State tournament: Truckee football to host defending champs in semis
TRUCKEE, Calif. — For the first time in a decade, Truckee’s Surprise Stadium will host a state semifinal football game.
The Wolverines battled to a 21-14 win at home against Elko last Saturday, earning the right to host the defending state champion Moapa Valley Pirates at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“Our kids dug deep today when they had to and I’m proud of our players,” said Head Coach Josh Ivens. “It’s just a big win for our community and our program.”
After struggling to get the offense going in the two teams’ regular season matchup, the Wolverines scored on their first two possessions to take an early 14-0 lead. Junior running back Miles Kelly-Caruthers scored the first of his three touchdowns on a 22-yard screen pass from senior quarterback Julian Hall. Kelly-Caruthers then ran the ball in from a couple yards out to cap off Truckee’s second drive, which featured a 17-yard run by senior Dylan Sumner on fourth down.
Elko responded on the ensuing drive, scoring on a 74-yard pass from senior quarterback Justus Nielsen to junior Preston Chamberlin. The Indians went for two but failed to convert, leaving the score at 14-6.
Elko went on to tie the game in the second quarter, scoring on a short pass from Nielsen to junior Cael Sellers. Junior Jacob Aguirre then caught a pass on the two-point attempt to even the game at 14-14.
Truckee answered with a drive late in the half, converting on fourth and 2 inside the red zone on a run by Kelly-Caruthers, who later scored his third touchdown of the game on a short run to give the Wolverines a 21-14 lead.
The second half featured long drives by both teams that ended on turnovers on downs.
With 3:36 left in the fourth quarter, the Truckee offense was forced to punt following a three and out. Elko took over at their own 48 and moved the ball down inside the Truckee 30-yard line. Wolverines junior Fabian Cerda would push the Indians back to the 35-yard line with a sack. Elko went on to pick up a first down later in the drive, converting a third-and-long pass down to the 18-yard line with 0:31 seconds left.
The Truckee defense dialed up a blitz on the next play, and junior Max Ellermeyer got a free run at Elko’s Nielsen, blowing the play up to give him 2.5 sacks on the afternoon.
Elko then faked the spike and looked deep. The ball would be tipped around and ultimately come down in the arms of Truckee senior Jake Doughty, sending the Wolverines to the state semifinals.
Truckee’s Hall threw for 141 yards, a touchdown, and an interception on 8 of 14 pass attempts.
Sumner and sophomore Joe Birnbaum led the rushing attack with 80 yards each. Sumner also led the team in two catches for 45 yards.
Defensively, Ellermeyer led Truckee with 17 tackles, including five tackles for a loss. Kelly-Caruthers had 13 tackles, and a forced fumbler. Senior Julian Magana had 12 tackles. Senior Reed Loper forced a fumble, and senior Jake Solberg recovered a fumble. Kicker Matthew Tanner was again perfect, going 3 for 3 on extra-point attempts.
The Wolverines will now play Moapa Valley for a berth into the Class 3A state championship game. The teams last met up in the state semifinals in 2018. Truckee captured a 23-16 win in that game. The Wolverines have won five straight against the Pirates, dating back to 2009.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, at Surprise Stadium in Truckee.
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