Former NU star shines
Jefferson Heidelberger dazzled Nevada Union football fans with one big-time play after another in his years in the Navy and Blue.
Nowadays, it’s University of Montana boosters who benefit from the kind of thrills the speedy 5-foot, 10-inch, 175-pound senior wide receiver/return specialist provides.
Heidelberger, who earned a spot on Sportscenter’s Top 10 Plays of the Week segment in 2002 thanks to a wild 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, played a lead role in the host Grizzlies’ 41-23 defeat of Hofstra University (Hempstead, N.Y.) Saturday.
Hofstra had just cut the Montana lead to four points thanks to a 35-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter when the business administration major gave the home team a boost.
Heidelberger took the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a score – his second career kickoff return for a touchdown – to give the Grizzlies some breathing room.
“Our team’s been really good at that all year,” he said. “Basically, our wedge just took out the whole left side. When I cut back, there were only a couple of guys who had a chance to make the play (but they couldn’t catch up).”
Lex Hilliard ran it in from two yards out on Montana’s next possession to seal the win.
Heidelberger, who led the team in both receiving yards (41-for-433) and kickoff return yards (22-for-628) last season, also hauled in 12 catches for a game-high 147 yards and rushed twice for 10 yards in the win.
“This year the receivers have a lot of confidence in our quarterback. We know If we (run the route), the ball’s going to be there,” he said.
Two game into the season, Heidelberger leads the Big Sky Conference in receiving yards per game (131.0), total receptions (19) and all-purpose yardage (386).
He’s third in both touchdowns scored with two, and total kickoff return yardage at 114.
Here’s a look at some other college athletes from western Nevada County fared over the past week:
— Spencer Havner (Nevada Union, ’01); UCLA – Two games into the Bruins’ season the 6-foot, 4-inch, 236-pound redshirt junior inside linebacker has proven he’s ready, willing and able to lead the defense.
Havner, who turned in a game-high 16 tackles in a 31-20 loss to Oklahoma State Sept. 4, led all defenders with a game-best 17 tackles in UCLA’s 35-17 victory over Illinois Saturday.
He leads the Bruin defense in tackles with 33.
— Matt Logue (Bear River, ’02); Sacramento State – Logue, a 6-foot, 2-inch, 210-pound junior linebacker had three tackles – all solo – in a 59-7 season-opening loss to Nevada Saturday.
— Elena Schmidt (NU, ’04); Fairleigh Dickinson University (Hackensack, N.J.) – The 5-foot, 11-inch freshman middle/outside hitter tallied a match-high 22 digs and led the Knights in kills with 17 in a 3-2 victory over Howard University (Washington D.C.) Friday.
Schmidt, who was instrumental in NU’s CIF Division I NorCal State Championship run last year, currently leads the team in kills (65), is second in aces (9) and third in digs (65).
— Ashley Bello (Forest Lake Christian, ’01); San Francisco – The 5-foot, 11-inch senior middle hitter posted five kills, a dig, a solo block and was in on two other blocks in a 3-0 loss to Sacramento State Tuesday.
— Jackie Coudert (NU, ’01); Sacramento State – Coudert, a 5-foot, 8-inch senior outside hitter had a kill in a 3-0 loss to Notre Dame in the second round of the Cal Poly Invitational Saturday.
— Lauren Zealear (NU, ’03); Santa Clara – The sophomore started in the midfield for the Broncos in their 6-0 win over Rhode Island Sunday.
— MacKenzie Murphy (NU, ’03); Montana – The sophomore defender helped the Grizzlies keep Big 10 Conference opponent Minnesota’s offense in check in a 2-1 win Saturday.
Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college/professional athlete with local ties please contact sports reporter Keith Jiron via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 477-4240.
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EL DORADO — Nevada Union’s up and down season continued Friday night as the Miners struggled mightily in a 41-7 loss to the Union Mine Diamondbacks.