H.S. football preview: Negaunee

The 2012 football season was a memorable one for the Negaunee Miners. They finished the season with a 10-2 record, winning the Mid Peninsula Conference title.

The Miners were the one and only team to defeat the state champion Ishpeming Hematites last season. There is a lot of positive energy surrounding the Miners coming into this season, but Negaunee must replace a couple key pieces on both sides of the football.

Tanner Uren, the Miners three-year starter at quarterback, has graduated. Another former Miners player, linebacker Adam Francis, is set to join the football team at Michigan Tech University.

Through the first three days of practice, 35 players are competing for starting positions. Paul Jacobson, the head coach of the Miners, likes what she sees so far.

“We have some guys that are going to step up for us this year,” said Jacobson. “In our off-season program, we had a real good senior group lead the conditioning program. We will replace (the players who graduated) and get better each day.”

“Our schedule is hard, as are many of the teams in the Upper Peninsula. We need to stay focused each week and do what we need to do to earn a victory,” added Jacobson.

“As seniors this year, we’re stepping it up big time. The underclassmen are stepping it up to trying to fill those holes,” said Kevin O’Keefe, a senior defensive back for the Miners. “Everyone’s dream is to go undefeated, but just to get into the playoffs and play in a couple of games in the playoffs will be a successful season for us,” he added.

“I think we have the team this year to make it down to Ford Field,” said Tyler Thomas, a senior offensive lineman for Negaunee. “We have a good o-line (offensive line). The whole team is looking good right now,” said Thomas.

Negaunee opens up the regular season on Friday, Aug. 30 at home vs. Manistique.