PREP FOOTBALL: Seven Miners earn All-SFL honors
The All-Sierra Foothill League team was announced this week and seven Miners made the cut.
Making the All-SFL First Team on offense was the dynamic running back duo of Tyler Nielson and Dawson Fay.
Fay led all Sierra Foothill League ball carriers with 1,173 rushing yards this season. The 6-foot, 1-inch, 185-pound back also scored a team-high 11 rushing touchdowns, took two kickoff returns back for touchdowns and even threw a touchdown pass during the season. Fay was also an All-SFL Second Team selection in 2016.
Nielson, a three-year varsity starter, finished fourth among SFL running backs with 523 rush yards. Nielson scored six total touchdowns in 2017 and finishes his varsity career with 1,854 rushing yards and 24 total touchdowns.
“Tyler was a second teamer last year and it was good to see him honored for what he was able to do for us this season,” Nevada Union head coach Dennis Houlihan said.
The Miners also had an All-SFL First Team selection on the defensive side of the ball in Justin Houlihan. The 6-foot, 1-inch, 230-pound middle linebacker finished second on the SFL with 102 tackles. The senior had 12.5 tackles for a loss and an interception this season as well. This season was Justin Houlihan’s second straight with 100 or more tackles, and he wraps his varsity career with 339 total tackles.
“He really took it upon himself to anchor the middle for us and he did a really good job,” Dennis Houlihan said. “He grew into the position really well. He took it upon himself to learn it, make himself better at it and to really be our defensive leader this year.”
For Justin Houlihan it is his second straight season on the All-SFL First Team.
Making the All-SFL Second Team was defensive back Hayden Fay and punter Owen Dal Bon.
Hayden Fay, who was an All-SFL First Team selection at wide receiver in 2016, was recognized for his efforts at safety on the defensive side of the ball this season. Hayden Fay, a senior, finished the season with 31 tackles, a team-high three interceptions, four passes defensed and a blocked punt.
“This year he was able to go ahead and (play safety) full time,” Dennis Houlihan said. “He had three picks, four pass defenses and really learned how to come downhill and make tackles at the line of scrimmage. It was nice he was recognized for it.”
Dal Bon, NU’s senior quarterback who also handled much of the team’s kicking duties, was named to the All-SFL Second Team as a punter. Dal Bon punted 28 times during the season, averaging 34.7 yards per boot with a long of 53.
“(Dal Bon) was a multiple position guy. He played offense, defense and he punted and kicked,” said Dennis Houlihan. “He really put the time in to get better as a punter. He didn’t have a lot of returns on him because of the way he punted.”
Earning All-SFL Honorable Mention honors were senior defensive end Ethan Garrity and senior defensive tackle Brendon Dipietro. Garrity finished the season with 29 tackles and a sack. Dipietro tallied 34 tackles.
“Ethan played both ways all year long,” Dennis Houlihan said. “He didn’t leave the field very much. He was our best offensive guy too, and we haven’t had a lineman noticed in quite a while. So for him and Brendon to get recognized in their senior year is an honor.”
The SFL Player of the Year award went to Oak Ridge senior quarterback Marco Baldacchino (1,890 pass yards, 797 rush yards, 15 passing touchdowns, 12 rushing touchdowns). The Offensive Player of the Year Award was split by a pair of Folsom Bulldogs in junior quarterback Kaiden Bennett (2,783 passing yards, 768 rush yards, 37 passing touchdowns, 11 rushing touchdowns) and junior receiver Joe Ngata (47 catches, 1,098 yards, 15 receiving touchdowns). The SFL Defensive Player of the Year is Oak Ridge’s senior linebacker Nate Otto (118 tackles, four sacks).
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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