Negaunee, MI – September 24, 2021 – The Negaunee Miners hosted the Ishpeming Hematites in a cross town conference match up on Friday. Negaunee controlled the entire game as they won big 43-0, and improved to 4-1 on the season. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson were live in Negaunee on Sunny 101.9.
The Negaunee Miners won the opening coin toss and selected to defer, so the Hematites received the football to begin the game. After losing yards on their first offensive possession, the Hematites punted the football. The Miners opened their first offensive possession with several runs as FB Nico Lukkarinen powered his way to a 15 yard touchdown to give his team the quick 7-0 lead. Ishpeming continued to struggle as they punted the football after losing yards on 3 straight plays.
The Miners then continued to dominate the offensive side of the ball as RB Easton Palomaki quickly found his way into the end zone after a 31 yard rush with 6:12 remaining in the 1st quarter. Ishpeming received the opening kick and found some yards offensively but it was not enough, the Miners forced a turnover as Ishpeming could not convert on a 4th and short. The passing game for the Miners created some opportunities late in the 1st quarter as QB Gerald Johnson found his favorite target Philip Nelson for a short TD pass. Negaunee led 21-0 after 1 quarter of play.
Ishpeming finally picked up a first down to start the quarter, but the possession quickly ended as the Hematites punted after the next 3 downs. Negaunee was pinned at their own 11 yard line after the Hematite punt, which was easily the worst field possession of the half for the Miners. Negaunee ran the football well as Palomaki and Lukkarinen continued to lower their heads and gain yards, it would eventually set up the Miners for an air attack. Johnson first found WR Brenten Belanger for a long TD pass but it was called back after the Miners were called for an illegal shift. A few plays later the Miner duo connected once again as Belanger caught another long ball and set his team up at the Hematite 7 yard line. Palomaki did the rest, as he ran the remaining 7 yards for the Miner touchdown. Miners 28 Ishpeming 0 halfway thru the 2nd quarter.
One more touchdown was scored in the first half for the Negaunee Miners as their defense forced yet another punt and set up the offense for a 17 yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Nelson. After 2 quarters of play, the Negaunee Miners led the Ishpeming Hematites 35-0.
Halftime: Negaunee Miners 35 Ishpeming Hematites 0
Running clock was utilized right out of the gates. so the 2nd half was very slow. The 3rd quarter was back and forth as Negaunee turned the ball over in Ishpeming territory but was able to score defensively later in the quarter. The Miners blocked a punt in Ishpeming territory as a Hematite recovered the ball in the end zone, giving the Miners 2 more points with 2:41 remaining in the 3rd quarter. A few minutes later the Miners found themselves back into the end zone as Palomaki rushed for his 3rd touchdown of the game from 48 yards out. The Miners lead 43-0 heading into what would be a very quick 4th quarter.
Both teams substituted their 2nd and even 3rd string players to start the 4th quarter as it was a quick one. Both Negaunee and Ishpeming were given 2 possessions as Ishpeming turned the football over one more time, Negaunee then ran the remainder of the time off the clock to improve to 4-1 on the season.
Final: Negaunee Miners 43 Ishpeming Hematites 0
Next Game: Next Friday the Negaunee Miners will travel to L’Anse to take on the Purple Hornets. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson will be live at 6:30 PM with the Elder Agency pregame show on Sunny 101.9.