Area teams face tough tests in opening week

Another season of football in Northeast Michigan is set to get under way tonight as all eight area teams will take to the gridiron in action tonight.

Alpena will play on the road at Escanaba and is looking to reverse its fortunes against the Eskymos, who have beaten the Wildcats 72-0 in the last two season openers.

Alcona will host Atlanta and hopes to use its power running game and physical defense to end the Huskies’ two-game win streak in Lincoln.

Fresh off of a playoff berth, Hillman will kick off the season at home against Gaylord St. Mary, a team that is hoping to change its fortunes after several years of struggles. The Tigers return seven juniors that started last season and will look to get their passing attack going as coach Bill Koenig has tweaked Hillman’s offense.

Mio, who also made the playoffs last season, will get a tough test at home in Week 1, facing off against Whittemore-Prescott. The Cardinals are one of four teams to join the newly expanded North Star League along with Rogers City, Oscoda and Alcona.

Onaway will open on the road against Inland Lakes as the Cardinals begin their quest for another playoff appearance under first-year coach Jim Cleaver. Onaway has 14 seniors on the roster and has a high-octane passing attack featuring quarterback Matt Tollini and receivers Tommy Auger and Carlos Bautista.

Rogers City spent the offseason getting bigger and stronger and the Hurons are hoping it pays dividends as they host Au Gres tonight. Sophomore signal-caller Quintin Kelly will lead the Hurons’ offense which features jack-of-all-trades Chris Lopez.

Posen will host the first of its four home games tonight against Cedarville, a team that has been a tough draw in the Bridge 8-Man Football Alliance the past two seasons. Posen’s offense is led by seniors Brandon Dietz and Nick Hincka, who combined for over 3,700 yards of offense and 49 touchdowns for the Vikings last season.