Northern 3A showdown | SierraSun.com

Northern 3A showdown

Sylas WrightSierra Sun

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunTruckee High junior linebacker and fullback Ryan Macken jumps on a loose ball against Colfax on Sept. 8. The Wolverines (1-0, 4-1) host Fernley (0-1, 4-1) in a key Northern 3A game Saturday at 1:30 p.m

Two playoff-worthy high school football teams are set to battle for Northern 3A bragging rights Saturday at Surprise Stadium.Game of the week? One could make the argument.Yeah, of course, Fernley coach Mark Hodges said of the Truckee-Fernley showdown. Anytime you play Truckee, with their tradition and what have you, youve always got a big game. Theyve had success for many, many years, and were trying to build a tradition here. I think it will be a pretty evenly matched game.So does Truckee coach Bob Shaffer, whose team is off to a 1-0 start (4-1 overall) in the highly competitive Northern 3A division after thumping Lowry 31-0 last week.The Vaqueros are 0-1 in league (4-1 overall) coming off a 25-12 loss at Sparks a week ago. Despite the league-opening loss to the Railroaders (1-0, 3-1) another powerful league opponent Shaffer knows that this years improved Fernley squad is not to be taken lightly.Theyre very good, Shaffer said of the Vaqueros. They have good size and good speed, and theyre very athletic. They can both pass the ball well and run it well. Theyre not a one-dimensional team.Asked if the Vaqueros are in fact better than in years past, as rumored, Shaffer said there is no question.Its like night and day, he said.To come away with a win, Shaffer said the Wolverines must continue to play stingy defense, as they have since trailing Colfax 16-0 in the first quarter on Sept. 8. Since then, Truckees defense has allowed just 14 points in 15 quarters of competition.Hodges is well aware of Truckees on-field prowess, both offensively and defensively.I know Truckee is Truckee. I know they play really good, aggressive defense, Hodges said. Their defensive line gets off the ball well, and theyre typically a good defensive team. Offensively, they run that Wing-t system better than anybody. Theyre very efficient. The offensive line comes off low and aggressive, and the backs run low and hard. They have the capability to move the ball.Last week, however, the Wolverines oftentimes moved in the wrong direction, as they committed 14 penalties totaling 155 yards.Thats the most (penalties) this season, for sure, said Shaffer, who was unimpressed with his teams effort in the rout. Its been a while since weve had that many.As for the Vaqueros, both Shaffer and Hodges said they were very much in the game at Sparks until the Railroaders pulled away in the second half when a snowstorm settled in.I think were much more capable than what we showed Friday night, Hodges said, adding that the loss may have fueled his team while teaching it a valuable lesson in sports.I think it made us more focused, Hodges said. You cant take the game for granted, and we didnt respect the game. When you dont respect the game and the competitiveness of it, it will come back to haunt you.Asked to predict the outcome on Saturday, Hodges snickered.I predict a lot of hard hitting. I dont know whats going to happen, but it should be exciting.

The North Tahoe High football team (2-3) is sure to be tested in its homecoming game on Saturday. The Lakers, competing for the first year in the Northern 2A division, host league power Yerington (4-1), which is coming off a 35-0 rout at the hands of first-place Lovelock (5-0). North Tahoe has momentum on its side, however, as the Lakers edged Whittell 35-32 on the road last weekend. Immediately following Saturdays homecoming game, in which the king and queen will be crowned at halftime, the community is invited to join in on in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and take a tour of the new campus.

Truckee and North Tahoe both kick off at 1:30 p.m.