With a balanced offensive attack and a strong defensive effort, the Nevada Union football team went on the road Friday night and knocked off Napa, 33-14.
“That was the best team win we’ve had,” said NU head coach Brad Sparks, “because everybody was involved.”
Leading the Miners’ offensive attack was running back Cameron Cormack, who rushed for a team-high 187 yards and three touchdowns. The skilled senior now has 444 rush yards and nine total touchdowns (four rushing, five receiving) on the season.
Through the air, the Miners (3-2) were led by sophomore quarterback Dustin Philpott, who finished the evening with 169 passing yards and a touchdown.
“Dustin Philpott played a heck of a game,” said Sparks. “Cameron Cormack also played really, really well. Andrew Webster made some huge catches and so did Andrew Menet.“
Menet led the receiving corps with six catches for 51 yards. Clay Renner followed with two catches for 57 yards, and Webster hauled in two catches for 33 yards, including a touchdown. Webster also brought down an errant Napa pass for an interception.
Junior running back James Kinney chipped in with 46 rush yards and a touchdown. Kinney also nabbed two interceptions on defense and wrapped up four tackles.
Leading NU’s defensive charge was sophomore Bodey Eelkema, who wrapped up 12 tackles, including two for a loss. Senior linebacker Jedi Vculek followed with seven tackles, and Renner chipped in with six tackles. Renner and Eelkema each had a 1/2 sack as well. Cole McCraken made his presence felt with four tackles and a forced fumble.
“This week of practice we went back to basics,” said Sparks. “We made some personnel adjustments on the D-line, and that made a big difference. We were not as big, but quite a bit quicker, and that was Julian Spackman, Roland Betito and Ricky Kiser.”
Coming into the contest the Miners had been allowing 39.6 points per game across their first four contests.
“I think (defensive coordinator) Damon Turner has done a great job of simplifying the defense to where guys understand more about what we’re doing defensively, and that showed (Friday night).”
After playing four of their first five games on the road, the Miners head back to Hooper Stadium for their Foothill Valley League opener Oct. 1 against Rio Linda.
“I’m excited,” said Sparks. “I’m hoping we can keep moving forward and hit league rolling.”
JV: NEVADA UNION 20, NAPA 12
The junior varsity Miners (3-2) also earned a win over their Napa counterparts Friday.
Leading the way was quarterback Nolan Chappell, who threw for 100 yards, ran for 100 yards and accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing).
Izaya Little led the NU receivers with four catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, NU was led by Blake Hammerschmidt, who tallied seven quarterback hurries and 12 tackles, including two for a loss.
Coaches may be submit reports to Sports Editor Walter Ford at email@example.com
Prep football: Bruins drop hard-fought bout with Titans
It was a slugfest at J. David Ramsey Stadium Friday night.
The gridiron bout between Bear River High School and Luther Burbank High School was both hard-hitting and run-heavy as the non-league combatants duked it out across four closely contested quarters. When the final bell rang it was the Titans (2-3) from Sacramento emerging with a 13-7 victory over the Bruins (0-3).
“Our biggest accomplishment tonight is we found our identity,” said Bear River co-head coach Mike Profumo. “We really simplified things, challenged the kids and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to be a tough, physical team.’ And, they really stepped up and showed some good progress. I feel we’re moving in the right direction and found our identity. Now, we just grow from here.”
The Bruins fell behind in the first quarter after a 4-yard burst into the end zone by Luther Burbank’s Jahe’mel Worlds. The skilled running back would add an 84-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, making several Bruins miss along the way, to put the Titans up 13-0. Worlds finished the evening with a game-high 135 rushing yards to go with his two scores.
Bear River responded with a big play of their own, connecting on a half-back pass that went 64 yards to the end zone just before halftime, but the play was called back due to a holding penalty.
The Bruins were much stronger in the second half as they held the Titans scoreless, and also notched their first touchdown of the season. It was the half-back pass that once again fooled the Titans defense, as junior running back Anders Torgerson connected with senior receiver Ryder Holcomb from 20 yards out to pull the Bruins to within six points with a little more than 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Torgerson led all Bear River ball carriers with 70 yards on 25 carries. Ryder Kiggins, the Bruins’ senior fullback, added 39 yards on the ground.
