NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Negaunee Miners fought through a long, up and down 2020 season full of unexpected turns and abrupt stoppages. But through it all, Negaunee was able to piece together a season to be proud of, going 6-4, capturing a district championship, and making an appearance in the regional finals.
“I think one of the biggest things coming out of last year is resiliency,” said Negaunee Head Coach, Paul Jacobson. “We talked about that consistently with our football program. We were very blessed to have a very good senior group, there were excellent leaders in that class and they were resilient with the starts and stoppages that we had.”
Negaunee lost a strong senior class from last season, but Jacobson is confident he has the personnel to fill in the gaps.
“Preston Toutant, Eli Luokkala, Will Luke, Lukas Nelson, Nash Hillier, Parker Cain, it goes on and on,” said Jacobson. “Those kids meant a lot to this program and a lot to each other. You’re never going to replace people like that, every football team is different. We’re younger this year, we don’t have a huge senior group, but the seniors that we do have I am pleased with so far and how they’ve assumed their leadership roles.
Senior Quarterback Gerald Johnson is one of those leaders Jacobson will be looking at to help guide the Miners.
“Starting out we obviously don’t have a super big team this year and we’re young,” said Johnson. “We only have six or seven seniors. So, his message has been to really focus on playing as a team as a whole, as a family. Just getting better every day and grinding.”
“I think he’s coming off a great year, he has a great personality,” said Jacobson. “He’s a natural leader. Bode Bonovetz is another one. Not as outspoken as Gerald is, but he’s a leader by example. Luke Bellanger was a starter for us last year at several positions and he’s another kid that’s going to work really hard for us, establish the tempo in practice and not say a whole lot.”
Despite all the new faces, expect the same ol’ Miners. A heavy-dose of running and sound tackling on defense.
“We’re going to continue to do what we do best. We’re not going to change a whole lot. We’re going to stick with what’s worked for us over the years and just get good at what we do.”
The Miners kick off their season on August 26th against Iron Mountain.
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- GOTW Preview: Bark River-Harris looking towards their biggest challenge this season in a talented Westwood Team
- Coach’s Corner: Negaunee’s Paul Jacobson talks on close victory over Gladstone
- Sports Zone Football Team Rankings (10/14/21)