Miners’ defense shines | TheUnion.com

Miners’ defense shines

John HartJunior second-string quarterback Jared Van Matre drops back against Hiram Johnson of Sacramento. He played most of the second half in the Miners' 52-14 victory Friday.
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The Nevada Union football team scored early and often in its 52-14 win over Hiram Johnson of Sacramento at Hooper Stadium Friday.

Miner (5-0 overall, 1-0 Metro Conference) quarterback Jon Sheets – the league’s second leading passer with 811 yards – drew first blood with his feet. The senior walked in untouched on a bootleg from 18 yards out with nine minutes, 59 seconds left in the opening quarter.

Vu Pham scored the first of his game-high three touchdowns from four yards out just over four minutes later as the hosts went up 14-0.

While the Miner offense clicked, its defense crunched. It held one of the league’s top running backs, Marvin Pulley, to less than 30 yards in the first half.

“I was particularly happy with our defensive line play. Coach Geno Stephan and coach Rayce Lucas have done an outstanding job bringing the kids along,” Miner head coach Dave Humphers said. “Steve Kenny had a great game with the pair of turnovers he (came up with). He just always seems to be the guy who comes up with the ball.”

Humphers also handed out kudos to Dan Smith and Mark Halby for their hard-nosed play in the defensive backfield.

NU sandwiched a three-and-out between a pair of fumbles on their next three possessions before senior running back Joey Bratton put the hosts back on track.

He capped a seven-play drive with a 28-yard scamper late in the second quarter.

NU scored two more touchdowns in the next 2:22 – one on a 34 Sheets-to-Joe Dolan touchdown pass and another on a two-yard Pham run – and got a 37-yard Kyle McTighe field goal to lead 38-0 going into the half.

“I thought we sputtered (for a while there), then we scored very, very quickly in the last three minutes of the half. It was like we kicked it in gear. It was like, ‘Yeah, this is how we do it,” Humphers added.

While the Miner starters turned in solid performances, Humphers said his backups also played well.

Corey Holland snagged his first interception of the season thanks in part to the pressure applied to the quarterback by another Miner backup defensive lineman, Jason Card.

Next up for the Miners will be a clash with McClatchy of Sacramento at Friday’s Homecoming.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

In other Metro Conference action, Grant (5-0, 2-0) got three rushing touchdowns form C.J. Wallace and a Syd Thomspon 57-yard punt return for a touchdown in a 62-0 over host McClatchy of Sacramento win at Hughes Stadium on the campus of Sacramento City College Friday.

Woodland (5-0, 1-0) kept its unbeaten streak alive with a 23-7 non-league win at Deer Valley of Antioch Friday.

Yuba City (1-3, 1-0) and Kennedy (0-4, 0-1) each had byes.

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