|EL DORADO — Even through driving rain, blowing wind and dropping temperatures with every passing moment Friday, neither the elements or visiting Marysville High were no match for the Union Mine High football team.
The Diamondbacks had one focus — defeat the Indians and move on to the next round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
Mission accomplished. Behind Sean Tow’s 252-yard rushing effort, two touchdowns from Cody Tow, efficient quarterbacking by Graham Bennett and a stellar defensive effort, Union Mine did advance with a 25-6 victory.
After the D’backs were stopped on their first two drives of the game, Union Mine played solid defense and set up its next offensive attack. The third time was the charm as the D’backs marched right down the field to the Marysville 6-yard line.
From there, Cody, who rushed for 35 yards on 13 carries on the night, took a pitch and raced around the right end to give the hosts a 6-0 advantage early in the second quarter. After finding the end zone, Union Mine dominated the rest of the game and will now play Calaveras Friday for a berth in the championship game.
The weather had no bearing on the D’backs’ play.
“Our team was really focused and ready to play tonight,” said Bennett, who was 8-of-9 on the night. passing for 132 yards and a touchdown. “We were able to throw because the line was so great and our receivers were wide open. Tthey made it real easy to get the ball to them. Now we just want to keep playing well and we’re very excited about being able to play next week.”
After Cody’s touchdown, the defense of Ron Eddy, Dakota Ward, Beau Bridge, Cameron Chima, Shane O’Leary, Jeremy Hernandez, Tyler Evans, Chris Vasquez, Kona Teixiera and Oscar Rodriquez and a host of others swarmed the Indians on every play. The D’backs were relentless in their pursuit and denied Marysville fourth down attempts and forced turnovers.
One of those takeaways was Hernandez’ fumble recovery that ended one Indian drive and Ward flew in and recovered another fumble on bobbled snap on a punt, pouncing on the ball at the 24-yard line with a little under two minutes left in the first half.
With great field position, the Union Mine offense quickly found the land of quick six as the offensive line of Dan DeRosa, Andrew Middleton, Paxton Fitzpatrick, Vasquez and Evans gave Bennett plenty of time to find Eddy running free down a seam for a 24-yard touchdown catch. With Sean’s extra point splitting the uprights, the D’backs went to the break with a 13-0 lead. to give the D’backs a 13-0 lead.
Union Mine ate up time in the second half with a total of three possessions, two resulting in touchdowns. The D’backs kept the ball to run the final five and a half minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter.
“Every week these guys come out and play hard,” Union Mine coach Dave Johnson said. “Tonight we really felt like we could throw on Marysville and we did a good job of that. The team right now is playing great and we are just going to keep approaching each week the same way, preparing for one game at a time.
Moments into the second half Friday, Sean ruined whatever spirit and hope Marysville had left as he went off left tackle and outraced the Indian defense to the end zone on a 59-yard scoring run. The touchdown gave Union Mine a 19-0 lead and complete control as the defense continued to shut down the Marysville offense.
Late in the third quarter, the D’backs marched down field one more time and Cody went up the middle for his second touchdown to finish the drive.
After the Indians finally scored midway through the fourth quarter Union Mine took over and ground out the remaining minutes.