When your starting quarterback goes down, you need someone who’s reliable and that can be leaned on. That ended up coming to fruition for the Napa High football team Friday night.
An injury to Isaiah Newton in the first quarter forced Hunter St. Clair into action, and the sophomore led the Grizzlies to their two scores in a 20-14 overtime loss to Nevada Union-Grass Valley.
St. Clair passed for a total of 139 yards, completing 5 of his 18 passing attempts.
“When you’re the backup quarterback, you don’t get as many reps in practice,” Napa High head coach Richie Wessman said of the efforts of St. Clair. “You know, he did it. He did a fantastic job of leading the offense.”
But the Grizzlies (1-1) had a hard time stopping Nevada Union running back Jaxon Horne. In overtime, it was the 6-foot-, 190-pound junior who gave the Miners (1-1) the victory when he barged into the end zone on a 6-yard touchdown rush.
Horne also had Nevada Union’s other two scores on the night. He scampered into the end zone for the first score of the game from 4 yards out at the 2:57 mark of the first quarter, and then with 10:44 remaining in the contest from 19 yards away.
Napa tied the score at 7-7 when St. Clair connected with Christoph Horton for a 33-yard touchdown pass and Erik Vargas converted the first of his two extra points. Horton ended the night with two receptions for 58 yards.
“Hunter is our backup quarterback, and he threw a really nice pass that set me up perfectly,” Horton said of his touchdown reception.
Brock Bowers once again didn’t fail to impress on the evening after a nice showing last week at Middletown. With 10:23 remaining in the contest, St. Clair found Bowers on a 90-yard hookup down the left sideline that tied the game up at 14. Bowers ended the night 87 yards on only five catches.
“I feel like I got separation more times, but he (St. Clair) just put it right there that time,” Bowers said. “So, just a good throw.”
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“It was a great protection, great throw, a heck of a play by him to make the catch, a heck of a play to fend off the defense and go down the sideline,” Wessman added. “It was truly an incredible play.”
Napa also caught a few breaks when Nevada Union kicker Moises Tovar missed back-to-back field goal attempts, which more than likely would’ve given the Miners the win.
With 2:32 left in the game, Tovar’s kick from 37 yards out made it only to the end zone. That came after the Miners had driven the ball to the Napa 10-yard line.
Then, with only 12 ticks left in the game, Tovar missed a 20-yard field goal attempt to send the game to the extra frame.
“You know, the whole team is really playing well,” Wessman said. “They really are, and the defense is doing a fantastic job and we’re making plays on special teams and the same with the offense.”
“I am pleased with our defense,” Horton added.
Napa had four total turnovers on the evening, however, as compared to the Miners’ one.
It was the second overtime game in four years between the teams. Napa edged Nevada Union in Grass Valley in double-overtime, 36-35, in 2016.
The Grizzlies visit Vallejo High next Friday night, renewing what was at one point the third oldest rivalry in the state. The Redhawks (1-0) downed Fairfield, 24-20, on Friday night.