NU never looks back in routing Kennedy
SACRAMENTO – It was as if someone had asked Kennedy of Sacramento head football coach Jared Brown to climb Mount Everest without a safety harness. For that’s what the insurmountable lead must have looked like to Brown as his winless Cougars scampered off the field at halftime against the undefeated Nevada Union Miners
The Miners rolled to a 43-0 lead before pulling out most of the starters in the second half en route to a 49-14 victory Saturday.
Like most who try to scale the nearly 30,000-foot peak, the Cougars could savor at least a few small triumphs against a team that averages 40 points a game.
In posting 14 points on the board, Kennedy (0-6, 0-3 Metro League) doubled its season point total – despite spending the majority of the game in its own territory, its offense overmatched by a smothering Miners’ defense.
The Miners’ edge in this contest was evident from the third play of the game, as they recovered a fumble after kickoff. After missing a field goal from 37 yards out, Kyle McTighe spent the rest of the night routinely pinning the Cougars deep in the end zone.
Though it took them nearly eight minutes to post their first points, the Miners’ rout was on, highlighted by an electrifying 53-yard scoring strike from quarterback Jon Sheets to a streaking Joe Dolan for the game’s first touchdown.
From there, the Miners (7-0, 3-0 Metro League) moved relatively effortlessly down the Kennedy field.
Minutes after the ensuing kickoff, senior defensive lineman Brandon Julian’s sack of Kennedy quarterback A.J. Boatwright led to a fumble recovery for a touchdown by defensive lineman Eric Harvey.
What began slowly was picking up speed faster than a drag-racer, despite tepid praise from coach Dave Humphers as his charges huddled at the half.
“I would say we’re a little flat. We need to hold onto the ball and just have to stay focused,” said Humphers, whose team flattened McClatchy of Sacramento 71-0 on Oct. 18.
For the game, the Miners fumbled three times, losing the ball twice.
They also recovered two of Kennedy’s fumbles, turning the giveaways into points each time
Sheets, who alternated with backup Jared Van Matre in the second half, also threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Phil Cosenza.
Joey Bratton and Chris Thibodeau scored rushing touchdowns for the Miners. Thibodeau, among the leaders in receiving yardage in the Metro League, also visited the end zone on a 30-yard hookup from Van Matre.
“You can’t help but look ahead,” Humphers said of this week’s match with Woodland. “but the kids are fired up.”
Humphers’ second unit kept forcing the Cougars into a tentative passing mode. Kyle Christensen hounded the Cougars with a sack and an interception down the stretch, bringing solid praise from the coach after the game.
“Our defense continues to improve. Our second unit really battled after all that Kennedy threw at them,” Humphers said. “It’s hard to be mentally sharp (when) we’ve been playing teams that are struggling. But we’ll savor the victory.”
The Miners’ ascent to the summit of an undefeated season continues at Hooper Stadium Friday, when Woodland comes to town.
Nevada Union 49, Kennedy (Sacramento) 14
NU-Kyle McTighe 26 FG
NU-Joe Dolan 53 pass from Jon Sheets (McTighe kick)
NU-Eric Harvey recovered fumble in end zone (McTighe kick)
NU-Joey Bratton 21 run (kick failed)
NU-Chris Thibodeau 30 run (kick failed)
NU-Chris Thibodeau 30 pass from Jared Van Matre (McTighe kick)
NU-Phil Cosenza 3 pass from Sheets (McTighe kick)
NU-Steve Kenny 17 interception return (kick failed)
Kennedy-Floyd Calhoun 1 run (2-point conversion failed)
Kennedy-Calhoun 60 pass from A.J. Boatwright (conversion)
NU offensive leaders
Passing: Sheets 5-12-1 105 yards, 2 touchdowns
Rushing: Thibodeau 8-47, Pham 10-54
Receiving: Dolan 2-82, Thibodeau 3-2
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