IRON MOUNTAIN - After trading touchdowns on the first two possessions of the game, Negaunee kept Iron Mountain scoreless the rest of the way and earned a 28-6 Mid-Peninsula football victory Friday night at Mountaineer Stadium.
"The bottom line tonight is we didn't make enough plays," Mountaineers coach Robin Marttila said. "They made more plays than we did.
"We also had a couple of costly turnovers."
Negaunee’s Adam Francis (2) attempts to break the tackles of Iron?Mountain’s Paul Brooks (26) and James Christiansen on Friday during a Mid-Peninsula Conference game in?Iron?Mountain. (Iron?Mountain Daily News photo by Theresa Peterson)
Iron Mountain's first turnover came on Zach Jacob's first pass attempt of the night when the ball was tipped and intercepted by Negaunee's Adam Francis - his first of two picks in the game.
That pick, coming late in the first quarter, led to the Miners' second score, a short 32-yard drive in which 6-foot-7 Brock Weaver won a jump ball in the far left corner of the endzone tossed by Tanner Uren from the eight yard line.
"Our seniors made plays," Negaunee coach Paul Jacobson said. "Dusty Goupille, Adam Francis, Tanner Uren, Brock Weaver, they all made plays when they had to and that was the difference in the ballgame."
Negaunee's Tony Zampese blew up an Iron Mountain handoff attempt and came away with the football on the Mountaineers' next possession, and that turned into another scoring drive for the guests.
Negaunee drove 49 yards in 10 plays, twice converting on fourth down, before Goupille darted in from the 3. A pass from Uren to Radloff made it 22-6 with 2:14 to play before the half.
Uren completed 8-of-12 in the game for 113 yards.
The drive was a backbreaker for the Mountaineers, not so much because of the swing on the scoreboard, but more so because Iron Mountain looked to have the Miners stopped on fourth and five from the 8.
The ball was handed off to Tyler Lajoie, who encountered traffic right away, but somehow managed to spin and squirt his way out of trouble for a positive gain while drawing an inadvertent facemask call against the Mountaineers.
"That was big play in the game," Marttila said. "I thought we had them stopped on fourth down, and for some reason, we didn't make the play on defense."
Iron Mountain came out in the second half without leading rusher Paul Brooks. Brooks, who collected all 45 yards on Iron Mountain's only scoring drive, hurt his ankle at some point during the first half and did not return after the break. He finished with 73 yards on 11 trips, with his touchdown run going 10 yards.
While the Mountaineers had possession to start the third quarter, it didn't last long, as Jacobs was picked by Francis on the first play from scrimmage.
The turnover didn't lead to points, and Iron Mountain couldn't capitalize on its next drive either, despite marching 63 yards on 10 plays. Jacobs passed to the end zone from the 11 on fourth and 7, but the pass - as was the case all night - was well-defended by the Miners.
"Our plan was not do anything fancy (on defense)," Jacobson said. "We just wanted to basically execute, play assignment football and get to the ball. I thought our kids played about as good as they could have tonight."
After taking over on downs, the Miners hiked 89 yards in 11 plays, on a drive that extended into the first few seconds of the fourth quarter when Uren connected with Weaver again for an 11-yard score.
"We made plays," Jacobson said. "I'm very proud of our offensive line tonight. We played against a very good Iron Mountain team defensively, and to put 28 points on the board is a tribute to the guys up front."
Miners first score came on the game's third play from scrimmage when Goupille broke loose for a 67-yard scamper. He finished with 120 yards on 11 tries.
"They're a good football team," Marttila said. "They're 4-0 for a reason. We'll move on, prepare for next week. Our team fought today, but we just didn't make enough plays."