Calaveras High School defeated Union Mine 42-7 in a decisive offensive onslaught Friday night at Diamondback Field in El Dorado.
“We played pretty well,” said Calaveras Coach Jason Weatherby. “Offensively we did better than last week. We got better.”
No. 20 Noah Pruess, who had three touchdowns in Calaveras’ victory, believed that his squad still had a lot of work to do before their big showdown next week with conference rival Sonora High School.
“Three touchdowns is always good but the way we played wasn’t our best. I think that we could have had a lot more intensity but we still pulled it out for a win,” he said.
“It’s the rival game up next for us. That’s the game that’s been in the back our head since summer.”
At kickoff Friday night, the mood was electric under the light of a luminous harvest moon. Union Mine students, families and fans had packed the home section. Students in red, white and blue clothes and face paint and the burgundy Diamondback band led the crowd in calls of “Defense” throughout the first quarter.
Union Mine started off with the ball on their own 28-yard line following a short kickoff from Calaveras kicker Cameron Graef.
A string of offensive penalties lost them the ball five minutes later and a personal foul brought Calaveras within 30 yards of the endzone.
A quick reception to No. 5 Anthony Giangregorio opened up the scoring 10 minutes into the first quarter. Big receptions and punt returns from Diamondback No. 2 Justin Beckham kept Union Mine competitive for the remainder of the half. They kept their momentum going with a quick reception by No. 10 Nate Eschleman, who eluded a Calaveras corner to even the score.
But Calaveras was not going to be outdone so early. Gaining some steam with a few short runs and a 17-yard reception for a first down by No. 12 Shad Nordhal, Pruess scored his first TD on a 45-yard run to the end zone.
The game stopped briefly with about 4 minutes left in the half after a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit by Calaveras No. 34 Triston Madsen took down a Union Mine player on a punt return.
Union Mine took a knee while medical staff tended to the player. He eventually was able to walk off the field, and Madsen was ejected from the game. Madsen will also be unavailable for next week’s game against Sonora.
In the waning seconds of the second quarter, Pruess scored a nearly equivalent TD as his other one five minutes earlier, receiving a pass and making a nearly 40-yard run.
The third quarter started off as a defensive stalemate, with multiple punts and returns. Pruess expanded Calaveras’ lead with his third touchdown of the game to end the third.
By the fourth quarter, Calaveras was digging in their victory. Giangregorio scored his second of the game a few minutes in, and No. 40 Chance Norton scored in the final minutes.
Looking forward to next week, Weatherby said, “We have to play better defense. We have to choose our play calls more wisely. If we score more points than them, we’ll win.”