PREP FOOTBALL: Digging into the Miners’ 2019 schedule
Miners Football Schedule
vs. Yuba City, 7 p.m., Aug. 23
at Napa, 7 p.m., Aug. 30
at Harbor, 5 p.m., Sept. 14
vs. River City, 7 p.m., Sept. 20
vs. Fairfield, 7 p.m., Sept. 27
vs. Placer, 7 p.m., Oct. 4
at Oakmont, 7 p.m., Oct. 11
vs. Ponderosa, 7 p.m., Oct. 18
at Lincoln, 7 p.m., Oct. 25
at Rio Linda, 7 p.m., Nov. 1
Game times subject to change
Whether it be against the Honkers from Yuba City, the Fighting Zebras from Lincoln, the Hillmen from Placer or any of the other combatants on Nevada Union’s schedule, Brad Sparks is excited what his team can do on the gridiron this season.
“To say I’m excited about all of (the games) would be an understatement,” said Sparks, now in his second year as the Miners head coach. “But, there are those games from last year that stick in your belly — they burn — and that burn is still in your belly. And, Yuba City is definitely one of them. Then the Oakmont and Ponderosa games, those are two games that we lost that were close. And, Nevada Union has a long tradition-rivalry with Placer. Those games stick out to us.”
With just six weeks left before the Friday night lights at Hooper Stadium pop on and the Miners kickoff the 2019 high school football season, we take a look at NU’s 2019 slate of games.
For the second straight season, the Miners open the season against Yuba City. The Honkers took it to NU last year, winning 39-0 in Yuba City. The Miners are set to host the Honkers Aug. 23 at Hooper Stadium this time around.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Sparks.
Yuba City went 7-5 last season and reached the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division III playoffs where they lost to Placer in the second round.
After their home opener against the Honkers, the Miners will hit the road, traveling to Napa Aug. 30 to take on the Grizzlies at Memorial Stadium.
The Miners topped Napa, 59-34, a season ago in an offensive showcase. The Miners rushed for 533 yards and seven touchdowns in the game. NU has won two of the last three meetings with the Grizzlies, who did not win a game last season.
The Miners then have a bye followed by a road bout against the Harbor Pirates (Santa Cruz) Sept. 14. Harbor is the only team on NU’s schedule that wasn’t on it last season, and is the only Saturday game on the Miners schedule this season. The Pirates went 0-10 last season.
“When I took this job on, I wanted to take our kids on some good road trips, to some other areas, to places they haven’t been,” said Sparks. “One of my biggest goals is, in the next year or two I want to take our kids out of state, and I’m not talking Nevada. If we can find a team in Oregon, I think that would be neat for our kids, to travel and play another team from out of state.”
The Miners then come back to Hooper for non-league bouts against River City (Sept. 20) and Fairfield (Sept. 27).
NU thrashed River City, 53-21, a season ago, getting big games from running back Dawson Fay and then sophomore Jaxon Horne. Fay rushed for 333 yards and five touchdowns in the win. Horne tallied 93 receiving yards, 74 rushing yards, scored three touchdowns and had an interception on defense. Fay has since graduated. Horne is back for his junior season. River City went 2-8 last year, but return their top passer and ball carrier from a season ago.
The Miners final out of league bout is against the Falcons from Fairfield, a team NU shutout, 21-0, last year. Then junior linebacker Duke Morales led the defensive effort with 15 tackles. Horne rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown in the win. Fairfield enters this season after a 1-9 campaign in 2018.
Nevada Union’s five non-league opponents went a combined 10-42 last season.
FIGHT FOR THE FVL
Foothill Valley League play kicks off Oct. 4 with the Miners hosting the rival Hillmen. A season ago, Placer pounded the Miners, 63-12, on its way to an undefeated run through league play.
Placer graduated several impact seniors from last season, but return standout running back Hans Grassmann from last year’s league championship team. Last year, Grassmann rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown against the Miners, and tallied 1,632 yards and 24 touchdowns for the season. Placer went 12-1 a season ago, losing only to Capital Christian in the Section’s D-III Championship Game.
The Miners and Hillmen have played five times since reigniting their rivalry in 2014, with the Hillmen winning two times and the Miners taking three of the contests.
After the Placer game, the Miners are back on the road at the Oakmont Vikings, a team that topped NU, 29-20, last season. Oakmont went 4-6 a year ago and will host the Miners Oct. 11.
The Miners then get Ponderosa at Hooper Stadium on Oct. 18. The Bruins barely beat the Miners, 38-35, a year ago. Ponderosa went 7-4 a season ago and reached the playoffs before falling in the first round.
The Miners then close the with two road games, facing Lincoln on Oct. 25 and Rio Linda Nov. 1.
“Our community has a rivalry with Placer. I personally have a rivalry with Lincoln,” said Sparks. “I’ve got a long history with them going back to when I played against them and coached against them. For me personally, I always want to knock Lincoln off the shelf.”
Lincoln beat NU 44-24 last season, and has won three of the last five games against the Miners. The Zebras graduated their top passer, rusher and receiver from last season, but return several talented players from last year’s 5-6 team which lost in the first round of the Section’s D-II playoffs.
The Miners’ final game of the season is at Rio Linda, where they will face the D-5AA state champion Knights. A season ago, the Knights knocked off NU, 56-14, getting 390 rush yards and five total touchdowns from then junior Cameron Skattebo, who is back this year for his senior season. Skattebo led the state in rushing in 2018, notching 3,550 rush yards and 42 touchdowns on the ground to lead the Knights to a 13-2 record, which included a section title and state championship.
NU’s league opponents went a combined 41-19 a season ago, with Lincoln, Placer, Ponderosa and Rio Linda all making the playoffs.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All stats, records and schedule dates are courtesy of MaxPreps.com.
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