Hard to handle
The Nevada Union Miners knew he was coming. They knew he could run, and they knew he could catch.
But the senior running back and linebacker did much more than that Friday night at Hooper Stadium as his Franklin (Elk Grove) Wildcats shocked NU by winning 48-30 in the Delta Valley Conference opener.
In addition to running for 148 yards and two touchdowns and catching three passes for 79 yards and another score, he threw a 40-yard touchdown, booted three kickoffs into Nevada Union’s end zone for touchbacks, blocked a punt, recovered a fumble, and then made the play that sealed Franklin’s win.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Franklin was forced to punt on fourth-and-22 at midfield. NU’s Brian Milhous broke through the line and blocked the kick, but Russell was there to pick up the ball, which he carried for 25 yards and a first down.
Russell’s quick reaction led to Franklin’s final touchdown, which put the Wildcats on top 48-21 with 8:34 left in the game.
The game was the first between the Miners (4-2 overall, 0-1 DVC) and Franklin (5-1, 1-0 DVC), which is in its fifth year with a varsity football team.
“This week in practice we stayed focused,” said Russell, who gave credit to Franklin’s offensive line for his success. “We knew who we was playin’.”
Nevada Union’s loss was its worst since 2001, when the Miners fell 38-14 to Elk Grove early in the season. NU plays in Elk Grove each of the next two Fridays: against Laguna Creek next week and Elk Grove on Oct. 27. Laguna Creek (5-1, 1-0 DVC) beat Elk Grove (5-1, 0-1 DVC) 20-10 Friday in their conference opener.
The loss was also the first at home since Granite Bay won 24-14 on Nov. 5, 2004.
Friday’s game at NU was the Miners’ first taste of the DVC after four years in the Metro Conference.
“This was Franklin’s night,” Nevada Union coach Dave Humphers said. “It seemed like from the very start they made the plays … they outcoached us and outplayed us.”
The Miners had answers to each of the first two touchdowns by the Wildcats.
After Franklin quarterback Oscar Loza hit Russell for a 75-yard touchdown on the opening drive, the Miners responded two possessions later when Dave Zealear ran seven yards for a touchdown, capping a 69-yard drive.
On Franklin’s next possession, Russell took a lateral pass from Loza on the right sideline and hurled it 40 yards to Brandyn Thompson to take a 14-7 lead.
NU quarterback Chad Mason answered by finding Doug Dolan for a 37-yard touchdown pass on the Miners’ next drive, but Franklin scored four-straight touchdowns to build a 42-14 lead.
Russell rushed for two touchdowns in that stretch, including a 79-yard and a 3-yard score. Loza also scored two: one on a 16-yard bootleg and the other on a 60-yard run through the middle.
“As much as it didn’t go well for us, they kept hustling and they kept their chins up,” Humphers said. “I just think this was (Franklin’s) night.”
JV: Nevada Union 35, Franklin 14
Cameron Ryan scored two touchdowns as the Miners improved to 3-3 and 1-0 in the DVC.
Ryan scored on runs of 20 and six yards.
Cory George took a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, Jared Ralph had a 69-yard run for a score, and Joey Lemay ran in a 1-yard touchdown.
“This team came together and played four quarters as a team,” said Nevada Union coach Mitch Giles, who gave much of the credit in the win to his offensive line of Cameron Dixon, Devin Rowe, Jeff Brower, Tyler Detinger, Josh Finau, Nick Souza, Sam Cartan and Mikeal Ollar.
Franklin came to Hooper Stadium undefeated.
Franklin 48, Nevada Union 30
Franklin 14 21 7 6 – 48
Nevada Union 14 0 7 9 – 30
F – Oscar Loza 75 pass to Edward Russell, Jacob Neuner kick (10:03).
NU – Dave Zealear 7 run, Kyle Bielen kick (6:14).
F – Edward Russel 40 pass to Brandyn Thompson, Jacob Neuner kick (3:37).
NU – Chad Mason 37 pass to Doug Dolan, Kyle Bielen kick (56.1).
F – Oscar Loza 16 run, Jacob Neuner kick (10:35).
F – Edward Russel 3 run, Jacob Neuner kick (5:48).
F – Edwrad Russell 79 run, Jacob Neuner kick (1:41).
F – Oscar Loza 60 run, Jacob Neuner kick (7:09).
NU – Dave Zealear 3 run, Kyle Bielen kick (2:28).
F – Mark Clifton 28 pass to Josh Thorton, kick blocked (8:34).
NU – Safety, Mark Clifton ran out of the back of the end zone (2:41).
NU – Chad Mason 15 pass to Andrew Metroka, Kyle Bielen kick (:2.3).
First downs 24 12
Total Net Yards 463 460
Rushes-yards 25-288 55-255
Passing 175 240
Comp-Att-Int 7-10-1 14-21-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards 9-56 4-35
RUSHING – Franklin, Edward Russell 12-148 and 2 TDs, Oscar Loza 8-132 and 2 TDs, Johnell Murphy 2-6, Jonny Ochoa 1-1, Mark Clifton 2-1. Nevada Union, Corey Browning 15-90, Dave Zealear 13-79 and 2 TDs, Jesse Ettlin 9-59, Andrew Metroka 5-17, Chad Mason 13-10.
PASSING – Franklin, Oscar Loza 5-8-1 for 107 yards and 1 TD, Edward Russell 1-1-0 for 40 yards and 1 TD, Mark Clifton 1-1-0 for 28 yards and 1 TD. Nevada Union, Chad Mason 14-20-0 for 240 yards and 2 TDs, Anderson 0-1-0.
RECEIVING – Franklin, Edward Russell 3-79 and 1 TD, Brandyn Thompson 2-56 and 1 TD, Josh Thorton 1-28 and 1 TD, Aaron Hubbard 1-12. Nevada Union, Colin Casey 4-52, Doug Dolan 3-53 and 1 TD, Matt Anderson 2-41, Dave Zealear 2-35, Jesse Ettlin 1-30, Andrew Metroka 1-15 and 1 TD, Wes Plummer 1-14.
MISSED FIELD GOALS – Franklin, Jacob Neuner 1. Nevada Union, none.
To contact Sports Writer Jeff Miller, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4247.
Nevada Union senior Taylor Dever continues to draw interest from college football programs across the country, including some scholarship offers from top Division I programs.
Earlier this fall, Dever was presented a full-ride scholarship to play at Fresno State, the first school to extend an offer.
The list has grown substantially since.
At 6 feet, 6 inches and 300 pounds, the NU offensive tackle is looked on to be a prize recruit for several schools. In addition to Fresno State, which successfully recruited 2006 Nevada Union grad Andrew Jackson, Dever has also received scholarship offers from Boise State, Nebraska, San Diego State, UNLV and Washington.
He also been contacted by several schools that have shown strong interest and have requested film on Dever, including Cal, Miami, Notre Dame, Oregon State, San Jose State, Utah State and Washington State.
“To talk with the top coaches in college football about their history, vision and philosophy and their interest and opinion of your son is an exciting experience,” said Dever’s father, Tom.
Football recruits may sign their national letters of intent to play at a particular school during the Feb. 7-April 7 signing period. A verbal, nonbinding, commitment can be made by recruits at any time.
– The Union staff
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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.