PREP FOOTBALL: Miners hit the road to face Napa
Know & Go
What: Nevada Union (1-2) at Napa (1-2)
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Where: Napa High School Memorial Stadium, Menlo Ave, Napa
Follow along: on Twitter at @WalterLFordIII and online at TheUnion.com
After back-to-back home games, the Nevada Union football team is making the more than 110-mile trek to Napa for their fourth and final non-league game of the regular season.
“(The players) have been really focused this week and we’re going in pretty confident,” said Nevada Union head coach Dennis Houlihan. “We know it’s going to be a battle. It’s a game I would like to see us rebound (from last week’s loss) before we start league.”
Last season when the Miners and Indians faced off at Hooper Stadium it took two overtime periods to settle things, ending with Napa celebrating a 35-34 win after stuffing NU’s two-point try in the second overtime period.
This year, much of that NU squad is back. For Napa, it will have a whole new cast of players for the Miners to contend with. Napa went 7-4 and won the Monticello Empire League title in 2016, but graduated their starting quarterback, top-two rushers and team leader in tackles. They also have a new coach in Jesus Martinez, who earned his first win at the helm of Napa football last week.
Napa had opened the season with back-to-back losses coming against Pitman and Rocklin, but topped Archbishop Riordan, 28-13, last Friday.
In the win over Archbishop Riordan, the Indians got a big game from their senior quarterback Caden Cortese, who rushed for 111 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries and tossed a touchdown pass as well.
In addition to Cortese, Napa has talented backs in 5-foot, 8-inch, 195-pound Brandon Herter, and 6-1, 220-pound Dawson Trent.
Despite the big point output against Archbishop Riordan, Napa struggled on the offensive side of the ball in their other two games, managing just seven total points against Pitman and Rocklin. For the season, Napa is averaging just 11.6 points per game and allowing 16.3 per game.
Nevada Union comes into the contest on the heels of a 23-22 loss to Lincoln in which the Miners were held to just 66 yards through the air and 75 on the ground.
In last year’s game against Napa, the Miners were able to move the ball at will, rushing for 281 yards and throwing for another 88. In that game, Tyler Nielson had a huge night, rushing for 160 yards and a touchdown.
Nielson had a season-low 26 yards against Lincoln last week, but did score a touchdown to give him three on the season. Nielson is currently second on the team with 188 rushing yards through three games. Leading the NU ground game has been junior Dawson Fay, who has 242 rush yards to go with three touchdowns this season.
As a team, the Miners are averaging 189.3 rushing yards per game, 103.7 passing yards per game and 26.7 points per game.
“We’re hoping we can rebound and see our offensive take off again,” said Houlihan.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Miners have been much better across the last two games. After giving up 41 points to Antelope in the season opener, Nevada Union has allowed 39 total points in their last two games.
The matchup between Nevada Union (1-2) and Napa (1-2) is set to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at Napa High School’s Memorial Stadium.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
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