“Halftime adjustments, that was the biggest thing,” Bear River co-head coach Tanner Mathias said of the Bruins’ improved play in the second half. “We put a play in at halftime that took a huge chunk of our yards in the second half to the next level. Defensively made a ton of adjustments to the D-line and who is playing where and what coverage we were in. I think that stopped them a little bit and changed their game plan. I think the halftime adjustments were huge for us.”
‘WE HAD A SHOT’
With the game in the balance, the Bruins came up with a big defensive stop late in the fourth quarter, forcing a turnover on downs to get the ball back with about 2 minutes left in the contest.
After several incompletions, the Bruins faced a fourth and long with 1:41 left in the game and, instead of going for it, chose to punt.
The punt was not fielded cleanly by the returner, but a Titans player fell on it, and Luther Burbank was able to put the game away by taking a knee three times.
Mathias explained his reasoning after the game.
“We were pinned kind of deep and went 0-for-4 on pass plays before that,” he said. “So to get them out and give our defense a chance. You know, we had a chance on the fumble right there with the return. It was something we thought we had a shot to get the ball back farther out, so we had to take a shot at it.”
The Bruins will now turn their attention to Pioneer Valley League play.
“Our health is something I hope improves,” said Mathias. “We had a lot of guys in jerseys and not shoulder pads (tonight). Hopefully, we get a couple guys back in the mix.”
Profumo added, “… It’s just fine tuning now and minimizing the mistakes.”
Bear River opens league play on the road Oct. 1 at Marysville (4-1).
The junior varsity Bruins stayed undefeated as they toppled the JV Titans 27-6 to improve to 4-0 overall.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Prep volleyball: Bear River roars past Marysville on Senior Night (PHOTO GALLERY)
Behind a strong defensive effort and a balanced attack, the Bear River girls volleyball team powered past Marysville in straight sets (25-15, 25-14, 25-19) on Senior Night.
“Such a great group,” Bear River head coach Matt MacDonald said of the six seniors on the Bruins squad. “For them to have this season after what they went through as juniors — they just work hard everyday. We’ve faced some adversity with some COVID situations and injuries, but they just keep coming to work and are getting better and better every day.”
The Bruins were led by their seniors Thursday night, getting impressive showings from middle block Liah Fuller, libero Molly Fowler and outside hitter Lauren Richert.
Fuller led the offensive attack with a team-high 14 kills, and now has a team-best 215 on the season. Richert followed with seven kills. Fowler notched four aces on the night, and played stellar defense throughout the match.
Seniors Arden Franks, Jordan Foster and Heaven Lafata all contributed in the win as well.
Junior outside hitter Kaylee Vieira also made an impact on the court, hammering down 13 kills.
The Bruins started the contest with a 10-2 run and never looked back. They were in control throughout the entirety of the match as Marysville was only competitive in spurts.
Marysville did threaten in the second set, and trailed Bear River by just two points, 15-13. But, the Bruins roared back with a 10-1 run to close the match out, getting kills from Vieira, Fuller and Foster down the stretch.
“We still got a lot of work to do, but we’ve made some strides offensively in the last week and a half, and that was an area we had to get better at,” said MacDonald. “Our freshmen setter (Aly Vieira) has played beyond her years and our hitters are doing a good job of getting deep in transition.”
Bear River (17-6) has won nine of their last 11 matches, and is now 2-0 in Pioneer Valley League play. Next up for the Bruins is a home bout with rival Colfax (6-6 overall, 1-0 PVL) on Tuesday.
“We need to stay healthy and stay committed to getting better,” said MacDonald. “We certainly have a lot of areas to grow. Colfax is going to be very good.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email email@example.com
Prep football: Miners upended by Union Mine (PHOTO GALLERY)
EL DORADO — Nevada Union’s up and down season continued Friday night as the Miners struggled mightily in a 41-7 loss to the Union Mine Diamondbacks.
“We’re close in so many ways, but we still need to fix the little things,” said Nevada Union head coach Brad Sparks.
Playing on the road for the third time in four games, the Miners (2-2) ran up against a red-hot Diamondbacks team that has yet to lose this season.
Union Mine’s senior quarterback Calvin Owens got the scoring started in the first quarter with a 26-yard scramble for a touchdown. He would also score rushing touchdowns of 58 yards and 1 yard as the Diamondbacks rattled off 41 straight points. Owens finished the night with more than 150 yards rushing and the three ground scores. He was also solid through the air, throwing for 127 yards and a touchdown.
