Showdown at Surprise Stadium | SierraSun.com

Showdown at Surprise Stadium

Sylas WrightSierra Sun

Chuck Smith/Thin Air PhotographyTruckee High senior Drew Stewart charges through a hole during last years 3A state semifinal at Spring Creek. The Wolverines will have to do without the fullback when they face undefeated Dayton Saturday at Surprise Stadium.

The Wolverines have reached a bumpy section of road in their quest for a third consecutive state title.First up in that formidable series of bumps is the Dayton Dust Devils, who visit Truckee Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. showdown between the top two football teams in the Northern 3A.Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer is well aware of what his team is up against. Theyre big; theyre huge, Shaffer said of the undefeated Dust Devils (2-0 in league, 6-0 overall). They have good athletes, theyre well-coached and physical and theyve got good speed.Dayton indeed is a big team, with 11 of the 30 players on its roster tipping the scales at over 200 pounds, the largest of whom senior lineman Brandon Seymour is listed at 265. The Dust Devils also boast pairs of 250- and 240-pounders and three who weigh in at 230 pounds.Thats not all.They have a lot of experience from the standpoint that most of their seniors started as juniors and some as sophomores, Shaffer said. And their quarterback started as a freshman. This is their year, so to speak, so well see how it goes. But theyve got to come to Truckee and win.The results of Truckees last four games, not to mention last years 34-14 Truckee romp atDayton, suggest that should be no easy task. Consider: After stumbling out to an 0-2 start losing to Bishop and Colfax by a combined score of 48-21 Truckee has won its last four by an average margin of 32 points. The Wolverines have outscored their opponents 170-41 in that stretch while putting more points on the board each game, posting 33 against Piedmont, 40 on Winters, 43 on Lowry and 54 against Fernley last weekend.Weve had pretty much the same group (of players) on the field to start the game the last few weeks, and that cohesiveness is probably a big reason weve had success, Shaffer said.That will not be the case on Saturday, however, and that could be reason for concern.After all, the No. 1 thing the Wolverines have been working on this week is trying to get healthy.The defending 3A state champs (2-0 in league, 4-2 overall) may be down several key players, including two team captains in seniors Drew Stewart and Kyler Coxson. Stewart, a bull of a fullback and an important piece of Truckees ground game, will miss a week after suffering a mild concussion against Fernley last Friday, Shaffer said. Coxsen, a hard-hitting linebacker and team leader, is questionable after pulling his hamstring during practice on Tuesday.Senior defensive back Sam Silver is out for the season with a shoulder injury suffered last week, Shaffer said, and junior defensive tackle J.D. Wright had his shoulder operated on Monday. Tucker Nevin, a junior who serves as Stewarts backup at fullback, missed a couple days of practice and thus will not play the first quarter, his coach said.Were scrambling, Shaffer said. And to be doing that against a team thats 6-0 …Its kind of just one of those years where were getting out the duct tape and patches and trying to make it work.Truckee will find out tomorrow whether its last-minute mending is enough to topple Dayton and take over sole possession of first place in the Northern 3A.