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Old rivalry one-sided

The rivalry is undeniable – in terms of history and geography.

But take a closer look at one of the oldest foes on Nevada Union’s football schedule and you’ll find that there hasn’t really been much of a rivalry between the Miners and the Yuba City Honkers in terms of winning and losing.

There are only two football programs that Nevada Union has played more often – Placer and Roseville – since its inaugural season in 1952. And though the all-time series is a close one – 17-15 in favor of NU – Yuba City hasn’t exactly struck fear in Miner faithful for quite some time.



According to NU’s head coach, that could change Friday when the Miners (4-1 overall, 2-0 league) head across Highway 20 to meet the Honkers in a Metro Conference clash.

Outlook




The last time the Honkers beat the Miners was 1998, a 35-27 win for Yuba City – and the lone victory since the series was reinstated after a nearly 10-year hiatus. The Miners have won each of the last five meetings – and by large margins.

So why was NU head coach Dave Humphers admittedly showing some serious concern about the Honkers (2-3 overall, 1-0 Metro) on Wednesday?

“They’re big,” Humphers said of the Honkers. “They’re a big, strong team. They’ve got a defensive end (Craig Nieto) who’s about 6-5 and 285 pounds. And the thing is, studying them on tape, he doesn’t look a whole lot bigger than their other linemen.

“They’re big, strong and physical.”

The Honkers, coached by Brian Brown and Chris Yonge, showed what such physical power is capable of producing last week. Yuba City racked up 284 rushing yards, including 143 from junior Shawn Pace, while surrendering just 19 rushing yards on defense.

Of course, that performance – a 45-14 win – came against McClatchy, a team that has gone 1-24, including an 0-14 Metro mark, since 2001. And a team NU downed 60-0 on Oct. 1.

Still, Humphers said, the potential is there. And considering the Honkers will need to knock off one of the Metro’s top three teams – Granite Bay, Grant or NU – to earn a playoff spot, Friday night’s matchup is potentially a key contest.

“This game has major playoff ramifications,” said Humphers. “Yuba City has somewhat been a middle-of-the-road team and to make the playoffs they’ll have to beat one of the big three.

“So the way I see it, taking care of business Friday night could assure us of a playoff spot.”

THE SKINNY

Opponent: Yuba City

Site: Yuba City

Date: Today

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

2004 record: 2-3 overall, 1-0 Metro Conference

2003 record: 5-5, 3-3

2003 League finish: Fourth

All-time series: Nevada Union leads 17-15

Last Meeting: 11/07/03

Five players to watch: QB Andrew Schmidt (6-3, 180, Jr.), RB/ILB Benji Tafua (6-0, 225, Sr.), CB/RB Shawn Pace 5-7, 140, Jr.), RB/DB T.J. Blackwell (5-10, 165, Jr.), WR/FS Daniel Evans (5-10, 175, Sr.), ILB/FB Michael Henley (6-0, 185, Sr.),

Directions: Take Highway 20 west to Yuba City. At Clark Avenue, turn left (south) off Highway 20. At B Street, turn left (west). School is at corner of B Street and Clark Avenue.


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