Strange days have tracked us down |

Strange days have tracked us down

his is going to sound strange, but here goes:

Mike Alberghini – a.k.a “The Enemy Coach” for Nevada Union fans- is actually rooting for the Miners to win Friday’s City Championship.

Say what?

That’s right. Alberghini, head coach of NU’s fiercest rival, the Grant Pacers, is pulling for NU to win Friday.

It’s not that he’s harboring hard feelings for Jesuit coach Dan Carmazzi or the Marauders, to whom his Pacers fell 35-34 two weeks ago. And the reason he’s throwing his support the Miners way has nothing to with any newfound admiration of NU coach Dave Humphers.

Just consider Alberghini a company guy.

“I’ll root for NU, because they’re from our league,” Alberghini said Tuesday night.

Though he hopes the Miners win, you won’t find him with a blue-and-gold pom-pom in hand, nor will he be singing “Thank God I’m a Country Boy Friday night.” Actually, Alberghini won’t even be at Hughes Stadium for the showdown.

“It bothers me too much to know we’re not in it,” he said. “Having gone the first nine weeks unbeaten and then to lose the last two weeks in tough losses, I’d be mopey if I was there. It’s better that I read about it.

“It’s best for me to move on.”

Knowing what happened to Alberghini’s Pacers in those two contests makes it easy to understand why he’d rather stay away Friday. Grant entered its Metro Conference showdown with Nevada Union unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the Sacramento area. Though the two teams produced one of most thrilling games in the history of the rivalry – and in Sac Area football – Grant ended up on the short side, 43-40.

The following week, Alberghini’s boys were back banging heads with another unbeaten, the Delta League champion Jesuit Marauders. The first-round playoff matchup showed the Pacers playing a part in yet one more of the season’s most exciting clashes.

But after Grant failed on a two-point conversion, which could have given them the “W,” Alberghini and company closed out the season with a 35-34 loss and a two-game losing streak.

Considering the fact that I arrived in Nevada County merely three weeks ago, my knowledge of this year’s Miners is limited – at best. Jesuit? I’ve read the sports pages like the rest of you. So when the first NU fan asked me this week, who was going to win Friday’s City Championship, I wondered who would be more of an authority on the subject than Alberghini?

“Both teams are playing very well right now. Both are executing and making the stops they have to,” he said. “They both can move the ball effectively and both have defenses that have played well. And they both have quarterbacks that are playmakers.

“I think NU has better speed, but Jesuit has better size. I think it will come down to which line controls the other line. If there’s bad weather, if it rains, I think that’s going to be better for Jesuit. But on a good playing surface, I’d give the edge to NU.”

The Weather Channel calls for a 30 percent chance of showers Friday, meaning Hughes Stadium has a 70 percent chance of staying dry.

So according to Alberghini’s logic, that would make the Miners his pick.

And how strange would this be? The Grant head coach is flipping through Saturday morning’s newspaper, spots the headline “Miners are City Champs” and nods in approval?

Strange days, indeed.

Brian Hamilton is The Union sports editor. He can be reached at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User