Survivors: Nevada Union vs. Chico
It was an all-too-familiar scene for Nevada Union football fans Friday night, as last week’s loss to Pleasant Grove still lurked in the back of their minds.
With just seconds on theclock, the Miners were tasked with stopping a pass-heavy offense from scoring a game-tying touchdown.
With six seconds left in the game, Chico’s Trevon Reid lofted a high arching ball into the end zone from 30 yards out, but this time the Miner secondary was ready. Nevada Union knocked down the last-gasp attempt and sealed the 38-30 victory.
The Miners dominated Chico for three quarters, jetting out to a 38-14 lead early in the third, but Chico wasn’t going down without a fight.
Using a two-quarterback system, Chico took to the air for the majority of its offense, amassing 465 yards passing and four touchdowns between quarterbacks Reid and Daniel Robbins.
The Miners didn’t help themselves down the stretch as they racked up 14 penalties on the night, including a controversial pass interference call that put the Panthers in position for one final shot.
“That’s been a major focus for the last two weeks,” NU head coach Dave Humphers said. “We definitely have to improve in that area and stop shooting ourself in the foot with our own mistakes.”
Penalties also cost the Miners a punt return touchdown by Ian Davis and a touchdown run by Humphers.
As they have in the first four games of the season, the Miners grabbed an early lead in the first quarter. Tanner Vallejo put NU on the board just minutes into the game with a 30-yard touchdown run. Hank Humphers followed a few minutes later with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone to put the Miners up 14-0.
Vallejo finished the night with 47 yards and a touchdown, and Humphers led the team in rushing with 93 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. The Miners ran the ball well for most of the night with a barrage of backs. Eight different NU backs carried the ball.
As the first quarter began to wind down, NU quarterback Kyle Cota found his favorite target, Ian Davis, from 12-yards out to put the Miners up 21-0.
Cota finished the night 11-for-21 for 225 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers.
Through four games this season, Cota has thrown 10 touchdowns and no interceptions.
“We feel like we have the best quarterback in Northern California, a nice set of receivers, and we feel like we have all the pieces of a great running game,” Humphers said. “The only thing that’s going to stop our offense is ourself.”
Chico added a long touchdown through the air at the end of the first quarter to bring the game to within 14.
In the second quarter, Cota found Humphers for a 76-yard score. After Cota wheeled out of pressure in the pocket he then found Humphers on the sideline. After Humphers made the catch he turned up field and outran the defense to give NU the 28-7 lead.
Chico answered back with a 60-yard touchdown pass from Reid to Jessie Holmes.
NU’s kicker Braaten Sill added a 38-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half to give NU the 31-14 halftime lead.
The Miners came out swinging in the third when Cota found Jake Berger for a 51-yard touchdown score.
The Miners thought the game was well in hand as they sent in their backups to face the dynamic Chico offense.
The Panthers scored quickly in the fourth with a screen pass from Reid to Eli Pennick. Chico then punched in the two-point conversion to pull within 16.
Reid then found Holmes on a 9-yard pass for a touchdown that brought the game to 38-30 with just over two minutes to play.
Chico attempted its fifth onside kick of the game, but NU recovered. Without any timeouts left, Chico looked to be out of options, but a fumbled snap by the Miners gave The Panthers the ball near midfield with 37 seconds left. Chico threatened but was unable to complete the miracle comeback and the Miners earned their third win of the season.
Despite giving up more than 500 yards of total offense the Miner defense held stout for the majority of the game, allowing fewer than 100 yards rushing and sacking the quarterback three times.
Vallejo led the defense with nine tackles and a sack, Humphers added a sack, Davis tallied an interception, and Berger forced a fumble that Miguel Espinosa scooped up.
With the win, Nevada Union improves to 3-1, and will take on Sac-Joaquin Section power Elk Grove Friday.
JV: Chico 49,
Nevada Union 35
Nevada Union dropped to 1-3 in non-league play Friday after falling to Chico in a shootout at Hooper Stadium.
Monserate Nieves led the Miners with 212 rushing yards and four total touchdowns, but NU was unable to slow the Chico offense. Travis Owens added 109 yards, and quarterback Chase Loper was 5-for-10 with a touchdown pass.
Midway through the fourth quarter, NU knotted the score at 35 with a Loper-to-Nieves 74-yard score, but Chico reeled off 14 unanswered points to take the game. Leading the NU defense was Chase Frey with 11 tackles, Arata Enzo added eight tackles and two sacks and Dylan Pfadt had 11 tackles.
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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.