Miners earn first SFL win in convincing fashion
On a night when the Nevada Union football team seemed to fire on all cylinders, Woodcreek fired on none.
The Miners thumped the Timberwolves 45-7 Friday night at Hooper Stadium to grab their first Sierra Foothill League victory of the season.
After lopsided losses to Elk Grove and Rocklin, the Miners (4-3, 1-1 SFL) showed they still are a force to be reckoned with by dominating on both sides of the ball.
NU tallied 556 yards of total offense, and its defense held the Timberwolves (2-5, 0-2 SFL) to 276. Before tonight’s game Woodcreek had averaged 403 yards per game.
“I think tonight we really got our guys back,” NU head coach Dave Humphers said. “They love football, and they believe in each other. It’s been a difficult couple of games, and we sputtered and don’t know why. But all of a sudden, we start really executing, playing with confidence and playing well on defense.”
The Miners’ defensive unit forced four turnovers on the night and held a Woodcreek offense that had been averaging 31 points per game to seven.
“(Woodcreek) is a team that has scored a ton of points,” Humphers said. “To hold them like we did means we are getting our defense dialed in.”
Leading the Miner defense was senior linebacker Tanner Vallejo with 11 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception. Austin Marks added an interception, and Gareth Noxon scooped up a Timberwolves fumble. Josh Last made his season debut and notched a tackle in the fourth quarter.
On the offensive end, the Miners were a far cry from the team that could muster only nine points and 40 rushing yards against Rocklin last week.
NU ate up 212 yards on the ground and scored six rushing touchdowns against Woodcreek. Hank Humphers led the team in rushing with 90 yards and two scores, and Vallejo rushed for 68 yards and two touchdowns, including a 40-yard scamper in the first quarter. NU quarterback Kyle Cota punched in a touchdown from a yard out in the third, and 5-foot, 5-inch Tim Lopez added a 2-yard score in the fourth quarter.
“That’s one of the things we wanted to do,” Dave Humphers said, “be able to run the ball whenever we want to.”
Despite not throwing a touchdown for the first time this season Cota had one of his best outings. The senior went 18-of-29 for 324 yards.
Ian Davis was Cota’s favorite target on the night with nine catches for 187 yards.
The Miners travel next Friday to take on SFL foe Roseville.
It was Cheer for a Cure night at Hooper Stadium with players wearing pink ribbon stickers on their helmets. More than $1,000 was raised at the event and will go to the Susan G. Koman Foundation. The inaugural event was put on as a senior project by cheerleader Rachel Greenwood.
JV: Nevada Union 43, Woodcreek 42
With just 10 seconds left in the game, Nevada Union quarterback Chase Loper dropped back to pass. As the Woodcreek rush closed on him, he lofted a ball to the back of the endzone and into the hands of Brock Grininger who tip-toed the end line for the touchdown.
With just one second left on the clock, NU’s Clint Bielen kicked the extra point and gave the Miners, who had trailed 42-21 in the third, a come-from-behind victory.
Travis Owens led the Miners with 280 yards on the ground and one touchdown. Monserate Nieves added 180 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
To contact Sports Writer Walter Ford call (530) 477-4232 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Grass Valley native Brad Sweet drove past the competition and into victory lane last week, snapping his longest winless streak of the season.