PREP FOOTBALL: Wolverines win Sierra Bowl
Northern League standings
Churchill County 7-0
Spring Creek 4-4
South Tahoe 2-6
North Valleys 0-7
The Truckee football team closed out the regular season by claiming a fifth consecutive victory.
The Wolverines defeated rivals South Tahoe 41-27 Oct. 26 in the Sierra Bowl, marking the fourth-straight time Truckee has defeated the Vikings.
“We just prepared well all week and we knew what we were up against,” said Truckee senior Connor McMullen.
The Wolverines wasted little time on Saturday, scoring on the opening possession of the game on an 88-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jackson Kahl to senior Tyler Estabrook. On Truckee’s next possession, McMullen broke loose on a 25-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0.
South Tahoe answered midway through the first quarter on a fourth-and-long play, scoring on a 32-yard diving catch.
On the ensuing possession, McMullen again burned the Vikings defense, gashing South Tahoe on a 51-yard touchdown run.
“I felt fast today in warmups, and once I got the ball, I was just churning and burning,” he said. “I just tried to do the best that I could for my team.”
McMullen added to his day by intercepting a pass to start the second quarter, which later set up a 15-yard touchdown run up the middle by senior Deacon Mehler.
“The quarterback thought I was going to jump out into the flat,” said McMullen on the interception. “I just saw his eyes and jumped right in front of it.”
A missed extra point left the score at 27-7.
Truckee’s Estabrook then extended the lead on the following possession, outracing the South Tahoe defense on a 67-yard touchdown run to make the score 34-7.
The Vikings responded on the next drive, and again converted a fourth-and-long play into a touchdown, scoring on a 10-yard pass from junior quarterback Jake Tarwater to junior Mason Hage. Estabrook blocked the extra point attempt.
The Wolverines would have one more opportunity to add points before half, but sophomore Jairo Zarate wasn’t able to connect on a 42-yard field goal attempt.
After Truckee’s defense forced a turnover on downs to start the second half, Estabrook again made South Tahoe pay, torching the defense on a 76-yard run for a third touchdown. The Truckee senior finished the afternoon with 201 rushing yards on 10 carries. He also had three receptions for 98 yards.
South Tahoe tacked on the final points of the afternoon midway through the fourth quarter on an 8-yard touchdown run by sophomore James Adams.
As a team, Truckee ran the ball for 387 yards. McMullen finished his game with 76 rushing yards, followed by Mehler with 43 rushing yards.
Defensively, senior George Skaff led the way with 19 tackles, including 11 solo tackles. Junior Finn Loper was in South Tahoe’s backfield all game long, recording five tackles for a loss, including a pair of sacks. Senior Dylan Lewis also had a sack as part of two tackles for a loss. Junior Dillon Kane had 11 tackles.
Truckee will now prepare for postseason play. The No. 3 seed Wolverines (6-3, 6-2 Northern League) will face No. 6 seed Elko (5-4, 4-4 Northern League) at home on Friday, at 7 p.m.
Truckee topped Elko 23-12 earlier in the season. The Wolverines have also beaten the Indians four straight times dating back to 2016.
“We’re ready,” said McMullen. “We’re all stoked to have a home playoff game — Friday night under the lights. We’ve got to focus up this week, especially in the film room.”
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643.