NORWAY - Tyler LaJoie ran for two touchdowns and hauled in one more as Negaunee clinched an automatic MHSAA playoff berth with a 42-13 victory over Norway Saturday afternoon at Ronberg Field.
Negaunee's win sets up a showdown for command of the Mid-Peninsula Conference as Ishpeming (6-0 overall, 4-0 in M-PC) visits the Miners (6-0 overall, 4-0 in M-PC) on Friday night in a battle of unbeatens.
On Saturday, the Miners led Norway 22-0 at halftime and were up 36-0 in the third quarter before the Knights finally broke through in the M-PC contest.
Negaunee quarterback Tanner Uren (14) looks to pitch the ball in Saturday’s Mid-Peninsula Conference football game at Norway. The Miners topped the Knights to improve to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the M-PC. Ishpeming — which is also 6-0 overall, 4-0 in the M-PC — visits Negaunee on Friday. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Burt Angeli)
"I'm proud of these guys," Negaunee coach Paul Jacobson said. "We beat a good Norway team today, there's no question about it.
"The team comes before everything else, and clinching playoffs was a team goal. We played together as a team today for a team victory, and I'm proud of these guys."
LaJoie, who ran for 131 yards on just five carries, scored his first touchdown on a 20-yard wide receiver screen pass from Tanner Uren on the right sideline. LaJoie added runs of 53 and 20 yards for second-half scores.
Dustin Goupille, gaining 92 yards on 13 trips, scored the game's first touchdown from four yards out, and later added an eight-yard scamper.
Zane Radloff collected a 30-yard fade pass from Uren for the final score of the first half.
"It was just a team effort, and that's what I like about these guys," Jacobson said. "They are not selfish. They play the game together and they enjoy playing the game."
Negaunee, which amassed nearly 400 yards in offense, saw its defense record four sacks. Goupille led the way there with one solo and one assisted. Tony Zampese assisted on two sacks, as the Miners subtracted 40 yards from the Knights' offense with the quarterback takedowns.