The Miners didn’t get on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter, when junior quarterback Maddox Graves connected with junior receiver Andrew Webster, who broke several tackles and fought his way into the end zone.
A bright spot for NU came from senior linebacker Jedi Vculek, who wrapped up 20 tackles in the game. Fellow senior linebacker Gabe Baker followed with 11 tackles, including a sack. Bodey Eelkema added nine tackles and recovered a fumble. And, senior defensive tackle Justin Lopez chipped in with nine tackles.
The season has been a bit of a roller coaster for the Miners so far. They opened with a convincing win over Bella Vista (44-33), but were blown out by Woodcreek (43-0) in their next game. NU then won a thriller over Colfax (56-42), but were no match for Union Mine Friday night.
“We’re inconsistent,” said Sparks. “We played a good game against Bella Vista, but gave up big plays. The next week we played Woodcreek and laid an egg. Then we play a good game last week, and then tonight we laid another egg.”
Union Mine has had no such inconsistency issues. The Diamondbacks are now 4-0 and have outscored their opponents 144-43 this season.
The junior varsity game had a similar outcome as the varsity game, with the JV Miners falling 42-0.
Next up for NU is a road game at Napa (0-3). The Miners and Grizzlies have faced off four times since 2016, with Nevada Union winning three of the four. The game in Napa is the final non-league contest for the Miners.
Nevada Union kicks off Foothill Valley League play Oct. 1 at Hooper Stadium against Rio Linda.
“I believe in these guys, and I know we got one more game to get some stuff cleaned up before we start league,” said Sparks. “And, I know they’re going to get it done. Because I’m the guy who will be kicking them in the rear until they do. I’m here for the long haul. I’m here to bring back the winning tradition at Nevada Union, and I will fight tooth and nail until we get there.”
SCORE BY QUARTER
UM: Calvin Owens 26-yard run. Joe Repass kick. (5:38)
UM: Nick Conant 7-yard pass from Owens. Kick no good. (10:28)
UM: Owens 1-yard run. Repass kick good. (:59)
UM: Owens 58-yard run. Repass kick good. (8:30)
UM: Scott Smith 1-yard run. Repass kick good. (1:56)
NU: Andrew Webster 24-yard pass from Maddox Graves. Justin Lopez kick. (6:38)
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Prep football: Bear River falls to Justin-Siena in home opener
Football roared back into the foothills Friday night at J. David Ramsey Stadium.
Unfortunately for Bear River and the Bruination faithful at its home opener, all the roaring came from the visiting Justin-Siena Braves, who powered to a 25-0 shutout victory.
“Last week was hard, this week was finally a week to get in the rhythm,” said co-head coach Tanner Mathias, whose defense had its hands full with a Braves offense that amassed 469 yards of total offense, featuring a pair of 100-plus yard rushing performances. “We definitely cleaned up a lot of mistakes, but obviously we have more to clean up, so we’ll just work towards fixing those next week and have a better game next week.”
Justin-Siena didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard as they went 69 yards in seven plays on their opening drive and capped it with a 3-yard plunge into the end zone by junior Roman Williams. He would add a second touchdown in the third quarter to finish the night with a pair of scores.
Offensively the Bruins struggled to get much going, finding themselves inside the Braves’ 20 yard line on a couple of occasions, but came away empty both times. As a team, the Bruins rushed for 85 yards on 29 carries, managed only one passing completion for positive yardage and also yielded two interceptions.
“We just got to work and get better,” said co-head coach Mike Profumo after the tough loss. “We’re just not, simple, we’re not executing. We’re missing assignments on every play. It’s football. It doesn’t work if you don’t do your job. It’s that simple.”
Senior quarterback Zachary Zurowski led the Braves passing, going 7-for-14 for 151 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown completion and an interception. He also sliced up the field for 67 yards on eight carries and added a 14-yard rushing touchdown to put the Braves ahead 13-0 at the half.
Bear River did take a crack at a 51-yard field goal late in the first half, but a high snap led to a broken play and turnover on downs.
Senior running back Caden Parlett moved the chains early and often for Justin-Siena, banging his way for 136 yards on 19 touches. In the second half it was junior Emerys Davies sharing the load, racking up 104 yards on just 11 attempts.
Justin-Siena ended the game first-and-goal at the Bruins 4-yard line.
