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A bitter blow for Calumet

17-yard pass the difference as Miners win another close one at Agassiz

August 31, 2012
By Brandon Veale - DMG Sports Editor (bveale@mininggazette.com) , The Daily Mining Gazette

CALUMET - Calumet football has made a name for itself on the ground, but when the outcome was up in the air Thursday, the visiting Negaunee Miners flew away with it.

A 17-yard fade pass from Tanner Uren to Brock Weaver was all that separated the Miners from the Copper Kings in a 12-6 decision at Agassiz Field.

"It was just a toss-up game. They ended up the ball in their hands at the end with decent field position and did what they needed and won the game - made a big play in the end zone," Calumet coach John Croze said.

Article Photos

Negaunee 0 0 6 6 - 12
Calumet 0 6 0 0 - 6
First quarter
No scoring
Second quarter
CAL - James Sturos, 2-yard run (pass failed), 2:19
Third quarter
NEG - Tanner Uren, 38-yard run (pass failed), 9:04
Fourth quarter
Calumet’s James Sturos is tackled short of the goal line on a second-quarter run against Negaunee Thursday night at Agassiz Field. Sturos scored on the next play, but it was Calumet’s only touchdown in a 12-6 loss. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)

Calumet, now 0-2, found this one sickeningly familiar to last Friday's home loss to Eagle River (Wis.) Northland Pines: Take the halftime lead, lock horns in a close game throughout, then suffer defeat on a late scoring drive.

Uren, a third-year starter, who had already scored a touchdown with his feet to tie the game in the third quarter, hung the ball high for the 6-foot-7 Weaver. The Kings had defenders on the scene, but none within 4 inches of Weaver's height. His catch gave the Miners (2-0) their first lead of the game with 2:15 to play.

"He can just go up and get it. We've been working on it all the time and it finally came through in the game for us when we needed it," Uren said.

Fact Box

Negaunee 0 0 6 6 - 12

Calumet 0 6 0 0 - 6

First quarter

No scoring

Second quarter

CAL - James Sturos, 2-yard run (pass failed), 2:19

Third quarter

NEG - Tanner Uren, 38-yard run (pass failed), 9:04

Fourth quarter

NEG - Brock Weaver, 17-yard pass from Uren (pass failed), 2:15

Total offense - NEG 261 (197 run, 64 pass), CAL 238 (181 run, 57 pass); First downs - NEG 11, CAL 13; Rushing - NEG, Dustin Goupille 18-75, Adam Francis 19-62, Uren 6-47, 1 TD, Austin Caya 1-8, Andrew Katona 1-6, Tyler Lajoie, 1-(minus-1); CAL, Sturos 12-69, Tyler Roland 13-67, Clark Kangas 9-43, Bryce Johnson 1-2; Passing - NEG, Uren, 7-15-64, 1 TD; CAL, Sturos 4-15-57, 1 INT; Receiving - NEG, Weaver, 4-43, 1 TD, Zane Radloff 1-9, Goupille 1-9, Lajoie 1-3; CAL, Owen Kariniemi 4-57.

Unlike last week, Calumet did have a chance at a last-ditch drive, but after two incomplete passes, James Sturos threw the third to the Miners' Kevin O'Keefe and the visitors ran out the clock.

The game turned against Calumet for good midway through the fourth quarter: The Kings fumbled on third-and-4 from the Miner 22, and though the visitors got just one first down, it and a stiff wind at their backs helped stick Calumet on its own 20 with about five minutes left. Calumet gained only 20 yards before it had to kick into the wind. A 7-yard punt set the Miners up for what was the decisive drive on the Calumet 47, with Uren hitting Weaver on just the third play.

"(Weaver)'s hard to match up with, and these guys put the time in during the offseason, they worked hard and they got their just rewards tonight," Miner coach Paul Jacobson said.

The brief nature of the winning drive was unusual for two teams that grind it out offensively, and the rest of Thursday's game had much of that.

The Miners put together a 19-play, 70-yard march for no points in the first half after Calumet held firm on its 12, then surrendered a 13-play, 89-yard campaign going the other way until Sturos dove in from 2 yards out with 2:19 until the half.

Negaunee finally got its breakthrough after the half, as Uren cut an option keeper up the hash marks for a 38-yard game-tying TD run on the first possession.

"My teammates had great blocking for me. I had one cutback. It was a perfectly blocked, perfectly executed play and I found my way to the end zone," Uren said.

Uren finished with 47 yards on six carries and completed 7-of-15 attempts for 64 yards and the TD. Weaver caught four balls for 43 yards. Dustin Goupille was the Miners' leading rusher with 75 yards on 18 attempts.

The Miners have their home opener next Friday against Gladstone.

As for the Calumet offense, the fourth-quarter fumble was as close as it got to getting a second score.

"We can't make mistakes, turn the ball over and expect to win a close game like that," Croze said.

Sturos led Calumet in both passing (4-for-15 for 57 yards, all to Owen Kariniemi) and rushing (12 carries, 69 yards).

It gets no easier for the Copper Kings, who have three straight road games beginning a week from tonight at Ishpeming.

"I'm certainly proud of the effort that we had, proud of the work we're doing preparing for games. It's just things aren't working out for us right now. We've got to keep our nose to the grindstone and keep working hard, actually, work harder. If you keep working hard, good things will happen to you. That's the No. 1 message," Croze said.

 
 

 

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