After the hotly debated debut of the Mid Pen Preseason Poll, we're back for more! Here are the results of the week two Mid Pen Poll, as voted on by Ryan Stieg (Mining Journal), Sam Ali (ABC 10), Jake Durant (Local 3), Seth Wells (TV 6) and Adam Niemi (Iron Mountain Daily News).
1. Gladstone (1-0) - 7 first-place votes - 35 points - last week: 1
Last week: 42-0 win @ Gwinn
This week: Friday vs. Manistique (0-1)
The Braves made easy work of Gwinn in their first game, winning 42-0 on the road. Darin Johnson proved to be the explosive force many expected him to be and the Modeltowners simply had no answer. The newcomer to the Mid Pen looks to be perched atop the polls until someone can find a way to slow down Johnson. Expect them to slice and dice Manistique's defense this Friday.
2. Ishpeming (1-0) - 28 points - last week: 4
Last week: 34-7 win vs. Iron Mountain
This week: Friday @ Norway (1-0)
The Hematites made the biggest jump of all the teams in the poll. The voters also received the most criticism for ranking Ishpeming at No. 4 last week. After dispatching Iron Mountain 34-7, confidence is high around Jeff Olson's squad. Now they face an extremely tough test this week when they travel to Norway to face the former Mid Pen Knights. Norway crushed Northern Elite (WI) 34-7 in week 1 and they should be a contender right away in the Mid Eastern Conference.
3. Negaunee (0-1) - 24 points - last week: 2
Last week: 51-13 loss @ Boyne City
This week: Thursday vs. Calumet (1-0)
The Miners stumbled out of the gate in week 1 against a tough Boyne City team that made the playoffs last year. They hope young quarterback Jason Waterman can learn from that loss, and in a hurry with a short week. They'll be playing in what could be the game of the week against rival Calumet, who knocked them out of the playoffs each of the last two years. Oddly enough, Negaunee has beaten the Copper Kings five times in a row in the regular season, so this should make for some entertaining football.
4. Westwood (1-0) - 21 points - last week: 5
Last week: 22-6 win vs. Munising
This week: Thursday @ Houghton (0-1)
The Patriots' ground game was strong against the Mustangs, with quarterback Nathan Beckman and running back Ashton Bergman each eclipsing the 100-yard mark. They controlled time of possession against Munising, which will be even more important against Houghton, who will only suit up 14 players for the game. Many coaches and media members said Westwood could be the sleeper team of the Mid Pen.
5. Gwinn (0-1) - 15 points - last week: 3
Last week: 42-0 loss vs. Gladstone
This week: Thursday vs. Iron Mountain
Things did not go well for the Modeltowner defense last week, but coach Dion Brown said all the mistakes were correctable and nothing surprised him in the game. He also had to play without his top cornerback Marlin Motrin, who was a all-conference first-team defensive back last season. They play against a more physical Iron Mountain that's short on numbers, like Gwinn, and short on the explosive skill players they had to contain against Gladstone.
6. Iron Mountain (0-1) - 12 points - last week: 6
Last week: 34-7 loss @ Ishpeming
This week: Thursday @ Gwinn
The Mountaineers hung tough with Ishpeming in the first half, only trailing 12-7 for most of the third quarter before the floodgates opened. Iron Mountain fumbled on three straight possessions in the second half to doom any chance at a comeback. If they play like they did in the first half and eliminate the turnovers, they will give Gwinn a dogfight of a game.
7. Manistique (0-1) - 5 points - last week: 7
Last week: 49-8 loss vs. Newberry
This week: Friday @ Gladstone
The Emeralds are in a rebuilding phase under new/old coach Todd Kangas and they're getting away from the spread offense they ran a year ago. Patience is key with Manistique.