Nevada Union wins battle of air shows |

Nevada Union wins battle of air shows

Dan BurkhartNevada Union's Chris Thibodeau outruns the Del Campo secondary en route to a 35-yard TD catch Saturday.
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It was fitting that Del Campo’s last on-side kickoff late in Saturday’s football game was recovered by Nevada Union’s Jason Snavely.

Fitting, because Snavely had put on a show demonstrating that he has an uncanny nose for the football.

Snavely, a 5-foot-9 senior cornerback, intercepted three passes and had a fourth interception called back due to penalty, as Nevada Union ran its preseason record to 4-0 with a 39-27 win over Del Campo in Fair Oaks.

“They wanted to throw the ball,” NU coach Dave Humphers said. “We knew that they couldn’t beat us running the ball, so we had a bend-but-don’t-break philosophy. We ended up making plays as they tried to drive the ball.”

Del Campo’s passing attack was rocked from the start, with NU linebacker Travis Toll and Snavely picking off the first two passes Del Campo quarterback Brent Romani threw Saturday, as the Miners raced to a 22-0 second quarter lead from which the Cougars never could recover.

Snavely, who led the Miners in interceptions last year, also had picked off a pass against Romani last year when Romani was a quarterback at Casa Roble.

“Defensive backs coach (Brad) Dal Bon gave us a great scheme,” Snavely said. “We were ready for every route they ran. Romani is a great quarterback, but as long as we know what they are doing, we’ll pick them off.”

The play of NU’s defense turned DC’s West Coast passing offense on its head as the Cougars found their better success on the ground for most of the game. Conversely, NU showed once again that it can throw the ball well out of the wing-T, with senior Jon Sheets throwing for 258 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown strike to wideout Joe Dolan and a 35-yard touchdown pass to Chris Thibodeau.

“Vu (Pham) and all of our halfbacks do a great job of faking on our passing plays,” Sheets said. “That forces, for a split second, that safety to have to sit there; and that gives Joe a chance to get by them.”

Two touchdowns by Del Campo and a 46-yard field goal by NU’s Kyle McTighe, all in the final minute of play in the first half, left the Miners with a 25-13 lead at intermission.

NU came out in the second half and slugged out an 11-play, 75-yard drive in the third quarter that was kept alive by a fourth-down fake punt pass by Jason Roenicke to Thibodeau for a 39-yard gain.

Two plays later, Thibodeau bulled in from two yards out to put the Miners ahead 32-13 midway through the third quarter.

Thibodeau finished the day with 42 yards rushing, while Vu Pham added a team-high 47 yards.

Romani hit Eric Eaton with a 6-yard touchdown pass with 8:46 left in the game, but NU game right back with Joey Bratton’s second touchdown run of the game less than two minutes later.

With 7:05 left, Snavely picked off his third interception off Romani to all but seal the win.

“I think now our secondary has a new respect,” Snavely said.

“I think every single team we’ll face will think twice about throwing the ball, and I like that.”

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