Nevada Union football welcomes Rocklin for season finale |

Nevada Union football welcomes Rocklin for season finale

Nevada Union's Isaac Rodriguez runs a kickoff back against Oak Ridge earlier this season.
John Hart/ | The Union

Know & Go

What: Nevada Union vs. Rocklin

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Hooper Stadium,

Nevada Union (3-6, 0-5 SFL)

Last week: Bye

PPG: 20.3

PPG allowed: 34.8

Rocklin (7-2, 3-2 SFL)

Last week: Lost to Granite Bay, 28-21

PPG: 37.2

PPG allowed: 19

The Rocklin Thunder roll into Hooper Stadium tonight to face off with Nevada Union in both teams regular season finale.

The Miners (3-6, 0-5 Sierra Foothill League) have been eliminated from playoff contention, but that hasn’t stopped them from preparing and practicing hard this week, said Nevada Union head coach Dennis Houlihan.

“This group hasn’t quit once,” he said. “They had their last practice today and they still were going hard.”

Nevada Union is coming off a bye week, but still rides a five-game losing streak into the contest.

The Thunder (7-2, 3-2 SFL) are coming off a pair of losses to SFL heavyweights Folsom and Granite Bay, but with playoffs looming they will look to get back on track, despite NU’s best attempts to derail them.

“We’re not really sure what team to expect,” Houlihan said. “They got a lot of injuries and we’re not sure who is going to play for them. We do know they have a good pistol offense and they are going to try and throw on us. We will have to put pressure on them and see if we can’t slow them down.”

The Thunder are led by junior quarterback William Floyd who took over for Max O’Rourke after an injury sidelined him earlier this year. In six games, Floyd has 560 yards passing and seven touchdowns to just three interceptions.

On the ground, senior Riley Clark leads the team with 424 yards rushing and nine ground scores. The Thunder also have junior Evyn Holtz, who as a sophomore ran for 1,130 yards. This season Holtz has just 343 rush yards, but is averaging 5 yards a carry and has three scores.

The Miners run game got back on track two weeks ago with 209 yards rushing against Oak Ridge. It was the Miners largest output on the ground since Sept. 19 when they ran for 344 yards against Pioneer.

Leading NU all season has been senior Mo Nieves. The 5-foot, 8-inch, 190-pound back has a league-high 1,034 yards rushing, averages 7.5 yards per carry and leads all SFL running backs with 15 rush touchdowns. Nieves has topped the century mark in six of NU’s nine games this season.

Not far behind Nieves is fellow senior running back Travis Owens, who could top the 1,000 yard rushing mark if he can muster 96 yards on the ground against Rocklin. Owens has already going over 1,000 all-purpose yards with 152 receiving yards and 308 kick return yards to go with his 904 rush yards.

The Miners also got their passing game going against Oak Ridge, with junior quarterback Justus Spillner throwing for 125 yards and a touchdown. Spillner has 789 yards passing this season to go with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

Defensively the Miners will lean on senior captain and middle linebacker Josh Belendez, who leads the team and the league with 103 tackles, 63 of which are solo. Belendez is running a coat drive for his high school senior project and has encouraged fans to bring coats for donation.

The Miners will look to snap a 12-game SFL losing streak when they face the Thunder at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

Elsewhere in the SFL

Folsom (9-0, 5-0 SFL) can wrap up the SFL title with a win over Woodcreek (5-4, 1-4 SFL). Del Oro (4-5, 3-2 SFL) faces off with Granite Bay (7-2, 4-1 SFL). Oak Ridge has already finished the season with a 5-5 overall record and a 2-4 record in SFL play.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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