Bullying the Buckaroos
It was a perfect senior farewell: The sky cloudless and the day warm, the Truckee High marching band looking and sounding sharp and the defending state champion Wolverines dominating another football game at Surprise Stadium ” this time in a 54-0 routing of last place Lowry on Saturday.
By the time it ended eight Wolverines had touchdowns while the goose egg on the visitor’s side of the scoreboard told the story for Lowry.
“That was lots of fun,” said Truckee tight end Alfredo Oropeza, who finished with 40 yards and a touchdown on two receptions.
The beating could not have been too fun for the Lowry Buckaroos, who undoubtedly felt the brunt of the Wolverines’ smashmouth defense that yielded only 33 yards in the first half and 144 the entire game.
While Truckee’s defense continued its stingy ways, the offense was rolling, and didn’t slow a bit until the second unit took over in the third quarter. By that time Truckee had accumulated 322 yards.
The Wolverines scored touchdowns on all six first-half possessions, leading 27-0 after the first quarter and 40-0 at halftime.
The Wolverines received the ball to start the game. The offense drove down the field on four plays before Jones hooked up with senior wingback Ben Tonon on an uncontested 9-yard pass in the end zone.
Following a Lowry punt that pinned the Wolverines at their own 3-yard line, senior halfback Mike Lopez ran the ball to the 11 before Peterson snagged a pass over the middle, shed a couple tacklers and sprinted 89 yards for a touchdown.
Truckee’s swarming defense forced another Buckaroos punt.
Cole Hodges, a junior fullback who carried the ball 13 times for 65 yards, began the drive with a nifty run to the Lowry 15-yard line. Facing fourth down and 9 at the 12-yard line, Jones connected with Oropeza, who managed to scrape his toes in the back of the end zone for Truckee’s third touchdown.
On the first play of Lowry’s next possession senior defensive back Daniel Cramer stepped in front of a pass for an interception, then rounded the corner with a burst of speed and outran everyone 25 yards for the Wolverines fourth score of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, after the Wolverines drove from their own 32-yard line down to the Lowry 4, Lopez took the hand-off, hurdled some fallen Buckaroos and strode into the end zone.
Truckee defensive back Morgan Harvey cut Lowry’s next possession short at the 50-yard line with the second interception of the game for the Wolverines.
Senior fullback Drew Stewart scored Truckee’s next touchdown untouched from about 10 yards out. With the extra point attempt missing, the Wolverines took a 40-0 lead into the half.
Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer gave many non-starters a shot to play in the second half, and ran the ball almost exclusively.
“We try to reward the kids who have worked hard in practice,” Shaffer said.
One such player is Hodges, who ran the ball nine times for 30 yards the week prior and acted as the Wolverines’ workhorse in the second half Saturday. Hodges on each carry ran hard and in the third quarter pounded his way in from 6 yards out for a touchdown.
“It was nice,” Hodges said of getting 13 rushes and a touchdown. “The (offensive) line definitely helped out a lot.”
Truckee’s final touchdown came on a blocked punt that was pounced on in the end zone with about five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
With one game remaining, Truckee, at 4-1 in league play, will finish second behind undefeated Spring Creek, who handed the Wolverines a 31-19 loss on Sept. 23 in Elko.
Saturday marks the final game of the regular season, when the Wolverines take on rival North Tahoe at 1:30 p.m. in Tahoe City. The game between the two rivals might be the last, as North Tahoe, hurting for players and already lacking a junior varsity team, is likely to drop to 2A next season.
Riding a 20-year winning streak against the Lakers, the Wolverines are prepared to continue the trend.
“This would be year 20, so we definitely don’t want to be the first Truckee team (in the last two decades) to lose to North Tahoe,” Tonon said.
Senior fullback Shane Fuller is aware of the circumstances, as well.
“Since it’s our rival and it’s probably the last time Truckee will face them, we’re gonna take it to ’em,” Fuller said. “We’ve got to keep up our 20 years of dominance.”
Cory Hoehn, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound junior tackle, all but guaranteed victory against the 2-3 Lakers.
“In film they don’t look that good,” Hoehn said. “(The game) should be a good building block on the road to state.”
Listening in on Hoehn’s comments, fellow junior guard Tim Curtis added, “(North Tahoe) is still gonna put up a fight. Against us they’ll put up their best effort.”
Shaffer agreed with Curtis.
“(North Tahoe) is going to be fired up for us more than any other game,” he said. “They’re gonna want to knock us off.”
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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.