There are very few good things about an 0-10 season.
That being said, the Nevada Union football team realizes after last year’s historically poor season, there is nowhere else to go but up.
And, after watching some practices and talking with the coaches and players I believe the Miners will produce a better on-the-field product in 2014 and tally some wins.
I’m not talking worst to first, or anything like that, but I expect fans will be pleased with the 2014 version of the Miners football team.
The Miners have a ton of heart, and the fact they didn’t win a game last season fuels many of them.
“Its really important for us to get some wins,” senior running back Travis Owens said. “Especially coming off an 0-10 season. It’s definitely important to show the alumni that we can bring back the old Nevada Union football.”
By most accounts the Miners are a far better squad this season compared to last, but the fact still remains, NU plays with the big boys (Sierra Foothill League) and its foes are still exacting revenge for decades of Miner dominance.
Nevada Union once again draws a vicious schedule, facing Placer, Pleasant Grove, Del Oro, Folsom, Oak Ridge, Granite Bay and Rocklin, all of which are ranked in the Sac Bee’s preseason top 20, none ranked lower than 14.
Rounding out the NU schedule is Pioneer, Lincoln and Woodcreek.
With the exception of Woodcreek and Pioneer, the Miners will be facing 2013 playoff teams week in, week out.
NU does have several talented seniors and a few exciting juniors this season, and with second-year head coach Dennis Houlihan now settled in, the Miners will once again start to win, something they haven’t done since Oct. 19, 2012 (beat Roseville, 52-19).
Nevada Union’s first test will be in its season opener against Placer. If the Miners can hang with Joey Montoya (a one time NU coach and Dave Humphers deciple) and the Hillmen, it will bode well for the rest of the season.
With senior running backs Owens and Mo Nieves, along with a veteran line and a much improved passing game, the Miners should be able to split their games in non-league action, beating Lincoln, from the Pioneer Valley League, and Pioneer, from the Tri-County Conference.
League play will be another story.
With realignment bringing defending Sac-Joaquin Section D-I champ Folsom and SJS D-I runner up Oak Ridge into the SFL, and bumping Roseville to the Capital Valley Conference, NU’s already difficult league schedule got that much harder.
The SFL will be a long tough road for NU, but I do think they put forth a worth while effort, battle to the best of their abilities, and possibly surprise a team or two with their improvement.
Prediction: The return to football royalty will have to be done with baby steps and this year the Miners take a few, finishing the season 3-7 overall (2-2 in non-league action, 1-5 in SFL play).
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.