NEGAUNEE, MI – As the voice of the Negaunee Miners, and somebody who has been a part of every game, I think most people would agree with me when I say that the talent that Negaunee has had this season hasn’t matched the results so far this season. It’s a season that Negaunee has watched slip away. Like a procrastinator who waits until the last minute, the Miners are in the same boat. After writing off two early season losses to Gladstone & Iron Mountain, the Miners may have waited until too late to put out the full effort needed to compete in the MPC.
I’m not saying that the effort wasn’t there this year, but it wasn’t the full-on sell-out effort that you’ve seen on the field for the better part of a decade. The Miners allowed Calumet to hang around long enough to almost knock them off. They fumbled an astounding five times against a (now 3-5) Gladstone Braves team, a team that was coming off of an 0-9 season, and eventually lost on the last drive of the game. They were simply beaten down by the Hematites, and they came up just short against the 7-1 Redmen.
While they’re all just excuses, the Miners really haven’t had the ball bounce their way too often this season either. Losing senior leaders Cole Francis & Jason Bell was not what this team needed, and losing junior linebacker Owen LaJoie for the season only added to an already depleted front-seven defensively. Adding to their seemingly bad luck was a phantom block-in-the-back that negated a potential game-winning touchdown for the Miners in Iron Mountain.
Whether you like it or not, luck is a part of sports, and the Miners will need to combine the effort they showed in Marquette last Friday night in Marquette with that luck to even be eligible for the playoffs. Coming in to Negaunee Miners Field this Thursday night is a Westwood Patriots team that has already cashed their ticket to the playoffs (6-2). The Patriots are coming off of a very impressive 59-0 victory in Manistique, and are playoff bound for the first time since 2011… the last time Negaunee missed the playoffs.
Are the Miners up to beating the Patriots? Of course they are. Whether or not they make it is now out of their control, but either way, the playoffs begin NOW for Coach Jacobson’s Miners. Be sure to tune in this Thursday at 6:30pm with a 7 o’clock kickoff. Let’s go Miner fans, get out and show your Maize ‘n Blue pride!
-Carl Leander Johnson