Defensively for Bear River, junior Anders Torgerson led the team with 14 tackles, followed by Ryder Holcomb with seven and Micah Patton and Tyler Brenes with five each. Sophomore Tyler Heuseveldt snatched an interception and wrapped up four tackles.
Bear River (0-2) will be back under its lights again next week for Homecoming when it hosts Burbank (Sacramento).
JV: BEAR RIVER 27 JUSTIN-SIENA 26
In the early evening showdown, the Bear River and Justin-Siena junior varsity teams put on a thriller with the Bruins coming out on top with a late goal line stand.
Austin Mertens broke up a would-be touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal with 15 seconds to seal the victory for Bear River (3-0).
In a classic seesaw battle, the Braves took a 26-21 lead after capping off a scoring drive in the fourth quarter.
Blake Simning and the Bruins bounced back with a score of their own to take a narrow 27-26 lead, which they would not relinquish. Simning tallied three touchdowns and Kaden Cavolt added one as well.
SCORE BY QUARTER
JS: Roman Williams 3-yard run (PAT no good) 8:59
JS: Zachary Zurowski 14-yard run (Cesar Evina kick) 3:02
JS: Robert Sangiacomo 41-yard pass from Zurowski (PAT no good) 7:18
JS: Williams 6-yard run (PAT no good) :14
Brian Shepard is a freelance sports writer who contributes regularly to The Union
Youth football: Junior Miners shine in conference openers
The Nevada Union Junior Miners Football and Cheer teams traveled to Roseville to take on the Oakmont Junior Vikings in Sacramento Youth Football League action last Saturday.
The 8U, 12U and 14U teams defeated the Junior Vikings and improved to 1-0 in the Foothill Valley Conference. The 8U won 26-13. The 12U won 18-13, and the 14U won 30-14. The 10U team fought hard but lost a tough game 18-0.
8U: JUNIOR MINERS 27, JUNIOR VIKINGS 14
The Nevada Union Jr. Miners 8U team won their league opener against Oakmont thanks to strong performances on both sides of the ball.
Quarterback Jaxon Sullivan spent the game working through the tough Vikings defense using both his legs and as well as playing receiver on crucial two-point plays after touchdown scores.
Fullback Stephen Tipton was able to run through massive holes on offense thanks to his offensive lineman consisting of center Zander Burton, guards Tyler Hicks and Bentley Dana, and tackles Brody Bringolf and Spencer Murray.
Receivers Noah Burkhart and Rhedyn Scott set the edges on the outside sweep runs that were ran by halfbacks Kayden Mayen and Caleb McCallum, who scored all four of the Miners touchdowns. McCallum was also successful on multiple two-point conversion throws and runs to ice the game late in the fourth quarter.
On the defensive side of the ball the Miners were able to fight back from a slow start in the first quarter due to the relentless pursuit and tackling ability by defenders Caleb Hutchison, Harvey Kahler, Colby Stanley, Westin Green and Logan Warner. After allowing Oakmont an opening drive touchdown, the Miners would go on to outscore the Vikings 27-7 behind their “bend but not break” mentality they have developed in a short time by the hard work that they have put into the summer practices.
“This team has really impressed me a lot in the last couple of months,” said head coach Kyle Klauer. “We only have a total of 16 players this year, so by necessity every one of our guys and girls have to play pretty much the entire game with not a lot of rest. They never seem to complain and always come out to practice everyday, work hard, and are all around a very coachable group of kids. Credit goes out to our entire coaching staff, which consists of David Hicks, Amber Sullivan, R.J. Green, and Team Mom Jamie McCallum.
10U: JUNIOR VIKINGS 18, JUNIOR MINERS 0
The 10U Nevada Union team faced a gritty Oakmont Junior Vikings opponent.
Nevada Union’s Uriah Painter led the offense with the support of his front five linemen, Nick Leach, Braylen Link, Connor Hall, Daniel Hoppis and Chad Traverso.
In the backfield was Parker Van Matre, who had a reception and multiple touches on the day with his longest carry being 8 yards.
The receiving crew consisted of Luke Conway, Ryan Schlacter, Anthony Lang, Kevin Mohr and Traven Huntington.
