Truckee football | Wolverines overcome early deficit to clinch Northern 3A title
The Humboldt Sun
WINNEMUCCA, Nev. and#8212; It was built as the game of the year in the Northern 3A, and for about 30 minutes Friday night, it lived up to its billing in front of one of the biggest crowds in Jerry Tobin Field history.
The Lowry football team played host to Truckee for the first time since 2008, with both teams undefeated. The Wolverines entered with a 31-game win streak.
The Buckaroos (6-1 Northern 3A, 8-1 overall) led 6-0 but the Wolverines (7-0 Northern 3A, 8-0 overall) scored 27 unanswered points, including 20 in a 10-minute stretch in the second half, to win 27-12.
and#8220;Each win gets harder and harder,and#8221; said Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer. and#8220;We have such a big bull’s-eye on us and it makes it tough every week. We were able to come in here tonight and beat one of the best teams in the state.and#8221;
The win gives Truckee the Northern 3A regular season championship and the No. 1 seed from the North in the state playoffs. Lowry clinched the No. 2 seed and will have a home playoff game for the first time since 1992.
Lowry appeared to have the early momentum to start the game, as Gus Duncan intercepted Truckee’s Patrick Shaffer near the end zone. The Buckaroos had three chances from the 1-yard line but could not score on two Michael Billingsley quarterback sneaks and on a fourth-down run.
and#8220;We did a lot of it to ourselves tonight,and#8221; said Lowry head coach Tim Billingsley. and#8220;We should have gotten in on that first drive. Michael bobbled the snap a little and if that doesn’t happen, he probably scores. Truckee plays hard and they are tough to handle. We put ourselves in the position we wanted to be in at the beginning of the game and at halftime.and#8221;
Truckee proceeded to take up more than seven minutes of the clock and held the ball for the rest of the first quarter, moving the ball from its own 2-yard line. However, like the Buckaroos, the Wolverines had their drive stop at the Lowry 19-yard line.
With the aid of a personal foul after a Gus Duncan run, Lowry drove 81 yards at the start of the second quarter, which was capped off by a 32-yard run by Jace Billingsley on an option play. The Buckaroos missed the extra point, giving them a 6-0 lead.
and#8220;It was a brawl the entire game,and#8221; Shaffer said. and#8220;That is the thing about Tim’s teams, they are not going to quit and never give up. There is a lot of pride on that team and Lowry did a good job. We just got the breaks our way a little bit with the turnovers and we happened to score on. They got a turnover and did not score on it. It was great night for football and the way it’s supposed to be played.and#8221;
It took Truckee less than four minutes to take the lead, only needing to drive 59 yards after a short kickoff. An offside penalty on Lowry on third-and-5 gave Truckee new life on the drive and two plays later, Jake Pettit scored from 12 yards out, on what his first of four touchdowns on the night, giving the Wolverines a 7-6 lead.
Truckee forced Lowry to punt on its next possession and was driving again late in the first half when a holding penalty and a Lowry sack ended the drive.
The Wolverines took over midway through the third quarter, capitalizing on Lowry mistakes. The first Buckaroo miscue came on a fumble, when they had trouble getting the play in with confusion on the field. Truckee used the short field to its advantage and finished off a 30-yard drive on a 3-yard run by Pettit for a 14-6 lead with 6:14 left in the third quarter.
and#8220;Truckee came out in the second half and ran the ball well,and#8221; coach Billingsley said. and#8220;We made some mistakes on offense and they took advantage of it. You can’t make the mistakes like we did against a team like that.and#8221;
On fourth-and-1 at its own 38-yard line late in the third quarter, Lowry attempted to draw Truckee offside, but the Wolverines did not budge. The ensuing snap was bad and the Buckaroos’ Johnny Hernandez tried to run for the first down but was stopped short.
Once again, Truckee needed to drive just 36 yards and picked up a key first down on a fourth-and-3 play on the drive. Pettit found his way back into the end zone on a 14-yard run to increase the lead to 20-6 with 11:51 to play in the game.
Lowry gave the ball right back to Truckee, as Michael Billingsley was intercepted at the 22-yard line. The Wolverines sealed the victory two plays later on a 22-yard pass from Shaffer to Pettit. The Buckaroos cut into the deficit with an 80-yard drive in a little under five minutes, which ended with a 2-yard run by Jace Billingsley.
and#8220;Overall I am happy with the way we played,and#8221; coach Billingsley said. and#8220;That is a tough team and we could have played better. It’s not over for us by any means.and#8221;
Jace Billingsley, the leading rusher, finished the night with 161 yards rushing on 23 carries. Hernandez added 48 yards on the ground and Michael Billingsley 24. Pettit had 115 yards on 23 carries and Shaffer was 8-of-13 for 137 yards, with one interception and one touchdown.
and#8220;Jake had a great night for us and carried the load,and#8221; Shaffer said. and#8220;We were missing some kids tonight and he was one that stepped up for us.and#8221;
Truckee ends the regular season against visiting South Tahoe on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Lowry ends its regular season at Fallon on Thursday.
Playoffs begin Saturday, Nov. 5.
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