PREP FOOTBALL: Miners struggle to finish drives, fall to Grizzlies | TheUnion.com

PREP FOOTBALL: Miners struggle to finish drives, fall to Grizzlies

The Nevada Union football team gave Sierra Foothill League foe Granite Bay all it could handle on a chilly Friday night at Hooper Stadium, but an inability to finish drives ultimately led to a 23-0 loss for the Miners.

On three different occasions, the Nevada Union offense drove inside the Granite Bay 20-yard line, but each time they were turned back with no points. The Miners missed a 26-yard field goal, turned the ball over on downs at the 11 and fumbled the ball away on the 6-yard line.

The Grizzlies had no such trouble in the red zone, scoring on touchdown passes from 10-yards and 13-yards out, rushing one in from the 6-yard line and making a 35-yard field goal.

"There's a lot of positives," Nevada Union head coach Dennis Houlihan said after the game. "Our defense played really well. I thought we did good against the run. Offensively we struggled, but we're still moving the ball … We had some miscues, but I was proud of our guys on both sides of the ball."

Already up 3-0 late in the second quarter, Granite Bay quarterback Jade Foddrill threw a dart to a slanting Matt Barron to put the Grizzlies up 10-0 just before halftime.

Granite Bay would add an Evan Tattersall 6-yard touchdown run on its first possession of the second half to go up 16-0. The Grizzlies made it a three-score game late in the third quarter with another Foddrill to Barron touchdown connection, this time from 13 yards out. Foddrill finished with 157 passing yards and two touchdowns.

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DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT

The Miners had been allowing 44.3 points per game against SFL opponents this season, but allowed just 23 to a talented Grizzlies squad. Leading the Miners was senior middle linebacker Justin Houlihan with 14 tackles, nine of which were solo. Also playing strong on the defensive side of the ball was Cameron Dallago with four tackles and a sack, Tyler Nielson with six tackles and Hayden Lee with five tackles.

RUNNING STRONG

The Miners did find some success running the ball as they tallied 202 yards on the ground, led by Dawson Fay's 95 and Tyler Nieslon's 73.

Fay, a junior, now has 1,123 rushing yards this season to go with 11 rushing touchdowns. Nielson, a senior, is at 514 rush yards and four touchdowns for the season. As a team, the Miners are averaging 232.3 yards on the ground through nine games.

THROUGH THE AIR

The Miners struggled in the passing game, throwing for less than 100 yards for the third straight game and seventh time this season. Senior quarterback Owen Dal Bon was 5-of-12 for 71 yards. Hayden Fay caught three balls for 43 yards to lead all NU receivers. Hayden Fay has now caught at least one pass in 23 straight games.

ONE MORE SHOT

Nevada Union's run in the SFL will mercifully come to an end Friday at Hooper Stadium when the Miners (2-7, 0-5 SFL) host undefeated Oak Ridge (8-0, 4-0 SFL). It will be NU's final shot at an SFL win in the Houlihan Era. Since joining the SFL, the Miners have gone 5-38 against league foes and are 0-28 with Houlihan as the varsity head coach.

FRESHMEN: GRANITE BAY 46, NEVADA UNION 28

Granite Bay got out to a big lead early and the freshmen Miners were never able to catchup Friday night.

Trailing 39-8 late in the third quarter, the Miners got going with a pair of touchdown runs by Jaxon Horne and another by Aiden Wahl, but it wasn't enough as the Grizzlies added a late score to put the game out of reach.

Horne led the Miners with 210 rushing yards to go with his two rushing scores. Qaurterback J.T. Conway threw for 121 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Ayrton Swasey led all NU pass catchers with two receptions for 92 yards, including an 80-yarder that went for a touchdown.

The freshmen Miners (4-5, 2-3 SFL) close the season at home against Oak Ridge.

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

GRIZZLIES 23, MINERS 0

SECOND QUARTER

GB: Brennan Holt 35-yard field goal 4:58

GB: Matt Barron 10-yard pass from Jade Foddrill (Holt kick) :32

THIRD QUARTER

GB: Evan Tattersall 6-yard run (2-point try no good) 11:10

GB: Barron 13-yard pass from Foddrill (Holt kick) 1:14

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