NU looks to stop Daniels, Elk Grove |

NU looks to stop Daniels, Elk Grove

John HartNevada Union's offense is averaging more than 400 yards per game. The Miners will get a good test at Hooper Stadium tonight against defending section champion Elk Grove.
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Nevada Union remembers how last year’s football campaign ended.

All in shock. Some in tears.

The Miners also could never forget who reaped the benefit of that 28-27 playoff loss, either, and exactly what the fortunate did with the win.

Elk Grove, the benefactor. An eventual Division I Sac-Joaquin section championship, the prize.

The teams meet again tonight, this time at Hooper Stadium, with the varsity game slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. Though the stakes of the preseason game are not as high as when the two teams last met, don’t try telling that to Nevada Union.

The Miners want this one baaaaaaaaaaadly.

“This team is focusing on what they’ve got to do,” NU coach Dave Humphers said. “Nevada Union football is really a rich tradition, and with that comes a lot of pressure. We don’t want the pressure on the kids, but we like the high expectations to do well. But this team has to develop and find their own identity as a team, so we don’t compare them to last year.”

The Sacramento area will be watching this clash of football powerhouses and their wing-T offenses carefully. Both teams come in with 2-0 records, Elk Grove ranked second, NU third by one publication.

While NU disposed of distant foes Merced and Vintage, Elk Grove had an equally easy time disposing of Modesto’s Grace Davis (33-14) and Deer Valley (42-7). NU’s offense and special teams have played well, showing a knack for big plays. NU’s offense, run by signal caller Jon Sheets has averaged more than 400 yard per game.

“This will give us a real good indication of where we are at this early point in the season,” Humphers said. “Elk Grove has tremendous talent at every backfield position. Their defensive players have great speed. So we are going to find out a lot about ourselves.”

Namely whether NU’s defense, which surrendered in the neighborhood of 300 yards rushing in each of its first two games, can put a lid on one of the best running backs in the area, Tyrice Daniels.

Daniels, who had more than 2,000 yards in all-purpose yards, including a 353-yard rushing game against Sheldon, is back at it again this year.

Two games into the season, Daniels leads the team in rushing (251 yards), scoring (32 points), and receiving (96 yards).

Daniels had a touchdown catch in their first meeting last year, and was a big part of the Herd’s playoff comeback.

“It would be a mistake to think he is their only weapon,” Humphers said. “He is a great player, but they have great talent at every backfield position and throw the ball well.”

Last year, Elk Grove threw three touchdown passes as part of a 38-14 preseason win. The teams met again in the second round of the playoffs, with NU holding a 27-7 lead early in the fourth quarter before the Herd began a remarkable comeback.

“I think it is very important for our kids to be playing the game at home this year,” Humphers said. “While our fans are very loyal, and will go on the road to follow us, our kids love playing at Hooper Stadium. We know it will be a huge crowd.”

Recent Showdowns

2001 playoffs, Elk Grove 28, NU 27

Herd 21-point 4th quarter shocks Miners

2001 preseason, Elk Grove 38, NU 14

Gross1 3 TD passes pace Herd

2000 playoffs, Elk Grove 35, NU 21

Herd rush 62 times to key win

2000 preseason, NU 46, Elk Grove 30

Spencer Havner scores twice to spark Miners

1999 preseason, NU 24, Elk Grove 7

Miner win snaps Herd 28-game win streak

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