Nevada Union closes season with lopsided loss to Oak Ridge | SierraSun.com

Nevada Union closes season with lopsided loss to Oak Ridge

Walter Ford
wford@theunion.com

Nevada Union’s football season came to a close Friday night with a 48-14 loss to Sierra Foothill League heavyweight Oak Ridge.

Under the lights at Hooper Stadium, the undefeated Trojans (9-0, 5-0 SFL) were simply too much for the Miners (2-8, 0-6 SFL), who fell behind 35-0 in the first half and never recovered.

Oak Ridge got on the board just 32 second into the game when receiver Justin Poerio took a handoff on what looked to be a sweep play, but pulled up and threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Braeden Anderson.

The Trojans senior quarterback Marco Baldacchino took over from there. Baldacchino hit Austin Jarrard for a 5-yard touchdown pass to put Oak Ridge up 14-0 in the first quarter. Baldacchino then ran for a pair of scores, one coming from 25-yards out and another from 15-yards out to put the Trojans up 28-0 midway through the second quarter.

Davin Simmons added a short touchdown run before halftime to make it 35-0.

The Trojans then made it 42-0 in the third quarter with a blocked punt they recovered in the end zone.

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The Miners finally got going late in the third quarter when Hayden Fay blocked an Oak Ridge punt, setting NU up at the 6-yard line. Senior running back Tyler Nielson would eventually punch it in from 1-yard out. Neilson’s touchdown snapped an 11-quarter scoreless stretch for NU.

Nielson, a three-year varsity starter, finished his senior year with 524 rush yards and six total touchdowns (five rushing, one receiving). The talented ball carrier finished his varsity career with 1,855 rush yards, 24 total touchdowns and an average per carry above 5 yards.

“I love them all,” Nevada Union head coach Dennis Houlihan said of his senior players. “I’ve watched them grow up as if they were my own kids. I feel as a coach and as a dad I’m losing 16 of my own kids. It’s heart wrenching but at the same time exciting to see what they do next.”

Leading NU’s ground game against Oak Ridge was freshmen Jaxon Horne, who rushed the ball four times for a team-high 53 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. It was Horne’s first game at the varsity level.

Nevada Union’s Dawson Fay added 50 yards to his yearly total and closes his junior season with 1,173 yards on the ground. His rushing total is the most by a Nevada Union running back since 2010. He also led the Miners in touchdowns this season with 14 (11 rushing, two kickoff returns, one passing).

Hayden Fay, a senior receiver, led all NU pass catchers with five receptions for 74 yards. He finishes the year with team-highs in catches (28) and receiving yards (338). Hayden Fay, also a three-year varsity starter, was a consistent target for NU during his career, making at least one catch in 24 straight games.

Nevada Union’s senior quarterback Owen Dal Bon left with an injury in the first half, but sophomore replacement Justin Gardner fared well, completing five of his 10 passes for 75 yards.

The game with Oak Ridge signaled the end of Nevada Union’s run in the SFL, a place they struggled, going 5-39 against league opponents since joining in 2010. Nevada Union will compete in the Foothill Valley League next season.

Oak Ridge will now get ready to face Folsom (9-0, 5-0 SFL) for the league title next week.