Negaunee, MI – September 27, 2019 – The Negaunee Miners Football team had a great game running the ball a week ago, and this week they went to the passing attack. After a couple of breakout performances and big plays, the Miners defeated the Ishpeming Hematites 40-20 in a huge homecoming win over their arch-rivals. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson had the game from Miner Stadium in Negaunee on Sunny 101.9.
The Hematites received to start the game, as they opened things up on the offensive side. Quarterback John Corkin was running hard for Ishpeming, and the Miners committed two penalties to add to the damage. Delongchamp was also effective for the Hematites, he had two outside runs for big gains. Ishpeming was playing its game; ticking down the clock with long and tough scoring drives. Negaunee needed to step up on defense in a big way, as the Hematites were already inside of the Miners’ 20-yard line. Facing a third down and six yards to go, the Miners’ defense did more than step up by forcing a turnover. Corkin took the snap and nearly had the first down before he fumbled the football, and Negaunee’s Lukas Nelson fell on top of it. The Miners couldn’t take advantage however, as they went three and out on its first possession. Punter Erik Salminen’s big kick sailed 48 yards through the air, and pinned the Hematites back inside their own territory. Ishpeming couldn’t get much going on the next drive either, and the punt went deep inside the Miners’ 10-yard line, they had a long way to go. Negaunee finally got a big play, as quarterback Jason Waterman found wide receiver Alex Munson for a first down catch. After getting to midfield after a couple of nice runs, Waterman found Salminen on a 50-yard pass for the Negaunee touchdown. Salminen also handled the kicking duties and the extra point was good, the Miners led 7-0 over the Hematites as the first quarter ticked down to its end. It was a close battle after the opening quarter.
End of 1st: Negaunee Miners 7, Ishpeming Hematites 0
Ishpeming was trying to respond quick, as a big run by Corkin got the Hematites inside of Miner territory. However, they couldn’t get any closer, as penalties forced them to punt. Negaunee couldn’t get out of their own way either, as penalties were hurting them. On a third down play with their backs against the goal-line, Salminen came through again with another catch, this time for 55 yards. On fourth down, Negaunee stayed with the passing game, where Waterman passed to Munson for a 24-yard touchdown. Salminen’s extra point extended Negaunee’s lead to 14-0. The Hematites made a big play on special teams, as running back Otto Swanson returned the kickoff inside of the Negaunee 20-yard line. It wasn’t too long after when Swanson found the endzone, and the Hematites were on the board. Corkin’s two-point conversion run was no good, and Negaunee now led 14-6 with three minutes remaining in the half. After a good kick return by Nash Hillier, Negaunee once again committed costly penalties. Salminen came back on to punt and his kick was tipped by the Hematites, and that gave them good field position with under a minute left in the first half. The Negaunee defense held, and the Miners took a 14-6 lead into the halftime locker room.
Halftime: Negaunee Miners 14, Ishpeming Hematites 6
The opening kickoff to the second half went about as bad for Negaunee as it could get, as the ball went past Hillier, and they recovered at their own five-yard line. After being buried to start their possession, an Ishpeming facemask penalty moved the chains. After being pushed back to their own 12-yard line on a penalty of their own, Waterman broke a huge 71-yard run on the quarterback keeper. The big play set up the Miners at the Ishpeming 17-yard line. A couple of plays later on third down and short, Waterman was stuffed by the Hematites defense. On fourth down from the Ishpeming nine-yard line, Waterman once again connected with Munson for his second touchdown of the game. Salminen made the kick, and Negaunee took a 21-6 lead. Ishpeming got the ball back, and were moving the ball nicely. After a couple of first downs, the Hematites were already inside of Miner territory. Corkin was having a nice drive running the ball, the Miners were having a tough time defensively. After putting an excellent drive together, the Hematites had a huge miscue with a fumble. The snap went past both of Ishpeming’s running backs, and the ball was recovered by Noah Nylander of the Miners. Negaunee didn’t waste too much time as Waterman once again had a huge run, setting them up inside of the Hematites’ 20-yard line. Two plays later, Waterman kept the ball again, and ran it in for his fourth total touchdown of the game. Negaunee now led 28-6 over Ishpeming, and this game got away from the Hematites really fast. Ishpeming found lightning in a bottle in the last play of a quarter, as Corkin ran the ball inside of the Negaunee 10-yard line for a 49-yard gain. Ishpeming was driving, but they had a lot of work to do trailing 28-6 after three quarters of play.
End of 3rd: Negaunee Miners 28, Ishpeming Hematites 6
The Hematites wasted zero time, as on the first play of the fourth quarter, Swanson scored a touchdown on a nine-yard carry. Corkin’s two-point attempt was good, and Ishpeming now only trailed 28-14. Negaunee began to drive nicely, they were ticking some valuable time off of the clock. Once again, the big plays came through for Negaunee, when Salminen caught a 52-yard bomb for the touchdown. That was Salminen’s second touchdown of the game, and the fourth passing touchdown from Waterman. The extra point was blocked, but the Miners were still in control with a 34-14 lead. The Hematites needed to score fast, but that isn’t their style. However, they were having success moving the ball on as quick of a drive you will ever see from them. After moving the ball efficiently down inside of the Negaunee red-zone, Corkin found the end-zone for an Ishpeming touchdown. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful, and Negaunee led 34-20 with under five minutes remaining in the game. Ishpeming lined up for an onside kick in despiration mode, but the kick went out of bounds. Negaunee would take over, and the only thing they were trying to do was run out the clock. The Miners made Ishpeming call their timeouts, and only two minutes were between them and the victory. Facing fourth down, a Waterman touchdown pass to Munson was negated due to an illegal man downfield penalty. They were forced to do the down down over again, but it didn’t matter. Waterman found Salminen down the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown, and the Miners led 40-20 with one minute to go. That was Salminen’s third touchdown catch of the night, and Waterman’s sixth total touchdown. Munson also added two touchdown receptions for Negaunee, as the passing game won the day. Negaunee put on a show offensively, and picked a big 40-20 homecoming win over the Ishpeming Hematites.
Final Score: Negaunee Miners 40, Ishpeming Hematites 20
NEXT GAME: The Negaunee Miners Football team, now 3-2 on the season, travels to L’Anse on Friday, Oct. 4 against the Purple Hornets for its next game! Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson will have the coverage from L’Anse next Friday, with the pregame show starting right around 6:30 p.m., and the game to follow at 7 p.m.