Friday football fight: Truckee at Hug | SierraSun.com

Friday football fight: Truckee at Hug

Matt Brown
Sierra Sun sports editor
Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra SunTruckee quarterback Paul Tierney will test a Hug secondary that didn't see much action against Manogue.
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For the first time in Bob Shaffer’s nine-year tenure as head coach of the Truckee High varsity football team, his 3A Wolverines will face the 4A Hug Hawks in a non-league matchup Friday night at Hug High School in Reno.

“Hug is a veteran team,” Shaffer said. “They have several kids back from last year when they went 8-3 and made it to the playoffs. It should be a great contest for us to use as a measuring stick to determine where we’re at.”

The focus is always to win, Shaffer insisted, but Truckee’s 2004 season opener is only slightly more important than a scrimmage.

“We’re still looking for guys at spots,” Shaffer said. “That game will probably go a long way in determining who the starters are once we get into league.”

The significant difference between the Wolverines and Hawks can be found in their offensive capabilities: Truckee is the only team with a proven passing attack led by the combination of quarterback Paul Tierney and receiver Jamie Maehler, both seniors.

That difference will very much determine the result of tonight’s game, considering Hug’s secondary wasn’t challenged much in its season opening 14-12 loss to Bishop Manogue on Aug. 27.

“We are going to throw the ball,” Shaffer said. “We’re going to try to spread (Hug’s defense) out a little more. Somehow we’ve got to negate their team speed, and the best way to do that is to wear them down. They’ve got seven kids that are going both ways.” (See Truckee’s season preview for more on why that’s important).

Defensively, the Hawks will be sound, returning eight starters and featuring good size on the defensive line. Because of that size, big gains on the ground may be hard to come by for Truckee. So the determining factor could be the battle between Truckee’s receivers and Hug’s secondary, said Hug head coach Rollins Stallworth.

“We have a pretty experienced secondary, but (Truckee’s) going to present some problems for us with the many things they can do on offense,” said Stallworth in a phone interview.

In contrast to Truckee’s passing efficiency, Hug bolsters a proven running game centered around featured back Isaac Porter. Like Shaffer alluded to, Porter also plays defensive back on defense. But the senior didn’t show many signs of slowing down against Manogue.

“He was the third fastest kid in track last year as a junior in the whole state,” Shaffer said. “He’s strong in the hips, and he ran hard against Manogue ” broke a lot of tackles and dragged people.”

Porter finished with 136 yards on 24 carries and scored both Hawks touchdowns. Hug only threw the ball a total of five times in the game, Shaffer said.

Stallworth enters his 11th season (48-55) at Hug. He has built a reputation on relying on the running game to control the clock and wear down opposing defenses.

You could label the Hawks offense one-dimensional, but the dependence on the run did not prevent Hug from turning out its first eight-win season in 2003. In the postseason, the team was ousted 37-14 by Douglas in the Northern 4A semifinals. Stallworth said he will take advantage of the non-league game against the Wolverines to test his passing game.

“In the Manogue game, with the game being so close, we didn’t want to put our quarterback in a position to make a mistake,” he said. “(Against Truckee) we want to get in a situation where we can focus on (the passing) aspect of our offense. We have to find out now.”

The Hawks quarterback position was questionable to start the season, but the ball was in the hands of senior Michael Thigpen against Manogue.

Despite Stallworth’s intent to test Thigpen’s throwing abilities, Truckee knows in a close game the focus will be on Porter ” a 5-foot-10, 190-pounder with good breakaway speed. The senior rushed for 1,034 yards in only seven regular-season games as a junior and has rushed for more than 2,200 yards during his Hug career. But he is not the only threat in the Hawks’ backfield.

Like Porter, Dexter Rackley and Darren Shepherd are both 5-10 and will get a few carries to spell Porter. Rackley rushed for over 300 yards in 2003, while Shepherd ” at 195 pounds ” will get the handoff in short yardage situations.

