NU football state ranked |

NU football state ranked

That’s more like it.

Nevada Union, which started out its football season with a modest rating of 48th in the state has now crept up to 19th, according to Elk Grove was rated 17th in the preseason.

“As we work our way up the rankings, it means that we must be doing some good things,” said NU coach Dave Humphers. “I know that being state-ranked means something to our kids.”

In the web sites blurb accompanying the ranking, it was written that NU’s 35-9 win over previously ranked 14th Elk Grove was ‘the most surprising result of the weekend.’

Not in Grass Valley, it wasn’t.

In the week leading up to the Miners’ showdown with the Thundering Herd, the coaching staff posted goals for the game. Among those listed was one that said the team should hope to hold the previously second-ranked team in the Sacramento area to 13 points or less.

Pretty heady stuff, considering the Herd had averaged more than 38 points in their first two victories.

The Miner defense, however, stepped up to the challenge Friday night and got the job done.

“We set goals every week for our defense with regard to points allowed, yards, allowed,” Humphers said. “We also wanted to hold (Tyrice) Daniels to 75 yards rushing or less, and we held him to 59. So it was a great night for our defense.”

Eight of Elk Grove’s 12 possessions Friday night lasted four plays or less. Humphers said the strong performance was sparked by better tackling than the team exhibited in NU’s first two victories of the season.

Humphers mentioned the strong play of inside linebacker Steve Kenny, who currently is second on the team in tackles and has a blocked extra point to his credit.

“Linebacker is a new position for him, having been a cornerback,” Humphers said. “He is really a great playmaker on defense, and by putting him in the middle of the field, teams can’t run away from him. He is so quick, teams can’t block him. Elk Grove ran a quick pitch away from him, and he knifed through at an angle and made a tackle for a two-yard loss. It was one of those plays where everybody goes, ‘

Nevada Union’s secondary has been busy so far this season. Cornerback Jason Snavely has made three fumble recoveries this season, while corner Jason Roenicke made two interceptions Friday.

“We are hot and cold in the secondary,” Humphers said. “We are looking to improve our consistency. Our secondary got beat three times Friday and they scored on one of those passes, and then they turned around and made some great plays, just about playing perfect. As long as we keep getting better, I’ll be happy, because as long as they have a great attitude, we will continue to improve.”

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