Truckee High football team boasts young, talented players | SierraSun.com

Truckee High football team boasts young, talented players

The Truckee offensive and defensive lines lost the bulk of its players from a year ago. A new batch of Wolverines will be leaned upon in the trenches this season.

Truckee football lost a wealth of talent from last year's 8-2 team, but a gritty squad of seniors and core group of juniors coming off an undefeated junior varsity campaign are looking to continue the momentum built by last year's Wolverines.

"We lost a heck of a group of seniors to graduation," Head Coach Josh Ivens said. "We lost almost every offensive starter. We have one starter coming back. We have four players coming back on defense."

While the Wolverines have a small senior group with seven returning players from last year's team, the varsity squad itself is the largest Ivens has had in his five years as Truckee's coach.

"We're 40-plus kids for the first time since I took over as coach — five of those are sophomores," said Ivens. "We've brought some young guys up."

Last year's junior varsity team went 9-0 and brings a lot of potential to the Wolverines as juniors this season, but according to several of the team's members there's a certain amount of maturing that needs to happen before the team takes the field for their first game on the road against California's Bret Harte on Aug. 25.

"It's definitely a junior-heavy team this year," said senior tight end and linebacker Michael Doughty. "We just need those senior leaders to step up and take the juniors and try to lead them. This isn't junior varsity anymore this is varsity … this is the real deal."

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Defensively the team lost a lot of talent from the linebacker and secondary positions, and while Truckee may not be as physically imposing at the team was last season, Doughty expects the Wolverines' overall speed to make up for any lack of size.

"This is our season," he said. "We've got athletes, and we can make plays. We're definitely going to be fast and aggressive. That's just our mindset — be fast and aggressive off the ball every time, be the most physical team on defense. That's what it's been like ever since we started the program — all around physicality."

The team's quarterback position is still undecided, but junior Marcus Bellon has emerged as a frontrunner to become the team's signal caller. Bellon played several years as a running back, before making the move to quarterback his freshman year. He'll bring a blend of speed and passing ability to this year's team.

"We never back down to any challenges," he said. "We need to focus, because a lot of our juniors mess around way too much. Since we won every game (last season), a lot of them think we can barely practice and get through it."

One of the area's the team was hardest hit was along the offensive and defensive lines. Last year, the Wolverines lined up several senior players well over 200 pounds along the trenches, muscling, and outworking their opponents to an average of nearly 300 rushing yards per game.

"Our whole line left last year," said senior running back Cole Eichele. "That's the most work that we need, but I think we can find the right guys and we can do it. We have speed, and I know everyone's is physical."

Eichele, who is coming off a separated acromioclavicular (AC) joint suffered last summer, appeared in the team's final two games of the year last season.

"I'm trying to prove myself," he said. "Last year, it sucked. I was just watching. I'm going to give everything I have — I just hope everyone else can too.

"We're going to lead by example. We have the talent — we can definitely do something this year.

Eichele will be part of the team's strongest units, with Truckee touting a handful of players that have the ability to break off large chunks of yardage from the backfield.

One of the team's top rushers from a year ago, Dominic Acevedo, will return as fullback, and echoed the sentiment of needing to get the junior members up to speed.

"We need to get the incoming juniors on board with us and carry over the goal we were tying to get to last year, and try to achieve it this year," Acevedo said. "We need to raise the maturity level, but I think when it comes towards game time, they are going to get their minds right."

While maturity may be an issue at the beginning of the year for the team, one aspect of having the large roster has Acevedo excited about the upcoming year.

"Depth," he said. "We have a lot of players. We have a lot of competition. I'm used to playing with 16 or 17 players growing up, this is definitely different. The competition is definitely there and everyone is welcoming it."

Also lining up in the backfield is the squad's top returning running back from last season, Jamie Parisi, who finished last year with 314 yards on 32 carries. Parisi will also lead the team's secondary from the free safety spot, but like several of his teammates stressed the importance of hard practices and a level of accountability.

"We had a lot of solid practices — just consistent last year," Parisi said. "We've had really good or OK ones this year. If we can get them all to really good during the week, it's going to really help in the game."

The Wolverines will finally get a chance to hit opposing players when the team hosts Lassen for a scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 11 a.m.

Remembering coach

This season the Wolverines will sport a patch on their jerseys in honor of Coach Bob Shaffer

schedule

Date Opponent

8/19 vs. Lassen *Scrimmage

11 a.m.

8/25 @ Brett Harte

7 p.m.

9/1 @ Wooster

7 p.m.

9/8 @ Fallon

7 p.m.

9/15 vs. Lowry

7 p.m.

9/23 vs. Dayton *Homecoming

1:30 p.m.

9/29 @ Elko

7 p.m.

10/6 @ Sparks

7 p.m.

10/14 vs. Spring Creek

1:30 p.m.

10/20 @ Fernley

7:30 p.m.

10/28 vs. South Lake Tahoe *Sierra Bowl

1:30 p.m.