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NU opens conference season

It’s been a while since Nevada Union’s football team played in a league as strong – from top to bottom – as the Delta Valley Conference.

The Miners will be thrust into DVC action at 7:15 tonight when they host Franklin (Elk Grove), which shares the same preseason record (4-1) as NU.

From 2002-2005, Nevada Union competed in the Metro Conference, in which NU averaged just one loss every two years.



The teams in the Delta Valley Conference have a combined preseason record of 23-6. At this time last year, the Metro Conference teams had a combined record of 9-13.

“The competition in this league is tremendous,” Miners coach Dave Humphers said. “There are no weeks off.”




Nevada Union topped Franklin (Stockton) 45-27 last Friday in convincing fashion.

Senior quarterback Chad Mason was nearly perfect, as he completed 11-of-12 passes for 122 yards. Running backs Jesse Ettlin and Dave Zealear ran for 114 and 106 yards, respectively, and NU’s defense held Franklin to 197 total yards. The Miners, meanwhile, totaled 338 offensive yards.

“Defensively we’ve improved a great deal,” said Humphers, who said defensive ends Brian Stockton and Bryan Scarborough, along with defensive back Cody Vallejo, have made the most headway.

Stockton leads the team in quarterback sacks with 12.

Tonight’s game is the first meeting between Nevada Union and Franklin, an Elk Grove area high school that opened in 2002.

The Wildcats beat Oak Ridge 14-12 last Friday, and lost 39-25 at Folsom the week before. Their first three wins – against Galt, Lincoln (Stockton) and Downey – were by a combined score of 122-28.

Franklin’s spread offense is led by running back Edward Russell, who has rushed 64 times for 606 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Wildcats’ second-leading rusher, Oscar Loza, has more yards than NU’s leading rusher.

Loza, Franklin’s quarterback, has 47 carries for 427 yards and seven touchdowns. He has also passed for 700 yards and three touchdowns.

“He’s an outstanding passer and runner,” Humphers said of Loza. “They have five outstanding athletes at the wide receiver and running back positions.”

Zealear leads Nevada Union’s running game with 381 yards on 58 carries and five touchdowns. Ettlin has rushed for 372 yards, and Corey Browning has gained 361.

Russell has been Loza’s favorite target as a receiver, with 16 catches for 301 yards and two scores.

Franklin’s defense, which has given up an average of 15 points per game, is led by outside linebacker Jeff Strybing’s 43 tackles.

“We’re preparing to play against a very good team,” Humphers said.

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To contact Sports Writer Jeff Miller, e-mail jeffm@theunion.com or call 477-4247.

Statistical leaders

Offense

Rushing – Franklin, Edward Russell 64-606 and 10 TDs, Oscar Loza 47-427 and 7 TDs, Johnell Murphy 40-152. Nevada Union, Dave Zealear 58-381 and 5 TDs, Jesse Ettlin 50-372 and 4 TDs, Corey Browning 50-361 and 4 TDs.

Passing – Franklin, Oscar Loza 50-89-2 for 700 yards and 3 TDs, Mark Clifton 2-3-0 for 35 yards, Johnny Ochoa 0-2-0. Nevada Union, Chad Mason 35-60-1 for 486 yards and 3 TDs, Steele Jantz 0-1-0.

Receiving – Franklin, Edward Russell 16-301 and 2 TDs, Brandyn Thompson 11-96 and 1 TD, Eric McGinnis 6-117. Nevada Union, Dave Zealear 8-102 and 1 TD, Doug Dolan 7-159 and 1 TD, Colin Casey 7-69 and 1 TD.

Defense

Tackles – Franklin, Jeff Strybing 43 (25 solo), Bryan Serrao 37 (19 solo), Forrest Rowell 32 (18 solo). Nevada Union, Brian Milhous 41 (20 solo), Tucker Colomb 34 (19 solo), Kamil Shehadeh 26 (13 solo).

Sacks – Franklin, Joe Toatelegese 6, Bryan Serrao 3, Nathan Arrington 2. Nevada Union, Brian Stockton 12, Dave Zealear 4, Zach Masch 3.


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