By BURT ANGELI
KINGSFORD - Fifty-seven high school football teams have qualified for Michigan's state playoffs.
The Kingsford Flivvers would like to join the field Saturday by beating Iron Mountain and snapping a four-game losing streak in the rivalry.
"We just have to come out and play well, plain and simple," Flivver coach Chris Hofer said. "That's what we had to do in the other ones. We have to play better.
"It's football, you have to do the little things right and you have to make some plays.
"It comes down to that."
Kingsford (5-1), which needs a sixth win to automatically land a playoff spot, squares off against Iron Mountain (4-2) in the 88th Twin City showdown. Kick-off is 1 p.m. at Mountaineer Stadium.
"In rivalry games, momentum swings a lot," Hofer said. "You have to be able to control that and stay focused."
In last year's 23-6 decision, Iron Mountain took advantage of four Flivver turnovers, two dropped passes and two drives stalled near the goal line. Kingsford has shown mixed results this year in those areas.
"We have to score," Hofer said of missed opportunities. "We've had trouble getting in the end zone when we get down there.
"We've missed a lot of inside-the-30 opportunities. We have to start capitalizing on that, something we definitely have to improve on."
However, the Flivvers show more takeaways than giveaways (one fumble) this fall.
"We start a lot of drives at midfield which has been nice," said Hofer, adding the defense and special teams have assisted the offense. "It's a tribute to our defense and special teams we've had the ball in real good position."
Iron Mountain remains a ground-oriented team, Hofer said. Paul Brooks, who rushed for over 100 yards against the Flivvers last season, remains a Mountaineer mainstay.
"They want to run the football," Hofer said. "That's where they've had their success. We definitely have to be on top of that. They've thrown a little bit, too.
"They play the same style of defense they always play."
Other than sluggish fourth-quarter showings, Kingsford's defense was stout in Great Northern Conference wins over Menominee and Marquette.
"We played good defense for the majority of the game," Hofer said of last week's Marquette contest. "We just had some weird things happen at the end."
One Marquette score came on a tipped pass and major penalties also played a role.
"It's just the way it goes," Hofer said. "That's part of high school football sometimes."
Aidan Wienke, a standout on both sides of the ball, earned Flivver of the Week. The coaching staff also tabbed guard Caleb Bray as the top blocker and Casey McGuire on special teams.
Sean Ryan and Hilding Beaudoin led the Flivvers with eight tackles apiece. Craig Qualley registered 13 defensive points, followed by McGuire and Beaudoin, 12, and Sean Ryan, 10.
Reed Larson powers the Flivver offense with 830 yards rushing on 115 attempts (7.2 ave.) and 12 touchdowns. The senior running back confronts a Mountaineer defense that has yielded more than 200 yards rushing in four games.
NOTES: Iron Mountain leads the series 45-39-3 ... Michigan High School Athletic Association prohibits fans from using artificial noisemakers at athletic events ... North Dickinson is among the 57 11-man football teams that have earned a state playoff berth ... Last year's high temperature on game day was 82 degrees ... this year's forecast is for temps to barely get into the 40s with possible rain or snow flurries.