Conference opener provides clean slate for struggling Miners | TheUnion.com
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Conference opener provides clean slate for struggling Miners

The Miners football team is going to make history tonight – win or lose.

That’s because today’s game at Cosumnes River College against Franklin (2-3) has historical implications for Nevada Union.

Depending on if you see the cup as half full or half empty, NU (1-4) can possibly be the first Miner team since 1974 to lose five games in a row, or they can be the first team since 1983 to snap a four-game skid.



If the Miners lose today, it would be just the third time in Dave Humphers’ 17 years as head coach the team carried five losses. The Miners were 6-5 in 1997 and 5-5 in 1995.

That’s much ado about a storied program that is two years removed from a Sac-Joaquin Section championship when the team rumbled to a 12-1 finish.




Last year, NU went 7-4, losing its first game in the playoffs to Vacaville, 28-16. But one of those four losses was a 48-30 thumping by the Wildcats – the first time NU played Franklin.

“The only way it’s going to turn around is by staying extremely positive,” Humphers said Wednesday. “Nobody’s panicking. Nobody’s screaming and yelling at everyone. For every kid and player, the challenge is to keep improving.”

The little things that have worried the Miners in past weeks are still being explored. In fact, the team still isn’t set about its starters. Everybody’s job is up for grabs, including the starting quarterback position which has been extensively interviewed.

Humphers has plugged John Wivholm in as the starter since Steele Jantz suffered a season-ending injury. But Wivholm has split each series, and will continue to split each series, with sophomore Broughan Jantz, Steele’s younger brother, until somebody wins the job outright.

“They’re competing and they’re both working hard,” Humphers said. “We’ll make changes as we see fit.”

While the Miners will be looking to get out of their own rut, the game will also be an opportunity for the Wildcats to circle their wagons. The team is experiencing a slump of its own, losing its last three games after an impressive 2-0 start over Galt (45-0) and Lincoln of Stockton (27-24).

“If you step back, I think we’ve taken the same path this year as Nevada Union,” Franklin coach Mike Johnson said. “We scheduled very tough in the preseason and we did it on purpose. We’ve had three losses but we’ve played better.

“There’s a reason for scheduling tough,” Johnson continued. “You hope that your kids have learned all the lessons along the road and are ready to play in the (Delta Valley Conference).”

NU is dancing to the same beat right now.

“It’s a new season,” said Wivholm of the league-opener. “That’s been our motto this whole week. We don’t think that there’s any reason we can’t win this league.”

The Miners will be facing a spread offense from Franklin. NU will continue to depend on Tucker Colomb and Kamil Shehadeh to play strong at linebacker. Corey Browning and Bryan Scarborough will also continue to lead the team from the wingback positions. All of whom have played extremely well, Humphers said.

“We’re just going to run our offense and let them react to us,” Wivholm said.

ooo

To contact Sports Writer Zuri Berry, e-mail zurib@theunion.com or call 477-4244.

Nevada Union (1-4) vs. Franklin (2-3)

At Cosumnes River College, Sacramento

7 p.m. today


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