The Junior Miners defense played well early on, holding the Junior Vikings scoreless until the final drive of the half. Defensive linemen Noah Rangel and Link put lots of pressure on the Junior Vikings quarterback. Connor Hall, Landon Youngman, and Chad Traverson rotated in at defensive end with Painter and Schlacter, holding down the middle of the field at the linebacker spot. Ryland Flynn and Van Matre controlled the outside edge at the outside linebacker positions. The defensive backfield consisted of Conway at free safety, with Hunter Lampe and Dylan Grossmann at the cornerback spots. Trailing by one score at halftime, the Miners were still in striking distance, but never got going offensively.
Through the remainder of the game, the Junior Miners fought well with pressure on the defensive side from Kai Barber, Dominic Gray, Mason Betruccio, Aiden Maier and Carl Cookson. Aiden Rureup, David Hicks, Grant Gidlund, Lucas Gethings, Chris Collins and Jayce Ahmadi also assisted.
12U: JUNIOR MINERS 18, JUNIOR VIKINGS 13
The 12U game was hard fought from the opening kickoff.
The Junior Miners started out strong and jumped ahead in the first quarter. The touchdown was set up by a 44-yard pass from J.C. Harris to Ayden King. The scoring drive was capped off with a 3-yard run from T.J. Cook.
The rest of the first half was a defensive battle, and the Miners took a 6-0 edge into halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Harris extended the lead by completing a 30-yard touchdown pass to King.
Oakmont battled back and grabbed a 13-12 lead in the fourth quarter, and was threatening to extend the lead, but the Junior Miners halted the Junior Vikings at the 7-yard line.
With 20 seconds left in the game, Nevada Union snapped the ball from inside their own 10-yard line. The ball flew over the head of Harris, who picked the ball up in the very back of the end zone. As time expired, Harris ran 109 yards from the back of his end zone all the way for the game winning score.
The defense was strong with great play from Amadeus Sharp, Leeland Huntington and Jarrett Sleeth.
14U: JUNIOR MINERS 30, OAKMONT 14
The Nevada Union 14U offensive line consisting of Kevin Davis, Caleb Souza, Tristan Rohde, Ethan Allen and Brogen Lyden did an outstanding job protecting Brandon McCallum, who threw three touchdown passes to Austin Putnam. Putnam also scampered for a touchdown run.
Aonghas Wright made three of his four extra-point kicks, which are worth two-points each in youth football.
Offensively, Nathaniel Pritchett, aka “Ziggy,” Anakin Steen and Jared Sanzone also had several key receptions and runs offensively.
Defensively, lineman Tristan Rohde, Isaiah Strasser and Aiden Smith had excellent games. Lucas Liller and Gary Chicarelli played tough on the edges, shutting down Oakmont’s jet sweeps. Pritchett, Rhyder Eelkema, Zade White, Joseph Wiseman and Putnam shut down the run up the middle.
Davis was named Offensive Lineman of the Week. Rohde was Defensive Lineman of the Week. Eelkema and Rohde received the “Hit of the Week” honors.
The Nevada Union Junior Miners will travel to Casa Roble High School in Orangeville to take on the Casa Roble Junior Rams on Saturday. The 8U team plays at 10 a.m., 10U at noon, 12U at 2 p.m. and 14U at 4 p.m. Visit jrminers.org Junior Miners for information on the Nevada Union Junior Miners Football and Cheer organization.
Miners rise above Falcons in return to Hooper Stadium (VIDEO/PHOTO GALLERY)
It was a wild one at Hooper Stadium Friday night.
In the first official home game at Nevada Union in nearly two years, the Miners and the Colfax Falcons put on a thrilling show, combining for 98 points and more than a 1,000 yards of offense in a back-and-forth battle that kept the limited crowd at Hooper on the edge of their seats.
The two foothills schools, located just 16 miles apart, traded big plays and the lead for much of the game until the Miners pulled away in the fourth quarter and earned the, 56-42, victory.
“I’m proud of our kids, and I’m even more proud of our community,” said Nevada Union head coach Brad Sparks. “For them to show up and cheer us on and do what they did tonight, and do it within the mandate from the county, I couldn’t be happier.”
Leading the charge for the Miners (2-1) was quarterback Gabe Baker, who threw for 311 yards and five touchdowns. The 6-foot, 3-inch, 240-pound senior also ran the ball 27 times for 248 yards and two touchdowns, including a 1-yard scoring plunge that put the Miners up 48-42 with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter. He then plowed into the end zone for the two-point conversion to push the lead to 50-42. Baker scored four two-point conversions in the game.
Baker was quick to credit his offensive line for the team’s success.
