PREP FOOTBALL: Miners trounced by Spanish Springs in home opener | TheUnion.com

PREP FOOTBALL: Miners trounced by Spanish Springs in home opener

Nevada Union head coach Brad Sparks is proud of the way his team competed, even if it didn't result in a victory.

"The kids played with a lot of heart, passion and desire. They were fighting tooth and nail," said Sparks after the Miners fell to Spanish Springs, 47-13, in their home opener Friday night. "I'm proud of the kids. They battled. I'm also really proud of our community. For that crowd to stay all the way to the end, I can't thank them enough. That's unbelievable, and I hope they keep coming because these guys deserve it. We're going to keep getting better every week."

Playing in front of the home crowd at Hooper Stadium, the Miners got off to a slow start and never recovered as they fell to 0-2 on the season.

The Cougars (1-1) from Sparks, Nevada had no such trouble early on and raced out to a 21-0 lead after a pair of Tristan Szabo touchdown passes (9, 25) and a 1-yard scoring run by Colby Preston.

The Miners cut into the deficit in the second quarter when senior running back Dawson Fay rumbled 27-yards for a touchdown, spinning away from would be tacklers and fending off one last defender to reach the end zone.

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Spanish Springs responded quickly, though, hitting on a 50-yard pass to go up, 27-7.

Nevada Union answered with a score on their next drive. This time, Fay bursted through the line and ripped off a 35-yard touchdown run to pull the Miners to with 14.

That would be it for the Miners scoring though as the Cougars defense tightened the rest of the way.

Fay finished with a game-high 133 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. Also chipping in on the ground was Hayden Lee with 44 yards and Isreal Gonzales with 27.

Nevada Union's run game was no match for Spanish Springs' passing game, though, as the Cougars' sophomore quarterback picked apart the Miners defense all night. Szabo completed 24 of his 32 passes for 378 yards and six touchdowns.

"Their kid is a great quarterback," Sparks said of Szabo. "He was putting it in tight windows. There wasn't wide open guys like last week when we had blown coverages. They just got great athletes, and that kid put the ball in tight windows."

The Miners on the other hand struggled to move the ball through the air, getting just 42 total yards passing. Senior quarterback Parker Heilaman was under pressure nearly every time he dropped back to pass and finished 2-for-4 for 34 yards, including a 29-yard completion to A.J. Meyer.

The Miners will be back at Hooper Stadium next Friday to welcome in the Napa Indians. Nevada Union and Napa have faced off each of the past two seasons with the Miners winning 14-13 last year, and the Indians winning 35-34 in overtime in 2016.

JUNIOR VARSITY AND FROSH

The junior varsity Miners dug a hole early on and were never able to climb out of it, falling 35-12 to Spanish Springs.

Trailing 35-0 in the second half, Nevada Union quarterback J.T. Conway hit Andrew Gannon for a 22-yard touchdown to put the Miners on the scoreboard. Conway would toss a second passing touchdown later in the game, finding Drake Schlachter for a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

With the loss, the Junior varsity Miners drop to 0-2 on the year.

Nevada Union's freshmen team was the only Miners squad to pull out a victory, earning an 8-6 win over Spanish Springs.

The Miners defense was staunch much of the game, causing a safety and getting a game-clinching interception by Austin Slade to halt a late Spanish Springs drive.

Quarterback Gabe Baker scored Nevada Union's lone touchdown.

The freshmen Miners are now 1-1 on the season.

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

COUGARS 47, MINERS 13

FIRST QUARTER

SS: Jordan Dudick 9-yard pass from Tristan Szabo (Danny Palomino kick) 11:04

SS: Colby Preston 1-yard run (Palomino kick) 6:42

SS: Parker Luthy 25-yard pass from Szabo (Palomino kick) 3:45

SECOND QUARTER

NU: Dawson Fay 27-yard run (Jered Tihista kick) 9:50

SS: Jackson Laduke 50-yard pass from Szabo (missed kick) 7:24

NU: Fay 35-yard run (Tihista kick) 6:38

SS: Dudick 20 yard pass from Szabo (Palomino kick) 6:05

THIRD QUARTER

SS: Colby Melton 21-yard pass from Szabo (Palomino kick) 4:23

FOURTH QUARTER

SS: Michael Binnell 23-yard pass from Szabo (Palomino kick) 7:38

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