YOUTH FOOTBALL: Nevada Union Jr. Miners begin playoff quests
Mighty Mites - at Marysville for Mighty Mite Bowl, 8:05 a.m., today
*Pee Wees - vs. Placer, 3:30 p.m., today
Jr. Midgets - Bye
*Midgets - vs. Woodland, 7:30 p.m., today
*Games played at Hooper Stadium
What sets the Jr. Miners apart from the rest of the competition?
“Heart, drive, determination,” said Jr. Miners (Jr. Midget Division) head coach Ty Conway.
The Nevada Union Jr. Miners (Jr. Midget Division) earned the No. 1 seed in the Sierra Valley USA North playoffs after going 8-1 overall and 6-0 in conference play.
Despite having a bye through the first week of playoffs, the Jr. Miners were hard at work this week preparing for a championship run, a goal that was set at the beginning of the season.
“They set the goal this year to win another championship and they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do,” Conway said. “They are coachable kids and they have a great shot at it.”
Many of the Jr. Miners players on the Jr. Midget Division team (ages 10-13) won a SVUSA North championship in the Pee Wee division last year.
“We’ve set a goal of trying to get two in a row,” said quarterback and team captain J.T. Conway.
As for the key to reaching their goal?
“I think teamwork and fighting like brothers,” said J.T. Conway.
The Jr. Miners team is just that — a team, said Ty Conway, and that’s why they have been so successful.
“They are a great group of kids, they work together and they play team football. There isn’t a single individual,” he said. “They fit together like a puzzle. They have come together and on game day they play for each other not themselves.”
The Jr. Miners have several offensive weapons, including running backs Aiden Wahl, Jaxon Horne, Santino Sanchez-Lane and A.J. Meyer as well as quarterback J.T. Conway, that keep defenses guessing
While the team has multiple top tier players at the skill positions, Ty Conway said the offense is potent thanks to the offensive line, which is comprised of center Caleb Johnson, left guard Devin Sunde, left tackle Ezra Tout, right guard Danny Freedman, right tackle John Stanley and tight end Ayrton Swasey.
On the season, the Jr. Miners are averaging 28.7 points per game.
The Jr. Miners defense is a force to be reckoned with as well, having pitched shutouts the past two weeks in wins over Lincoln and Woodland.
Defensive captain and inside linebacker A.J. Meyer said the key to reaching the team’s goal of winning a SVUSA North Championship is simple.
“Executing of offense, and stopping them on defense,” he said.
Digging into the playoffs
Joining the Jr. Midget squad in the playoffs is three other Jr. Miners teams as the program is sending four of its five levels into the postseason.
The Jr. Miners have two teams playing at Hooper Stadium today as the Midget and Pee Wee division teams host Placer and Woodland respectively in the first round.
The Jr. Miners’ Midget team (ages 11-14) finished 3-6 overall, but a 3-3 mark in the Sierra Valley USA North division landed them the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.
They will face the No. 5 seed Woodland (2-8, 2-4 SVUSA North), who they beat 22-14 earlier in the season. The Midget Division Jr. Miners are led by Zachery Fink, Dillon Roberts, Jeremy Nettles, Anthony Vierra, Trevor Neilson and quarterback Bailey Brooke on offense, and Anghel Carrillo, Benji Taylor and Duke Morales on defense.
Kickoff for the Midget Division game between Nevada Union and Woodland is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight.
The Jr. Miners’ Pee Wee team (ages 9-12) also went 3-6 overall and 3-3 in the SVUSA North Division to earn the No. 4 seed. The Pee Wee Jr. Miners will face No. 5 seed Placer (3-7, 3-3 SVUSA North), who they beat 28-22 earlier in the season.
Kickoff for the Pee Wee Division game between Nevada Union and Placer is set for 3:30 p.m. today.
At the Mighty Mites level (ages 6-8), the Jr. Miners went 2-7 overall and 2-4 in SVUSA North play. The Mighty Mite Jr. Miners will play in the Mighty Mite Bowl in Marysville today.
As the youth football season enters its final weeks, so does Nevada Union Youth Football & Cheer President Mike Meyer.
Meyer, who spent two years as the head of the program, said he will be stepping down after the season.
Meyer said he believes the program is heading in the right direction and is in good hands.
“I think the thing we’re most proud about this season is our coaching,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier about our group of coaches at each level. We have great guys leading this program from the ground up. They’re great role models.”
Meyer led the program with the goal of teaching players and cheerleaders life lessons through sport and competition.
“I like instilling that competitiveness in them,” Meyer said. “Life is tough, it’s hard, and if you’re not competing in life, it can be tough on you.
“The main thing we do is provide a safe environment for them to enjoy themselves and learn, not just football, but learn responsibility and learn discipline.”
To learn more about the Nevada Union Youth Football & Cheer program visit http://www.nujuniorminers.org.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Nevada Union Junior Miners Football and Cheer teams traveled on Saturday to Casa Roble High School in Orangevale to play the Casa Roble Junior Rams in Sacramento Youth Football League action.