Miners (3-0) Ruin Gladstone’s 2013 Home Opener 38-0; Back to MPC Action VS. Iron Mountain (1-2)

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The Negaunee Miners and Gladstone Braves on the Field in Gladstone for Football Night in Negaunee from Gladstone on Sunny.FM

The Negaunee Miners and Gladstone Braves on the Field in Gladstone for Football Night in Negaunee from Gladstone on Sunny.FM

Gladstone, MI – The Negaunee Miners wasted no time in asserting their dominance last Friday night in Gladstone as it only took the Miners seven plays to put points on the board. After a great defensive possession for the Miners, Tyler LaJoie & Tyler Windahl each ran the ball for a combined 35-yards before capping the drive off on a two-yard touchdown run by LaJoie. The Negaunee offense could have stayed on the sidelines the remainder of the game if they wanted to, as the Negaunee defense absolutely shut down the Gladstone offense. The Braves were able to move the ball decently enough in the first half, but were unable to convert once they got near the Negaunee red zone. In the second half, however, the Braves were held to just 20-yards of offense, resulting in only 94-yards total.

On the other side of the ball, the Miners were just as dominant. The Miners were able to put up huge numbers on the ground as LaJoie (9 carries for 127 yards with 3 TDs) and Windahl (8 carries for 78 yards and a TD) ran through the Gladstone defense. Ryan Syrjala & Zane Radloff also connected on three occasions for 72 yards to add a balance to the Negaunee offense that just simply could not be stopped. Tyler LaJoie started off the second half with a 46-yard scamper that ended his night on offense as the Miners opened up a comfortable 32-0 lead. This gave way for players like Zak Harsila & Ethan Ledford to rack up some experience by carrying the ball for the majority of the second half.

The real story of this contest was how well the “big boys” for Negaunee played. Now if you have listened to me on the air, or if you have read any of my past articles, I borderline fawn over the athleticism of Tyler LaJoie. While Mr. LaJoie was spectacular on Friday, he didn’t need to make many moves en route to his 127 yard performance. The Miners’ offensive line simply shoved Gladstone’s front seven around, seemingly at will.  This left the Miner running backs able to run straight through the holes presented to them.  Seeing as  I could spot the holes from 50-yards away, the Miner running backs enjoyed plenty of open space. I’m sure that Jeremy Bell, Hunter Ridley, Luke Jacobson, Doug Lindblom, and Tyler Thomas received a warm welcome from the Miner running backs in the locker room after their fantastic performance.

The Miners will now get into the meat of their schedule as five of their next six games are against MPC opponents, starting this Friday against the Iron Mountain Mountaineers. Having been around Negaunee football my entire life, I feel that Iron Mountain has consistently been as big a rival to the Miners as Ishpeming & Marquette.  This, combined with the need to keep pace with the aforementioned Hematites, will surely result in a heightened level of focus for the Miners this week.

Iron Mountain (1-2) is coming off of a tough 23-20 loss to non-conference rival West Iron County.  The Wykons, who trailed by 17 halfway through the third quarter, ended a 22-game losing streak against the Mountaineers that dated back to 1990.  The Mountaineers will be coming in with the possibility of not having their star running back James Christiansen who was injured late in the third quarter against WIC.  Christiansen is a top-tier running back and without him, the Mountaineer offense may struggle.  Despite being held to just 28-yards in week one, Christiansen ranked second in the MPC with 319 yards after week 2. He was also on pace for another fantastic performance last week (133 yards through three quarters) before leaving with an apparent leg injury.

In the event the Mountaineers are at full strength, the Miners will really have to focus on stopping Christiansen and the Iron Mountain rushing attack. Iron Mountain’s passing attack has been a non-factor throughout the first three weeks of the season, tallying only 51 total yards through the air. If the Miners are able to win the battle at the line of scrimmage, and force Iron Mountain into some third & longs, they should be able to cruise to another victory and a 4-0 start for the second year in a row.

Please join my partner Jesse Anderson & myself this Friday for all of your Negaunee Miner football action. Kickoff is at 7pm and pregame starts at 6:30EST. You can only catch it at 101.9 on SunnyFM or stream it live on Sunny.FM. GO MINERS!

-Carl Leander Johnson
“The Voice of the Miners”

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