Prep football: Miners upended by Union Mine (PHOTO GALLERY) |

Prep football: Miners upended by Union Mine (PHOTO GALLERY)

Nevada Union’s Andrew Webster hauls in a touchdown pass from quarterback Maddox Graves to score the Miners’ only touchdown of the game during Friday’s 41-7 loss to the Union Mine Diamondbacks.
Photo: Elias Funez

EL DORADO — Nevada Union’s up and down season continued Friday night as the Miners struggled mightily in a 41-7 loss to the Union Mine Diamondbacks.

“We’re close in so many ways, but we still need to fix the little things,” said Nevada Union head coach Brad Sparks.

Playing on the road for the third time in four games, the Miners (2-2) ran up against a red-hot Diamondbacks team that has yet to lose this season.

Nevada Union wide receiver Brenner Krogh squares up with a Union Mine defender during Friday’s matchup in El Dorado.
Photo: Elias Funez

Union Mine’s senior quarterback Calvin Owens got the scoring started in the first quarter with a 26-yard scramble for a touchdown. He would also score rushing touchdowns of 58 yards and 1 yard as the Diamondbacks rattled off 41 straight points. Owens finished the night with more than 150 yards rushing and the three ground scores. He was also solid through the air, throwing for 127 yards and a touchdown.

The Miners didn’t get on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter, when junior quarterback Maddox Graves connected with junior receiver Andrew Webster, who broke several tackles and fought his way into the end zone.

Nevada Union starting quarterback Gabe Baker protects the ball after keeping it on the option Friday night against the Union Mine Diamondbacks.
Photo: Elias Funez

A bright spot for NU came from senior linebacker Jedi Vculek, who wrapped up 20 tackles in the game. Fellow senior linebacker Gabe Baker followed with 11 tackles, including a sack. Bodey Eelkema added nine tackles and recovered a fumble. And, senior defensive tackle Justin Lopez chipped in with nine tackles.

The season has been a bit of a roller coaster for the Miners so far. They opened with a convincing win over Bella Vista (44-33), but were blown out by Woodcreek (43-0) in their next game. NU then won a thriller over Colfax (56-42), but were no match for Union Mine Friday night.

Nevada Union quarterback Dustin Philpott tosses a pass during Friday’s matchup against the Union Mine Diamondbacks.
Photo: Elias Funez

“We’re inconsistent,” said Sparks. “We played a good game against Bella Vista, but gave up big plays. The next week we played Woodcreek and laid an egg. Then we play a good game last week, and then tonight we laid another egg.”

Union Mine has had no such inconsistency issues. The Diamondbacks are now 4-0 and have outscored their opponents 144-43 this season.

Nevada Union wide receiver Clay Renner secures the ball while a pair of Union Mine defenders close in on him during Friday’s 41-7 loss to the Diamondbacks.
Photo: Elias Funez


The junior varsity game had a similar outcome as the varsity game, with the JV Miners falling 42-0.

Next up for NU is a road game at Napa (0-3). The Miners and Grizzlies have faced off four times since 2016, with Nevada Union winning three of the four. The game in Napa is the final non-league contest for the Miners.

Nevada Union’s Cameron Cormack looks to evade the Union Mine defense during a carry Friday in El Dorado.
Photo: Elias Funez

Nevada Union kicks off Foothill Valley League play Oct. 1 at Hooper Stadium against Rio Linda.

“I believe in these guys, and I know we got one more game to get some stuff cleaned up before we start league,” said Sparks. “And, I know they’re going to get it done. Because I’m the guy who will be kicking them in the rear until they do. I’m here for the long haul. I’m here to bring back the winning tradition at Nevada Union, and I will fight tooth and nail until we get there.”

Nevada Union quarterback Maddox Graves looks for the gap and runs the ball during Friday’s matchup against the Union Mine Diamondbacks.
Photo: Elias Funez


UM: Calvin Owens 26-yard run. Joe Repass kick. (5:38)


UM: Nick Conant 7-yard pass from Owens. Kick no good. (10:28)

UM: Owens 1-yard run. Repass kick good. (:59)


UM: Owens 58-yard run. Repass kick good. (8:30)

UM: Scott Smith 1-yard run. Repass kick good. (1:56)

UM: Parker Mallott 30-yard run. Repass kick good. (:09)


NU: Andrew Webster 24-yard pass from Maddox Graves. Justin Lopez kick. (6:38)

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email


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