Miners blow out Herd | TheUnion.com

Miners blow out Herd

John HartNU linebacker Travis Toll (right) breaks up a pass for Elk Grove's Nicholas Vartanian Friday night. Third-ranked NU crushed second-ranked Elk Grove 35-9.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Nevada Union football fans have had their hearts broken by Elk Grove too many times over the past two seasons.

They’ve watched their Miners lose three straight to the Thundering Herd, including the 2000 Division I Sacramento city championship, but got some measure of closure after Friday’s final home preseason game of the year at Hooper Stadium.

The Miner defense stuffed the high-octane Herd running game and turned in big play after big play on offense in a 35-9 win.

The Miners improve to 3-0 overall. Elk Grove drops to 2-1.

“Beating Elk Grove is wonderful, especially after losing the last three to them. They’ve got such a great program. This is definitely a big win for us,” Miner quarterback Jon Sheets said.

The Herd, which entered the showdown scoring 37.5 points per game, couldn’t shake the pesky Miner defense.

The Miners picked off three passes – two by Jason Roenicke – and handcuffed top scorer Tyrice Daniels to the tune of 59 yards on 13 carries and no rushing touchdowns

“Our defense carried us tonight. We struggled on offense at times, but they came through. This was their game,” Sheets added.

The scoring was fast and furious in the first half with NU drawing first blood on their first possession.

Miner halfback Joey Bratton sandwiched an eight-yard run off left tackle between a 13 and a 22 yard reception as the hosts set up on Elk Grove’s eight.

Vu Pham punched it in from a yard out three plays later as the home crowd erupted.

“We’ve practiced very hard for this game. The offensive line worked together with the running backs the whole game. They made it easy for us,” Pham said.

After a Herd field goal, Sheet connected with a wide open Chris Thibodeau for a 75-yard score on their next possession to put the Miners up by 10 points.

Elk Grove answered with a big play of its own.

Daniels, who was held to 67.5 yards under his 124.5 yards per game rushing average on the night, gave the visitors hope with a 79-yard touchdown reception from Ryan Gardner.

That was the end of Herd highlights.

Bratton scored from 20-yards out in the second quarter, then, after a fourth quarter Thibodeau score, slammed the door with a 39-yard scamper with six minutes, three seconds left in the game.

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