IRON MOUNTAIN - Iron Mountain, fresh off a its second straight win with a 39-0 shutout at West Iron County, returns to league play Friday with unbeaten Negaunee coming to town.
The Mid-Peninsula showdown kicks off at 6:30 p.m. from Mountaineer Stadium.
"It's going to be a four-quarter war in the Mid-Pen conference," Mountaineers coach Robin Marttila said. "These games tell you where you're at."
Iron Mountain finally made a statement with its ground game in last week's win with Paul Brooks nearly cracking 200 yards rushing, totaling 168 and all three of his scores before halftime.
"Paul Brooks had a great game running the football," Marttila said. "The reason he had success is because our offensive line was blocking. He made a few cuts and ran over some people too, and that's what you want to see out of a player his caliber."
Marttila, also commending the play of quarterback Zach Jacobs, liked the fact that the signal caller found five or six different guys for catches in the game.
"Everyone knows who are playmakers are, so everyone has to chip in and make plays," he said. "And I thought that happened last week."
Negaunee enters 3-0 with wins over Manistique, Calumet and 36-34 decision over Gladstone last week in which the Miners rallied from a 28-14 fourth-quarter deficit.
"Negaunee's option worries you every single year because they do it so well," Marttila said. "And now they've got a three-year starter in Tanner Uren, who is a bigger, physical kid with experience and confidence."
Marttila likened Uren to Ishpeming quarterback Alex Briones who blanked the Mountaineers in Week 1.
"They've got some pretty good receivers too," Marttila said. "Brock Weaver, Tyler LaJoie and a few more kids that we're going to have to contend with."
LaJoie last week ran a kickoff back 87 yards in the second quarter for a score, then gave Negaunee the win with a two-point conversion.
"If you can run the ball efficiently and pass efficiently, you're going to give the other team fits," Marttila said. "I think we're two evenly matched teams and whoever blocks or tackles better will win the game."
Marttila said the Miners run a 4-4 defense.
"We have to open up holes," he said. "They don't give you a lot because they are so balanced. It's a good defense." Negaunee shows about seven senior starters on offense and five on defense, but the focal point, according to Marttila, is the quarterback.
Mountaineers won last year's meeting 49-13, but since 2000, Negaunee owns a 9-6 edge in the series including three playoff wins.