Blue beats down Silver
RENO ” Call it Mackay Magic, or whatever you want. There just seems to be something special about playing at Mackay Stadium as far as the Truckee High football team is concerned.
Back in November, the Wolverines celebrated a state championship victory at Mackay Stadium, and on Friday night, five of those seniors returned to the University of Nevada field and helped Team Blue defeat the Silver, 24-0, in the 25th annual Sertoma Classic all-star game.
Truckee’s Ben Tonon, Brandon Peterson, John Hooper, Scott Decker, Alfredo Oropeza and Jorge Vazquez, along with North Tahoe’s Eli Osborn, all played roles during the Blue’s dominating performance in a contest that showcased Northern Nevada’s top graduating football seniors.
“This was the funnest experience that’s ever happened to me in high school,” said Tonon, who rushed for 28 yards and a backbreaking third quarter touchdown. “You practice all week and then play with kids you’ve always played against and hated ” kids you’ve loathed ” and you get to know them and find out they’re all great.
“The game was perfect. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
That’s saying something when you consider the Wolverines were perfect at Mackay this past year, including their 37-14 victory against Virgin Valley in the 3A state championship game on Nov. 19. Tonon scored three TDs to help Truckee capture its second straight state title.
“It was great to be back at Mackay,” Tonon said. “One of our goals was to stay perfect here.”
The Blue’s dominance started with a defense that held the Silver to minus-4 yards on the ground and 55 yards in total offense. The Silver had 13 carries thrown for losses, including four quarterback sacks. The Blue also forced six fumbles (two were lost) and one interception.
– Hooper broke up three passes from his defensive back position and forced one fumble. He was also in on a key first-down tackle that resulted in a 1-yard loss after the Silver returned a second quarter interception to the 21 (the threat ended in a missed field goal).
– Vazquez recovered a fumble at the Silver 19 that led to a missed field goal attempt at the end of the first quarter.
– Oropeza, at tight end, played a big role blocking for Team Blue, helping pave the way for the squad’s 250 rushing yards.
– Decker was in on a fourth-quarter sack.
– Osborn tackled Carson standout Bryan Maffei after a short gain to end the third quarter, then hurried McQueen QB Ryan Wickes into an incompletion that left the Silver in a third-and-11 situation. One play later, the Silver turned the ball over on an interception.
“We had a pretty simple scheme,” Hooper said. “They may have had better athletes, but we were a better team overall. We had great chemistry and cohesiveness. We came together real good throughout the week.”
The Blue was clinging to a 10-0 lead when it turned the ball over on a fumble early in the third quarter. The defense stopped Team Silver on three downs and the ensuing 45-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.
Then the offense took the field and mounted a 15-play, 80-yard drive that took 8:32 off the clock, capped by Tonon’s 4-yard touchdown run off the right side ” behind a Vazquez block.
Earlier in the drive, Peterson got open on a third-and-8 pass play and drew a pass interference call for a first down at the 20.
Later, Peterson threw a downfield block that helped Spring Creek’s James Edwards for a 27-yard TD run that made it 24-0 with 7:02 left to play.
“It was a lot of fun,” Peterson said of the game. “I can’t even explain it.”
That’s what the Sertoma Classic is all about.
“It was too much fun,” said Osborn. “It was fun finally getting a chance to finally know all these guys after playing against them.
“And I guess it was like a test to see if I could play against the guys at the larger schools,” added the North Tahoe senior, who is looking to play junior college football at Cabrillo in the Bay Area next season.
“This brings back some good memories,” said Vazquez, who hopes to go on to play at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo as an invited walk-on. “It’s good to leave here (Mackay) with good memories.”
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.