NEGAUNEE, MI – 9/10/2014 –Coming off of a pair of wins on the road the past two weeks, the Negaunee Miners will debut their 2014 team to the fans in Negaunee. This year, the home debut will be against the non-conference rival Gladstone Braves. Gladstone week always has a competitive feel to it. From 2007-2012 the series was extremely competitive, with most the games being decided by one score or less. Last year’s contest was an outlier in the series, when Negaunee went down to Gladstone and decimated the Braves 38-0 on the road. The juniors-turned-seniors from last year’s team are sure to remember that as they come to Negaunee this time around. After finishing last season with a zero in the win column, the Braves have turned it around to start off the year, jumping out to a 2-0 start while outscoring their opponents (Gwinn & Roscommon) 75-20.
If the Braves want to pick up the non-conference win on the road, they’re going to have to deal with a dynamic Miners attack. Senior quarterback Ryan Syrjala has stepped into his leadership role and put up some good numbers for the Miners. Passing for 132 yards on seven completions in the first two games of the season shows that, while they may not be a pass-first team, they can definitely throw the ball when needed. Syrjala has also made some plays with his feet, scoring a few touchdowns when the Miners needed them. Also a nice story for the Miners’ offense has been the play of junior running back Austin Johnson, giving the Miners two legitimate threats out of the backfield alongside senior Ryan Bischoff. Bischoff has ran the ball for 175 yards in two games, and Johnson is right on his heels with 132.
For the Miners on defense, it’s simple: stay disciplined. The Braves are notorious for running a spread offense that can throw a wrinkle or two in any team’s defense. After seeing it for a few years now, head coach Paul Jacobson has probably developed a scheme that works against the spread. It will be up to the players to pay attention during film sessions and to execute once on the field. The Miners had a breakdown or two defensively in last week’s contest vs. Calumet, and won’t be able to afford those in this game. Gladstone comes in with two very good athletes leading the way: Their quarterback Wells and their running back Jurek, who were the main contributors in both wins for the Braves.
Be sure to tune into SunnyFM this Friday night for all of the U.P. football action! Join myself & my partner Jesse Anderson as we will have your pre-game coverage starting at 6:30pm. Kickoff is scheduled for 7, and you can catch it all here with us at SunnyFM or streaming LIVE on Sunny.FM!
-Carl Leander Johnson
This Friday’s game will be brought to you, in part, by Honor Credit Union. After merging with SIR FCU, Honor has been a great addition to the local area. With three locations in Marquette, Negaunee, and Gwinn, Honor Credit Union is your convenient place to take care of your financial needs. Swing by today to ask about their rates on all of their services!