The yellow sea
SACRAMENTO – The torrent of yellow flags fell from the sky like an Oregon rain storm at John F. Kennedy High School, where the Nevada Union football team shut out the host Cougars 34-0 Saturday.
The two teams combined for 230 yards worth of penalties – 115 yards on 12 penalties for the Miners, and 115 yards on 13 penalties for Kennedy.
For many of NU’s drives, its own penalties were what stopped it short, but beside hurting itself, the Miner offense was nearly unstoppable.
Senior Ryan Herrera added another career day to his resume, picking up 105 yards for three touchdowns on 17 carries. His twin brother, Rich, also played a key role in Nevada Union’s ground game, rushing for 91 yards and the final touchdown of the game, a run from nine yards out.
“That’s how we wanted to play this game,” said NU head coach Dave Humphers. According to Humphers, it had been his team’s mindset from the get-go to keep the ball on the ground, which they did successfully, totaling 333 yards between 10 players.
“I was very happy with the performance of the Herreras and Chris Potter,” Humphers added.
Potter put up the third-largest numbers for any NU running back, with 75 yards on eight carries.
From the second drive of the game, in which the Miners scored before three minutes had passed in the first quarter on a 6-yard Ryan Herrera run, it became apparent Kennedy was unable to put up a worthy fight on defense.
After backup quarterback Nick Cartan rushed for a touchdown early in the second quarter, Ryan Herrera posted the third and fourth scores of the game, one before and one after halftime in the third quarter.
“Our offensive line was blocking really well today,” the ever-humble Ryan Herrera said. “It’ll get a little tougher (later in the season). But I think I can run like I did today. We can always get those touchdowns.”
‘Those’ touchdowns, as well as ones from the air, which were absent today from starter Tyler Smith (1-for-7 with an interception), and Cartan (2-for-2), will become increasingly important as three of the four teams the Miners take on the rest of the way have put up big numbers each Friday.
This Friday NU is at Yuba City, who has topped 40 points in two games so far this season.
Johnson, the team Nevada Union plays the following week, has won only one game. But Grant and Granite Bay, the two teams the Miners close the season against, are each averaging nearly 40 points per contest.
One other thing they’ll need to bring to each of those games is defense, something that has seen its ups and downs so far this season. But at Kennedy it was strong.
“What we have worked on very hard is our inside running game,” said Humphers. “So (at Kennedy) we worked on it more all day.”
The core of the Miner defense according to Humphers, made up of J.P. Biertuempfel, Garrett Lee and James Brindley, three defensive backs, linebackers Nick Cantrell and Andrew Moon, and 6-foot, 5-inch defensive lineman Andrew Jackson, is not something to be taken lightly by opposing offenses. Humphers gave credit to the entire crew for the win.
“They all played great … after the first quarter they shut (Kennedy) down,” he said.
Humphers plans to use every day as a chance to better his group for this Friday’s game at Yuba City (2-3 overall, 1-0 Metro Conference), but may have a long and trying road to travel before he gets to his final regular-season game at home against Granite Bay (4-0-1, 1-0) on Nov. 5.
Nevada Union JV
The NU junior varsity football team won 47-0 at Kennedy.
David Zealer had 132 yards with two touchdowns, and Jesse Ettlin had 142 yards and three scores.
On defense, Stephen Flores had nine solo tackles and four assists. NU’s defensive line held the Cougars to just two yards rushing.
The Miners are now 4-1 on the season.
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Golfers Jackie Hill and Bonnie Marvelli teamed up to take top honors in the 2021 Partners Best Ball Championship of the Nevada County Country Club Women’s Golf Group.