Miners juggernaut rolls on | TheUnion.com

Miners juggernaut rolls on

John HartChris Thibodeau (30) recovers a blocked Laguna Creek punt to put NU up 13-0 in the second quarter Friday night.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

The hometown fans couldn’t have asked for much more in the Nevada Union football team’s 42-7 win over Laguna Creek last Friday.

They saw their Metro Conference champion Miners (11-0) move the ball up and down the field in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Tournament against one of the area’s stingiest defenses.

On its first possession, NU drove to the Laguna Creek 15-yard line on a mix of pass and run. The Cardinals intercepted a Jon Sheets pass on third and long to dodge a bullet, but their good fortune wouldn’t last.

The Miner offense bounced back to score touchdowns on four straight possessions to slam the door on the upset-minded Cardinals (7-3-1).

“Offensively, we moved the ball really well on every possession. I thought our offensive line moved their feet really well. That was one of our better overall team performances. We just really clicked,” NU head coach Dave Humphers said.

The capacity crowd at Hooper Stadium also saw the Miner defensive unit frustrate one of the area’s top rushing attacks.

Led by Mike Manzinali’s nine tackles, NU held Alan Darlin – Laguna Creek’s 6-foot, 2-inch scoring machine – to 20 yards on six carries with no touchdowns.

Keith Johnson, the Cardinals’ leading rusher at 936 yards on 146 carries, had a 24-yard carry in the second half, but was tackled for negative yardage three times to finish with 42 yards on seven carries.

“Our defense continues to improve week to week. They turned in a strong effort against a really strong running game,” Humphers added.

With the run taken away, Laguna Creek went to the air.

Bad call.

With the help of a relentless pass rush led by Ron Speights, NU snagged a season-high five interceptions.

“That’s really a credit to Brad Dal Bon, our defensive backs coach. He’s done a fabulous job coaching coverage,” Humphers said.

In other division I playoff action, Woodland, the Metro’s No. 3 team, upset Monticello Empire League champ Napa, 21-20, to move on to the second round.

The Wolves will meet Delta League champ Jesuit (Carmichael) – which topped Metro No. 2 Grant 35-34 in overtime Nov. 23 – at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Delta No. 2 Florin (Sacramento) beat MEL No. 3 Vacaville 54-31 to set up a second round showdown at NU 7:30 p.m. Friday.

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