HOUGHTON - Much of the football action is far afield tonight as the penultimate week of the prep football season begins tonight.
The biggest storyline originates from 'suburban Felch,' where Lake Linden-Hubbell plays at North Dickinson tonight attempting to knock off the host Nordics.
LL-H (4-3) needs to win both its remaining games to qualify for the postseason automatically, but if it can get one of two, its postseason odds are still favorable. The MHSAA playoff system awards 'wild cards' to 5-4 teams based on their overall classification, which means LL-H, as a Class D school, doesn't have as much competition for the spots, which are assigned by playoff points.
However, no one gets in at 4-5.
The Nordics, playing their season finale, are 6-1, and have won both of their meetings with the Lakes since the series was restarted in 2011.
In Iron River, West Iron County can clinch the WestPAC title outright tonight by beating Hancock at home.
The Wykons, at 7-0 for only the second time in school history, last won the league in 2011 and, before that, 2008.
Meanwhile, across the border in Eagle River, Wis., L'Anse and Northland Pines are playing what is essentially the WestPAC's second-place game, though the winner would share the WestPAC crown if WIC were to lose.
L'Anse suffered a humbling 68-24 loss to the Eagles at Meadowbrook Field last season.
Avoiding a second loss would be vital for the Purple Hornets' chances at hosting a playoff game. Also helpful to the Hornets would be LL-H grabbing a spot, thus pushing North Dickinson into a different district. At present, the Nordics have a higher playoff point average and would host a pre-district game against the Hornets, reprising their 2012 district final meeting, if the lines are drawn without LL-H.
Ontonagon (0-7) is also on the road, playing at Hurley, Wis., in the Midgets' regular season finale.
Two games are taking place in the Copper Country tonight. At Houghton High, the Gremlins will be heavy favorites to move to the brink of automatic playoff qualification with their home finale against 0-7 Baraga.
At the moment, Houghton's postseason fate is hard to project, even if it reaches the six-win mark. In the last projection of the playoff field at snooze2you.com, Houghton (still not mapped yet because of its 4-3 record) would fall exactly between the largest Division 6 school and the smallest Division 5 school.
Two teams down on their luck meet at Agassiz Field tonight, where 0-7 Ironwood visits 0-7 Calumet.
The Kings will have two tries to get on the board at home for 2013. Their season finale in Week 9 is at home against Gladstone, a good bet to drive north 0-8 after their Great Northern Conference closer against Kingsford.