“It was mainly up front,” Baker said of what made the difference in the game. “I’ve never seen our offensive line block like that before. Timber (Wilkins), I’ve never seen that many pancake (blocks) in a game before. Every play I would look over, and he was laying on top of some poor kid. He did great and so did the rest of the guys on the line.”
The Miners’ push up front was led by Wilkins, Elliot Tinnell, Roland Betito, Ryder Querequincia and Tim Steffenson.
Also benefiting from NU’s strong offensive line play was senior running back Cameron Cormack. The skilled back rushed for 132 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown scamper that put the Miners up 14 points late in the fourth quarter.
“It feels great,” Cormack said of getting the win. “I remember last year when coronavirus hit and it was my first year on varsity, and I remember being totally sad that we didn’t get a home game. But, we did this year, here at Hooper Stadium, at home, we stepped it up and played a hard game. I can’t give more of a thanks to our linemen.”
Before Friday night, the last time the Miners played an official game at home was Oct. 18, 2019, when they knocked off Foothill Valley League foe Ponderosa.
Cormack also shined in the passing game Friday night, catching four balls for 92 yards and three first half touchdowns.
The Miners got big games from junior receivers Drew Menet and Clay Renner as well. Menet hauled in four passes for 112 yards and scored two second half touchdowns (50-yards, 6). Renner tallied five catches for 103 yards, including a 54-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter that set the Miners up inside the five-yard line and led to Baker’s go-ahead touchdown.
“What can I say about Gabe Baker?” said Sparks. “I’m not sure how much he passed for and how much he rushed for, but I’m sure it’s a whole lot of everything. But, there were so many guys who made plays tonight.”
While the Miners were able to pull out the win, the Falcons (1-2) played valiantly all night. Leading Colfax was the talented quarterback-receiver duo of Noah Souza and Luke Green. Souza threw for 300 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. Green was a force all game, grabbing nine balls for 218 yards and three touchdowns (43, 44, 67). The versatile playmaker also returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown.
Colfax also got strong play from senior running back Connor Vaughan, who caught a touchdown pass and ran in another score.
“That is a great football team who’s going to win games,” Sparks said of Colfax.
Nevada Union’s defense gave up a lot of points, but forced five turnovers and came through when the game was on the line.
Leading the defensive charge was junior defensive back James Kinney, who finished with 13 tackles. Fellow junior defensive back Andrew Webster nabbed a pair of interceptions, including one that thwarted a deep Colfax drive. Sophomore Dustin Philpott also grabbed an interception. Senior linebacker Jedi Vculek wrapped up eight tackles. Baker followed with seven tackles, four of which were for a loss. And, Bodey Eelkema recovered a fumble to help seal the victory.
During the days leading into Friday night’s game at Hooper Stadium there was some uncertainty surrounding where the game would be played. Due to a Aug. 25 Nevada County Public Health Department COVID-19 mandate — which states if a gathering has more than 500 people, there must be a process to verify proof of vaccine or proof of a negative test for those in attendance — the game was moved from Hooper Stadium to Colfax’s Marson Stadium on Wednesday night. By Thursday afternoon, the game was moved back to its regularly scheduled venue at NU’s Hooper Stadium, but with limited attendance.
JV MINERS EDGE FALCONS
Nevada Union’s junior varsity squad also pulled out the win Friday, topping their Colfax counterparts 8-6.
NU quarterback Nolan Chappell threw for 109 yards and one touchdown. Trevor Buti led the ground attack with 47 yards, and also got involved in the passing game with a touchdown catch.
The Falcons had a chance to steal the win late, but a field goal attempt with less than a minute left hit the cross bar.
The victory for the Miners improves them to 2-1 on the season.
Nevada Union gets back on the road this upcoming Friday for a game in El Dorado against Union Mine. The Diamondbacks are off to a hot start this season, going 3-0, including a 42-8 victory over Amador Friday night.
