Truckee football blanks Moapa Valley 27-0 to win state championship
RENO, Nev. and#8211; In the end Truckee carved up its toughest challenge like it did the rest of the 3A.
The Wolverines avenged their state championship loss from a year ago with a 27-0 shutout against Moapa Valley on Saturday to cement their place as one of the dominant teams in Truckee football history.
The state title marks the ninth-ever for the Wolverines, and sixth in the 3A ranks.
This year’s group made it look easy.
En route to finishing a perfect 12-0 on the season (9-0 against the 3A), the Wolverines battered their competition to a collective tune of 552 points to 60, and 447-38 in the 3A. Saturday’s shutout was Truckee’s fifth of the season, and fourth in the past five games.
The Wolverines left little suspense from the onset in front of a sea of red-clad supporters more than 500 strong.
Led by the accurate, cannon arm of quarterback Ben Bolton and a punishing defense, Truckee abused the two-time defending state champs from the opening drive to help ease the pain of last year’s 35-16 loss in Las Vegas. By the final whistle Truckee had forced six turnovers, picking off Moapa Valley quarterback Kelan Weiss four times while recovering two of the Pirates’ five fumbles.
Bolton, who shredded the Pirates secondary for 242 yards on 17-of-24 passing, found junior tight end James DePew twice in the first quarter on touchdown strikes of 21 and 83 yards. Morgan Nevin pushed the lead to 20-0 with a 26-yard fumble return early in the second quarter, and Vince Shaffer rounded out the scoring with a 44-yard touchdown run in the third.
DePew led Truckee’s prolific air attack with 129 yards on four catches, while Shaffer rushed for a game-high 73 yards on five carries.
and#8220;I’m on top of the world,and#8221; Shaffer, a senior wingback and defensive back, said after the postgame celebration. and#8220;I can’t explain how good I feel right now. …
and#8220;I thought we’d win, but I didn’t know if we would shut them out. It’s a great way for the defense to play its last game.and#8221;
The lopsided win came as no surprise to senior lineman Ryan Zusy.
and#8220;Oh yeah. We should have beaten them by more,and#8221; he said, beaming with pride as he walked toward a photo shoot with his fellow linemen. and#8220;It feels good after last year.and#8221;
Like other head coaches who watched Bolton dissect their defenses this season, Brent Lewis of Moapa Valley left impressed with the junior QB. Bolton fired the ball into the chests of open receivers nearly at will, particularly in the first half, when he finished 11 of 12 for 172 yards with two touchdown throws.
and#8220;That’s one hell of a quarterback right there. He picked us apart,and#8221; said Lewis, whose Pirates finished the season 7-4 overall. and#8220;At times we were able to put pressure on him, but when we gave him time to throw he found his receivers every time.
and#8220;Their defense also was pretty top-notch,and#8221; the coach continued. and#8220;and#8230; They are a hell of a football team. They were the better team (Saturday), that’s for sure.and#8221;
Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer said he was and#8220;ecstatic and proudand#8221; of his team’s performance. Of course, he said it with modesty.
and#8220;We’ve kind of been a big-play team. We knew against their defense we had to spread things out. But Moapa did a great job. We just got some of the bounces and it worked in our favor this year,and#8221; coach Shaffer said.
and#8220;The coaching staff prepared the kids so well, nothing happened out there that the kids were not prepared for.and#8221;
Shaffer singled out three big moments in the first half that helped bury the Pirates.
The first was the opening score after a nice return from Mitch Nelson set up Truckee near midfield. On the fifth play of the drive, Bolton hooked up with DePew for a 21-yard TD to ignite the spirited Truckee crowd.
The second big moment was perhaps the offensive highlight of the game, as Bolton again found DePew along the Moapa Valley sideline before the junior tight end hurdled over a defender and sprinted 83 yards for a TD.
Truckee’s hard-hitting defense delivered the third big play. Senior Jordan Deiro laid a hit on Dillon Gordon, causing him to fumble into the hands of Nevin, who then rumbled 26 yards down the Truckee sideline for a third touchdown of the first half.
It was Moapa Valley’s third turnover of the game, with the first two coming on interceptions from senior Orlando Serna.
After the Pirates’ opening drive of the second half petered out with another fumble and#8211; recovered again by Nevin and#8211; Truckee marched 68 yards on five plays to extend its lead to 27-0 with 4:30 left in the third quarter.
Vince Shaffer provided the drama on the fourth TD, as he patiently followed his blocks before spotting an opening and shifting into high gear on his way to a 44-yard sprint into the end zone.
Nelson intercepted Weiss on Moapa Valley’s next possession, and Deiro recorded the Wolverines’ fourth interception with 2:33 left in the contest.
and#8220;I’m so excited right now,and#8221; Bolton said. and#8220;I dedicate this game to all the seniors. To send them out on a game like this is incredible.and#8221;
Serna emerged from the Wolverines’ postgame team photo with a giant smile smeared across his face and#8211; the same one worn by every one of his teammates.
and#8220;This feels great!and#8221; said Serna, adding that he’s the fourth person in his family to win a state championship. and#8220;We had to keep them to a goose egg. We have the best defense in Nevada. We shut out Moapa Valley!and#8221;