After watching his Miners turn a 16-point deficit into a 40-40 deadlock in a matter of eight fourth quarter minutes, Dave Humphers decided to go for it.
After the Davis Blue Devils had scored a touchdown to take a 47-40 in overtime, and after Nevada Union’s Corey Browning had just skipped into the left side of the end zone to pull the Miners within one point on their overtime possession, NU’s head coach decided to go for a two-point conversion and the victory.
But this time Browning was upended in the backfield by Davis cornerback Sean Richards to stop the Miners short of paydirt and, most likely, the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs in a 47-46 loss to the visiting Blue Devils Friday night.
“I just thought we had so much momentum that we could win the thing,” said Humphers, whose Miners slipped to 3-6 overall and 1-3 in the Delta Valley Conference with only next week’s regular-season finale against Valley still in sight. “Obviously, it’s my fault. We went for two and we didn’t pull it off.”
Had Humphers elected to send kicker Kyle Bielen in to knot the game at 47-47, another overtime session would have followed. But he decided to roll the dice.
“Our kids battled back from two scores down, 16 points down, late in the game to tie it,” Humphers said. “We were just trying to do something positive at the end to win.
“And, you know, I thought we had the play. But their guy came up and made a play on us.”
Richards’ game-ending tackle was one of very few defensive stops on the night for both teams. Neither defense showed an ability to consistently stop the other team’s offense, which was clear throughout a first half that saw no punts.
And after Davis scored on a 26-yard pass play from quarterback Scott Malinoff to Mauricio Davidson, as the Blue Devils took a 40-24 lead with 8:25 remaining, it looked as the though the Miners were through.
But back came the blue-and-gold.
In less than two minutes, the Miners drove 62 yards for a score. Browning’s 37-yard breakaway run down the left sideline served as the key play in the drive. And five plays later, he ran the ball right up the gut for a 3-yard touchdown. Broughan Jantz, Nevada Union’s sophomore quarterback, hooked up with senior Colin Casey on a two-point pass to pull within 40-32 with 6:24 to go.
Though NU’s defense had trouble keeping the Blue Devil offense under wraps for most of the night, the Miners forced Davis to punt with just less than four minutes remaining.
Three snaps later, NU junior Cameron Ryan took the ball over the left side of the line, broke into the open field and sprinted 58 yards for the touchdown. On the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, Jantz faked a handoff up the middle and then pitched the ball to Browning off an option to the left for the two points and a 40-40 score with 3:01 to go in regulation.
“You have to give (NU) a lot of credit because it was a great comeback,” said Davis coach Jim Johnson, whose Blue Devils improved to 6-3 on the season and 2-2 in the DVC. “We thought they’d try to throw the ball to get back into it, but they didn’t have to.
“I was a little surprised (NU went for two points at the end). It’s a gutsy call. We thought about it (after Davis’ overtime score), but since we had the ball first, we decided to kick it first.”
Davis dominated most of the first half, totaling 244 yards of offense while racking up a 27-17 lead at halftime. The Blue Devils were led by the right arm of Malinoff, who completed 15 of 21 passes for 199 yards and four touchdowns.
Darian Huston had six catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns for Davis, while Davidson added four catches for 72 yards and another score. The Blue Devil backfield was also productive with Jake Lubisch rushing for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Eric Stenson added another 72 yards on the ground, as Davis finished the game with 429 yards of offense.
Nevada Union’s offense was no slouch, totaling 355 yards on the night. Browning had 122 yards and two touchdowns, while Ryan rushed for 118 yards and a score.
Jantz, who took all the snaps under center for the first time this season, completed five of eight passes for 127 yards and three touchdowns. The sophomore southpaw twice connected with Casey for a total of 63 yards and two touchdowns, while also hitting Cole Stanford for a 34 yard scoring strike.
“I just thought everyone was coming together as a team,” Jantz said after the loss. “I can’t take any credit. It’s all because of the O-line, the receivers and the running backs.”
After the game, and after he had a chance to collect his thoughts, Humphers said he’d make the same decision – to go for the win in overtime – if he got the chance to do it all again.
“I’d do it the same way,” he said. “I’d go for two again. We had just gotten two scores and two two-point conversions and I didn’t feel like they could stop us. I just had faith in my guys. Our kids have that never-say-die, never-quit attitude.
“And, you know, with all the adversity and all the ups and downs this season, I said ‘Let’s do something positive, something aggressive, to win.’ And I’d do it all again.”
Nevada Union 49, Davis 7
Seven different Miners scored as Nevada Union’s junior varsity routed visiting Davis 49-7 Friday night, moving the Miners to 8-1 on the season and 4-0 in league action.
Chris Biertuempfel hit Daniel Pettinato with a 54-yard touchdown pass for the night’s biggest play from the NU offense.
Juan Espinosa, Jason Slade, Duncan Chapple, Drew Hoskin and Cody Vallejo also each scored a touchdown in the NU victory. Conner Klauer also returned a blocked kick for a Nevada Union touchdown.
Eric Niederberger led the defense with seven tackles, while Espinosa and Justin Fike each had six stops.
To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4240.
Davis 47, Nevada Union 46, OT
Davis (6-3) 13 14 7 6 7 – 47
NU (3-6) 3 14 7 16 6 – 46
NU – Kyle Bielen 47 field goal, 11:00.
D – Jake Lubisch 3 run (Pass failed), 5:43.
D – Lubisch 5 run (Andrew Smith kick), 1:50.
NU – Colin Casey 24 pass from Broughan Jantz (Bielen kick), 11:54.
D – Darian Hutson 9 pass from Scott Malinoff (Smith kick), 7:06.
NU – Cole Stanford 35 pass from Jantz (Bielen kick), 4:00.
D – Hutson 37 pass from Malinoff (Smith kick), 1;30.
NU – Casey 39 pass from Jantz (Bielen kick), 7:57.
D – Lubisch 4 run (Smith kick), 4:37.
D – Mauricio Davidson 26 pass from Malinoff (Kick blocked), 8:25.
NU – Corey Browning 3 run (Casey pass from Jantz), 6:24.
NU – Cameron Ryan 58 run (Browning run), 3:01.
D – Cody Keefer 6 pass from Malinoff (Smith kick), :00.
NU – Browning 7 run (Run failed), :00.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.