By BURT ANGELI
KINGSFORD – The Kingsford Flivvers enter the 89th football meeting with rival Iron Mountain in a rare slump.
The Flivvers are gripped in a two-game losing streak, falling out of Great Northern Conference contention after losses to Menominee and Marquette.
Just once in Flivver coach Chris Hofer’s 26 years have the Flivvers suffered back-to-back losses prior to meeting the Mountaineers. That was in 2011.
“It’s getting frustrating,” Hofer said Wednesday morning. “It’s not the kind of football we prefer to play.
“It isn’t like it is new stuff. We need to get it together, and now.”
Kingsford (4-2) and Iron Mountain (3-3) clash at 1 p.m. Saturday at Flivver Field.
Marquette checked a Flivver offense featuring quarterback Joe Hofer throwing to Cole Tengesdahl and the running of Brody Sundquist and Alex Patterson.
“A total lack of execution,” Chris Hofer said, “We had plenty of chances to do some things in that game. We managed to find a way to break down.”
The Flivvers trailed 7-0 at halftime to Marquette and allowed 17 fourth-quarter points in the shutout
“Our attention to detail is lacking,” Hofer said. “Until we all get on the same page we’re going to struggle.
“I think we’re ready to do it, we just have to do it.”
Kingsford has the “added incentive” of going up against its cross-avenue rival.
“Very seldom do you have a poor week of practice,” Hofer said of this week’s game, calling the team attitude great. “I was really happy with the way we responded Monday.
“It may have taken us this long to realize but I think we know what we have to get better at. It’s a little more mental toughness and mental discipline.”
Kingsford’s defense will be challenged Saturday by an offense powered by James Christiansen. The 200-pound senior slammed Westwood for 138 yards and Manistique for 180 and five scores.
“Its not a secret they’re a fullback-oriented team,” Hofer said. “He (Christiansen) seems to be their guy and they like to run the (quarterback) keep off of that. I would say those are their two main weapons.
“But they have other plays and other players. If they execute them they’re going to work.”
Kingsford transfer Craig Qualley quarterbacks the Mountaineers. The senior returned from injury last week to help the offense put up 41 points on the Emeralds.
Hofer doesn’t see Qualley’s Flivver ties helping the Mountaineers preparation. And it’s hard to get a read on the senior with his limited play in the past few weeks.
“He’s (Qualley) been in and out so it’s really hard to say,” Hofer said in assessing the Mountaineer quarterback. “I thought he did well when he was over here. I was sorry to see him go.”
Qualley, a standout defensive back for the Flivvers, caught a pass for seven yards in last year’s game. A goal line stand and Reed Larson’s rushing led the Flivvers to a 10-0 shutout in the 2012 match-up.
That win ended a four-year slide against the Mountaineers, who lead the series 45-40-3.
The Flivver formula for Saturday?
“Just do things right, that’s what we have to do,” Hofer said.
NOTES: Linebacker Jake Allen tallied 10 tackles and 15 defensive points in the loss to Marquette. Lineman Hugh Harris had 11.