NU: Gabe Baker – 12/32, 311 yards, 5 TDs
C: Noah Souza – 13/25, 300 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs
NU: Gabe Baker – 27 carries, 248 yards, 2 TDS
NU: Cameron Cormack – 22 carries, 132 yards, TD
C: Nicholas Sinel – 14 carries, 71 yards
NU: Drew Menet – 4 catches, 111 yards, 2 TDs
NU: Cameron Cormack – 4 catches, 92 yards, 3 TDS
NU: Clay Renner – 5 catches, 103 yards
C: Luke Green – 9 catches, 218 yards, 3 TDs
SCORE BY QUARTER
NU: Cameron Cormack 23-yard pass from Gabe Baker. Kick no good. (5:44)
C: Luke Green 43-yard pass from Noah Souza. Souza kick. (1:16)
NU: Cormack 39-yard pass from Baker. Two-point try no good. (8:10)
C: Connor Vaughan 9-yard pass from Souza. Souza kick. (4:45)
NU: Cormack 29-yard pass from Baker. Two-point try good. (2:14)
C: Green 44-yard pass from Souza. Souza kick. (:46)
NU: Baker 23-yard run. Two-point try no good. (10:33)
C: Green 85-yard kickoff return. Souza kick. (10:18)
C: Green 67-yard pass from Souza. Kick no good. (8:33)
NU: Menet 6-yard pass from Baker. Two-point try good. (11:10)
C: Vaughan 5-yard run. Two-point try good. (7:18)
NU: Baker 1-yard run. Two-point try good. (5:14)
NU: Cormack 11-yard run. Two-point try no good. (3:59)
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email email@example.com
Prep football: Bruins drop season opener at Liberty Ranch
The Bear River Bruins finally kicked off their season Friday night when they faced off with the Hawks from Liberty Ranch.
Playing on the road, the Bruins struggled to put points on the board, falling to the Hawks, 35-3.
Liberty Ranch (Galt) jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and went into halftime up 28-0. Bear River tallied its only points of the night in the third quarter.
Next up for the Bruins (0-1) is their home opener against Justin-Siena (Napa).
Coaches may submit game reports to sports editor Walter Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org
Miners return home to face Colfax
It’s been nearly two years since the varsity Miners played an official football game at Hooper Stadium. To say they are excited for their home game against Colfax Friday night would be an understatement.
“I think the word excited doesn’t give it enough strength,” said Nevada Union head coach Brad Sparks. “I would say ‘elated.’ Its like Christmas morning.”
The last time the Miners played an official game at home was Oct. 18, 2019, when they knocked off Foothill Valley League foe Ponderosa, 20-7. It has been seven straight road games for the Miners since, spanning the conclusion of the 2019 season, the two-game 2021 spring season and the first three games of the 2021 fall season. NU was originally scheduled to have their fall home opener Aug. 27 against Sheldon, but the game was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
“These guys have really been road warriors for two years,” said Sparks.
FALCONS AT A GLANCE
Nevada Union and Colfax, two highly-respected programs located just 16 miles apart, are set to face each other for the first time ever in football and both teams come into the matchup with a 1-1 overall mark on the season.
The Falcons opened the season with a 20-10 loss to Woodland, but rebounded well with a 34-6 drubbing of Galt last week.
“We haven’t found our stride yet,” said Colfax head coach Tony Martello. “We’re a work in progress. We’re a very young and inexperienced team that will continue to get better as the season progresses, in a lot of different ways. … I think we are improving every single week. I don’t know when we will hit our stride, but we will at some point.”
Offensively, the Falcons are led by seniors Luke Green (WR/DB), Noah Souza (QB), Drew Garcia (LB), Matthew Holm (SS), Ryan Greenspan (OL/DL) and Peter Molino (OL/DL).
“Friday night is going to be another step for us,” said Martello. “Hopefully we will show up and compete hard, make our community proud, make our school proud and do something everybody can rally around.”
Sparks spoke highly of Martello and Colfax, noting the Miners will have to play at a very high level in order to get the win.
“They are so well coached and very disciplined,” Sparks said. “Tony (Martello) is a heck of a coach, a half of famer. He’s got a great staff, his kids play hard, they don’t give up and they don’t make very many mistakes. So, in some ways, we almost have to play a perfect ball game.”
MINERS AT A GLANCE
The Miners won their opener over Bella Vista, 44-34, but come into Friday’s contest on the heels of a 43-0 loss to Woodcreek last week. Sparks said his team dove right into film study after the blowout loss.
“These guys are great students,” Sparks said. “What was really interesting was we shared film with them Saturday and I was bombarded by players on the team. … Literally the kids were breaking the team and themselves down, and that’s really what this team is. And, that comes from the leadership of Gabe (Baker) and Jedi (Vculek), but that’s also just the mentality of this team. Since I have been here, I haven’t seen this strong of focus.”
