Football teams clobber North Tahoe
Sierra Sun sports editor
TRUCKEE (Oct. 30) – The Truckee Wolverines (7-1 overall, 6-0 Northern 3A) completed an undefeated season in Northern 3A league play by beating rivals North Tahoe, 51-3, on Saturday at Surprise Stadium in Truckee.
The thumping was Truckee’s 17th straight regular season win over the Lakers (3-5 overall, 2-4 Northern 3A), and the two teams will play again next Saturday, Nov. 6, in the NIAA 3A Northern League Playoffs (see complete bracket below) at Surprise Stadium starting at 1 p.m.
“I’ve never been in a situation where we played a team in the last game of the year and ended up turning around and playing them again for the first (playoff) game,” said Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer.
The Wolverines beat themselves with a slew of penalties that negated a few large gains, but to the Lakers they were unstoppable on offense and relentless on defense.
“To me, it looks like the road to the state championship is here through Truckee,” said second-year North Tahoe head coach Scott Everist. “We get to have another shot at them next week, and we’ll have a totally different game plan.”
The Wolverines’ 50-plus-man roster handled a North Tahoe team that suited up just 17 players to start the game. Against such heavy odds, a nearly flawless game is what the Lakers needed to keep up with the mighty Wolverines, who had thoroughly beaten its opponents in seven straight wins leading up to the game.
Instead, the Lakers fumbled handoff exchanges on two out of their first three drives, which set the tone for a dismal offensive performance that included seven turnovers. North Tahoe receivers did not help quarterback Gavin Lofstedt’s cause either, dropping a couple well-thrown passes in key situations when the game was still within reach.
“Early turnovers killed us bad,” Everist said, “but for how many kids we had today, I was really proud of the way they played.”
From the opening kickoff – a 47-yard return by Truckee receiver Brandon Peterson – the Wolverines showed why they have not been defeated by a 3A team this season. Following an illegal motion penalty, it took Truckee quarterback Paul Tierney (14-of-20, 214 yards, 3 TDs) just two plays to find the end zone on consecutive completions to Gordon Neelands for 14 yards and a 37-yard scoring strike to Peterson.
On the Lakers’ ensuing drive, starting at their own 19, running back Randy Jansen picked up four yards on the first play. On second-and-6, the Lakers fumbled on a handoff exchange from Lofstedt to running back Julio Terrazas. Truckee recovered on the North Tahoe 23 and sniffed another score.
From there, the Wolverines scored in three plays, capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tierney to Jamie Maehler (5 catches, 79 yards; 3 carries, 15 yards; 2 TDs). Tierney got his team into the Red Zone with a 12-yard scramble on the first play.
Truckee and North Tahoe exchanged punts on their respective drives before the Lakers again fumbled on a handoff exchange, this time from Lofstedt to Jansen.
The Wolverines answered with a 12-play, 47-yard drive that concluded with a 3-yard Maehler touchdown run following a double handoff. Following a North Tahoe punt, Truckee took the ball 66 yards as Tierney threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end
Kevin Embertson to make it 27-0.
A week after Spring Creek running back James Edwards nearly single-handedly defeated North Tahoe by rushing for over 300 yards, the Lakers were baffled by the multi-faceted Truckee offense.
“You can try to focus on taking away one aspect of their game, but then if you try to blitz, they’re just going to hammer you with the run and vice versa,” Everist said. “They’re a really good team, and that’s why they’re No. 1 and undefeated in league now.”
Lofstedt prevented the shutout with a 40-yard field goal on the Lakers’ next drive, but Truckee recovered an onside kick and drove 50 yards for a score as running back Micah Carbajal iced it with a 21-yard touchdown.
Maehler finished the regular season with 11 touchdowns, matching Nick Cabral for the team lead. Peterson had 4 catches for 75 yards in the game. Nick Cabral and Ben Tonon each had rushing touchdowns for Truckee in the second half, and Benji Islas added a 27-yard field goal.
