Wolverines hammer Spartans for 2-0 start (GALLERY)

The Truckee defense takes down East Nicolaus' quarterback.
Justin Scacco /

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The defending Class 3A state champion Truckee football team rolled to a 2-0 start to open the season following a 38-8 victory Saturday against East Nicolaus.

The Wolverines ran out to a 35-0 lead and a running clock in the first half of the home opener at Surprise Stadium, allowing Head Coach Josh Ivens to work in his bench and second units during the second half.

“I feel good,” said Ivens on the team’s start. “Last week was a heck of a game with Colfax and I thought our team showed a lot of character … we’ve got the potential to be pretty good.”

Truckee began Saturday’s game against East Nicolaus with great field position after a pair of errant onside kicks that went out of bounds. From there, the Wolverines offense worked its way downfield and capped the drive with a 7-yard screen pass from junior quarterback Jace Estabrook to junior running back Joe Birnbaum. The extra point by junior Paxton Lubrano gave Truckee an early 7-0 edge.

Estabrook has been exceptional in his first two starts thus far for the Wolverines, tossing a combined four touchdowns and running for another versus no interceptions.

“It’s a big role, but I’ve taken it on,” said the junior quarterback. “I have a lot to learn and it’s a long season.”

The Wolverines would force a three-and-out on the next possession. Truckee’s defense held the Spartans to three-and-outs on four of the team’s five drives during the first half.

Truckee’s next possession featured several plays to Birnbaum as the Wolverines moved downfield to set up a 3- yard touchdown run by senior Luke Trotter. The extra point by Lubrano made the score 14-0.

Truckee went on to add to its lead in the second quarter, scoring on a 38-yard bomb from Estabrook to Trotter.

“It was just a quick one step and throw to my boy,” said Estabrook.

Trotter would rise up and snag the ball along the sideline with a defender on him before breaking away for the touchdown.

“It’s all about trust,” said Trotter of the play. “We both know the play is going to happen before it happens. It’s just about execution.”

The following extra point made the score 21-0.

After another three-and-out by the East Nicolaus offense, Truckee began its next drive in Spartans territory. The team moved inside the 10-yard line to set up a short touchdown pass from Estabrook to Birnbaum. The extra point by Lubrano made the score 28-0.

After the defense forced another three-and-out, Truckee’s Estabrook nearly returned the ensuing punt, but was taken down at the East Nicolaus 39-yard line. The coaching staff would dial up Estabrook’s number on the following play, spreading the offense out, and then calling a draw for the Truckee quarterback. Estabrook would make several defenders miss before breaking free for a 39-yard touchdown run. The extra point made it 35-0 and resulted in a running clock.

In the second half, the Wolverines worked in the team’s second units. The half would be highlighted by a fumble recovery by junior defensive end Jackson Wicks and another fumble recovery by junior defensive back Chase Rothery.

Lubrano would drill a 32-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to make the score 38-0. East Nicolaus finally got on the board with 2:18 left to play when sophomore quarterback Mason Taylor scored on a 7-yard scramble. Senior lineman Aiden Keiper took the handoff on the two-point conversion attempt and managed to rumble in to make the final score of 38-8.

“It’s early in the season so we’re not happy with anything,” said Estabrook on the team’s 2-0 start. “We definitely have work to do.”

The Class 3A Wolverines will see a major test on Friday when the team travels to Reno to face Class 5A Damonte Ranch (2-0). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

“Next week is going to be a measurement of where we’re at on a statewide scale,” said Ivens.

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