Truckee comeback falls short

North Valleys takes 28-21 win against Wolverines

Gallery caption: The Truckee football team suffered a 28-21 defeat to North Valleys on Saturday at Surprise Stadium. | Justin Scacco /

The Truckee football team dropped their Class 3A Northern West League opener at Surprise Stadium this afternoon, falling 28-21 to North Valleys.

Following a tough start to the game, which saw mistakes lead to a 21-0 Panthers lead, the Wolverines fought back to tie the contest in the second half. A late turnover and a lengthy drive to kill the clock, however, salted away the game for North Valleys.

“Our kids showed tremendous heart today. We went down 21-0 against a team that had been rolling people, and I think they thought they were going to roll us,” said Truckee Head Coach Josh Ivens. “We battled back into it, took advantage of some of their mistakes, got ourselves into the game, and we had a chance to win. Hats off to them. They have a great team.”

North Valleys opened the game by driving the length of the field, which was aided by an unnecessary roughness call by Truckee. Senior running back Caleb Mang finished the drive with a short touchdown run, and the extra point by senior Jorge Torres gave the Panthers an early 7-0 lead.

Truckee would drive down into the North Valleys red zone on the next possession but a third-and-long pass by junior quarterback Julian Hall to senior Jackson Kahl was intercepted in the end zone by senior defensive back Aaron Ingebretson.

North Valleys would go on to drive 80 yards for its second touchdown of the day — a short run along the left side by senior quarterback Cameron Zeidler. The extra point by Torres left Truckee in a 14-0 hole.

Things continued to get worse for the Wolverines on the next drive. Truckee would fumble the ball — one of three by the offense on the day, all of which were recovered by the Wolverines — and then on fourth down, a low snap led to a punt block and a North Valleys recovery on Truckee’s 13-yard line.

North Valleys would go on to punch it in to start the second quarter, scoring on another touchdown run by Zeidler. The successful extra point left the score at 21-0.

Truckee again had to punt on their ensuing possession, but the defense was able to stiffen, forcing a three-and-out from the Panthers.

Momentum then shifted toward Truckee, as North Valleys had a bad punt snap of their own, leading to the Wolverines taking over at the Panthers 4-yard line. Kahl helped make good of the short field, finding senior Max Carter on third down for a touchdown. The extra point by senior Jairo Zarate made the score 21-7.

After another defensive stop, the Wolverines drove inside the Panthers 10-yard line, where they faced fourth and goal. Kahl would again find Carter for a short touchdown pass, but a missed extra point kept the score at 21-13 as the teams entered the locker room for halftime.

Truckee received the ball to start the second half, and after reaching midfield, Carter broke loose on a 50-yard run for his third touchdown of the game. Senior Jason Roth would run in the two-point conversion to knot the game at 21-21.

After defensive stops by both teams, North Valleys would take the ball 71 yards for the game-winning drive, capped by a 12-yard run by senior Trae Sudduth. The following extra point made the score 28-21.

The Wolverines would have an opportunity to even the game with a late drive that included a 20-yard pickup on a third-and-long pass by Kahl to senior tight end Tyler Lamperti. Later in the drive, however, a sack would lead to third and 15 at the Truckee 44-yard line. Kahl would look deep on the play but was picked off by Ingebretson for the defensive back’s second interception of the day.

With a little more than eight minutes left, the Panthers were able to make use of their size up front for a lengthy drive, eating up the remainder of the clock. Aided by a key fourth-and-1 offsides penalty by Truckee, North Valleys would go on to take the ball inside the Wolverines 10-yard line before ending the game with knees.

“Missing wide open receivers early, dropping the ball, or we’re in there,” said Ivens on some of the team’s mistakes. “We had them on the ropes when it was 21-21, and then we slowly started killing ourselves.

“I’m proud of my team. They fought back into it against a good team. Hopefully we get to see them again.”

The North Valleys (4-0, 1-0 West League) program, out of Reno, had traditionally played against Class 4A — now Class 5A following the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s decision to restructure prep sports’ leagues. The Panthers were allowed to drop down into Class 3A during the 2018 season, a decision by the association that has left Ivens frustrated, especially compared to struggling Class 3A programs like Dayton (0-3, 0-1 West League) that haven’t been allowed to drop down into Class 2A

“I don’t like how the NIAA has set things up to allow teams to come down,” said Ivens. “It’s frustrating.”

Truckee (2-3, 0-1 West League) will now travel to face Sparks (2-2, 1-0 West League) on Friday at 7 p.m.

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