The only football that really counts |

The only football that really counts

Fall is approaching, kids are getting ready to go back to school, and pre-season professional football games already have begun. But for the next three weeks, The Union is telling some stories about the only kind of football many people here really care about: Home-grown, western Nevada County football.

Newcomers to the area – especially the empty-nesters – may not realize it, but high school football is big here. No – more than big. Huge. What do you do on a Friday night? You fill up Hooper or Ramsey stadiums and cheer for the Miners or the Bruins till you’re weak.

It’s the same phenomenon that exists in more publicized states – Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania – where small communities field teams that regularly beat up the big-city kids. In these towns, sons of ranchers, farmers, factory workers, and – yes – miners grow up to be a part of a community-wide tradition of gridiron excellence.

It’s not always football. Depending upon the state, the sport of adoration may be hockey, wrestling, volleyball, or girls’ basketball. But the love of a small community for its young teams can be generations long, and unbreakably strong.

Starting this week, The Union’s sports department is publishing a 12-part series called “The Game.” This week’s stories are about “The Tradition” of Nevada County football, starting with the fierce rivalry between the Grass Valley High School Fighting Miners and the Nevada City High School Yellowjackets. Today’s part covers the history of the Nevada Union team, and Saturday is Bear River.

Next week, we’ll look at “The Community” and its football fanatics, and on the week of Sept. 1 it’s “The Teams.” If you miss any part of the series, they’ll all be on a special page at our Web site (

Even for those who aren’t old-timers, or don’t have kids in school, “The Game” will trigger high school memories in all of us, and get us ready for the season that really matters – high school football!

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