Negaunee, MI – October 15, 2021 – The Negaunee Miners were at home for the second week in a row, this time for a homecoming match-up with the Houghton Gremlins. Negaunee got revenge from last year’s loss, and picked up the 26-6 victory to improve to 7-1 on the season. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson had the call live from Negaunee on Sunny 101.9.
The Gremlins received the ball first, and had a missed opportunity instantly when quarterback Cam Markham missed Reed Heathman on a deep shot downfield. Houghton punted the ball, and pinned Negaunee back. The Miners responded with a long 87-yard drive, resulting in a 23-yard bolt from Easton Palomaki into the end-zone for the touchdown. Philip Nelson’s extra point was good, and Negaunee took a 7-0 lead with 5:46 to
go in the first. Houghton didn’t get off to a fast start, but the ground game starting to get going with runs from Kyle Primeau and Kaiden Zapolnik. The Gremlins crossed midfield, and faced a big third down as the quarter ended.
End of 1st: Negaunee Miners 7, Houghton Gremlins 0
Facing a third-and-seven at the Negaunee 41-yard line, Markham connected with Brendan Miller on a huge conversion inside of the Miners’ 30-yard line. Houghton converted another first down before the drive stalled, and the Gremlins settled for a 34-yard field goal try from Raymond Shaw. On the attempt, Shaw fell down and the kick was blocked. After picking up the big stop, the Miners couldn’t move the ball and had to punt the ball right back to Houghton. This time Houghton took advantage, and Primeau broke a 43-yard run down to the Miners’ 10-yard line. Zapolnik cashed in from eight yards out two plays later with 56 seconds left in the half, and cut the deficit to 7-6. Negaunee jumped on the extra point try, prompting the Gremlins to go for the two-point conversion instead. Zapolnik couldn’t score this time, and Negaunee got an important stop. Nelson took the ensuing kickoff down all the way to the Gremlins’ 30-yard line, giving Negaunee life right before halftime. Two passes from Gerald Johnson to Nelson later, and the Miners found pay-dirt for the touchdown. Nelson’s kick failed after a poor snap, but the Miners led 13-6. Both teams traded interceptions in the final 30 seconds in desperate score attempts, but Negaunee led by a touchdown heading into the locker room.
Halftime: Negaunee Miners 13, Houghton Gremlins 6
Negaunee got the ball to start the second half, and the run game was working well. Nico Lukkarinen had a quiet first half, but he made himself known in the third quarter. Driving all the way inside of the Houghton red-zone, Lukkarinen found the end-zone from 17 yards out to make it a two-score game. Nelson’s kick was good, and the Miners led 20-6 inside of nine minutes left in the quarter. Houghton needed an answer to stay in it, and a methodical drive was in the works. The Gremlins marched inside of Negaunee territory, and Markham found Gaborik Carlson downfield for a big play to set up first and goal. Incompletions and multiple penalties pushed Houghton back outside of the 20-yard line. Markham threw end-zone shots on the next two downs, but both were incomplete for the turnover on downs. The Miners looked to shut the door on Houghton with a long drive of their own as the third quarter came to an end.
End of 3rd: Negaunee Miners 20, Houghton Gremlins 6
It was more of the same in the fourth quarter for Negaunee, with Palomaki and Lukkarinen churning their legs forward for chunks of yardage. The Miners got into the red-zone, and Lukkarinen finished off the drive for his second touchdown of the game from 10 yards out. Nelson’s kick was no good, but the Miners looked well on their way to a victory up 26-6 with 9:49 to play. Houghton had one last gasp to try and score, but Negaunee’s defense stepped up again to force another turnover on downs. Both teams traded possessions and ran out the clock to the game’s end. Negaunee pulled away in the second half for a 26-6 homecoming win over the Gremlins to improve to 7-1.
Final Score: Negaunee Miners 26, Houghton Gremlins 6
NEXT GAME: The Negaunee Miners Football team (7-1) travels down the road to West Ishpeming to take on the Westwood Patriots (7-1) in a game with big conference and postseason implications! Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson will have the call live from Westwood High School, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with The Elder Agency Pregame Show, and kickoff to follow at 7 p.m. Go Miners!