KINGSFORD - Kingsford invades hostile territory for a Division 5 football district final Saturday.
The Flivvers (9-1) and Menominee (9-1), unbeaten in the past 13 home playoff games, clash at 1 p.m. The winner faces Standish-Sterling Central (7-3) or Clare (8-2) in the regional.
Menominee's last home playoff loss was at the hands of Kingsford, a 39-27 decision in 2003.
"I actually like playing there," said Flivver coach Chris Hofer, who sports 5-9 overall and 1-1 postseason marks at Walton Blesch Field. "When we got beat there they've been better than us.
"Home field advantage at this stage of the game doesn't matter. I don't see that as a factor."
Menominee Coach Joe Noha also figures football talent will play the biggest role. The unbeaten Great Northern Conference champion Flivvers earned U.P. Class A-B Team of the Year at the recent U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association meeting.
"(The Flivvers) have the (U.P. and GNC) offensive player of the year (Reed Larson), the defensive player of the year (Hilding Beaudoin) and the team of the year, and it's all well deserved," Noha said. "They're going to come loaded. We're going to have to bring a howitzer to bring them down."
Kingsford did bring Menominee down in the regular season, hanging on for a 14-13 victory in late September. The Flivvers, with Larson rushing for 142 yards and two scores, built a 14-0 lead before the Maroons rallied and nearly prevailed.
"They made some big third and fourth down plays, and it wasn't just third and one and fourth and one," Hofer said. "They had a lot of plays and the ball a heck of a lot."
Menominee gained 330 yards - 251 rushing and 129 from James Brown - in the first meeting. The Maroons have also adjusted their offense with Devon Harris moving from wide receiver to tailback, or quarterback, in the single-wing offense.
Harris has completed 28 of 45 passes for 504 yards. Brown is the Maroons' rushing leader with 783 yards on 98 attempts.
"That was their big move and he's doing a nice job for them," Hofer said of Harris' position change. "We have to keep them from nickel and dimeing us with their running game like they did in the first game."
Menominee closed to 14-13 with a touchdown at the 2:06 mark of the fourth quarter. A failed two-point conversion decided the game.
"It was good to see how fast they play," Noha said of that first game. "Hopefully, some of that experience will help us Saturday.
"At times they look one-dimensional. But we know they have other weapons. We have to stay on our toes on the perimeter against Larson and be aware of their other kids."
Larson, after 10 games, shows 1,588 yards rushing on 217 carries (7.3 ave) and 23 touchdowns.
"We have to be efficient on offense," said Hofer, whose Flivvers launched the playoffs last week with a 36-14 victory over Grayling. "I don't think we played that great on offense Saturday. We have to be a little more consistent on offense and defensively we have to do a better job of stopping the run game."
Larson rushed for 181 of the Flivvers' 313 total yards against the Vikings. The defense stood out with five turnovers including two interceptions - one for a touchdown - from Aidan Wienke.
"We got some good jumps on the ball," Hofer said. "We gave up a lot of yards (400) but we were making the third and fourth down stops and getting turnovers.
"You throw the ball that many times (51) they're going to catch a few. You'd like to think you can stop them all but you can't."
Notes: Wienke and Cole Tengesdahl earned Flivver of the Week from the Grayling game. Coaching staff named Caleb Bray as the top blocker ... Defensive back Casey McGuire made 10 tackles against the Vikings. Wienke produced 23 defensive points on the Flivver charts, followed by McGuire, 22; Tengesdahl, 18; Sean Ryan, 12, and Ed Sexton, 12 ... From Kingsley Coach Jason Leonard, after bowing to Menominee 49-16: "I think Menominee may surprise some people. They have a small team and we didn't think they were as good as they are. They're a very good team." ... Harris rushed for 141 yards on 13 carries against Kingsley ... Maroons junior linebacker Ryan Francour, who made 89 tackles this season, missed the first meeting with Kingsford due to an injury ...