Last Tuesday I sat in my dad’s office on an old, crummy computer and wrote an article about how awful the Miner football team looked through the first two weeks of the season. I felt pretty bad, but I also mentioned that once the sun came up on Monday morning, I’d be writing about a different team than what we’ve seen so far. Thankfully, Coach Rogers and company made me look pretty smart. After the faceplants they had in weeks 1 and 2, the Miners defeated the Monache Marauders 30-13 on Friday night in Porterville. The El D defense took control of the game with only allowing 275 yards of total offense, also garnering two turnovers in the process.
The biggest highlight of the night was the transformation of the Miner defense against the run. In the first two games, the Miners had given up 544 yards just on the ground. On Friday, they limited Monache to just 64 yards on 33 carries. That’s 1.9 yards per carry. Although Monache isn’t one of the most talented teams the valley, Friday night proved to be a huge step in the right direction for the Green Sea.
Junior QB Parker Boswell also orchestrated a rejuvenated Miner offense. Boswell connected with senior wideout Curtis Robert for two touchdowns, and like I said last week, having a guy like Robert (6’4) back on the roster makes this offense capable of a lot more big plays down the field. However, the Miners will clash with another sleeping giant this week in the Dinuba Emperors (2-0).
Every single year, watching the Emperors and Miners play each other on the same field is like watching a war unfold right before your eyes. Dinuba brings a physicality and toughness that not a lot of teams have, but the Miners have done a good job in recent years of punching back. The big question will be if Coach Rogers’ defense can repeat its performance against the ground game from last week. The Dinuba run game has averaged over 200 yards per game, with not much of a supporting cast through the air. So if the Miner defense can make Dinuba beat them with the passing game, they’ll be in much better shape.
Friday night will be an absolute brawl, but with a bounce-back win last week and it being homecoming night, this is a brawl that the Miners will walk into with a lot of swagger and a devilish smile.
Just like the football program, El Diamante’s volleyball squad bounced back after two straight losses to even up their record at 2-2. But they’ve gone on a tear since then, winning 5 out of their last 7 games for a solid record of 7-4.
Carli Gordon continues her stellar campaign, tallying 60 kills on the season. Gordon has 25 more skills than the closest leader on the El D roster and is 5th in the WYL with total kills. Strong defense and relentless blocking have anchored the recent success the Miners have had.
Out of their 5 wins in the past week, 4 of them have been shutouts. Gillian Nutter and Preslee Nunez are absolute forces standing in front of the net. Nutter leads the whole WYL with 30 total blocks, and Nunez is right behind her in the 3rd spot with 25. The coolest part about the Miner volleyball squad this year, is the youth. Out of all the key players on the Miner roster, very few are seniors.
For example; Carli Gordon, Preslee Nunez, Gillian Nutter, Avery Faria, and Alyssa Stephens all will return next season. And that’s just to name a few. To compliment this montage of youth talent, every single senior on the roster provides leadership and experience that is essential to any team’s success. Makayla Dwelle stands out as one of the vocal leaders on the court, along with Madison Flores and Kieryn Ruby. Flores has garnered 83 digs in just 11 games played, which stands at the 5th best in all of the WYL.
The Miners are entering WYL play with a 3 game win streak and a loud and rowdy student section to back them. It’s been known throughout the whole year that the Miners are a force to be reckoned with. Every time they run out of the locker room and onto the court, they’re cheered relentlessly by a crowd that is very well aware that this is a team that’s more than capable of winning a Valley title.