YOUTH FOOTBALL: Jr. Miners open season with hard-fought battles against Oakmont
Youth football fans got their money’s worth when the Nevada Union Jr. Miners (12U) hosted the Oakmont Jr. Vikings in the season opener for both teams at Hooper Stadium Saturday.
In a game that was tightly contested from start to finish, the Jr. Miners came up just short of victory, falling 7-6, to Oakmont.
“The game was exciting from the first kickoff and neither sideline had a moment’s rest for all 40 minutes of play,” said Jr. Miners head coach George Cabanas. “These athlete’s played every moment of the game as a single unit until the final second elapsed.”
The Jr. Miners’ offense put up an impressive 224 yards of total offense, 128 of which came through the air.
First time quarterback Nolan Chappell went 11 for 17 with no interceptions for the Jr. Miners.
“Nolan was as poised as any quarterback I have ever coached at this level, or any level,” Cabanas said. “Several times we thought he was sacked and he just kept his feet moving with his eyes down the field.”
The Jr. Miners’ offense protected the ball well with no lost fumbles.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Jr. Miners gave up one score but overall played the new defensive scheme well forcing four turnovers. With the exception of the lone Vikings score, the Jr. Miners’ defense held their opponents to 136 yards on the ground and zero passing yards. Bodey Eelkema helped the defense keep the game within reach with two deep punts of 46 and 25 yards.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Jr. Miners scored on a 12 play, 77 yard drive capped off with a six yard quarterback keep.
After an unsuccessful conversion attempt the Jr. Vikings maintained a 7-6 lead with 3:20 left in regulation.
However, the Jr. Miners’ special teams kept the excitement going and the spectators engaged. Soccer-turned-football player Thomas Moyer perfectly executed an onside kick placing the ball between Oakmont’s front line. The Jr. Miners recovered the kick and the offense took possession but was not able to get the ball into the end zone before time expired.
“This was one of those games where we did almost everything right: we controlled the clock well, we’re positive on the turnover ratio, played sound defense and had good special teams play but in the end we just came up short,” Cabanas said. “We had a few costly penalties negating some big gains, which we will correct, but overall the team discipline was excellent and I could not be more pleased with these young athletes today or more hopeful for the future of Nevada Union football.”
Cabanas is assisted by coaches Justin Morgan (offensive coordinator), Mike Eelkema (offensive line/defensive assistant), Keith Boucher (offensive line/defensive assistant), Benjamin Taylor (offensive assistant), Scott Hammerschmidt (offensive assistant), Meg Hughes (football operations), John Hughes (stats) and Erin Polan (team mom).
14U: OAKMONT 34, NEVADA UNION O
The 14U Miners fought hard, but were no match for the 14U Jr. Vikings Saturday.
James Kinney and Andrew Webster were strong on both sides of the ball for the Jr. Miners. Webster finished the game with an interception on defense.
Leading the offense was quarterback Maddox Graves and running back Reggie Roberson.
10U: OAKMONT 20, NEVADA UNION 13
Offensive standouts for the Jr. Miners include running back Anakin Steen, who rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, and fullback Austin Putnam, who tallied 75 rush yards on 16 carries and also scored an extra point.
Quarterback Brandon McCallum also pitched in with four carries and a completed pass.
Opening the holes on offense were lineman Owen Hooper, J.C. Harris, Caleb Souza, Aiden Larios, Ryan Chappell and tight end Gary Chicarelli.
On the defensive side, McCallum, Steen and Owen Hooper wrapped up nine tackles each. Harris notched seven tackles, including a sack. Lucas Liller chipped in with six tackles, and Zamiean Ferguson finished with five tackles.
8U: OAKMONT 24, NEVADA UNION 19
The 8U Jr. Miners battled the Jr. Vikings closely Saturday, but a late touchdown by Oakmont was the difference.
Leading the Jr. Miners on the offense was Jason Horne Jr., who scored two of NU’s touchdowns. Julian Cortez also got into the end zone for the Jr. Miners. Chloe Baer led the team from the quarterback position.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Jr. Miners got solid showings from Oscar Thomas, Anthony Lang, Cody Wasson, Ryan Schlachter, Zack Wolf, Braylen Link, Vinny Kiser and Brendan Avila.
Conner Hall and Jack Reeves turned in strong all-around games as well.
Nevada Union’s players on the field were supported all day by the talented Nevada Union Jr. Miners cheer squads.
The Jr. Miners next take on the Woodcreek Jr. Timberwolves Sept. 8 at Hooper Stadium.
For more information about Nevada Union Jr. Miners Football & Cheer, please visit http://www.jrminers.org.
Coaches and/or league organizers may submit game reports by email at email@example.com or by phone at 530-477-4232.
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