This will sound crazy, especially for a football team that is 0-7 and has been outscored 323-64, but the easy part of Nevada Union’s schedule is over. Now it’s time for the big boys, both literally and figuratively.
With the Miners’ latest loss, a 42-14 walloping by perennial Sierra Foothill League doormat Woodcreek, NU has three games left this season: the first against Roseville, who Miners head coach Dennis Houlihan said is the biggest prep team he’s seen on film in his career. Roseville boasts four Tigers weighing in at 285 pounds or more.
After Roseville, NU hosts Del Oro, ranked No. 33 in California and No. 4 in the Sac-Joaquin Section according to MaxPreps.com. The Miners then conclude against reigning Division I state champ Granite Bay, No. 7 in the section.
The road ahead is daunting at the very least, but NU will return four senior starters, who have been out due to academic reasons, for the final two games. And with them, for the first time this season, barring any major injuries against Roseville, NU fans will get to see the 2013 Miners at their full potential.
“In the last two weeks, we get those four starting seniors back,” Houlihan said. “We’ll have a senior line and a senior defense. So who knows, maybe we can play spoiler in the end and really compete with our seniors that are back.”
So far, this season has been one lopsided loss after another for NU as the once-dominant program rebuilds itself under the leadership of Houlihan.
At this point in the season, with the playoffs off the table and nothing left to lose, the Miners should take pride in a spoiler role. There are few things in sports better than throwing a monkey wrench into a rival’s playoff plans, especially when your team is on the outside looking in.
It has been a rough season for NU, unlike any before it, and with the possibility of an 0-10 season seeming more and more likely, it is important for the seniors to stay motivated and the juniors to continue to progress. There is a win-filled future for the NU football program. It may not be next year or the year after but in time. With every transition comes complications, so it’s important to not get deterred and continue to strive forward. NU football maybe be down, but it is never out. And like my mother always told me when I would be mired in a troubling situation: “This too shall pass.”
Rocklin 31, Granite Bay 14
The Grizzlies turned the ball over four times, and in the end, it cost them, losing to the Thunder Friday.
Rocklin, now 2-0 in the SFL and 5-2 overall, got just 185 yards through the air and 68 on the ground, but it was enough to thwart Granite Bay.
The Thunder’s Logan Webb threw for two touchdowns, one to Andrew Castle and another to Blake Laurin, who caught seven passes for 113 yards and the score. Sophomore running back Evyn Holtz ran for only 52 yards, but it was enough to get by last season’s SFL champs.
It was Rocklin’s defense that made the difference, holding Granite Bay to 120 yards on the ground and just 14 points.
Rocklin gets Woodcreek (3-4, 1-1 SFL) Friday, and Granite Bay travels to Del Oro.
Del Oro 35, Roseville 21
The Golden Eagles’ Dylan Kainrath rushed for 109 yards and three touchdowns to help Del Oro past the Tigers Friday.
Del Oro quarterback Michael Moore added 137 yards and a score through the air as he led the Eagles to their second SFL victory. Moore hit sophomore Trey Udoffia on a 57-yard score. It was Moore’s 10th passing touchdown of the season.
Del Oro (5-2, 2-0 SFL) hosts Granite Bay (5-2, 1-1 SFL) Friday. Roseville (3-4, 2-2 SFL) travels to Nevada Union.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.