Nevada Union football coach Dennis Houlihan said before the season started that he expected the Miners to be a better second half team this year, winning games it lost last year because it faded in the last two quarters.
The team lived up to the coach’s expectations last week, turning a 16-16 halftime tie into a 43-16 laugher against the Placer Hillmen in the home opener at Hooper Stadium.
Meanwhile, Bear River relied on its superior defense to shut out Union Mine 20-0 at home, taking its season record to 2-0. The Bruins have now surrendered just 7 points in 8 quarters of play.
NU’s first win of the season was a first in several regards: First victory in nine games and first home win since 2014. The Miners showed considerable improvement on both sides of the line of scrimmage after the team’s disheartening opening week lose to Antelope.
Aside from shutting out the Hillmen 27-0 in the second half, NU racked up more than 400 yards of total offense thanks to a solid run game and a revitalized passing attack. Quarterback Owen Dal Bon completed 10 of 14 passes for 141 yards and ran for two scores.
Placer was one of two teams NU beat last season. The other team, Lincoln, visits Hooper Stadium Friday. NU and Lincoln have 1-1 records, each losing to Antelope.
Bear River’s win was a slog, and led by the defense on both sides of the ball. In addition to shutting out the Diamondbacks, the defense set up two scores. Garrett Pratt was the catalyst in both instances, recovering a fumble that led to a field goal to close out the first half, and then blocking a punt that led to a TD.
Backup QB Calder Kunde held his own, completing 8 of 14 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. Regular QB Luke Baggett sat out the game because of a suspension, and will return Friday when Bear River hosts Pershing County, Nevada.
Pershing County is the site of the Burning Man Festival. BR hopes the visitors (1-0) aren’t as hot as the closing festivities at the unconventional event.