Nevada Union is led by Baker, their senior quarterback and middle linebacker. The 6-foot, 3-inch, 240-pound Baker has thrown for 333 yards, rushed for 108 and scored six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) through the first two games.
The Miners spread the ball around in their “Air-Raid” offense. Through two games, 10 different players have notched at least one catch. NU’s leading receiver has been junior Clay Renner, who has pulled down eight balls for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Baker leads the charge with a team-high 25 tackles to go with two interceptions, a forced fumble and a sack. Senior linebacker Jedi Vceluk (20 tackles), sophomore defensive end Bodey Eelkema (21 tackles, sack) and Renner (13 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks) have also shined on defense this season.
“After last week we definitely saw some things we need to clean up, so we’ve been really focused on ourselves this week,” said Sparks. “We’re going to have to play a really high level football game in order to beat (Colfax).”
KICKOFF AND LIMITED ATTENDANCE
The Miners and Falcons junior varsity bout gets started at 5 p.m. and the varsity game kicks off at 7 p.m.
Due to Nevada County Public Health Department COVID mandates, the event will be limited to less than 500 people in attendance. The event is only open to family members of those participating. The event is not open to the public.
BRUINS SET TO START SEASON
After several cancellations, Bear River’s varsity football team is set to finally open their season.
The Bruins head to Galt to face Liberty Ranch Friday night in what will be their season opener after games were nixed in each of the first three weeks of the season.
“In theory, we will show up to Liberty Ranch really well rested,” said Bear River co-head coach Tanner Mathias. “Really hungry and well rested.”
The Bruins first two games were canceled due to poor air quality and last week’s game was called off due to COVID-19 concerns.
Like Bear River, Liberty Ranch has also had multiple games canceled to start the season, but the Hawks were able to get on the field last week, a 24-21 loss to Linden.
Bear River and Liberty Ranch have faced off twice in non-league action in recent years (2018, 2019) with the Bruins winning both contests by large margins.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Liberty Ranch High School.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email email@example.com
Prep football: Miners fall to Woodcreek
It was a rough Friday night in Roseville for the Miners.
Nevada Union’s football team struggled early on and never found a rhythm against the Woodcreek Timberwolves, falling on the road 43-0.
“Woodcreek is a heck of a football team,” said NU head coach Brad Sparks. “They were physical. They were re-routing us, they were breaking down our protections, and we got flustered.”
The Timberwolves were led by their senior quarterback Garrett Krupp, who got the scoring started with a 32-yard touchdown scamper. Krupp also tallied a pair of first half touchdown passes, connecting with Nicolai Nielsen for a 19-yard score early in the second quarter and then for a 60-yard touchdown just before halftime.
Woodcreek’s Brody Krupp added a 43-yard touchdown run, and hit on a pair of first half field goals to help the Timberwolves take a 33-0 advantage into the break.
Nevada Union’s defense played better in the second half, allowing just 10 points, but the Miners’ offense never found its footing.
NU’s senior quarterback Gabe Baker passed for 49 yards and rushed for another 35 to lead the offense. Junior running back James Kinney led all NU ball carriers with 40 yards on six carries.
Defensively, Baker led NU with 13 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Bodey Eelkema followed with 12 tackles, Trayton Santos tallied eight tackles and two pass breakups, and Roland Betitio chipped in with six tackles and a fumble recovery.
For the Miners (1-1), the loss was their sixth in a row against the Timberwolves. The last time an NU team topped Woodcreek in football was in 2012.
With the win, Woodcreek now improves to 3-0 with blowout wins over River City, West Park and NU.
Sparks said the loss stings, but he put teams of Woodcreek’s caliber on NU’s non-league schedule to test the Miners and prepare them for the upcoming Foothill Valley League slate of games.
“The thing I take from it is we will grow from it,” said Sparks. “What’s great about this team is they really respond well and they’re coachable. I know darn good and well these guys will be watching film tomorrow and asking, ‘how do I get better?’”
Next up for the Miners is their home opener Sept. 10 at Hooper Stadium against Colfax. The last time NU played a home game was Oct. 18, 2019.
“It’s exciting for our kids to play at home,” said Sparks, “it’s exciting for our community and it’s exciting for our school. These guys have really been road warriors for two years, so we’re looking forward to next week, but we have to learn from tonight.”
The junior varsity Miners (1-1) also had a tough time against their Woodcreek counterparts, falling 49-0.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org