Wolverines scuttle Pirates to reach first state title game since 2012
For the first time since 2012, the Truckee football team will play for a state championship.
The Wolverines traveled to Moapa Valley on Saturday, and scuttled the Pirates in the Class 3A state semifinal round, taking a 23-16 win.
“We haven’t beat them at that field,” said Head Coach Josh Ivens. “It was a packed crowd, and a loud band — it was a great atmosphere,”
Truckee forced five turnovers during the game, and scored touchdowns off a 30-yard interception return by senior Sean Kelly and an 80-yard punt return by senior Marcus Bellon.
A turnover led to Truckee’s first score, resulting in a short touchdown run by senior Kevin Malo.
Moapa Valley answered with an outstanding touchdown grab, followed by a field goal ahead of halftime to take a 10-6 edge.
The Wolverines took the lead on Kelly’s interception return early in the second half, but the Pirates responded with an 87-yard touchdown reception from senior Luke Bennett to senior tight end Derek Reese to retake the lead.
“We had great kickoff coverage, pinned them back down inside the 15,” said Ivens. “And then on a second-down play, they had a play action play we hadn’t seen.”
Bellon later returned a punt for a touchdown to make the game 20-16, followed by a field goal from senior Emmanuel Valenzuela—Jones for a seven-point advantage.
Moapa Valley would have a final chance at tying the contest, but senior Derek Laferriere intercepted a pass to put the offense back on the field.
From there, Truckee salted the game away on the ground.
“No one’s been able to run the ball on them all year,” said Ivens, “We’re getting first downs, 4 an 5 yards a pop. No ones been able to do that against them. I’ve watched a lot of film and nobody’s been able to run the ball on them. They’re good.”
Truckee will now face Churchill County at Carson High School on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 5 p.m for the state championship. Fallon took a 32-29 victory against Truckee earlier in the season.
“We’ve got our hands full,” said Ivens. “Fallon is very good. It should be a good matchup, I have a ton of respect for Coach Hill and what they do.”