UP eight-player leagues merge into ‘Great Lakes’

Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo North Central strength and conditioning coach Jake Gorzinski drills the Jets during a recent practice. Michigan’s high school football season kicks off tonight.

FELCH — North Dickinson and North Central will open the eight-player high school football season tonight playing crossover opponents in the new Great Lakes Eight Conference.

The Western Eight and Eastern UP conferences have merged into the 13-team, two-division Great Lakes Eight Conference.

North Dickinson, Forest Park, North Central, Stephenson, Carney and Ontonagon will form the Great Lakes’ West Division. The East Division has Brimley, Cedarville, Pickford, Rudyard, Engadine, Rapid River and Superior Central.

Only games against division opponents count in the conference standings. Crossover games against the other division do not count as a conference game.

In tonight’s Great Lakes Eight crossover games, North Dickinson hosts Rudyard and North Central entertains Engadine.

At the end of the season, champions will be recognized from both the East and West divisions. Coaches will then vote for a team of the year at the all-conference meeting.