LAKE LINDEN — The Upper Peninsula is still buzzing about last week’s announcement that Forest Park will be moving to 8–man football starting next year. And the ripple effect of that decision is being felt throughout the Great Western Conference, specifically at Lake Linden–Hubbell.
Beginning next season, the Lakes are moving from the Great Western Conference to the Mid–Eastern Conference. The Gogebic Miners will be moving as well, and with Hurley joining the West Pac, the GWC will end. Lake Linden–Hubbell coach Andy Crouch made the decision to move his program. Athletic Director Jack Kumpula says moving to 8–man was not an option.
“We want to stay 11–man for as long as possible. We’ve got a strong football tradition. We have a football community and we want to stay 11–man. Our numbers down the road look good. It won’t be easy but we want to stay 11–man as long as we can and our community supports that. We’re excited about being in the Mid–Eastern Conference. We think we can be competitive on a year–in, year–out basis with out numbers. We can go to other conference and play, but with our numbers, I think that’s the best fit for us,” Kumpula said.
The Mid–Eastern Conference will now stretch 250 miles from Bessemer to Newberry and traveling could pose some challenges, but Kumpala says arrangements can be worked out.
“As far as us and Newberry, that’s a four hour drive. Something may be done there. But for the most part we’re just going to travel and play there, and schools will travel to us and play us. I think that will work best. You don’t want to get too many neutral–field games. You want to be in front of your home crowd and you want your community to be supportive of what your doing,” said Kumpula
A proposed schedule for next season is still pending approval. The Lakes are currently 7–0 and this week travel to Felch to take on North Dickinson on Friday night.