Surging Miners |

Surging Miners

The Nevada Union football team will be hosting McQueen at 7 p.m. Friday at Hooper Stadium. The game was originally scheduled to take place in Reno, but air quality conditions have forced the game to be played at Nevada Union.
Photo courtesy of Tammy Noxon |

Eligibility update:

Transfer students Cole Hannum and Owen Sparks have both had their day in front of the Sac-Joaquin Section appeals committee and are currently awaiting decisions.

The two former Marysville High School students transferred to Nevada Union over the summer, but were denied eligibility to play for the NU football team after perceived rule violations concerning following a coach from school to school.

Hannum had his appeal heard Oct. 9 but is yet to hear back from the section. The section has 15 business days to render its decision.

Sparks had his appeal Thursday.

The Nevada Union football team is coming off a 45-7 drubbing of Woodcreek and now heads into a matchup with Sierra Foothill League cellar dweller Roseville (1-6 overall, 0-2 SFL).

So how do the Miners (4-3 overall, 1-1 SFL) keep from looking past the Tigers and onto next week’s matchup with Del Oro?

“Just show them the game film. That’s how,” said NU head coach Dave Humphers.

Not fooled by a lackluster record, Humphers isn’t letting his squad underestimate what he calls a tough Roseville team.

“Roseville is 1-6, but they have played a very tough schedule and have just come up on the short end,” he said. “They’re a good team.”

What has Humphers most concerned is the Tigers’ defensive line.

“Roseville’s D-line is outstanding,” Humphers said. “They can be really physical and dominant with their defensive front.”

The Tigers also boast two ball-hawking linebackers in Jordan Kunaszyk and Isaac Carrel. Both are juniors, and both have tallied three sacks this season.

With an agile and aggressive defense looking to shred NU quarterback Kyle Cota, the NU offensive line will be tasked with stepping up its play this week.

Cota has been one of the top quarterbacks in the SFL this season, averaging 207.4 yards per game and throwing 13 touchdowns to only three interceptions. Cota is second in the SFL in yards and touchdowns. The Miner offensive line will need to be strong for those types of numbers to continue.

Cota will likely look to his star wide receiver, Ian Davis, who is having a monster year with 48 receptions for 833 yards to go with seven touchdown catches, all of which are tops in the SFL.

The Miners will also look to keep their run game going after getting it started up last week, racking up 217 yards and six rushing touchdowns on only 26 carries against Woodcreek.

On the offensive end for the Tigers, they run two distinctly different styles. At times, the Tigers will try to run the ball and wear teams down with the ground-and-pound, and other times, they go shotgun with five wide receivers.

“It’s taken a lot of work to prepare our defense,” Humphers said. “Our D-coordinator, Mark Siebel, has done a fantastic job getting them ready.”

Taking the snaps for the Tigers is junior Kyle Downie, who averages fewer than 100 yards throwing per game with five touchdowns and nine interceptions on the season.

On the ground, Roseville hands the ball to a host of backs. Five backs have at least 18 carries this season for the Tigers who average 145.4 yards rushing per game as a team.

For the season, the Tigers are averaging 11.7 points per game while allowing 29.9 points per game.

With it being fall break at Nevada Union, Humphers said the week of practice has been “interesting” but that he is confident his team isn’t overlooking Roseville.

“We’re not looking at Roseville’s record,” he said. “We’re looking at a good competitive team. They’re always dangerous with the spread.”

To contact Sports Writer Walter Ford call (530) 477-4232 or email him at

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