HOMECOMING HEARTBREAKER: Nevada Union football falls to Woodcreek on final play of game | TheUnion.com

HOMECOMING HEARTBREAKER: Nevada Union football falls to Woodcreek on final play of game

What was shaping up to be a happy homecoming for the Nevada Union football team quickly soured Friday night at Hooper Stadium.

The Miners were seconds away from their first Sierra Foothill League win in more than four seasons, but fell short of victory when the Timberwolves from Woodcreek scored on the final play of the game to deny NU, 54-53.

After a 12-yard touchdown run by Isreal Gonzales put the Miners up 53-48 with 1:01 left in the game, the Timberwolves drove the length of the field and gave themselves one final shot from the 11-yard line.

With 2.8 seconds on the clock, Woodcreek quarterback Carter Krupp took the snap, scrambled out of the pocket and heaved a desperation pass into a mass of players in the end zone. The ball was tipped up and fell into the awaiting hands of Peyton Allen. The Timberwolves celebrated. The Miners were stunned.

"Every loss is hard," head coach Dennis Houlihan said. "There's nothing else to say."

The Miners (2-5, 0-3 Sierra Foothill League) had trailed 34-21 in the third quarter, but a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Dawson Fay and a 31-yard bruising touchdown run by Gonzales brought the score even at 34-34. On Gonzales' touchdown run he showed great balance, breaking several tackles as he weaved his way into the end zone.

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Woodcreek (2-6, 1-2 SFL) snatched the lead back with a rushing touchdown from Maxton Page. But, touchdown runs of 60-yards and 21-yards from Fay put NU up 47-41 with a little more than six minutes left in the game.

Every time NU took the lead, the Timberwolves had an answer though. And, it usually came in the form of their junior quarterback. Krupp, a talented dual-threat signal caller, led the Timberwolves with 268 pass yards, 167 rush yards and seven total touchdowns (four rushing, three passing).

OFFENSIVE AWAKENING

The Miners offense put up season high's in points, rushing yards and total yards Friday night.

On the ground alone, NU rushed for 499 yards and six touchdowns. Leading the way was Fay with 277 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries. Senior running back Tyler Nielson added 114 rushing yards to go with 47 yards receiving, including a 37-yard touchdown reception. Gonzales chipped in 64 rush yards and two ground scores. And, Hayden Fay tallied 46 rush yards, including a 15-yard touchdown. Hayden Fay also caught two balls for 20 yards to extend his consecutive games with at least one catch streak to 21.

Through the air, senior quarterback Owen Dal Bon was 7-for-10 for 86 yards and a touchdown.

"We put up 50 points, which is pretty good," said Houlihan. "We were able to move the ball all night. Our offense did pretty well. We had everything clicking, and our offensive run (game) was pretty dominant tonight."

Nevada Union's 53 points is the most it has scored in a game since 2011, when they tallied 54 against then SFL foe Roseville.

DEFENSIVE STRUGGLES

The Miners had a tough time stopping Krupp and the Woodcreek offensive attack, allowing a season high 54 points to the Timberwolves, who came into the game averaging just 22.8 points per game.

Bright spots on the Nevada Union defense came from senior linebacker Justin Houlihan with a season-high 18 tackles. Junior defensive end Cameron Dallago wrapped up his second sack of the season. And, senior linebacker Jace Wheeler stripped the ball loose from a Woodcreek ball carrier as the two were nearing the end zone. NU's Reid Pearcy recovered the fumble on the 2-yard line. The Miners would go 98-yards and score a touchdown on the ensuing possession.

ROUGH ROAD AHEAD

The loss extends Nevada Union's SFL losing streak to 28 games, dating back to 2012. The Miners have never won an SFL game with Houlihan at the helm. It doesn't get any easier going forward.

The Miners hit road for their final away game of the season this upcoming Friday. They will travel to face the undefeated Folsom Bulldogs (7-0, 3-0 SFL).

"They're football players, and they're resilient teenagers," Dennis Houlihan said of putting the loss to Woodcreek behind them. "It takes about a day or two to turnaround and get ready to fight again, because that's what they do."

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

TIMBERWOLVES 54, MINERS 53

FIRST QUARTER

NU: Hayden Fay 15-yard run (Owen Dal Bon kick) 9:31

WC: Brendan Covello 9-yard pass from Carter Krupp (kick no good) 1:28

SECOND QUARTER

NU: Dawson Fay 6-yard run (Dal Bon kick) 10:18

WC: Krupp 57-yard run (Krupp kick) 10:08

WC: Krupp 19-yard run (Krupp kick) 9:29

NU: Tyler Nieslon 37-yard pass from Dal Bon (Dal Bon kick) 7:20

WC: Krupp 1-yard run (Krupp kick) :11

THIRD QUARTER

WC: Peyton Allen 26-yard pass from Krupp (Krupp kick) 7:36

NU: Dawson Fay 1-yard run (Dal Bon kick) 2:49

FOURTH QUARTER

NU: Isreal Gonzales 31-yard run (kick no good) 11:23

WC: Maxton Page 2-yard run (Krupp kick) 10:16

NU: Dawson Fay 60-yard run (Dal Bon kick) 10:01

NU: Dawson Fay 21-yard run (kick no good) 6:07

WC: Krupp 37-yard run (Krupp kick) 2:24

NU: Gonzales 12-yard run (2-point try no good) 1:01

WC: Allen 11-yard pass from Krupp (no kick) 0:00

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