ROSEVILLE — Nevada Union found itself playing on yet another school’s homecoming, and even though there was a fireworks show scheduled for halftime, Woodcreek’s offense simply couldn’t wait to pop off a few fireworks of its own.
The Timberwolves scored early, often and with big plays as it jumped all over the Miners in a 42-14 rout Friday in Roseville.
“I don’t want to be repetitive, but it’s the same things every time,” NU head coach Dennis Houlihan said. “As long as our kids don’t quit on themselves, I’m OK. They’re playing football because they love it.”
With the game still scoreless and 4 minutes and 43 seconds left in the first, Woodcreek rattled off three touchdowns in 3:32 to stun the Miners and invigorate its homecoming crowd.
On the Timberwolves very first drive, quarterback Isaiah Harborth hit Lenny Nelson on a screen pass, which he turned up field and took 52 yards for the score. NU would fumble the ball back to Woodcreek, and on the Timberwolves’ first play from scrimmage, Harborth hit Malcolm Thomas on a post route for a 36-yard touchdown.
The Miners then went three-and-out, and Woodcreek again scored on its first play. This time the read option fooled everybody, and Harborth went 49 yards untouched for the score.
“You go through the scheme, you go through the things that they’re going to run, but you still gotta be able to match athletes speed for speed, size for size, and that’s where we struggle,” Houlihan said.
In the second quarter, Nelson scored on a 5-yard end-around, Thomas took a pick back 45-yards for a touchdown, and Nelson added a 6-yard touchdown catch with 10 seconds left in the half to put Woodcreek up 42-0 at the break.
In the first half, Woodcreek tallied 258 total yards (120 passing, 138 rushing) and five offensive touchdowns. The Miners mustered only 40 total yards (32 rushing, 8 passing) on 27 plays and no scores.
Harborth was unstoppable on homecoming night, throwing for 120 yards and three touchdowns on 4-of-6 passing. Harborth also ran for 94 yards on seven carries, including a touchdown. The junior quarterback sat the entire second half.
Nelson was efficient for Woodcreek, scoring all three times he touched the ball (two receiving, one rushing). Nelson along with most of the Woodcreek starters sat the entire second half.
“(Woodcreek) put their backups in at the end, and we could match up pretty good,” Houlihan said. “That’s fine. That’s what we got right now, but our kids still come out every week thinking they can win.”
Facing the Timberwolves’ bench, NU fared much better. The Miners shut out Woodcreek in the second half and scored a pair of touchdowns on Michael Tapia passes.
The senior quarterback, who was benched in week three, came in and led two NU scoring drives. In the third, Tapia hit junior tight end Brock Grininger for a 12-yard score and, in the fourth, found Travis Owens for a 22-yard touchdown.
But it was too little too late as the Miners fell to 0-7 this season and 0-2 in the Sierra Foothill League.
Woodcreek improves to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the SFL.
Tapia finished 2-for-3 for 34 yards and a pair of touchdowns, his first two of the season. Owens led the team in rushing and receiving with 33 on the ground and 22 through the air. Moe Nieves chipped in 25 yards, and Brandon Lopez barreled through the Timberwolves’ defense three times for 28 yards.
Leading the defense were Gareth Noxon with eight tackles and Josh Belendez with six, including a tackle for loss in which he pulled down the ball carrier with one hand because his other is covered with a padded cast. Davi Pettinato recovered a fumble, and Nick McFall and Tim Rubino came together for a sack.
In the previous two contests between NU and Woodcreek, the Miners had beaten the Timberwolves twice and by a combined score of 82-7. This win is just the third victory in SFL play for Woodcreek since 2010.
So far this season the Miners have never led in a game, and if they are to avoid the first winless season in Nevada Union history, they will have to take down either Roseville, Del Oro or Granite Bay.
“It’s not about hanging the hat anymore,” NU head coach Dennis Houlihan said. “It’s not about what we can improve. It’s about focusing on getting guys reps and getting things rebuilt here. All three levels are struggling, and we are all going through the same things. We got kids that want to play, we got kids that love NU, we got kids that wont quit, and that’s what we will build the future on.”
The Miners tackle the Tigers of Roseville Friday at Hooper Stadium.
JV: Woodcreek 27, Nevada Union 7
The Miners dropped their seventh in a row Friday, losing by 20 to Woodcreek.
Notching NU’s lone score was Brandon Mrozowski who took the ball 44 yards on a misdirection play in the fourth quarter. Mrozowski finished with 62 yards on five carries to lead NU on the ground. Brody McCoy added 57 yards on the ground and Conner Stafford chipped in 20.
On the defensive side, NU allowed the fewest points it has all season. Caleb Patterson led the defensive charge with nine tackles, a sack and two tackles for a loss. Anthony Carcamo wrapped up seven and recovered a fumble, and Keaton Richards had seven tackles, including a sack.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.