NEGAUNEE — October 5th 2012. It was the last time the Ishpeming football team lost a regular season game. And their opponent was Negaunee. Three years later, could history repeat itself?
It’s matchup of two undefeated teams as the Miners will take the short drive to Ishpeming to take on the Hematites. And you can be sure, the entire team has taken time to do their homework on one of the best teams in the entire state.
“They’re good at what they do. They don’t do a ton. They have good athletes in the right positions and they’re going to do what they do well. And in order to be able to stop that, we have to execute well defensively,” head coach Paul Jacobson said.
“They’re just all around good. Everybody does what they need to do, pretty much. Tackle good and fast,” said quarterback Brock Aho.
“Stay focused on defense, do your one–eleventh. Stay together as a team and as long you all do that, I think if you play together, you can stop anyone,” tight end Dylan Tasson said.
“Physicality. We’re going to have to be better than them. We’re going to have to be stronger than them, faster than them. That’s going to do the job,” said lineman Matthew Jandron.
The Hematites were idle this past week while the Miners took down Norway at home. And when asked if he felt that gave Ishpeming an advantage, Coach Jacobson said not really.
“There’s pros and cons to everything in this game of football. And all I know is that when it’s all said and done, the team that scores the most points on Friday night wins. So whatever leads up to it, you know, whatever,” said Jacobson.
Negaunee has been ranked just under Ishpeming in every UPSSA poll this year so a win could definitely shake up the polls.
The Miners, who are down to their third quarterback, haven’t missed a beat with junior Eric Hurst now behind center. The starter going into the season was Ben Luke but he got hurt before the first game. Then two weeks ago against Gwinn, Brock Aho was injured. So in comes Hurst and not much has changed.
“I think he’s responded how you would expect him to respond. He’s a young guy. He’s got a lot of moxie. He’s got a lot of confidence in his own ability, as do we. And it showed. We’re 4th and 14 in Gwinn and his first play from scrimmage, he throws a touchdown pass to Dylan. He’s going to do what we ask him to do and he’s going to do it well and we have every bit of confidence in his ability,” Jacobson said.
“It’s been really fun actually…good experience. Got a lot closer to my teammates, know what it’s like to play on a varsity football team because I didn’t play very much actually. But now that I’m starting at quarterback, it’s a lot more fun and more exciting,” said Hurst.
I asked Hurst what it’s like to play on an offense with so many weapons and he says who wouldn’t want to play with these guys?
“We can pretty much do anything we want, I guess. We can give it to George, we can throw the ball to Jeff or Parker, Tasson. We can run almost anything,” Hurst said.
Two undefeated teams will enter on Friday night but only one will walk away unblemished.