Football looks for a 2001 repeat |

Football looks for a 2001 repeat

A repeat? That’s what they want, anyway.

If the Wolverine football squad pulls it off, it will be the first in the program’s 50 years.

“I’m going to use that P-word,” head coach Bob Shaffer said. “We have the potential to be a good team this year. (But) we still have a lot of rough edges before we’re going to accomplish anything.”

But it’s not too easy. Shaffer lost 11 seniors, including six key starters. Many in the offense lack experience, the team is smaller this year and already, starting quarterback Kevin Schlesinger pulled groin and abductor muscles, hampering him in the weeks leading up to Friday’s opener against Fernley. But the ones that touch the ball don’t lack experience.

“It’s mostly on our offensive line,” Shaffer said. “We have one of our front six people, including the tight end, coming back- one guard and the rest are new there.

“They’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go yet.”

Senior defensive end Jacob Bohart dislocated a shoulder and won’t be back until early October in time to make the trip to Winnemucca to play Lowry High.

Despite the adversities, Shaffer anticipates even a stronger passing offense than last year’s 1,800 yards from the arm of quarterback Kevin Schlesinger.

“We’re expecting a little bit more out of him,” Shaffer said. “We’re kind of expecting him to carry the load on that side of the ball.”

The offensive passing game, a strong defense and a solid work ethic are the seventh-year coach’s high points.

Despite the loss of the seniors, Shaffer still has eight key returning starters from last year’s 9-2 squad that took the NIAA Championship, not to mention 15 first-year starters that Shaffer thinks can make an immediate impact.

Kevin Schlesinger, a “fifth-year senior,” is returning for his third season as a starter for the Wolverines. Junior J.R. Murphy, coming off an outstanding sophomore season on the varsity squad will be back as a receiver, defensive back and the team’s kicker.

“JR Murphy’s going to be good,” Shaffer said. “We have big plans for him- he’s 6’4″, it comes along with the territory. He proved himself as a defensive back. He’s shown a lot of improvement as a receiver this year and he has the foot strength to be an outstanding kicker if he can just get it together with his timing and technique.”

Some Wolverines are excited about the season as the defending state champs.

“This is the 50th anniversary (for TTHS football) and back to back (championships) would be the first time in Truckee history,” senior free safety James Ward said. “W e have the team, if we start pulling it together. Our linemen are looking better and better everyday.”

Senior linebacker Adlo Serna was a little more reminiscent.

“I know I’m going to miss it, but I know I have to go on,” Serna said of last year’s state title. “Especially after last year. You want to keep coming back and take it again and again.”

The season opens Friday night in Fernley at 7:30 p.m. and the first home game is against Dayton High on Saturday Sept 14 at 1:30.

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