Negaunee, MI – September 18, 2020 – The Negaunee Miners Football team took the field for the first time in 2020 on Friday night, and delivered in a 39-8 blowout win over the Manistique Emeralds to improve to 1-0. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson had the call from Miner Stadium in Negaunee on Sunny 101.9.
The Miners received the opening kickoff from the Emeralds, and the 2020 season was officially underway. Negaunee went to the ground game early, handing the ball off to fullback Lukas Nelson and tailback Nash Hillier for a good chunk of yards. After a long drive, quarterback Will Luke showed off his speed on a 13-yard run inside of the Manistique five-yard line. On the next play, Hillier punched it in for an opening drive touchdown. Philip Nelson knocked down the extra point attempt, and after a quick two minute drive, Negaunee led 7-0. On the first play of the Emeralds’ drive, the snap went over quarterback Wyatt Gierke’s head and despite recovering it, lost 10 yards. Manistique couldn’t recover from the unfortunate opening play, and was forced to punt the football back to the Miners. Negaunee started its second drive off with great field position at the Emeralds’ 36-yard line, and they capitalized. Lukas Nelson capped off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run, however Philip Nelson’s extra point was no good, but Negaunee extended the lead to 13-0. Manistique looked for daylight in this game, but the Miners’ defense held. The Emeralds had two plays to get five yards inside of Negaunee territory, but the Miners led in the backfield by Bode Bonevetz, stuffed the fourth down play. Negaunee took over on downs, and that’s how the opening quarter would end.
End of 1st: Negaunee Miners 13, Manistique Emeralds 0
In the first few plays of the second quarter, the Miners struck gold with a 27-yard pass caught by Eli Luokkala for a touchdown. Negaunee went for the two-point conversion but Luke’s pass was knocked down by Manistique’s Lucas Gould. After a third straight touchdown drive, Negaunee jumped out to a 19-0 lead. The Miners continued to pour it on, forcing another Manistique punt and it was returned by Philip Nelson all the way to endzone for a touchdown. Negaunee couldn’t convert once again on the two-point try, but led 25-0 with just under 10 minutes left in the second quarter. The Emeralds weren’t going to give up quietly, as the offense led by Gierke and Rusty Schroeder marched into Negaunee territory. Manistique had the ball inside of the Miners’ 20-yard line, but once again the Negaunee defense stepped up huge, forced another turnover on downs. Once again, it didn’t take long for the Miners to capitalize as Luke threw a 51-yard strike to Lukas Nelson for another touchdown pass. Philip Nelson’s extra point was good, and Negaunee led 32-0 at halftime.
Halftime: Negaunee Miners 32, Manistique Emeralds 0
Manistique started off with the ball to start the second half, but couldn’t get on the scoreboard. Negaunee got the ball back after a mishandled snap from the Emeralds’ offense, and went on a big drive as Hillier busted a 37-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 39-0 after the Philip Nelson extra point, and the running clock had begun. Negaunee started entering its substitutes into the game, but Manistique was still trying to score in this ball game. All of the Negaunee Miners were making plays as Gierke’s deep pass was intercepted by Max Churack. Negaunee took over, and after three quarters, the score was 39-0.
End of 3rd: Negaunee Miners 39, Manistique Emeralds 0
Gerald Johnson commanded Negaunee’s second offensive unit, and had a big run into Manistique territory. However shortly after, the Miners turned the ball over back to the Emeralds. Deja vu was occurring in the second half, as Churack picked off Gierke for the second time in as many possessions. Both teams traded fumbles, and five out of six possessions were turnovers at one point. The possession that stood out was Manistique getting on the scoreboard for the first time as Gierke threw a touchdown pass to Gould. Parker Graphos ran the ball in for the two-point conversion, and the score was 39-8. That’s how the game will end, and the Miners opened up the season with a big 39-8 win over Manistique.
Final Score: Negaunee Miners 39, Manistique Emeralds 8
NEXT GAME: With a tentative schedule due to COVID-19, the Negaunee Miners Football team is scheduled to travel to Gladstone on Friday, Sept. 25 to take on the Braves! Stay updated as games will be determined on a week-to-week basis. Kickoff from Gladstone is scheduled for 7 p.m., with Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson coming on the air at 6:30 p.m. with the pregame show on Sunny 101.9.