesch Field. Menominee has proven all season that they have the playmakers to make big plays even under pressure and against powerful opponents and that is something that they are looking to repeat against the Flivvers.
“It would just mean a lot to our kids and our community and our school,” said Joe Noha, Head Coach of Menominee Football. “We have won our fair share of conference championships over the years but when you don’t have that for a couple of years and you are kinda wondering ‘When is it going to happen again?’ and you get a little spoiled because we had a pretty good run a couple of times and when you haven’t had that for a while and it is good to get it back in Menominee so the opportunity presents itself and we are trying to look at getting a good week of practice in and get everyone healthy to perform well on Friday night, it is our Homecoming week as well so there is a lot riding on our game this week and I think we are going to have a good fan base there as well.”
With the comfort of knowing that even with a loss, the Maroons will still take home some piece of the title, they have not been shy about how they are determined to keep this title all to themselves even if it means taking down some good friends and colleagues along the way.
“When you are a senior and it is the end, the ownership level goes up and it is almost more emotional and it means a lot because you realize the end is near,” Noha said. “I think it will mean a lot for our seniors because when they play these other teams they all know each other and they talk about their names and they have stories. So it is kinda cool to hear the stories about them with the high level of respect so I think it would be a big deal to get a victory over the competition and many times it is their friends as well.”
Make sure to tune into Local 3 News every Friday night for our ‘5th Down’ show where we feature highlights and scores from all the action under the Friday night lights.
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