Bandits pick up defense in second half | SierraSun.com

Bandits pick up defense in second half

Special to the Sun

Submitted PhotoCaige Maran and Damien Lopez prepare to block.

Both sides recognized it after the McQueen Lancers stuck the Truckee Wolverines with a 27-0 loss in a Sierra Youth Football League Bandit Division game this past Saturday.

Whether it is the halftime cheer and#8220;color shoutand#8221; or the sun finally giving its blessings on the days and warming up the field, the Wolverines are a second-half team.

Head coach Marc McMullen talked about the second-half improvement to his team after the game. He commended his team for moving the ball 11 yards in the second half against a hard-hitting opponent that yielded minus-7 yards in the first half. He commended the defense for forcing two turnover-on-downs and not allowing the Lancers to penetrate the end zone in the third quarter. He also praised the blocking improvement that was exemplified by wingback Stephen Borden.-

Borden, who is one of the youngest Wolverines, who are ages 5 to 7, used his size to leverage a much bigger opponent to check out an uninterrupted view of the Truckee sky. The upending block earned Borden an extra helmet sticker.

McMullen did not only recognize Borden, but he recognized all the Wolverines for an excellent second-half effort and awarded helmet stickers to all.

The opposing offensive coach for the Lancers noticed the same and commented that he was stumped on what to do to advance the ball in the second half. He pointed out that defensive ends Hutton Johnson and Sean McMullen and linebacker Jason Roth disrupted his offense.

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He did later figure out what to do late in the fourth quarter. He called upon his daughter to run the ball around the right side for two touchdowns on two of the Lancersand#8217; last three offensive plays of the game.

Prior to the 39- and 16-yard scores, the Truckee defense had tightened up and yielded only 56 yards in the second half. The Lancers finished with 219 yards.

Johnson did most of the tightening for the defense with a season-high 14 tackles. He had four solo tackles and was in on each one of the four tackles behind the line of scrimmage except for one. Roth got credit for that one exception and took the running back down by himself for a loss of 2. Roth finished the day with one other tackle behind the line, one solo tackle and matched his previous personal best with 11 tackles.

The other defender the Lancers coach mentioned was McMullen, who finished with eight tackles. Tavin Hamilton was moved around in different defensive positions and tallied six tackles with two being solo. Defensive tackle Aidan Powers had five tackles, including a solo tackle that saved a touchdown. Powers pushed the running back out of bounds at the 3 to end a 27-yard gain.

Linebacker Jake Solberg had five tackles, safety Holden Woodruff had four and linebacker Ronan Collins had three. Borden and linebacker Caige Maran both had a tackle.

Offensively, the Wolverines were led in rushing by quarterback Tavin Hamilton with 13 yards on eight carries. Running back Jason Roth put onto the field what was being practiced during the week. He would take the hand off at full speed and crash into the line. His running style earned him five attempts without negative yardage, which proved to be a feat against the Lancers. He fought for a total of 7 yards.

Running back Caige Maran took his first and only carry of the season up the middle for a gain of 2. Woodruff led the team with an 8-yard kick return.

The Wolverines host the Hug Hawks at Riverview Sports Park on Saturday at 9 a.m. to end their season.

and#8212; This article was submitted to Sports Editor Sylas Wright at swright@sierrasun.com.