Iron Mountain, MI – August 29, 2019 – The 2019 high school season kicked off in a big way tonight, as the Negaunee Miners Football team traveled to Iron Mountain to take on the Mountaineers! Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson had the call from Iron Mountain on Sunny 101.9FM.
Both teams came out struggling on offense with a punt on each side. These squads take pride in their defense, and that showed on the first couple possessions of the ball game. Iron Mountain won the field position battle early, as they began both of their first two possessions on the plus side of midfield. However, once again, the Mountaineers couldn’t take advantage of the good field position. Neither team could get anything going in this defensive battle, and the score was tied 0-0 at the end of the first quarter.
End of 1st: Negaunee Miners 0, Iron Mountain Mountaineers 0
In the first play of the second quarter, we found the first big play of the game. An Erik Salminen punt was returned 73 yards by Iron Mountain’s Joe Dumais to the Miners’ 15-yard line. Iron Mountain had fourth down and one-yard to go from the Negaunee six-yard line, and they were able to convert by just the length of the football. It was only three plays later, where Mountaineer quarterback Colin Visintainer punched the ball in the end-zone from one yard out to give his team a 7-0 lead. The Miners continued to be buried with bad field position, as they started out at their own five-yard line after the kickoff. Negaunee finally began to get a groove however, as the Miners had their best drive of the game thus far, crossing midfield for the first time. Negaunee hit a big play as quarterback Jason Waterman found Alex Munson, and he did the rest, running the ball to the Mountaineer 11-yard line. A few plays later, after ticking down the clock under one minute, the Miners struck gold. Waterman found Munson once again a few plays later. this time in the end-zone for a Negaunee touchdown! The passing touchdown capped off a 95-yard scoring drive with only 55 seconds remaining in the half. However, an errant snap on the extra point attempt kept the Miners trailing by a point. After one half, a battle was ensuing in Iron Mountain. The Mountaineers took a 7-6 lead into the locker room over the Miners, the huge punt return proved to be crucial.
Halftime: Iron Mountain Mountaineers 7, Negaunee Miners 6
The Mountaineers couldn’t get anything going once again, as they forced to punt on the first possession of the second half. It was a game where anything could happen, as Negaunee left tackle Logan Chaudier came down with a reception after a deflected Waterman pass. The Miners missed a key opportunity on third down, as Waterman didn’t see his receiver Munson open, and the Miners had to punt once again.
End of 3rd: Iron Mountain Mountaineers 7, Negaunee Miners 6
On a big third down play, Visintainer kept the play alive with his legs and found his receiver, Dante Basanese, and he was shoved out of bounds at the five-yard line picking up a huge first down. On the next play, the Mountaineers found paydirt as Bryce Pietrantonio scored the touchdown on a handoff. The extra point gave the Mountaineers a 14-6 lead, and the momentum swung in favor of the Mountaineers with 10 minutes to go in the game. When Miners have their shovels, they can dig themselves in a hole as well, as Waterman was swarmed in the backfield and fumbled the football. Iron Mountain recovered with good field position, the Miners were in need of a huge defensive stop. Negaunee kept Iron Mountain out of the end-zone, but Mountaineer kicker Caleb Evosevich-Hayes drilled a 30-yard field goal through the uprights, as they took a two-possession, 17-6 lead. The Miners needed to score, and score fast, if they were to have a chance. Negaunee began to drive the ball with the clock against them, and they got the ball into Mountaineer territory. Negaunee kept moving the ball, as Waterman scrambled for a 12-yard gain on a crucial fourth down to keep the drive alive. Waterman’s legs became the central focus of the drive, as he was effective running the ball. Negaunee found themselves in a third and goal to go scenario, but a pass interference penalty on Iron Mountain put them at first and goal on the four-yard line. Munson would be on the receiving end of his second touchdown of the game one play later, and the Miners now only trailed 17-12. Negaunee cashed in on a huge two-point conversion, as Drew DuShane hauled in Waterman’s pass to cut the deficit to 17-14 with 2:16 remaining. With so little time remaining, an onside kick attempt was necessary, and the Miners couldn’t recover. The Mountaineers held on to the football, and the Miners were out of luck. Iron Mountain drained the final two minutes on the clock and came away with a week one, 17-14 victory over the Negaunee Miners.
Final Score: Iron Mountain Mountaineers 17, Negaunee Miners 14
NEXT GAME: The Negaunee Miners Football team will next take the field on Friday, September 6, when they host the Calumet Copper Kings! Pregame starts at 6:30 pm with kickoff at 7:00 pm, listen to all the action from Mark and Gregg on Sunny FM.