PREP FOOTBALL: Nine Miners score TDs in blowout win over Harbor Pirates (GALLERY/VIDEO)
SANTA CRUZ — The Miners dominated on defense, and struck gridiron gold nearly every time they were on offense. The end result was one of the most lopsided wins in Nevada Union football history.
Behind an impressive showing in all three phases of the game, the Miners pounded the Harbor High School Pirates, 73-0, Saturday in Santa Cruz.
“I love being able to travel for almost five hours, go to the beach and have a night like this,” NU head coach Brad Sparks said to his team after the victory. “You deserve it. That’s what all the nights and early mornings are for. All those sacrifices you make, every single sacrifice, this is what you do that for – this kind of feeling.”
The Miners felt good on offense all evening as they racked up more than 500 yards, and got touchdowns from nine different players.
Senior receiver A.J. Meyer set the tempo for the game when he returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
“I just had the blocking, found the gap and took off,” he said.
What followed was a myriad of Miners reaching pay dirt.
Leading the charge was sophomore quarterback Gabe Baker, who rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries.
“Our offensive line has been good all year, and it just looks good when it all comes together with our (running) backs and everything,” said Baker.
Junior running back Jaxon Horne added 102 rush yards and two touchdowns on a handful of carries. Junior quarterback J.T. Conway ran for a touchdown, and hit on 3-of-5 passes for 92 yards, including a 45-yard scoring toss to Ayrton Swasey.
Also getting into the end zone for the Miners was Tino Sanchez-Lane with a powerful 54-yard run, Duke Morales with a 6-yard dash, Ben Taylor with a 17-yard jaunt and Jaycee Youngman with a 5-yard scamper.
“When we’re winning like that, it’s great to reward the unsung heroes.” said Sparks. “I don’t want to stop scoring and hold back a second team or third team guy, because they put in the same amount of hours that Jaxon (Horne) and Matt (Dal Bon) do, and I want to give them a shot to shine too. That’s important. More importantly, those lineman did such a great job up front, I think I probably could have got my mom out there tonight.”
Sparks heaped praise on the lineman for making the offensive onslaught possible.
“The lineman were physical, they moved their feet, they did such a great job,” he said.
Leading the Miners in the trenches was senior center David Rueckert, senior tackle Isaiah Carter, junior tackle Ezra Tout, and senior guards Kyler Case and Sammy Slay. Nathaniel Ward, Nickolas McWhinney, Kodi Hoyle and Christopher McFall all put in solid work on the offensive line as well.
Nevada Union scored on 11 of their 13 possessions in the game. The only possessions which didn’t result in touchdowns were when the Miners kneeled on it to run out the clock in the first and second halves.
While the offense put up eye-popping numbers, the defense was equally impressive. Led by Dal Bon and Morales, the Miners held Harbor’s ground attack to negative yards and gave up just 113 pass yards. They also came away with four interceptions in the game as Devin Sunde, Zach Ehrlich, Meyer and Swasey all picked off Harbor’s sophomore quarterback.
The Pirates didn’t notch a first down until midway through the second quarter. They did reach the red zone once, but NU’s defense stood tall inside the 10-yard line and forced a turnover on downs.
“Defense has been strong all year,” said Meyer. “We like to keep it high energy, hard hitting and just flying to the ball. It works out for us.”
The win improves the Miners to 2-1 overall. Harbor falls to 1-2 on the season.
Next up for the Miners is a home contest against River City on Friday.
“Our defense needs to keep going strong and keep that high energy,” said Meyer. “And, our offense — as long as we keep blocking and get our pass routes down — we will be unstoppable. We feel unstoppable right now.”
Nevada Union’s Junior Varsity team also earned a shutout victory in Santa Cruz, knocking off the JV Pirates, 39-0.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCORE BY QUARTER
MINERS 73, PIRATES 0
NU: A.J. Meyer 100-yard kickoff return (kick missed) 11:45
NU: Jaxon Horne 11-yard run (Moises Tovar kick) 9:00
NU: Tino Sanchez-Lane 54-yard (Tovar kick) 7:31
NU: J.T. Conway 10-yard run (Tovar kick) 4:59
NU: Gabe Baker 46-yard run (4:05)
NU: Duke Morales 6-yard run (Tovar kick) 11:39
NU: Baker 11-yard run (Tovar kick) 4:01
NU: Ben Taylor 17-yard run (kick missed) 1:12
NU: Ayrton Swasey 45-yard pass from Conway (kick missed) 10:33
NU: Jaycee Youngman 5-yard run (Tovar kick) :56
NU: Horne 35-yard run (kick missed) 4:45
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