Truckee overpowered by Manogue in State Championship
November 27, 2002
Bishop Manogue brought their A-game to the field Saturday in Reno for the state title game against Truckee.
“You can’t play your B-game against Manogue, let alone your C, D, or E,” Truckee coach Bob Shaffer said.
But Truckee did. The Manogue Miners quietly beat Truckee 37-0 without any real thrills, but with straightforward football and 286 rushing yards. Truckee ran for only 46, ending their season at 9-2 in conference and 9-3 overall.
“I wish it didn’t end this way, But I gave it everything I had,” senior receiver RJ Ballou said after his last high school football game. “They were good, but they definitely weren’t 37-0 good.”
Quarterback Kevin Schlesinger had three rare pivotal fumbles.
“Kevin played with a lot of heart, a lot of determination and he might have tried to do too much himself and whenever that happens you end up having a lackluster day,” Shaffer said. “When you try to do too many things and carry your team on your shoulders, which Kevin has done that, they have the kind of day that they had today.”
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For the 17 seniors on the team, football is over, but for the 13 juniors and two sophomores that were on the varsity team, they still have another shot.
“It went too quick,” Schlesinger said. “Everyone wrote us off from the beginning and we made it here.
“There’s nothing we can do about it, they’re state champions now, the juniors will have to work hard.”
Truckee’s first three possessions were three plays and out while Bishop Manogue was able to drive for three straight touchdowns on their first three drives in the first quarter.
Manogue’s Matt Virden punched in a two-yard TD run not even three minutes into the game after a 39-yard run by quarterback Alex Bybee.
On their next drive, Bybee connected with Zach Higgins for a 60-yard pass that set up a two-yard keeper for Bybee.
The third touchdown came from a 24-yard run from the Northern 3A Player of the Year, Manogue’s Cody McElroy, into the endzone.
Manogue was forced to punt on their fourth drive, but disaster struck. Schlesinger, who has had a great season returning the punts and kickoffs for the team, bobbled the punt and Manogue recovered and scored a touchdown just a couple plays later. Jason Ames blocked the extra point attempt, to make the score 27-0 Manogue.
The third quarter was looking better. Manogue was held scoreless and Ames made a backfield tackle on fourth down with four yards to go on Truckee’s 17.
In the fourth quarter, Manogue opted to punt on the fourth down of their next series, but that’s when Schlesinger bobbled another punt and Manogue was able to convert that into a field goal 1:36 later.
It only got uglier. On the kickoff, Matt Schulz got the ball instead of Schlesinger and made a solid return until the ball was jarred lose and Kenny Viser of Manogue picked it up and run 15 yards into the endzone for the final score at 37-0.
“We helped them out a lot with dropped punts and fumbles,” Shaffer said. “You can’t turn the ball over in a state championship game and expect to win. We gave up some big plays on defense.”
With 3:02 left, and Truckee at midfield and trying to avoid their first shutout since leather helmets, Schlesinger coughed up the ball after being drilled by Manogue’s linebackers McElroy and Virden.
This is Manogue’s second state title under coach Joe Sellers, who coached at Reno’s Wooster High in 4A play from 1976 to 1998 and brought home seven state titles. Manogue got Sellers for the 1999 season and he promptly won the 3A state title. Manogue finished the season undefeated at 11-0.
“Not the way I wanted to end my senior year,” offensive lineman Kevin Finn said. “It’s a good way and a bad way to go out. We made it to the state championship two years in a row, won one, lost one.
“Too bad the one I lost was my senior year.”
Shaffer weighed Truckee’s offensive line, including tight end Mike Acuff, this week and their average was only 168 lbs. Compare that to Manogue’s 220 lbs. plus average.
“We’re just a bunch of scrappers, we’re little guys and they’re bigger and stronger, sure, but we’re not going to give up.”
Schlesinger finished up 13 of 30 with 126 yards and no interceptions. JR Murphy led with five catches and 52 yards while Nick Smith had 33 yards rushing on 10 touches.
Postseason honors are being dished out to a handful of Truckee players.
Schlesinger was named the Northern 3A Offensive Player of the Year, made First Team Offense at quarterback and as the punter. Ballou made First Team Offense as a receiver along with Acuff.
Truckee’s defensive end Jason Ames, linebacker Aldo Serna and free safety James Ward all made First Team Defense.
Tackle Marcus and guard Nate Engblom both made Second Team Offense while cornerback JR Murphy and defensive tackle Rafa Herrera were named to Second Team Defense honors. Murphy was also named the kicker for First Team Defense. Running back Nick Smith was given honorable mention.