“We’re feeling good right now,” Maehler said. “Everything’s working on all cylinders. They’ll probably bring it next week a little bit harder because it’s playoff time ” win or go home.”
Randon Nunez, John Hooper and Morgan Harvey had interceptions for the Truckee defense, which gave up only 81 total yards. Lofstedt rushed for 27 yards on seven carries, but he was forced to leave the game midway through the third quarter with a foot injury.
“We don’t know the story with Gavin ” looks like he has a pretty big injury to the arch of his foot,” Everist said. “We’re going to bring a few sophomores up for practice and plug them in at some special teams spots, so we’ll actually suit up more kids next week. But it looks like we lost a few key guys to injuries.”
With such a small roster, injuries are not something North Tahoe can afford. Like Lofstedt, Lakers’ starter Eric Rienstra is also questionable for next week’s playoff game with an injured clavicle.
“We’re fortunate to have 52 players,” Tierney said about a Truckee varsity program whose graduating seniors will be replaced by a large stock of junior varsity players. “I look over on the (North Tahoe) sideline, and it’s too bad because I only see three subs and kids on their knees laying down and stuff.”
Shaffer’s primary concern is keeping his team focused and not too anxious about the state semifinal game that would follow a consecutive win over North Tahoe.
“It will be a little different preparing for them,” he said. “Obviously, I think every head coach’s fear if you’re in that situation is if the kids letdown and look past the opponent.”
The key for the Lakers to make a better showing next week starts with protecting the football, but Everist may be willing to try just about anything.
“We’re going to pull some rabbits out of the hat,” he said. “We’ll empty the bag so to speak. We have nothing to lose.”
Southern League Playoff Round
Saturday, November 6, 2004
Pahrump Valley (#4 Southern) at Moapa Valley (#1 Southern), 1 p.m.
Virgin Valley (#3 Southern) at Boulder City (#2 Southern), 1 p.m.
Northern League Playoff Round
Saturday, November 6, 2004
North Tahoe (#4 Northern) at Truckee (#1 Northern), 1 p.m.
Dayton (#3 Northern) at Spring Creek (#2 Northern), 1 p.m.
Saturday, November 13, 2004
#2 Northern at #1 Southern, 1 p.m.
#2 Southern at #1 Northern, 1 p.m.
NIAA 3A State Championship, presented by Las Vegas Review-Journal
Saturday, November 20, 2004 @ Sam Boyd Stadium, UNLV (TBA)
Semifinal Winners, 6 p.m.
The Truckee junior varsity football team posted its second straight 9-0 season with a 40-6 win over rivals North Tahoe.
Truckee quarterback B.J. Carter was 2-for-7 in throwing for a total of 60 yards. Sam Silver had 34 yards rushing and a touchdown. Kevin Sahlberg had 122 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Drew Stewart rushed for a total of 230 yards and three touchdowns.
Brian Cordell led the team in tackles along with Paris Tenorio. Nick Krasensky was a special captain this week and had one of his best games this year with seven tackles. Defensive back Sean Wilson along with the Esquivel brothers, Pablo and Cruz, had a great game.
Defensive ends, led by Evan Hyland, Kyle Sundale and Brenden Driscoll, had a great game containing the quarterback, coming up with several sacks. Sahlberg had one of the best hits of the game and an interception.
“I think all the big name players on our team came through and had a great game,” said Truckee head coach Steve Ames. “The guys getting it done all year continued to do so.
It was the first time this year that we were down at any time in the season, with North Tahoe getting the first score. I was proud of the kids that they didn’t panic; we just came back to play our kind of football game, which is hard-hitting, moving the chains and making big plays.
This year was such a great experience for the coaching staff. This was such a great group of kids; they were really enjoyable to coach. With the tragedies that happened to us off the field we really became a close-knit team. Both these classes are going to continue to have success in the Truckee tradition in the years to come.”
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