L’Anse, MI – October 4, 2019 – The Negaunee Miners Football team took care of business Friday night, defeating the L’Anse Purple Hornets 36-14. The Miners won its fourth straight game to bring them to 4-2 on the season. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson were in L’Anse to announce this West-PAC game between the Miners and Purple Hornets on Sunny 101.9.
L’Anse won the coin toss and elected to receive to start the ball game. On the second play of the game, the Miners capitalized on a L’Anse fumble, as Alex Munson recovered the football. Negaunee set up shop in good football position after the turnover, and got into the red-zone after quarterback Jason Waterman had a fourth down conversion. The next play, running back Nash Hillier ran it for 15 yards inside of the L’Anse 10-yard line to set up first and goal. After a couple of running plays, Waterman scored the Negaunee touchdown from one-yard out. Erik Salminen knocked in the extra point, and the Miners led 7-0 after taking advantage of the turnover by the Purple Hornets. Negaunee once again got a big defensive stop, and a poor punt gave them a short field to work with at the L’Anse 45-yard line. After picking up a first down, Hillier fumbled the ball, and the Purple Hornets recovered. L’Anse could not capitalize on the turnover, and had to punt back to the Miners. Negaunee got another break when Waterman’s pass went off of L’Anse cornerback Jonah Dowd’s hands and was caught by Salminen for a big chunk of yards. After a holding penalty, the Miners were pushed back and were forced to punt it back. It appeared Dowd had made up for not intercepting that pass on defense, as he returned Salminen’s punt for a 91-yard touchdown. However, the play didn’t count due to an illegal block penalty; the Purple Hornets had stung themselves. Even with the crushing penalty, L’Anse still had great field position at midfield. The Purple Hornets would pick up its first first down of the game, and that would end the first quarter. L’Anse was driving, but they trailed Negaunee 7-0 after the opening quarter of play.
End of 1st: Negaunee Miners 7, L’Anse Purple Hornets 0
The Purple Hornets continued to drive just outside of the Negaunee red-zone, and were faced with a fourth down play. Quarterback Presly Rasanen had a man open, but the underthrown ball was deflected by Munson for the incompletion and turnover on downs. Negaunee got its latest great defensive stop, and started its next drive at the 29-yard line. The Purple Hornets were forcing negative running plays for the Negaunee offense, and they got the ball back once again after Salminen’s punt. On the first play from scrimmage on the drive, Dowd did take advantage this time for a long 64-yard touchdown run for L’Anse. The Purple Hornets made a quarterback change with Alex Kissel, and his pass attempt on the two-point conversion try was incomplete. The Miners now only led 7-6, and were trying to get something going after punting its past few possessions. Get something done they did, as the running game of Waterman, Hillier and fullback Lukas Nelson was extremely effective. After a long possession, the Miners were set up inside the L’Anse red-zone, and an offsides penalty on the Purple Hornets on third down kept the drive alive. After getting to the one-yard line, Waterman ran it in once again for his second touchdown. Munson’s diving effort got Negaunee the two-point conversion, and its lead was now 15-6. Kissel and his offense came out passing, and wide receiver Paul Lister-Jacobson drew a pass interference penalty to move the chains. After a few first downs, the Purple Hornets were inside of Negaunee territory. However, they literally threw it away as Kissel’s pass was intercepted by Negaunee’s Will Luke. After a nice return by Luke, the Miners had the ball at the L’Anse 35-yard line with around 30 seconds remaining in the half. Negaunee was looking to take advantage, and did very well as Waterman and Munson executed a 32-yard pitch and catch to the L’Anse three-yard line. The Miners would score on the next play when Munson got the touchdown reception with only seven seconds remaining in the half. Luke’s pick created a huge 16-point swing, as the Miners now led by 16 instead of a potential tie. Salminen’s extra point made it 22-6, and that would be the halftime score. Negaunee led 22-6 at the break.
Halftime: Negaunee Miners 22, L’Anse Purple Hornets 6
The Miners started the half with possession, and Nelson ran hard for a opening drive first down. On the next play, Waterman fumbled the football but Negaunee recovered setting up second and 20. After a nine-yard run by Nelson, Waterman kept it himself on third down and picked up 13 yards for a critical first down. Negaunee began to make Nelson the focal point of the offense, and that set them up inside of the L’Anse 30-yard line. It was a long and grueling drive, as the L’Anse defense began to get tired out. On third down and 11 yards to go from the L’Anse 21-yard line, Nelson picked up four yards to set fourth and seven. The Purple Hornets had an opportunity for a big stop, but they couldn’t get it as Waterman found Munson once again for an 18-yard pick up for the first down. With first and goal at the one-yard line, Waterman scored his third one-yard rushing touchdown of the game. After taking almost eight minutes off of the clock, Salminen’s extra point extended Negaunee’s lead to 29-6 to cap off the impressive drive. L’Anse needed a lot of points with just over a quarter remaining, but it just wasn’t their night. After moving the ball into Negaunee territory, Kissel’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Luke once again. Luke’s second interception of the night gave the Miners good field position. Negaunee owned time of possession in the third quarter, where they had the ball for at least 10 of the 12 minutes. Heading into the final quarter, Negaunee was on top 29-6.
End of 3rd: Negaunee Miners 29, L’Anse Purple Hornets 6
The Miners continued to wind down the clock, where they had the ball inside of the L’Anse 30-yard line with nine minutes to go. Negaunee kept going forward with the running game, and they were set up with first and goal. With under five minutes to go, Nelson scored his first touchdown of the game. Negaunee led 36-6 after the extra point, and that put the icing on the cake of this victory. L’Anse did not give up however, as the Purple Hornets drove right down the field and scored. Kissel’s pass to Lister-Jacobson made the score 36-14 with under two minutes to go. That would be the final result, as Negaunee defeated L’Anse 36-14 to win its fourth game in a row.
Final Score: Negaunee Miners 36, L’Anse Purple Hornets 14
NEXT GAME: The Negaunee Miners Football team’s next game will be on Friday, Oct. 11, when they host the Gogebic Miners for the Dick Koski Trophy. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson will have the call from Miner Stadium on Sunny 101.9, where we will see if Negaunee can pick up its fifth straight win.