NU searches for ways to improve upon strong start |

NU searches for ways to improve upon strong start

Dan BurkhartNevada Union tight end Phil Cosenza (with ball) is one of many weapons the Miners' offense has this season.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

A 4-0 start. Convincing wins each week. It might seem like it is getting hard for Nevada Union’s football team to find new things to improve upon, but the room for improvement is there.

It just has a lower ceiling than most teams.

“I really think the times Del Campo stopped us, we stopped ourselves,” NU coach Dave Humphers said. “We had penalties that stopped drives and an interception that helped them out. I think our offensive players believe the other team is not going to be able to stop us. It really makes practice good because then we can just worry about focusing on ourselves.”

After a clean first possession of seven plays, ending with a Joey Bratton touchdown, the Miners struggled with penalties through most of the contest Saturday against Del Campo. For the year, NU has been penalized 228 yards, 56 more than the Miners’ four opponents.

NU has also had nine turnovers in its first four games, a total equal to that of its opponents. Late in the second quarter Saturday, Del Campo’s Jacob Azevedo picked off a Jon Sheets pass and returned it down the Cougar sideline for a score 30 seconds before halftime. The turnover trimmed NU’s lead, momentarily, from two touchdowns to one.

“That was a terrible pass,” said Sheets, who outdueled DC quarterback Brent Romani. “I just had to put that behind me going into the second half. The thing is with our offense, we have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. Fumbles, interceptions, turnovers have killed us. We just have to work on our concentration.”

From Del Campo coach Steve Kenyon’s perspective, turnovers were a key factor in the game – Del Campo’s. NU picked off the first two passes thrown from the Cougars West Coast offense, and the Cougars were never able to sustain their passing attack against an aggressive Miner defense.

Kenyon wondered if DC would have been better off running 60 times Saturday.

“Coach Brad Dal Bon has done a fantastic job with our defensive backs play,” Humphers said. “Brian Coalson, coach of the outside linebackers, got his group ready, and they took away DC’s flat passes almost completely. Scott Weygandt, who coaches the inside backers, also has done a great job of getting the players ready to do their roles.”

Kenyon said the rest of the Metro Conference will have its hands full preparing to stop NU’s offense.

“NU made the big play by throwing the ball early and getting us behind the eight ball,” Kenyon said.

“NU has very, very good balance. They have three good backs and a good receiver and a very good quarterback and big tight end. All the cornerstones to a good offense.”

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