Truckee football | Comeback attempt falls short in opener | SierraSun.com

Truckee football | Comeback attempt falls short in opener

Sylas Wright
swright@sierrasun.com

TRUCKEE — The Wolverines found out Friday night what the Division III is soon to learn — Yerington is legit.

In the first-ever night game at Surprise Stadium, the visiting Lions took advantage of five Truckee turnovers in the first half and withstood a second-half comeback to hand the Wolverines a 40-28, season-opening loss.

"We're a young team, and we made young mistakes tonight," said Truckee coach Josh Ivens, whose Wolverines trailed 27-7 at the half after allowing three unanswered touchdowns.

Senior running back Reese Neville did most of the damage for the two-time defending state champs. He rushed for 283 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-clincher late in the contest.

The Wolverines battled back in the second half, scoring consecutive touchdowns to open the third quarter to shave the lead to six, 27-21. Truckee pulled to within five points in the fourth quarter, 33-28, but Neville answered with a 73-yard touchdown run to put the game away.

"We did capitalize on some key turnovers, whether they were interceptions or fumbles. That was the key to the game," Yerington coach Cody Neville said. "They're a great team. We're lucky to get out of here with a win because they were bringing it on in the second half. We made the mistake of giving them hope, and Truckee with hope is a dangerous thing."

Recommended Stories For You

The hosts stumbled out of the gate and never fully recovered.

It started with a fumbled opening kickoff, which resulted in a Yerington touchdown two plays later on a 12-yard run by Neville.

Although the Wolverines answered with an efficient 10-play drive capped by a 7-yard touchdown run by Sean Bokinskie, they committed crucial mistakes throughout the rest of the half that opened the door for the Lions.

Immediately following a Yerington touchdown early in the second quarter, when quarterback Dakota Aiazzi hooked up with 6-foot-5-inch receiver Sam Hammond for 16 yards, Aiazzi picked off a pass by Truckee quarterback Tyler Davis and returned it 10 yards for another touchdown.

Neville ran in the 2-point conversion, and in just over a minute the Lions had turned a 7-6 deficit into a 20-7 lead.

The Wolverines continued to falter.

On their ensuing drive, they marched from their own 27-yard line to the Yerington 15, aided by a late-hit penalty. But on first down from the 15, Davis fumbled and Yerington recovered. Two plays later, Neville followed the lead block of David Mcfalls before bursting into the open field and racing 75 yards for a touchdown.

Daniel Sciarani kicked through the PAT, and the Lions led 27-7 with 5:09 remaining in the half.

Truckee's backup quarterback, Jayden Commendatore, entered the game and, after a 26-yard completion to Jack Englert, was intercepted by Sciarani on a deep ball. Truckee's Connor Bullion returned the favor by intercepting Aiazzi, and neither team scored again before the break.

"They're a very talented team, and when you play a championship team like that, you can't make those mistakes," Ivens said. "We were just chasing them after that, playing from behind. It was a snowballing thing at that point."

Ivens said the Wolverines made some defensive adjustments at the half but left their offense alone. They reinserted Davis, who shook off the tough first half and proceeded to lead Truckee's comeback attempt.

The hosts, for a change, took advantage of a Yerington mistake early in the third quarter. Two plays in, Mcfalls fumbled and Truckee defensive end Jayme Nelson pounced on it at the Yerington 40-yard line.

Junior running back Conor Jacobs punched the ball into the end zone six plays later, and All-League kicker Jose Araiza kicked through the PAT to trim the lead to 27-14.

The Wolverines forced the Lions to punt on their ensuing possession, as Commendatore tripped up running back Michael Monahan for a 6-yard loss on a third-and-2 play.

Truckee then pieced together an eight-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard completion from Davis to Jordan Jepsen. Araiza's extra point adjusted the score to 27-21.

The Wolverines forced the Lions to go three-and-out before committing their next crucial mistake — a long snap that sailed over the head of Araiza early in the fourth quarter, which set up Yerington at the Truckee 13-yard line.

Neville rushed for a 6-yard touchdown three plays later. Truckee stuffed the 2-point conversion as Yerington went up 33-21.

Down but not out, Truckee's offense again went to work. The Wolverines answered the Yerington score with a 10-play, 90-yard drive that culminated with a 10-yard pass from Davis to Englert on a fade route. After Araiza's extra point, Truckee trailed just 33-28.

The buzz didn't last long, however, as Neville broke loose for his 73-yard run on Yerington's next offensive play. Sciarani's PAT was good, and the Lions led 40-28 with 6:21 remaining.

Neither team scored again as the game ended in the 12-point margin.

"They bent a little more than I would prefer," coach Neville said of his defense. "But that's a great bunch of Truckee kids on offense. They were pushing us around, and that quarterback has a nice arm. He put it where he needed to, and he had some receivers who made it happen. I was very impressed with their receiving corps and their quarterback."

Ivens said he was pleased with his team's fight after falling behind. He credited Davis for his second half, when he completed 11 of his 17 passes for 141 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions (he was 16-for-24 for 202 yards overall). He also complimented Englert, who caught seven passes for 103 yards, and running back Carson McCarron, who rushed for 75 yards on 10 carries.

"We came out in the second half and made some things happen," Ivens said, giving credit to his offensive line as well. "We got back in it, and then they had the big play that kind of knocked the wind out of us again."

Coach Neville added that his Lions, who won their 10th straight game dating back to last season and are seeking a third consecutive DIII state title, should benefit from playing a competitive Division I-A team to start the year.

"We wanted to be battle tested," he said, "and we were tested tonight."

Englert was named Truckee's Offensive Player of the Game, and Commendatore was the Defensive Player of the Game. Commendatore and Harrity each recorded eight tackles.

The night game was made possible by portable lights that were set up around the stadium.

Yerington, 40, Truckee, 28

Yerington 6 21 0 13 — 40

Truckee 7 0 14 7 — 28

First Quarter

Y — Neville 12-yard run (kick failed) 11:39

T — Bokinskie 7-yard run (Araiza kick) 8:02

Second Quarter

Y — Hammond 16-yard pass from Aiazzi (conversion failed) 8:31

Y — Aiazzi 10-yard interception return (Neville run) 7:17

Y — Neville 75-yard run (Sciarani kick) 5:09

Third Quarter

T — Harrity 3-yard run (Araiza kick) 8:58

T — Jepsen 15-yard pass from Davis (Araiza kick) 2:09

Fourth Quarter

Y — Neville 6-yard run (conversion failed) 9:19

T — Englert 10-yard pass (Araiza kick) 6:40

Y — Neville 73-yard run (Sciarani kick) 6:21

Individual stats

RUSHING — Y, 37-342: Neville 19-283; Aiazzi 6-28; Mcfalls 5-27; Madera 1-4; Cisneros 2-0; 4-(-1). T, 39-157: McCarron 10-75; Harrity 10-60; Bellon 5-27; Bokinskie 3-15; Retzlaff 2-12; Jepsen 2-3; Schmidig 1-(-1); Felix 1-(-4); Davis 5-(-30).

PASSING — Y: Aiazzi 6-11-47-1-1; Neville 0-1-0-0. T: Davis 16-24-202-2-2; Commendatore 3-4-29-1-0.

RECEIVING — Y: Neville 4-27; Hammond 1-16; Monahan 1-4; T: Englert 7-103; Schmidig 5-55; Jepsen 3-31; Bokinskie 1-15; McCarron 1-13; Wingard 1-12; Harrity 1-2.

Up next

The Wolverines will begin Northern Division I-A league play at Fallon on Friday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m.