I seem to recall that when I was in high school, our football team only won one league game during the four years I was there. I don't have immediate access to the facts to back it up, but I do know the league win was over our hated rival, which was cause for great celebration. That's nothing, though, compared to what Nevada Union High School has gone through.
What makes it tougher for the foothill school that serves residents of Grass Valley, Nevada City, and surrounding communities, is that less than a decade ago, the school was a football powerhouse. They were winning league titles and section championships over and over again. The school has suffered declining enrollment since, but until last year was still grouped with the big boys, and that meant lots of losing.
That streak, however, came to an end Friday night. In front of a raucous home crowd at Hooper Stadium on Senior Night, the Nevada Union Miners defeated the Ponderosa Bruins 20-7. The victory came one day short of exactly seven years, 2555 days, and 38 consecutive games since a 52-19 win at Roseville on October 19, 2012. The previous week, they beat Woodcreek at home 45-7—the only two league games they would win that year.
Until last season, the Miners were overmatched in their league. They were playing teams like Folsom, Oak Ridge, Del Oro, and Granite Bay—teams that were loaded and were among the best schools in the entire state. Folsom had a quarterback named Jake Browning, who ended up at the University of Washington and was a Heisman Trophy candidate. Oak Ridge's QB was Ian Book, who is now starting at Notre Dame.
But in every league, there's always at least one team you think you can beat, and that team was Woodcreek. In 2016, Nevada Union lost at the Roseville school 34-32. The next season, on a pass tipped away in the end zone as time expired, the Miners lost at home 54-53. It was games like those that made you look up to the heavens and ask “Why?'
Last year, Nevada Union was moved into a different league. The newly created league featured better competition, but there was still no league win. They lost to Oakmont 29-20 and then went to Ponderosa and fell 38-35. It just wasn't in the cards.
This year, the Miners lost at Oakmont 34-21 and did not look good. They got Ponderosa at home, though, and the defense showed up in force. The final regular season home game turned into something memorable for a lot of people.
At Palmdale High School between 1979 and 1982, I remember celebrating a 6-6 tie against Saugus. Sure, it wasn't a win, but it wasn't a loss. We would gladly take it. A year or two later (I think it was my senior year, and I want to say it was Homecoming), Palmdale defeated Antelope Valley 22-6. By far and away, the greatest football night of high school. Not only was it a win, but it came against the school we wanted to win against the most.
For Nevada Union, the players, and even those who go to the school and don't play football, will remember this one. My school's team got pretty good in the subsequent years after I left. The once-great Miners team could return to football glory again, although they'll have to do it as a smaller school. It's amazing, though, what one win can do. The Miners are also headed to the playoffs for the first time in several years as well. Memories that will stay with today's youth for a long time.
Public Safety Power Shutoff: Grass Valley, and parts of several northern California counties could see their power shut off voluntarily by Pacific Gas and Electric because of potential fire danger. The bankrupt utility had one earlier this month which lasted for three days. This one is supposed to be for only about 24 hours, starting Wednesday around 2pm and lasting well into Thursday. It's being referred to as 'the new normal', but during the last one. schools were closed, businesses were losing money, and people were more than inconvenienced by the long outage.
Soccer talk: Admittedly, the sport does not get a lot of coverage on this site, but two futbol notes of note. The city of Sacramento is celebrating the announcement that they are getting an MLS franchise. Sacramento Republic FC will be elevated to major league status in 2022, and will play in a new stadium yet to be built. A pubic rally and celebration followed today's announcement downtown. Also, for southern Californians, the two Los Angeles teams will meet in a playoff game against each other Thursday night. MLS has gone to a single-elimination format this year, and top seed LAFC will host the LA Galaxy, with the winner advancing to the Western Conference finals. The match is at 7:30pm on ESPN.
World Series begins Tuesday: Speaking of soccer, scores from the World Series could be like that of a soccer match when you look at the pitching the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals have to offer. The Astros won 107 games to the Nats' 93 during the regular season, but you could argue that Washington's starting pitching is better. Houston has Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, but Washington can go four deep with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Anibal Sanchez, and Patrick Corbin. If the old adage is true that good pitching stops good hitting, we may have a few 1-0 games.
Moron of the month: Miami Dolphins safety Bobby McCain will be disciplined by the team for getting into a verbal altercation with a 13 year-old Bills fan before Miami's loss in Buffalo Sunday. According to reports, the kid called McCain 'irrelevant', and McCain responded by threatening to spit on him. Then, after the Buffalo win, McCain reportedly did spit on the kid. There's no word yet if the discipline means suspension or any missed playing time.