That smell of cooked meat at Hooper Stadium during Nevada Union’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division I first-round matchup with Laguna Creek didn’t come from the hamburgers at Cooper’s Cafe.
The Metro Conference champion Miners (11-0) got three touchdowns from super-sophomore fullback Ryan Herrera – and held one of the area’s top rushing attacks in check – to scorch the Delta League No. 3 seed Cardinals 42-7 Friday.
NU (11-0) hosts the Delta League’s second-seed Florin next week, as the Panthers pounded Vacaville 54-13 Friday.
Herrera, who scored three times in his varsity debut in NU’s three-point win at Grant Nov. 15, finished with a game-high 76 yards on 12 carries.
“Vu (Pham’s) quickness makes him a threat in the open field, but when we’re down close to the goal line, we need a big, powerful guy like Ryan to push it over. He’s really worked out well for us,” said NU quarterback Jon Sheets.
Sheets completed 10 of 14 passes for 147 yards with an interception.
Laguna Creek running backs Alan Darlin, Keith Johnson and Elisha Johnson came into the game averaging a combined 234.9 yards per game, but were held to 90 yards between the two with no touchdowns.
Mike Manzinali led the Miner defense with nine tackles. Steve Kenny also contributed on defense with a pair interceptions. Travis Toll, Jason Roenicke and Joel Fike also had interceptions.
NU drove the field on its first possession, but had the drive cut short on a Sheets’ interception.
On their next trip, the Miners drove 77 yards in 11 plays to the Cardinal 2-yard-line, from where Herrera plunged in to put the hosts on the board.
NU’s next scores came from special teams.
Laguna Creek set up to punt on their 23. Johnson fumbled the snap, then, as he tried to fall on the ball, it squirted into end zone where Miner senior Chris Thibodeau recovered for a 13-0 lead.
Pham totaled 42 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. Rich Herrera, Ryan’s twin, had 37 yards on eight carries. Thibodeau had 32 yards on six carries. Joey Bratton led NU’s receivers with 45 yards on two catches.
Joe Dolan chipped in 40 yards on three catches.
n next Friday1s second-round action, the Miners (11-0) will face the Florin Panthers (10-1), who defeated Vacaville 54-13 Friday.
Laguna Creek 0 7 0 0 – 7
Nevada Union 7 21 7 7 – 42
NU – Ryan Herrera 2 run (Kyle McTighe kick), :28.
NU – Chris Thibodeau fumble recovery in the end zone (McTighe kick), 11:07.
NU – Herrera 8 run (McTighe kick), 6:41.
LC – Zach Jiru 14 pass from Matt Podesto (Steven Grossenbacher kick), 2:06.
NU – Thibodeau 2 run (McTighe kick), :28.
NU – Vu Pham 1 run (McTighe kick), 8:49.
NU – Herrera 25 run (McTighe kick), 3:11.
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With a balanced offensive attack and a strong defensive effort, the Nevada Union football team went on the road Friday night and knocked off Napa, 33-14.