Williams runs Negaunee to victory at Gwinn

Gwinn’s Austin Forbes, left, is forced to fumble the ball by Negaunee’s Ethan Brewer, right, with teamate Eric Etelamaki and Gwinn’s Chase Jensen close behind Friday evening September 22, 2017 at McCormick field in Gwinn. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

By RYAN SPITZA Journal Sports Writer GWINN — Robbie Williams had three rushing touchdowns and rushed for 140 yards to lead Negaunee to a 34-6 Mid-Peninsula Conference road victory at Gwinn on Friday night. Both teams now stand at 2-3 overall after the game played at McCormick Field. This is Negaunee’s 17th straight victory over the Modeltowners. Negaunee head coach Paul Jacobson said his team is finally coming together after a slow start. “I’m really proud of the way these guys played,” he said. “They got here because of the amount of time they put in and the amount of work ethic they put in. These guys are really starting to come together as a team and we beat a good football team tonight. “Coach (Dion) Brown has (Gwinn) going in the right direction and I like what Gwinn does and we were just fortunate to come out on top.” Brown said he’s satisfied with his team’s drive and “never quit” attitude. “I’m happy that my guys finished out,” Brown said. “It’s hard when you’ve only got 14 or 15 kids and then your best player goes out in the second quarter. There’s no quit in us, though, it’s just another game and we just have to prepare for Westwood next week. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we just have to go out there and finish the season and see where it takes us.” The player Brown referred to was junior running back Marlin Moton, who had 70 yards rushing before going down in the second quarter with a hip injury. Taking the opening kickoff, Gwinn used almost the entire first quarter on a single drive. The 18-play drive lasted 9:38. It ended with a touchdown when Moton pushed into the end zone on 4th-and-goal from the 5-yard line for a 6-0 lead. On the ensuing drive, Miners quarterback Jason Waterman pitched the ball to Williams, who ran 40 yards up the right side of for a TD as the first quarter expired. The missed extra point made it 6-6. A few plays into Negaunee’s next possession, Waterman found Williams again on an almost identical pitch play, this time for 54 yards to the end zone. The two-point conversion was good from Waterman on a quarterback keeper as Negaunee went up 14-6. Identical plays seemed to be a trend for the Miners. On the second-half kickoff, Negaunee’s Drew DuShane returned the kick for a touchdown for the second week in a row, this time for 84 yards. DuShane took the second-half kick 80 yards last week against Iron Mountain. His return followed by the extra point put the Miners up 21-6. When Gwinn got the ball back after the TD, Modeltowners quarterback Austin Forbes fumbled on the first play which was recovered by the Miners. That set up Jake Hill five plays later for a 1-yard touchdown run to blow the game open 28-6. Then the fireworks, or the antithesis of them, occurred. With 3:47 remaining in the third, the field suddenly went pitch black with stadium and press box lights going out ala shades of Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. Nobody panicked and the fans had some fun with it. Both teams’ cheerleaders joined forces to try and keep the crowd entertained by getting the wave going. The lights turned back on after about 15 minutes. Play resumed, but five plays later the field went black again. Another 10-minute delay occurred before the lights turned on once more. The public address announcer stated if it happened a third time, the game would be called. That didn’t happen however and the game was completed. Both Brown and Jacobson said they’d never experienced anything like it before. “Coach Jacobson and I were just talking about it,” Brown said. “He’s never seen it either, none of the assistant coaches have seen it. It was weird.” “I’ve never been through that before,” Jacobson said. “I’ve been through some thunderstorms and this and that … but that made it interesting for sure.” Williams added his third touchdown of the night late in the fourth quarter on a 24-yard run. Leaders for the Miners along with Williams were Waterman, who went 4 for 7 through the air with 73 yards, and DuShane, who had 48 receiving yards. Along with Moton, Gwinn was led by Tucker Taylor with 53 yards rushing on 14 carries and 33 yards receiving. Each team had 12 first downs and Negaunee had 279 yards of offense to Gwinn’s 196. Negaunee goes to Ishpeming (2-3) to take on the Hematites on Friday while Gwinn goes to Westwood (4-1). Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.