‘We couldn’t be denied’: Wolverines win as Shaffer Memorial dedicated (GALLERY)
On a day when Truckee coaching legend Bob Shaffer was honored with the dedication of a memorial at Surprise Stadium, a young Wolverines team paid homage to the late coach by taking a gritty 17-13 win against North Valleys.
“We couldn’t be denied today, we just couldn’t,” said Head Coach Josh Ivens following Saturday’s home opener at Surprise Stadium.
After falling behind 13-10 with less than nine minutes to play in the game, Truckee took over at North Valleys’ 34-yard-line following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, the ensuing kick going out of bounds, and then a solid return by the Wolverines. Senior running back Deacon Mehler would later cap the drive with a 1-yard plunge to give Truckee the lead.
“Our O-line did a lot better than the past two games,” said Mehler, who had two rushing touchdowns in the game. “They kind of carried us this game.”
Mehler finished the game with a team-high 54 rushing yards. He also caught a pair of passes for nine yards.
“That was the most fun I’ve ever had playing football,” said Mehler. “This is the first year that I’ve actually been starting.”
The Truckee defense played a pivotal role in the team’s win as well, forcing a three-and-out on the next possession.
“Our defense stepped up huge today,” said Ivens.
The Wolverines’ next drive would stall, forcing the team to punt. The Panthers blitzed their corner on the fourth-down play, and managed to bring down Truckee’s punter on the Wolverines’ 34-yard line.
North Valleys then drove the ball down to the 20-yard line with under a minute remaining, but senior defensive back Ethan Hatcher made sure there would be no Panthers comeback, making a diving interception along the sideline to seal Truckee’s win.
“It was awesome,” said Hatcher, who also had four tackles, on the play. “He was kind of stumbling when he threw it. And when he threw it, instantly I knew I was getting (the interception). I was just hoping I was in bounds.”
The play capped off a hard-fought game in which Truckee had to overcome several unforced mistakes, including a trio of 15-yard penalties at the end of the first half, which set up a North Valleys field goal. Senior George Skaff led the defense with 15 tackles. Senior Connor McMullen was next with 14 tackles, including a sack. Junior Micah Ivens finished the game with 10 tackles. Senior Dayton Broad and sophomore Brandon Reyes each had nine tackles. Senior Mason Cutler and junior Finn Loper each got to the quarterback for a sack.
“Nothing is going to be easy for us this year,” said Ivens. “There’s no doubt about that. We understand that. We are a young and inexperienced team.”
Sophomore quarterback Jackson Kahl finished the game with 76 passing yards. Senior Tyler Estabrook had 40 yards on the ground and also intercepted a pass on defense. Junior receiver Jackson Ellermeyer finished the afternoon with a team-high four receptions for 45 yards.
Truckee (1-2, 1-1 Northern League) will next face off against Churchill County (2-1, 2-0 Northern League) in a rematch of last year’s state championship game. Kickoff is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m., in Fallon. The Greenwave most recently took a 42-35 win against Fernley.