PREP FOOTBALL: Dawson Fay sets NU record for rushing yards in a career; Miners fall to Ponderosa | TheUnion.com

PREP FOOTBALL: Dawson Fay sets NU record for rushing yards in a career; Miners fall to Ponderosa

For the past three seasons Dawson Fay has been slicing through defenses with a special blend of speed, vision and toughness.

Last Friday was no different as the skilled senior not only rushed for 223 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Miners' 38-35 loss to Ponderosa, but he also ran into the Nevada Union history books as the school's all-time leader in career rushing yards with 3,443.

"It's really cool to be in the history books, and really cool to be able to break (the record) wearing No. 5 for Tyler (Nielson)," said Fay, who dons No. 5 to honor his friend and former teammate who died in an auto accident March 25.

Fay's career mark surpassed Jefferson Heidelberger's 3,409 career yards, which was set in 2000.

"I want to thank coach (Dennis) Houlihan, he was my coach the past two years of varsity, and I want to thank coach (Brad) Sparks. Coach Sparks has been a huge mentor for me. Throughout this whole year and even through the accident. He's helped out a lot," Fay said. "Definetley want to thank my brother and my mom, they've been through everything with me. All my friends that have been there for me. And, for surely, Tyler and Justin (Gardner), they were there all my life and are considered brothers to me."

Fay now has 1,534 yards on the season and is just 277 yards short of matching Heidelberger's single season record of 1,811.

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Sparks praised Fay, noting his character on and off the field.

"You do this long enough, 25 years, and you get to coach a lot of special kids and the ones that stand out are not only great on the field and on Friday nights, but in the classroom and in the community. Those are the ones that coaches never forget and Dawson is one of those," Sparks said. "He's a great kid, he works hard and he has a passion to win… He is just so hard to tackle, his legs are always going, and I think that's how he is in life too."

Despite Fay's big night and several other impressive showings from NU's offensive playmakers, the Miners couldn't pull out the win against the Ponderosa Bruins in a Foothill Valley League bout.

Nevada Union racked up more than 300 yards rushing and had a season-best 143 yards through the air, but lapses on defense and mistakes in critical moments cost the Miners in Shingle Springs.

The loss drops the Miners to 3-5 overall and 0-3 in league play with just two games left. NU has now lost 34-straight league games, dating back to 2012.

It was Fay who put the Miners ahead 29-21 in the third quarter, scoring on a 7-yard run that featured a brutal stiff arm as he rumbled into the end zone. Fay also scored on a 47-yard run in the first quarter.

Ponderosa (6-2, 1-2) responded with a 66-yard touchdown pass from Elijah Henderson to Jackson Hubert. The Bruins then took the lead less than four minutes later when Henderson hit Ty Uber from 8-yards out. They added a two point conversion to go ahead 36-29. Henderson tossed three touchdowns in the game, coming on passes of 84, 66 and 8. He also had a 67-yard touchdown run.

The Miners answered back with a 35-yard scoring strike from senior quarterback Parker Heilaman to Jaxon Horne on the final play of the third quarter. With the Miner's kicker out with an injury they went for two, but came up about a ½ yard short and trailed 36-35 heading to the fourth quarter.

The defenses stiffened in the final stanza as each team traded punts. The Miners came up with a big stop on fourth down deep in their own territory and took over on their 11-yard line with a little more than a minute left. NU's hopes of a comeback were quickly dashed though as the Ponderosa defensive rush chased Heilaman into the endzone where he was tripped up for a safety.

Heilaman had his best game of the season statistically, completing 10-of-18 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.

"(Heilaman) did a heck of a job tonight," Sparks said. "But, we still got to get better up front. We allowed a big sack for a safety at the end of the game and that's brutal."

Heilaman's top target was Dylan McGilvary, who hauled in three passes for 79 yards.

Nevada Union also got an impressive showing on offense from Hayden Lee, who rushed for 90 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries.

Despite the offense moving up and down the field with relative ease, the Miners floundered in the red zone twice in the first half, once turning the ball over on downs inside the 20-yard line, and later failing to score from the 1-yard line on the final play of the first half.

Leading the charge defensively for the Miners was Matt Dal Bon with two sacks and a forced fumble. Linebackers Duke Morales and Logan Lopez also played well, and Horne nabbed an interception just before halftime.

The Miners close the season with a pair of home games, starting this Friday with Lincoln. Then they host Rio Linda Oct. 26 in the regular season finale. They need at least one win to become playoff eligible.

"We're still trying to get that elusive league win," said Sparks. "We got to get it."

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

SCORE BY QUARTER

BRUINS 38, MINERS 35

FIRST QUARTER

P: Colin Taylor 50-yard run (kick try no good) 7:44

NU: Hayden Lee 6-yard run (2-point try no good) 4:03

P: Elijah Henderson 67-yard run (2-point try good) 3:13

NU: Dawson Fay 47-yard run (2-point try good) 2:25

SECOND QUARTER

P: Joe Gauthier 84-yard pass from Henderson (Tanner Granade kick) 3:15

NU: Lee 7-yard run (Moises Tovar kick) 1:03

THIRD QUARTER

NU: Fay 7-yard run (2-point try good) 8:05

P: Jackson Hubert 66-yard pass from Henderson (Granade kick) 7:01

P: Ty Uber 8-yard pass from Henderson (2-point try good) 3:14

NU: Jaxon Horne 35-yard pass from Parker Heilaman (2-point try no good) 0:00

FOURTH QUARTER

P: Safety 1:05

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