West Ishpeming, MI – October 22, 2021 – The Negaunee Miners Football team came up short on the road against the Westwood Patriots 32-14 in the regular season finale. Negaunee drops to 7-2 before postseason play begins next week. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson had the call live from Westwood High School on Sunny 101.9.
Westwood received the ball first, and Zach Beckman completed a 27-yard pass into Negaunee territory on the first set of downs. Westwood got a couple of runs from Zach Carlson to set up fourth and short, and Carlson finished the job with a 27-yard burst to put Westwood up 6-0 early. Beckman’s two-point conversion run was stuffed short, but the Patriots took a six-point lead with 8:16 remaining in the first. Negaunee marched down the field to try and match Westwood’s score with the pair of Easton Palomaki and Nico Lukkarinen. Both had runs that moved the chains, and Palomaki busted the ball inside of the Patriots’ 10-yard line to set up first and goal. Westwood’s defense stood tall forcing two runs of no gain and two incomplete passes from Gerald Johnson to Philip Nelson for a turnover on downs. The Patriots took over deep in their own territory, but got two big passes to Luke Olson and Marcus Boase to quickly get in Negaunee territory as the first quarter came to an end.
End of 1st: Westwood Patriots 6, Negaunee Miners 0
Westwood seemed to be disorganized offensively, drawing a delay of game penalty and using all three timeouts on offense by the 11:07 mark in the first half. Negaunee finally seemed to have got a stop after stopping Carlson short on third down, but Beckman’s fourth down pass in the flat was complete to Carlson for the first down. On the next play, Beckman found Boase over the middle for a 20-yard score to extend the lead. Carlson’s run was no good on the two-point try, but Westwood led 12-0 with 9:34 to go in the quarter. The Miners took over at their own 40-yard line, and lost 10 yards after an errant pitch was recovered by Kai Lacar for Negaunee. Johnson’s arm was on full display on the next play, floating a ball in the air to Nelson for a 70-yard touchdown strike. Nelson’s extra point was good, cutting Westwood’s lead to 12-7 at 8:33. Carlson showed off his speed again for the Patriots a couple of plays later, and breaking away from the Negaunee defense for a 47-yard scamper. That was the third combined touchdown between the two teams within a span of 2:13, and the Patriots led 18-7 after Beckman’s two-point pass was unsuccessful. The game started to slow down a bit with both teams trading punts. Negaunee got the ball back with under three minutes remaining in the half, and were driving down the field quickly. The running game set up the Miners inside of the Westwood 35-yard line, and Johnson found Nelson for a 30-yard pass down to the one-yard line. Johnson punched it in on the quarterback sneak on the following play, and Nelson’s kick made it 18-14 with 54 seconds left. Beckman’s last attempt to try and convert a deep pass in the final seconds was picked off, but Westwood led 18-14 at halftime.
Halftime: Westwood Patriots 18, Negaunee Miners 14
Negaunee got the ball to start the second half, and had a promising drive that crossed midfield. The drive stalled with stingy defense and a penalty, and Johnson’s fourth down pass was intercepted by Beckman and returned all the way to the Negaunee 35-yard line. Two plays later after Beckman got banged up, Carlson threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Sundberg over the top of the defense for the score. Beckman returned on the next play, and Carlson ran in the two-point try to make it 26-14 with 5:20 left in the third quarter. The Miners were running out of options, and had to go for it on fourth down deep in their own territory. Johnson’s run on fourth down was stuffed short, giving Westwood prime field position. Carlson was striped on his next rushing attempt, and Negaunee got the ball right back on the recovery at their own 32-yard line. NHS couldn’t move the chains, and had to punt the ball back to Westwood with time running out in the third quarter.
End of 3rd: Westwood Patriots 26, Negaunee Miners 14
Westwood tried to put the game away in the fourth quarter with its running game taking time off of the clock. The Patriots were going backwards with a penalty, but Boase came up big with two catches in a row to move the chains. On the next set of downs, Negaunee got the stop it needed. The Miners trailed by 12 with under five minutes left with the football deep in their own territory. Johnson ran the ball for a big gain to midfield, and completed a fourth down pass to Nelson to keep things alive. However, a fumbled lateral was recovered by Carlson and returned all the way to the end-zone to slam the door. Negaunee’s seven-game winning streak came to an end, and the Miners fell to Westwood 32-14 to finish the regular season with a 7-2 record.
Final Score: Westwood Patriots 32, Negaunee Miners 14
NEXT GAME: The Negaunee Miners Football team will be playing in the MHSAA Division 6 playoffs next week, but the date and opponent are to be determined. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson will have next week’s action on Sunny 101.9. Go Miners!