Gladstone, MI – September 25, 2020 – After an impressive first game from the Negaunee Miners Football team, it traveled to Gladstone to take on the Braves. The Miners held a 14-0 lead after one quarter, but were unable to hold onto it with four turnovers as the Braves won 22-20 in a close game, dropping Negaunee to 1-1 on the season. Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson had the call from Gladstone on Sunny 101.9.
Gladstone started the game with the football around midfield, but the Miner defense held off the Braves, and forced a turnover on downs. On Negaunee’s first offensive possession, the Miners were giving the Braves a tough time by running the ball and picking up multiple big first downs. The drive ended successfully for Negaunee as Lukas Nelson found the endzone from three yards out for the touchdown. Philip Nelson’s extra point was good, and the Miners led 7-0 with under four minutes left in the first after the long 53-yard drive. Negaunee’s Gerald Johnson sacked Gladstone quarterback Cam Kelly for a huge loss to give the ball back to the Miners. After an injury to quarterback Will Luke, Johnson was thrusted into action at quarterback on offense and threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Philip Nelson on his third play in. Nelson made the extra point after his touchdown catch, extending the lead to 14-0 after one quarter of play.
End of 1st: Negaunee Miners 14, Gladstone Braves 0
On the first play of the second quarter, the Braves had its first big play of the game when Kelly scampered down the sideline for a 73-yard touchdown run to get on the board. Negaunee stopped the two-point conversion try, and held a 14-6 advantage. After both teams exchanged punts on long drives, the Miners took over in the final minutes of the half. Johnson was hit as he threw and the pass was intercepted by Gladstone. The Braves capitalized and Kelly connected on a deep pass to Cam Ballard for the touchdown with 33 seconds left. Kelly ran the ball in for the two-point conversion, and after Negaunee seemingly had all of the momentum, the game was tied. Things continued to look like a nightmare for the Miners in the late stages of the half as Nash Hillier fumbled the ball and the Braves recovered in Negaunee territory with 24 seconds left. However, the Miner defense stood its ground, and the game was tied at halftime.
Halftime: Negaunee Miners 14, Gladstone Braves 14
Negaunee received to start the second half of play, and went on a long drive. The Miners were going into the wind, so the drive featured what it does best,and that’s running the football. After overcoming multiple penalties and long down and distances, the Miners faced fourth-and-one inside of the 10-yard line, Johnson fumbled the ball but fell forward for the first down. From the three-yard line, Lukas Nelson punched the ball into the endzone for the touchdown after taking seven minutes off the clock. Johnson was tackled short of the goal-line on the unsuccessful two-point try, but the Miners extended the lead to 20-14. Both teams forced punts in the final minutes of the quarter, and Negaunee led by six after three quarters.
End of 3rd: Negaunee Miners 20, Gladstone Braves 14
The Braves had the ball around midfield after the punt, and after a big 33-yard pass from Kelly to Potier down inside of the Miners’ 20-yard line before Ryan Polley punched it in from 14 yards out for the touchdown. Kelly ran in the two-point conversion, giving Gladstone its first lead of the game with the score of 22-20 with less than 10 minutes left. Negaunee took over possession and put the ball in Lukas Nelson’s hands. The Miners marched down the field behind the legs of Nelson and Hillier and were set up inside of the Braves’ 25-yard line. Facing a third down, Nelson caught the pitch from Johnson and was hit and he fumbled the ball where Gladstone recovered with five minutes left. The Braves’ offense led by Kelly was trying to tick down the clock and get the victory over the Miners, and a couple of first downs creeped the clock to under three minutes left. Facing a third down with a first down essentially ending the game, the Miners made a huge play as Kelly’s pass was intercepted by Philip Nelson to give Negaunee the ball back with two minutes remaining. Negaunee took over needing a score to win the game, however a fumble by Hillier gave the Braves the ball back with 1:30 remaining. After taking a minute off and punting the ball back to Negaunee, the Miners were left with 27 seconds left and had to go nearly 75 yards. On the second play of the drive, Johnson was sacked and time ran out, ending the game. After leading by double digits in the first quarter, the Miners lost 22-20 in a tight game to Gladstone, falling to 1-1 on the young season.
Final Score: Gladstone Braves 22, Negaunee Miners 20
NEXT GAME: The Negaunee Miners Football team is scheduled to return to action on Friday, Oct. 2, where it faces the L’Anse Purple Hornets! Mark Evans and Gregg Nelson will have the call from Miners Stadium in Negaunee with the Elder Agency Pregame Show starting around 6:30 p.m., and the game to follow at 7 p.m. Go Miners!