Truckee football: Small but teaming with pride | SierraSun.com

Truckee football: Small but teaming with pride

Sylas WrightSierra Sun

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunTruckee High football players run drills during practice last week. This year's Wolverines squad, which is small in terms of size and numbers, is confident that it can return to prominence coming off its first losing season in decades.

The Wolverines are back and smaller than ever in size and numbers.Gone are the lunker linemen of yesteryear and the 40-plus-man roster replaced with lighter bodies up front and a 34-man squad.Technique is one of the things weve got to be good at because were not big, said Bob Shaffer, Truckees head football coach and athletic director. With the guys weve had up front that past couple years we were able to do more pushing and shoving. Now were barely scratching 200 (pounds) up front.Despite the Wolverines lack of bulk, Truckee pride remains intact, as does much of last years defensive unit, which returns six starters, Shaffer said. At this point in the preseason, a week short of the opener at Bishop, Shaffer said the defense stands out as the more efficient group although this years team as a whole is more experienced than last years, the coach added.Were hoping that our defense helps us out quite a bit and lets our offense catch up to them, Shaffer said. … Weve still got a ways to go. Were playing too high, blocking with our pad levels too high. Were going to be small up front, so we cant block tall.Senior all-league linebacker Paris Tenorio is Truckees biggest player at about 218 pounds, Shaffer said, followed by 217-pound Dylan Crosby, who may play on the offensive and defensive lines.Due to the recent decline in numbers the Wolverines fielded team of 41 last year, 47 in 2005 and 50 in 2004 Tenorio also has practiced at offensive tackle because Truckee no longer has the luxury of playing two-platoon football exclusively.Junior Ryan Macken, the Wolverines other returning all-league linebacker, likely will play both ways, as well. Shaffer has him working out at fullback, a position he last played as a freshman on junior varsity.Macken is recovering from knee surgery after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) skiing this past March. Although Macken claims his knee has healed, Shaffer said the coaching staff will use him cautiously early in the season.Asked what he thought of this years team, Macken said, I think were looking pretty good. Our defense is insane. I think we have a really good defense.About returning to the state championship, which the Wolverines last won consecutively in 2004 and 2005, Macken likes his teams chances.Thats always our goal, so were going for it, he said.His coach backed him up.If we can stay healthy with the group we have, I think well make a heck of a run at the state championship, Shaffer said.Before then, however, a number of positions remain to be filled, and Shaffer is waiting for certain players to lock up those spots.We need a couple guys to step up and say, This is my job, Shaffer said.Especially at quarterback, where seniors Keven Sahlberg and Tucker Ballister are battling for the starting position. Sahlberg, a speedy all-league halfback and return specialist, is recovering from shoulder surgery and has yet to take a full hit, said Shaffer, who hopes that placing Sahlberg at QB will lessen his chance of injury.He just has a football sense, the coach said when asked why he is trying Sahlberg at QB. He has the ability to react to things that happen. And, obviously, he has the potential to be a good running quarterback. He has not had a lot of experience at quarterback, but hes a smart kid; hes picking things up.Ballister started several games last season and thus has a better knowledge of Truckees offensive system the Wing-T.Halfbacks competing for a starting job include Justin Vosburgh and Cruz Esquivel, Shaffer said. Tucker Nevin, Robert Raber and Macken are in the running to start at fullback, and Ryan Roberts, Trevor Allen and C.J. Ackerman are competing at wingback.Few positions are set in stone, Shaffer said. And while much remains uncertain about the coming season, Truckee pride remains a constant.Our team is definitely smaller this year, but we have a bunch of good players, said Pablo Esquivel, a senior cornerback who may also see time at receiver. I think well be able to get the job done. The team is small, but we play big.

Truckee, which captured back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005, finished the 2006 season 4-6 overall and 2-3 in Northern 3A league play. The Wolverines ended the season with four straight losses, each by six points, including a first-round playoff loss to Dayton.

Aug. 24Scrimmage (home) 1 p.m.Aug. 31at Bishop 7 p.m.Sept. 8vs. Colfax 1:30 p.m.Sept. 14at Piedmont 7 p.m.Sept. 21at Winters 7:30 p.m.Sept. 29vs. Lowry 1:30 p.m.Oct. 6vs. Fernley 1:30 p.m.Oct. 12at Dayton 7:30 p.m.Oct. 19at Spring Creek7:30 p.m.Oct. 27vs. Sparks1:30 p.m.Nov. 3Zone Playoffs TBANov. 10State Semifinal TBANov. 17State TBA