ISHPEMING/NEGAUNEE – Week seven of the high school football season has a couple of key matchups. One of the bigger games has first place in the Mid–Peninsula conference on the line, when Ishpeming plays against Negaunee this Friday Night. The Hematites are 6-0 and they’re the No. 1 ranked team in Division 7.
Negaunee comes into the game 4-2. The Miners have their last two games. When these two teams get together every year, it ends up being one of the top football games of the season.
“They’re like us. They want to control the football, they will have a few wrinkles in here or there for us,” said Ishpeming football coach Jeff Olson. “We have to make sure that we concentrate on us, do what we do well, and make sure we take care of the ball rather than worry about what they’re doing.”
“It’s a good opportunity for us,” said Negaunee head coach Paul Jacobson. “We get a two-time defending state champion coming to our house, it’s fun. I like our kids attitudes right now. We have a lot of respect for Coach Olson, his staff, and the Hematite team. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to play them here.”
“It’s always a nice physical game,”; said Ishpeming tight end Marcus Antilla. “We have to prepare the whole week because you know that they are going to come out after us. That’s how they are every time we play us. They will come out with a good game (plan), that’s for sure.”
“For me, it’s probably one of the biggest games of the year,” said Negaunee offensive lineman Luke Jacobson. “It’s a big rivalry and I’m excited for it.”
“It’s always been a great game. I think the way the fans react to it makes it really fun to do to,” said Ishpeming running back Dominic Suardini. “I’ve been down here since I was 5-years-old watching this game and it’s always a great environment.”
“Everyone comes out from just about everywhere here in the U.P. to come see this game,” said Negaunee quarterback Ryan Syrjala. “It’s real big everywhere…. there’s a big history. It’s a very traditional game. Everybody plays hard, we all go through it, and it’s just the biggest game of the year.”
Ishpeming has won 27 straight games. The Hematites last loss was at Negaunee back in 2012. The Miners won that game, 20-8. Kickoff Friday night at Miners Stadium is set for 7 p.m.