MARQUETTE — Negaunee’s defense has made life difficult for opposing teams throughout this football season.
The Miners also put plenty of points on the board, outscoring their opponents 469-71 and making members of the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters take notice during the annual football meeting here Wednesday.
Negaunee (12-0) was selected Large School Team of the Year and its mentor Paul Jacobson was named Coach of the Year.
Also nominated were Gladstone’s Craig Ness, Bark River-Harris’s Al Stenberg and Iron Mountain’s Robin Marttila.
Negaunee was crowned champion and Iron Mountain was runner-up in the WestPAC Conference Copper Division and BR-H took the Iron Division title.
Ness led the Braves to a 9-3 record and their first district title since 1985. The Mountaineers are 11-1 under Marttila this season and Stenberg guided the Broncos through an 8-3 season.
The Miners earned their first regional title in 20 years last Saturday in an 18-12 triumph over Gladstone in a Division 6 contest.
They’re in Gaylord today to face Reed City (11-1) in a state semifinal contest at 1 p.m.
Iron Mountain, selected Small School Team of the Year, meets Ubly (12-0) in a D-8 match-up today at 1 in Petoskey.
The Mountaineers rallied from a 27-6 deficit to defeat Evart 34-33 in a regional final last Saturday.
Kingsford senior wide receiver Nic Nora was selected Offensive Player of the Year. The Michigan Tech recruit finished with 1,832 all-purpose yards and also earned Player of the Year honors in the Great Northern Conference.
Gladstone senior Cole Potier and junior Austin Solis were also nominated for Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively.
Marquette senior linebacker Pete Closner earned U.P. and GNC Defensive Player of the Year honors and Sault Ste. Marie senior tackle John Burke is this year’s recipient of the Mitchell Snyder Lineman of the Year Award.
Escanaba senior Kaiden Brown was the unanimous pick as the All-U.P. punter.
Iron Mountain senior Bradon Farragh was tabbed All-U.P. kicker and Negaunee senior Phil Nelson earned similar honors as return specialist, both unanimous.