Mountaineers ‘special’ in victory

Big return, field goal propel Iron Mountain past Negaunee, 17-14

Theresa Proudfit/The Daily News Iron Mountain’s Caleb Evosevich-Hynes breaks free down the sideline as Negaunee’s Steve Gooseberry (2) and Lukas Nelson (25) chase. Iron Mountain’s Will Strand (20) and Dante Basanese (22) follow the play.

IRON MOUNTAIN — If you briefly looked at the game statistics, before you looked at the score of tonight’s season opening Negaunee at Iron Mountain Varsity Football game, you might think that the Miners of Negaunee went home with a victory. That was not the case, as Iron Mountain defeated Negaunee 17-14.

Negaunee outgained Iron Mountain 228 to 156 in total yards. Iron Mountain was flagged for five penalties for 29 yards, to Negaunees’ two for only 15 yards. The key reason for the Mountaineers earning the victory Thursday night was in the area of special teams.

After a scoreless first quarter, a 73-yard punt return by Caleb Evosovich-Hynes, to the Negaunee 16-yard line in the second quarter, set up the first score of the game. A one-yard touchdown run by Colin Visintainer and a successful P.A.T by Evosevich-Hynes gave Iron Mountain a 7-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

Negaunee then went on an eleven play drive, which ended with quarterback Jason Waterman throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alex Munson. A poor snap on the P.A.T attempt, left the score at 7-6 in favor of the Mountaineers, with 55.9 seconds left before halftime.

With neither team reaching paydirt in the third quarter, the frame ended with Mountaineers beginning a 12-play scoring drive. At the 10:41 mark in the fourth quarter, that drive ended with a five-yard touchdown run by Bryce Pietrantonio. A successful Gavin Goulette P.A.T brought Iron Mountains’ lead to 14-6.

After returning the ensuing kickoff to their own 30 yard line, the Miners fumbled on second and nine, which was recovered by Evosovich-Hynes. Seven plays later, the Mountaineers went ahead 17-6 with a 30-yard field goal by Evosovich-Hynes with 6:19 remaining in the contest.

Roughly four minutes and 13 plays later, Waterman again hit Munson in the endzone for a four-yard touchdown pass. Drew DuShane hauled in the two-point conversion pass from Waterman to shrink Iron Mountain’s lead to 17-14 with 2:16 left in the game, but they could get no closer.

“It was a great team victory against a quality football program that we have the utmost respect for,” Mountaineers head coach Robin Martilla said. “We won the field position battle tonight, for the most part.

“Special Teams, Caleb Evosovich-Hynes, his 73 yard punt return was huge. Then the 30 yard field goal he made, the kid is a playmaker.”

Visintainer hit Dante Basanese on a third a long with a 29 yard reception during Iron Mountains’ second scoring drive. A drive that led to the Mountaineers second score, a play in which Martilla considered a huge point in the game.

Martilla also noted the strong running of Piertrantonio, against Negaunees’ stout defense, plus, how great Visintainer played under center tonight, filling in for an injured Marcus Johnson.

Miners coach Paul Jacobson, in his 20th season as head coach, was disapointed in the loss, but proud of his team.

“We played tough tonight,” he said. “However the team that makes more plays usually wins, and tonight we didn’t come up with enough of them.

“It’s always a battle when we come down here, to play inside of these yellow walls. Who would have thought that in this game, with the type of games we usually have against one another, that a field goal would decide the game. Special teams is a third of the game, they definitely win the special teams battle tonight, with a field goal and the long returns.”

Both coaches noted the exceptional play of Miners quarterback Jason Waterman.

“Waterman is a great quarterback. He throws the ball well and made some nice plays tonight” said Martilla.

“Jason played probably his best ball game, in his career tonight,” Jacobson said. “He put a lot of work in the offseason. He threw the ball well, saw the field well and also ran well tonight. He’s developed himself in to a quarterback to lead this team.”

Negaunee (0-1) returns home for their home opener against Calumet next Friday night. While Iron Mountain (1-0) entertains Westwood Patriots, also next Friday night.

Negaunee 0 6 0 8 — 14

Iron Mountain 0 7 0 10 — 17

First quarter

No scoring

Second quarter

IM – Colin Visintainer, 1-yard run (Evosovich-Hynes kick), 7:20.

N – Alex Munson, 11-yard pass from Jason Waterman (kick failed) 0:55.

Third quarter

No scoring

Fourth quarter

IM – Bryce Pietrantonio, 5-yard run (Gavin Goulette kick), 10:41.

IM – Evosovich-Hynes, 30-yard field goal, 6:19.

N – Munson, 4-yard pass from Munson (Drew DuShane pass from Waterman), 2:16.

Rushing: N 34-131 (Etelamaki 15-60, Waterman 13-58, DuShane 5-9); IM 32-130 (Evosovich-Hynes 14-66, Visintainer 7-18, Pietrantonio 8-44,

D. Basanese 1-2)

Passing: N, Waterman 9-11-97-2-0; IM, Visintainer: 3-5-21-0-0.

Receiving: N, Munson 5-70, DuShane 3-22, Like 1-5; IM, D. Basanese 1-30, G. Basanese 1-4, J. Dumas 1-5.


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