Manistique, MI – September 20, 2019 – The Negaunee Miners Football team trailed by double digits early, but their rushing attack helped them come back and take the 24-22 road win over Manistique. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson had the call from Manistique on Sunny 101.9.
Negaunee had the ball to start the game, and they didn’t waste any time as Jason Waterman returned the opening kickoff to their own 40-yard line. Waterman his legs to pick up a first down and get the ball into Manistique territory. However, that would be as far as they would get, as fullback Lukas Nelson fumbled the football, and it was recovered by the Emerald’s Joey Hoholik. Manistique didn’t take long to score on its first possession, as quarterback Schler Andersen took it 51 yards for an Emeralds’ touchdown. After a botched extra point attempt, holder Jerry Jack made a great play and passed for the two-point conversion, and their lead was now 8-0. Negaunee’s second possession didn’t go as planned once again, as a Waterman fumble recovered by the Miners lost them three yards on third down, and they were forced to punt. After a nice kick by Erik Salminen, the Emeralds were pinned back to begin its second drive. Manistique continued to ground and pound offensively, as Andersen continued to run well. After Andersen got right to the first down marker to move the chains, he found wide receiver Tony Williams down the sideline for a big catch, down to the Miners’ 20-yard line. That would be the final play of the first quarter, and Manistique led 8-0.
End of 1st: Manistique Emeralds 8, Negaunee Miners 0
Negaunee needed to step up defensively, as Parker Cain made a tackle in the backfield for a big loss. That play for the Emeralds was a back-breaker, as two penalties and a fumble pushed them back to a fourth down and 20 yards to go. Manistique responded with a big first down conversion, as Andersen found Jack out of the backfield for the first down. It didn’t take long for Andersen to find the end-zone on a one-yard run three plays later, and the Emeralds extended their lead to 15-0 after the extra point. Negaunee began to respond nicely, as they were running the ball well. With the ball at midfield, Nelson carried the ball for 20 yards, and Negaunee was now in striking distance. The Miners continued to find success on the ground, as Nash Hillier ran the ball down to the Emeralds’ 10-yard line. Waterman would get around the edge soon after for the touchdown, and the Miners were on the board. Hillier went on to the run the ball in for the two-point conversion, and the score was now 15-8 in favor of the Emeralds. Negaunee came out on defense and got a big stop, forcing a Manistique punt. After starting out with good field position, a run by Nelson got the Miners back into Manistique territory with less than two minutes remaining in the half. Hillier continued to run the ball well, and Negaunee was in prime position. A few plays later, Waterman found Tanner Cain on his first pass of the game from 11 yards out for the touchdown, the Miners got the response they needed with 17 seconds remaining in the half. Hillier capitalized on a fumble, and dove on the ball in the end-zone for a successful Negaunee two-point conversion. Negaunee took that 16-15 lead into the locker room, and after the first half, it was a close ball game.
Halftime: Negaunee Miners 16, Manistique Emeralds 15
The Emeralds received to start the second half, and they were having a tough time moving the ball on this Negaunee defense. The Miners forced a tackle for a loss and a sack on the possession, they were giving Manistique problems. Negaunee picked up right where they left off offensively, their running game was excellent. Nelson and Hillier were carrying the Miners down the field, and they got the ball inside the Emeralds’ five-yard line. The very next play, Nelson crossed the goal-line for a Negaunee touchdown from three yards out. Hillier would score the two-point conversion, and they now led 24-15 halfway through the third quarter. The Emeralds were struggling offensively, but they were having much better luck on their next possession, driving the ball inside of the Miners’ 35-yard line. Facing a fourth down at the 17-yard line, Manistique moved the chains after a costly Negaunee pass interference penalty. The Emeralds were set up with second and goal at the four-yard line, and that winded down the clock to the end of the third quarter. Negaunee led Manistique 24-15 after three quarters of play.
End of 3rd: Negaunee Miners 24, Manistique Emeralds 15
Manistique didn’t take long in the fourth quarter to score, as Andersen punched it in for his third touchdown of the game, and the extra point cut Negaunee’s lead to just two mere points with over 11 minutes remaining. The Miners took back over on offense, and they continued to punish Manistique by running the football. After getting several first downs, Negaunee was faced with a third down and long. Waterman’s pass down the field to Cain was incomplete, a play that if it connected, would’ve been six points. The Miners were forced to punt, and a big kick by Salminen pinned the Emeralds back deep. With under six minutes left, Manistique had to go 91 yards for a touchdown, but they only needed a field goal. After being faced with a third down, another pass interference on Negaunee gave the Emeralds a first down. Andersen connected with Jack a couple of plays later for a long gain, and all of a sudden, the Emeralds were in Negaunee territory with only four minutes left in the game. After an Andersen scramble on third down, it was fourth down and seven yards to go for Manistique, the game was on the line for them. On that fourth down play, Andersen dropped back to pass, and overthrew his wide open receiver, it was a turnover on downs. After draining the final two minutes of the clock, Negaunee survived with a 24-22 comeback win over the Manistique Emeralds, improving their record to 2-2 on the season.
Final Score: Negaunee Miners 24, Manistique Emeralds 22
NEXT GAME: The Negaunee Miners Football team is back in action next Friday, Sept. 27, when they host their arch rival, the Ishpeming Hematites! Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson will have all of the coverage from Miner Stadium on Sunny 101.9, beginning with the pregame show at 6:30 p.m., and the game to follow at 7 p.m.