Turnovers doom Wolverines in 32-29 loss to Greenwave (GALLERY)
September 8, 2018
The Truckee football team let a victory slip away against league rivals, Churchill County, on Saturday, falling 32-29 in a game between two of Class 3A's best teams.
The Wolverines were plagued by turnovers during the afternoon, which included six of the team's final eight drives ending in either a lost fumble or an interception.
"We just gave away the ball," said Head Coach Josh Ivens. "That's what's frustrating. We had a chance to get ahead of this team. We had a chance to beat them, and when you come up short, it's tough to swallow."
Despite several drives ending in turnovers, the Wolverines (3-1, 2-1 Northern League) had a chance to knock off the Greenwave (3-0, 3-0 Northern League) on the final drive of the game.
After senior quarterback Marcus Bellon scrambled for a 10-yard touchdown run to bring Truckee to within three points, the Wolverines defense forced a punt behind a big hit by senior Brennen Conklin on third down.
Unfortunately, Bellon would take a sack, and then had his final pass intercepted as time expired.
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"We were able to get those turnovers and that was the difference in the football game," said Churchill County Head Coach Brooke Hill. "It wasn't our best effort, but part of that is because we played a good football team. Truckee, we have a tremendous amount of respect for them — always have."
Ivens said Bellon, a two-year starter at quarterback, played through an injured shoulder, which he suffered during the game, and is questionable for next week's contest.
"You've got to give (Fallon) credit. They played hard. You can't let a team like that off the hook," said Ivens.
"I'm proud of the way the guys played today. Ultimately, we gave (Churchill County) the opportunity to do what they did, but I was proud of our effort."
The Wolverines, who were outsized upfront, rebounded from an early Greenwave touchdown behind senior running back Marcus Trotter's 15-yard touchdown run up the middle. Trotter would then highlight the next possession with a sack from his defensive end position to help force a punt.
The Wolverines added to their lead on the next drive behind a 51-yard carry by senior Kevin Malo, followed by a a touchdown pass from Dakota Allen-Gill to Bellon on a trick play.
Truckee then forced a punt, but fumbled away the ball inside the Greenwave 10-yard line. Bellon would then intercept a pass on defense, but subsequently threw a pick of his own to give Churchill County the ball back. The Greenwave cashed in on the turnover with senior Trey Rooks hauling in a touchdown pass, followed by a successful two-point conversion to tie the game at halftime.
Truckee opened the second half by driving 73 yards for a touchdown to regain the lead. Trotter finished off the drive with a third-and-goal carry from the 15-yard-line, breaking a tackle on his way to the end zone. Senior kicker Emmanuel Valenzuela-Jones added the extra point to give Truckee a 21-14 lead.
Truckee's defense would go on to force a punt behind a big hit by senior Drew Wingard on a third-and-long play. The Greenwave got the ball back on an interception, but were stymied by the Wolverines defense on a fourth-and-goal play from the 4-yard line. Truckee, unfortunately, gave the ball right back, mishandling a handoff in the end zone for a safety.
Churchill County took the lead on the following possession on a terrific 22-yard touchdown catch by junior Brock Richardson. Senior captain Sean McCormick made it 24-21, running in the two-point conversion on a read option.
The Wolverines turnover woes continued on the next drive with Bellon losing the ball as he went to the ground on a quarterback keeper. The officials ruled the play a fumble at the Truckee 26-yard line, which later resulted in the Greenwave's McCormick finding the end zone on a 12-yard run. McCormick then rushed in the two-point conversion to make the score 32-21.
"Getting Sean McCormick back, who's been out for us, was big," said Hill on the senior’s first game of the season. "He had a huge game for us, especially on the offensive side."
Bellon responded for Truckee by scrambling for a touchdown, followed by the Wolverines defense giving the team a chance in the final moments with a big stop, only to have the Greenwave end the game on an interception.
"I was very proud of the gutsy effort of our team — Wolverine effort," said Ivens. "We just came up short."
Truckee will head on the road for their next game, and will face Lowry (2-2, 1-2 Northern League) on Friday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. Fallon will next face North Valleys (1-2, 1-2 Northern League) at home on Friday, Sept. 14.
"It was good high school football game," said Hill. "That's what we expected when we came here, and that's what we got."