Football: Kingsford, Maroons set for GNC matchup

KINGSFORD — Kingsford and Menominee, occupants of the Great Northern Conference football throne since 1982, are in unfamiliar positions heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.

Both teams are lagging in the standings this fall behind league-leading Marquette 2-0 and runner-up Escanaba 2-1. The Flivvers, 1-1, stand third, followed by Gladstone 1-2 and the Maroons 0-2.

However, neither Kingsford (3-4, 1-1) or Menominee (1-6, 0-2), who meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Flivver Field, can be ruled out of GNC title contention.

“They’ve been like us,” said Kingsford head coach Chris Hofer. “They’ve shot themselves in the foot enough to have won a few more games. It’s always a big game for them and for us.”

Menominee, experiencing its first losing season since 1995, suffered through another turnover-marred game last week in a trip to the Lansing area. The Maroons held a 26-10 lead in the second quarter before two fumbles, pass interception and onside kick led to a 44-26 Okemos win.

“It’s been the same deal for us every week,” Maroons coach Joe Noha told the EagleHerald. “We find different ways to shoot ourselves in the foot and then we’re just not disciplined enough to sustain bad things that happen. Until we do our jobs consistently and show some mental fortitude, we’re going to struggle.”

Menominee started the game with Jonathon Boucher returning the opening kickoff 92 yards. Brendon Harris and Keagan Monroe, who caught seven passes for 129 yards, also figured in two scores.

Okemos ran over the Maroons, with Chase Conrad getting 198 yard and Derek Sims for 133.

Hofer still sees the ingredients of past Menominee teams that dominated the GNC. The Maroons have won eight of the previous 10 meetings with the Flivvers.

“They play hard, they get off the ball, they’re physical,” Hofer said. “They don’t have the game-breaker back that they’ve had in the past but they still have efficient ones, that’s for sure.”

The Flivvers dispatched Lomira, Wis., 35-6 last week. Tyler Beauchamp and Andrew Mann led the defense with 13 points apiece and Michael Creighton, who returned a pass interception for a score, added 12. Nate Rutter was the top tackler with eight.

With wet weather likely, Hofer was asked which team would benefit from soggy conditions Friday.

“We’ve both fumbled enough snaps this year,” quipped Hofer. “I think it’s a coin toss.”

NOTES: Division 5-Region 1, normally the MHSAA state playoff territory for the Flivvers and Maroons, has unbeaten Reed City and Manistee leading the way at 7-0. The website Snooze2you.com forecasts Cheboygan and Benzie Central, both 4-3, has the other two Division 5-Region 1 playoff teams at this stage of the season … In Menominee’s 4-5 season in 1995, Kingsford defeated the Maroons 29-8, according to upfootball.com … Kingsford’s 2019 varsity football schedule has one opening, with athletic director Al Unger seeking a home game for week 2. In addition to the four GNC teams, the Flivvers will be facing four Wisconsin foes in Menasha, Hortonville, Wausau East and Mishicot. Fond du Lac, which knocked off Kingsford this season, blasted Hortonville 62-20 … The Maroons walloped Southern Door, Wis., 57-32 for their lone win this season.