With rain, sleet, snow and hail, Wolverines pull off playoff win
November 14, 2002
Playoff game. Heavy snowfall. Overtime.
And a 27-20 win over Lowry High Saturday afternoon.
Through the mud, the snow, four fumbles and two interceptions, Truckee pulled the rug out from underneath the Buckaroos.
“I thought the first half we did real well,” coach Bob Shaffer said. “It was wet but we could throw the ball.”
The Wolverines advance to play the first seed from Southern 3A, Virgin Valley on Saturday in Mesquite, Nev.
“It was definitely the most memorable game I’ve ever played,” quarterback Kevin Schlesinger said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better setting with overtime. All the elements of Mother Nature came out today.”
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Truckee got on the board first with a 40-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mike Acuff from Kevin Schlesinger. The extra point was good for a 7-0 lead just under three minutes into the game.
But before the end of the quarter, Lowry’s Travis Cmkovich was able to punch in a two-yard run for six points. They missed the extra point to stay behind 7-6.
After the ensuing kickoff with a 31-yard return by Matt Scholz, Schlesinger hooked up with receiver Jason Ames for a 33-yard pass to put the ball at Lowry’s 11. From there, it was just a five-yard QB keeper around the left tackle for Schlesinger. The extra point was good for a 14-6 lead.
At halftime, the snow began to stick to the field, burying the white lines and making it all the slicker.
“It was cold. I can’t feel my hands or my feet anymore,” Ames said after the game in the locker room. “This was the most fun game I’ve ever played in. you hit and slide for another five-yards.”
“The second half the balls started to get all water-logged and Kevin’s hands started to get cold,” Shaffer said. “I thought the snow in the second half hindered us quite a bit because we couldn’t throw the ball, we’re not very big, so we couldn’t move them up front, our running game wasn’t going real well. And their size concerned me going into overtime.”
Lowry scored first in the second half with an 11-yard run by quarterback Brian Watterson. The Buckaroos missed the extra point, staying behind 14-12.
Then on Truckee’s next drive, a 23-yard pass to Acuff to set up a three-yard toss to Ames for his second touchdown of the game.
As the fourth quarter got underway, Lowry fumbled a snap and Truckee recovered at Lowry’s 47. But with the game winding down and the ball getting slicker, Schlesinger couldn’t get a good enough grip on a pass to receiver R.J. Ballou and under-threw to a Lowry defensive back.
Lowry capitalized with a 40-yard TD run by Watterson again and converted the two-pointer, tying the game.
With 2:08 left, Truckee made another near-fatal error. A second interception, but regulation ran out.
Overtime works like this: Each team gets the ball at the 10-yard line and has four plays to score. This continues until someone doesn’t score.
Truckee went first. The first play, Nick Smith made a nine-yard charge before he was brought down at the one. The second play resulted in no gain. The third play, however, hit paydirt.
Mike Hackley got the ball and found a big hole, big enough for him and the much-needed one yard. With J.R. Murphy’s extra point, the Wolverines went up 27-20.
But Lowry still had its turn.
First play, a four-yard gain on the ground. The second, a two-yard sack. The third, Ames, lined-up as a defensive end, jumped offside, moving the ball to the four. Then the Buckaroos tried another of many QB keepers, but Watterson was stopped for a three-yard loss.
Then the fourth down, Watterson rolled out to his right for a pass, hucked it at a receiver in the middle of the endzone, but free safety Chris Anderson made the play of the game with the most timely swat he’s ever had.
End of regulation. Game over. Truckee won.
“That was a life saver, Chris Anderson knocking the ball down,” Shaffer said.
Lowry had 12 players that are more than 200 lbs. Truckee has only six.
“I think this is the first time for a playoff game that the field has been that bad.” Shaffer said. “Back in ’98, we were the big team, size and everything. This year we were the little guys trying not to get pushed around too much. They hung in there and they did a good job. I’m real proud of them.”
But maybe heart is bigger than all bulk. Lineman Bruce Knez is 6’1″ and 220 lbs.
“They had some pretty good size,” he said. “They tried to push us around, but in the end, our defense came through.”
The Wolverines had to practice in the weekend’s storm on Wednesday and Thursday.
“I thought our coaches did a great job preparing our kids, making adjustments on the run, I just want to make sure they get some credit because they’ve done an awesome job,” Shaffer said.