Aug. 30 - @ El Camino, L 49-6
Sept. 6 – Bear River, 7: 15 p.m.
Sept. 13 – @ Colfax, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 - Ponderosa, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 27 – @ River City, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 4 – @ Cosumnes Oaks, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 11 - Liberty Ranch, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 18 - Bye
Oct. 25 - Galt, 7:15 p.m.
Nov. 1 - vs. El Dorado, 7:15 p.m.
Nov. 8 – Vista del Lago, 7:15 p.m.
Team: Union Mine High
Conference: Sierra Valley Conference — Cosumnes Oaks, El Dorado, Galt, Liberty Ranch, River City, Vista del Lago
2012 record: 2-8 overall; 2-4 conference
Head coach: Dave Johnson
Assistant coaches: Mike Springer (running backs/outside linebackers); Shane Saba (offensive/defensive line, defensive coordinator); Davy Johnson (quarterbacks/defesnive backs, offensive coordinator); Kelly Truax (special teams); Dave Johnson (head coach, inside linebackers/receivers).
Key dates: Sept. 6 home opener vs. Bear River; Sept. 20 vs. Ponderosa; Sept. 27 @ River City;; Oct. 11 Homecoming vs. Liberty Ranch; Nov. 1 vs. El Dorado; Nov. 8 @ Vista del Lago.
While Union Mine High football head coach Dave Johnson has a mixture of returning and new players this season, one player on the tip of everyone’s tongue the last three seasons, Sran Tow, has graduated.
“We are more balanced than in the past couple of years,” Johnson said. “We have three, four pretty good high school type backs rather than one great one. I think teams will have to play us more honest. Everyone sees an increased responsibility in their role on the team.
“With Sean it was easy to just watch him play and not play hard yourself. He was good enough to make big plays whether anyone blocked or not.”
Offense — The Diamondbacks, running out of their Pro Spread offense, will rely heavily on running backs Anthony Beck, Tyler Parker, Jake Horn and Matt Cathey, plus wide receiver Zac Kraus. Linemen returning are Hunter Cannon and Justin Reiner.
Newcomers are sophomores and a freshman. Austin Rigsby and Brody Pearman, both sophomores, join juniors Alex Balderston and Cesar Rodrigues, both linemen. Union Mine has two quarterbacks in Nate Brown and Pearman. Joining the starters are Josh Middleton, a sophomore, and Juan DeSalas, a freshman, both linemen.
“Get better everyday,” said Johnson of what players want to accomplish in practices and games this year, “and play as hard as we can — one play at a time.”
Defense — More than 90 percent of the players on Union Mine’s roster 30-player roster, including the ones listed on offense, will see double duty in the D’backs’ 50 defense, Johnson stated.
Special teams — Brown will handle the punting and Estoban Gonzales continues with the extra-point kicks for the D’backs.
Conference — Cosumnes Oaks, Vista del Lago and River City are expected to battle for the top three spots in the conference in their final run in the Sierra Valley Conference. Next year, the trio will move up to Division II and III leagues.
Liberty Ranch and El Dorado are expected to be in the mix. The Hawks, who won a share of the conference title with Vista two years ago, missed the playoffs last year. Intra-county and conference rival El Dorado returns a bulk of its offense this season. Galt, which is riding a 21-game losing skid, has more players this year (35) than last year (26).
“El Dorado, Liberty Ranch, and Galt for the most part on the upswing,” Johnson said. “El Dorado is getting better each year, Liberty Ranch has been very good and will continue to be.”
Union Mine will be prepared for each game this season, and at the same time, building toward upcoming years with its underclassmen.