Negaunee Miners ramping up prep as Iron Mountain opener looms

With much of the same team from 2020, Negaunee will meet a familiar foe in Thursday’s opener
Negaunee preps for Thursday night season opener
Negaunee preps for Thursday night season opener(WLUC)
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 7:52 PM EDT
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NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Negaunee Miners are ramping up its practices, as it turns to game week, with two-a-day practices to get ready for Iron Mountain.

The Miners are coming off a 6-4 2020 campaign, in which they achieved solid success in the postseason, winning their first two rounds before bowing out in the third round to Grayling.

With the 2020 season being anything but normal, head coach Paul Jacobson is just happy to be back on the field, entering the season with some sense of normalcy.

If his team wasn’t hosting its season-opener, he couldn’t think of a better place to start the year, than between the yellow walls at Iron Mountain Football Field.

“A lot of tradition down there, a lot of winning tradition,” the Miners head coach said of the Mountaineers. “A lot of mutual respect between the two schools and we’ve had some great contests throughout the years. That’s why it’s brought a sense or urgency to our two-a-days and our preparation.”

The Miners will have a stiff test in their Thursday-night opener, as they take on an Iron Mountain club that won three games in the playoffs, before falling just a game short of a state semifinal appearance.

Negaunee has plenty of familiarity with the Mountaineers, however, having dropped the past three meetings with Iron Mountain, after missing out on the matchup in 2020.

“We’re pretty hyped to play Iron Mountain,” senior right tackle Bode Bonovetz said, previewing the matchup. “Both of my JV years we’ve lost to them. So, it’s time to start this senior year the right way.”

Numbers-wise, it’s a much smaller team for Jacobson this year.

But a lot of key pieces return, especially offensively, as quarterback Gerald Johnson is back under center for the Miners.

Facing a bit of a dry-spell against Iron Mountain, Negaunee would certainly like to start its season on the right foot this year, with clear season goals in mind.

“It’d be nice to get back to a district championship again,” Bonovetz said of his team’s outlook. “It’s a good goal for us, to keep going from there and then get up to states.”

Negaunee hits the road on Thursday to start off its 2021 campaign, with kickoff from Iron Mountain slated for 7:00 p.m. EST, 6:00 pm. CST.

The TV6 Sports crew will have all of the local high school football highlights as part of its Friday Night Fever show on Friday nights.

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