Negaunee(5-0) Ruins Gwinn’s(2-3) Homecoming with a 41-6; Move onto Their Own Homecoming VS. Norway(2-3)
(UPsportsphotos.com photo by Ronen Zilberman)
Negaunee, MI – Well Negaunee continued to do what they’re expected to do last Friday night: Win. This time they went into a hostile environment in Gwinn, who was celebrating homecoming, and blew out the Modeltowners 41-6. Tyler LaJoie once again put up ridiculous stats en route to a dominating Miner victory, tallying 237 yards rushing and four touchdowns. If that weren’t enough, he also hauled in two receptions for 60-yards and scored another touchdown on a beautifully set up screen pass from Ryan Syrjala. LaJoie was not without help though, the offensive line once again impressed, opening holes for every Miner running back fortunate enough to be handed the ball behind the big men up front. LaJoie and fellow senior Tyler Windahl each had multiple runs of 20+ yards where they weren’t touched until they were well into the Modeltowner secondary.
Negaunee not only dominated offensively, but they did the same defensively & on special teams. Negaunee’s defense didn’t let up a score until the fourth quarter, but even then the defense stopped the two-point conversion, allowing the running clock to continue. While the defense did shut down the Modeltowners, they did it against a very depleted Gwinn football team. Gwinn lost it’s two senior leaders (Luke Sinnaeve & Justin Nyquist) early on in the game, and neither of them managed to return. Sinnaeve is suspected to have torn his ACL, and Nyquist left the game with an apparent concussion. Pray for a speedy recovery to both young men. Once Nyquist went out, this led to Gwinn running a two-back set that was an expanded version of the “Wildcat” style play calling that the Miami Dolphins used a few years ago. It didn’t work for much of the game, and only succeeded once Negaunee put their second-string in. I also mentioned earlier in the article that the Miners did very well on special teams, including a few long returns and on blocked punt that led to a touchdown on the next play.
Negaunee will now host their own homecoming this Friday night against a Norway Knight team that is coming off of a lopsided loss versus the Ishpeming Hematites. The Knights have been up and down this season, and it shows in the 2-3 record. They’ve struggled on the defensive side of the ball allowing 40, 41, 18, 34, & 42 points respectively. If there is one thing you cannot do against the Miners, it’s play bad defense. That offensive line is improving each week, Ryan Syrjala & Tyler Windahl each look more comfortable within the offense, and Tyler LaJoie is going to be Tyler LaJoie. If Norway wants to have a chance to win the game, they’re going to have to get the ball to their play-makers: Taylor Bonetti, Jordan Newman, and Austin Grayvold. The Knights have a pretty prolific rushing attack and are also capable of throwing the ball when necessary. If Negaunee is going to shut them down then inside linebackers Ian Mayotte & Brandon Vilona will have to make their reads quickly and react efficiently.
It’s great to be getting into the meat of the MPC schedule. The Miners will finish out the year against three MPC teams (Norway, Ishpeming, & Westwood) and one rivalry game against the Marquette Redmen in week 8. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic season, and an even better homecoming. Please join my partner Jesse Anderson & myself this Friday night 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