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Woodland tough matchup for NU

Dan BurkhartNU linebacker and leading tackler Steve Kenney led the swarm on this play last Saturday against Kennedy. Kenney and the defensive unit will need another good outing against Woodland tonight.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

For those Nevada Union football fans who have grown tired of all those blowout victories and thirst for a real game, Friday’s Metro Conference showdown with visiting Woodland may just hit the spot.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Woodland (6-1overall, 2-1 league), which gave up a touchdown in the final minutes in its 21-17 loss to Grant of Sacramento Oct. 25, sports the league’s second rated defense (9.8 ppg) along with a high-octane offense.



“They did an outstanding job against Grant,” NU (7-0, 3-0) head coach Dave Humphers said of the Wolves’ defense. “Their defensive linemen are all skilled and shed blocks real well. They’re not a real big team, they put more of a emphasis on quickness. They’ve also got some very good athletes in the secondary. Every player they have on defense is good.”

Woodland, which went 7-3 and made it to the playoffs last season, averaged 29.0 points a game to start the season 6-0.




Then came the matchup with Grant.

Up for grabs for the Wolves was not only a share of first place in the Metro, but a chance to avenge last season’s 20-3 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I first round loss.

“Woodland was ahead with about five minutes left, then threw into the end zone and got picked off. If they would have run the ball, they could possibly have run out the clock,” Humphers said.

OFFENSE

The Wolves lost more than the just a game in their matchup with Grant.

Senior quarterback Mario Sonora (6-foot, 170 pounds), the league’s leading passer, suffered a concussion late in the game and it’s unsure if he’ll suit up.

Sonora, who leads the team in rushing with 370 yards on 58 carries with four touchdowns, has thrown for 1,106 yards on 80-of-133 passing with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

“We’re planning on playing against Sonora. He’s a big part of their team and we don’t know that he’s not playing,” he said.

“They’ve got a good offensive line, a strong running game and a group of good athletes at wide receiver, so even if he’s not playing, (they’re tough).”

Curtis Barfield (5-10, 175) is one Wolf NU will have to put a helmet on.

The senior running back, who’s tied with senior fullback Robert Landers (5-8, 187) for the team lead in scoring with 42 points, is second on the team in rushing (349 yards) and receiving (217 yards).

Sammy Andrade (6-0, 200) leads Woodland’s receiving corps with 505 yards on 41 catches with a pair of touchdowns.

“We think they’ll try to control the game by running between the tackles, so we’ll have to defend their running game first. Then we’ll be able to do all of the things we do to stop their passing game,” Humphers said.

DEFENSE

The Wolves are led by junior Eric Ullrich.

The 6-foot, 1-inch, 185 pound middle linebacker has totaled 68 tackles with a pair of sacks.

Free safety Justin Quezada (5-9, 145), tackle Cosmo Apodaca (5-11, 263) and outside linebacker Kelly Ortiz (5-7, 150) have combined for 124 tackles, three sacks and a pair of interceptions.

“They’re not real big on defense, they emphasize quickness. They give a variety of looks so the key for us will be to block their various fronts and stunts so we can get our backs in their secondary.” Humphers said.


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