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Noxon name spans decade of NU football

Nevada Union's Gareth Noxon tries to beat the coverage during a pass play against Rocklin earlier this season.
Photo courtesy of Tammy Noxon |

What: Nevada Union vs. Roseville

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Roseville High School

Directions: From I-80: Take the Atlantic Street/Eureka Road exit. Go west over the freeway (Atlantic St.) to Tiger Way. Turn right (north) on Tiger Way. High School is located at 1 Tiger Way, Roseville.

Last week: Nevada Union (4-3, 1-1 SFL) defeated Woodcreek, 45-7. Roseville (1-6, 0-2 SFL) lost to Del Oro, 24-7.

The Noxon family is one of those rare once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

They are doers. They live life fully. They dare to dream and chase it. They stand strongly beside each other, all involved in a central passion of their lives.

Yet they are quiet. The humility of the years they have spent in Nevada County has certainly been noteworthy. They are a family to behold.



It is a simple formula: three sons, mom Tammy and dad Rob.

Their lives are Nevada Union football. It has been this way for far more than a decade. Josh, Justin and now Gareth have come in waves. No sooner does one depart the program, another steps in. Whereas Tammy has always been Team Mom for NU football, the boys have all made an indelible mark on the




landscape we affectionately call Nevada Union football.

However, Gareth is in his junior year roaming Hooper Stadium as an outstanding safety for this year’s edition of the Miners. One more year, and it will all fade to black. The era will be complete. The journey will end. Life will return to an uneasy normalcy for this family. It will be the rude awakening that life must be lived without an offspring involved on the field in NU football.

A funny bunch these Noxons. They go about honoring NU football in an odd way these days. Tammy is everywhere. There is not an event where you will not find her.

Justin is coaching. Although he has done this for several years, most feel these are his proudest moments.

Gareth is focusing in on the postseason and making his own mark as his two older brothers have.

Josh now has his own family and spends the summers eating fire for the United States Forest Service.

Rob stands in the background, ever present. He is the quiet one, family proud, honored to be a part of a program that has produced so much accomplishment for his family.

It is an incredible story to behold.

They moved to Nevada County in 1999 for the purpose of football. Rob transferred locally to Tahoe National Forest. He did his research before arriving. His dialogue with coach Dave Humphers revealed a strong football program and an impressive academic campus for his sons.

He has had many opportunities to move and further his career since then. However, the family has opted to remain in Nevada County. Rob and Tammy viewed it as vital for their sons. So unselfishly, they stayed.

It has been a long, eventful 13-year run. Their boys have put their hearts and souls into NU football.

Josh played on two teams that pursued a sectional championship. From 2004-2006, he was an outstanding contributor. His story is one for the ages.

He tore his MCL and ACL in 2004 towards the end of the run that would see the Miners lose to St. Mary’s in the ultimate shootout at the University of Pacific.

For most, it would end the season. Fore Josh, he played it out, having an outstanding end of season.

Tammy remembers, “He was battling with one leg. He never would complain. He would get hit, pop up and run another route.”

Josh explains, “That was a big challenge. I had to push through a lot of pain. I knew I needed to play.”

Even to this day, it is one of the richest stories of dedication and perseverance in the annals of NU football.

Justin was undersized for Division I. He helped the Miners to the playoffs but lamented never getting the championship ring as a player.

He played hard, but his most outstanding days were reserved for his transition to coaching. It was there that he captured his ring as the outside linebacker coach.

Justin is a motivating coach. He knows the game well. He is inspiring in pre-game talks. He is relatively quiet but produces an amazing impact on his players. Well respected, he still does it for the camaraderie and brotherhood that makes for a great experience.

Unselfishly, some of this is all for his brother.

“A lot of this is for my brother. It does give me a chance to help him get to the next level. However, I coach for the passion of the game. I have the ability to shape a person.”

Finally, Gareth is the Noxon family’s last stand. He is unique in that he has both athletic ability and classroom accomplishment. As a junior, he is starting. Gareth is already a standout. He has made big plays this season, and there is certain hope that his playing days may extend beyond high school.

Yet, there are some aspects of all of this that are simply undebatable. They have all played for the love of the game, holding themselves accountable for their successes and failures. They continue to strive for excellence and improvement each day. Each one conveys the sense of belonging to a unique brotherhood known as NU football. They speak of playing for a united group.

They continue to strive for excellence both on and off the field. They feel honored to have played for Dave Humphers. They speak of the difference he has made in their lives. They discuss how football has been the foundation for great accomplishments to come. The Noxons are humbled at how this has prepared each of their sons for the twists and turns life brings. They realize it is all about hard work and personal, sometimes family, dedication.

This is a unique story to tell. People come and go within the football program. This family has been a strong part of it for more than a decade.

They remain involved. They are the type of people that makes our county a great place to live. They quietly go about enjoying the sport they love. And although one might contend they live the game vicariously through their sons, the Noxons are a scene to behold. It is a pleasure to call them friends.

They truly are Miners for life.

Jim Adams lives in Nevada City and is a regular contributor to The Union and a broadcaster for TouchDown Productions. He may be reached via email at adamses@inreach.com


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