Stopping the run is something that concerns Shaffer based on the performance of his defense in two different scrimmages in the preseason.

“I haven’t seen that we have been consistently capable of stopping the run against anybody that we’ve scrimmaged,” he said. “That’s a point they have to prove, and they’re going to get that chance to do it on Friday night.”

Jimmy Williams, Truckee’s starting middle linebacker, thinks the Wolverines defense overall needs to tackle better, but containing Porter starts with the success of the interior linemen.

“If our D-line can contain him and our D-ends can force him back in on the sweeps and the pitch-outs (we will be successful),” said Williams, who earned First Team 3A All-State defensive honors in 2003. “If our D-tackles can sustain their ground and not get pushed around, then from there it’s just tackling. If we tackle, it’s going to be a great game.”

Seeing how his defense responds is important, but Shaffer said he just wants to see a balanced performance in the first game of the year.

Since Hug went 0-10 in 1998 and 3-6 the next year, Stallworth has turned the program around. The Hawks have posted four straight winning seasons and have qualified for the playoffs during each of those seasons.

Like Hug, Truckee was knocked out in the semifinals of the 2003 postseason ” a 28-21 loss to Virgin Valley.

Hug players to watch

– Running back Isaac Porter, #7, (5-11, 190)

– Linebacker Zeke Bowen, #54, (5-10, 235)

– Tight end Ben Harris, #48 (6-2, 180)

– Lineman Derek Kosub, #55, (6-4, 260)

No. Player Gr. Yr. Wt. Pos.

1 Darryl Feemster 11 5-10 150 WR/DB

3 Averian Hunter 11 5-8 145 WR/DB

4 Eric Luna 10 5-10 165 WR/DB

5 Mike Clardy 10 5-10 160 QB/LB

6 Dexter Rackley 12 5-10 175 RB/DB

7 Isaac Porter 12 5-11 190 RB/DB

8 Ron Johnson 11 5-9 155 WR/DB

9 Talaiasi Puloka 12 6-2 190 QB/LB

10 Michael Thigpen 12 5-10 170 QB/DB

12 Gary Smith 6-0 200 WR/LB

14 Derick Pierce 10 5-11 190 RB/LB

20 Coby Johnson 12 5-10 175 RB/LB

28 Darren Shepherd 11 205 RB/LB

33 Lee Loe 10 5-10 170 RB/LB

40 Phillip Ward 12 6-0 180 TE/LB

44 Manny Ortiz 10 5-8 155 RB/LB

48 Ben Harris 12 6-2 180 TE/LB

52 P.J. Utuutuvanu 10 5-11 255 OL/DL

54 Zeke Bowen 12 5-10 235 OL/LB

55 Derek Kosub 11 6-4 260 OL/DL

58 Aaron Tilander 11 6-1 315 OL/DL

60 Malakai Niko 11 6-0 225 OL/DL

62 Chris Tilander 12 5-11 290 OL/DL

65 Joey Connelly 10 5-10 175 OL/DL

68 Jeff Coons 12 5-8 300 OL/DL

71 Joe Mokofisi 11 6-3 205 OL/DL

72 Jake Hart 11 6-3 205 OL/DL

76 Oswaldo Pineda 10 5-11 235 OL/DL

78 Julian Aquino 12 5-9 300 OL/DL

80 John Wheatley 11 5-9 160 WR/DB

81 Jerone Ross-Garrett 11 5-11 160 WR/DB

84 Gabe Dobbins 11 6-2 180 WR/DB

90 Andrew Tupou 12 6-0 235 OL/DL

99 Tabari Hamilton 12 6-5 245 TE/LB

No. Player Yr. Ht. Wt. Pos.

1 Paul Tierney 12 5-11 170 QB

3 Randon Nunez 12 5-11 175 S/P

6 Brandon Peterson 11 160 WR

7 Kevin Embertson 12 6-3 220 TE

8 Robert Jones 11 5-10 160 DB

9 Gordon Neelands 12 6-1 165 WR

10 Joe Cassella 12 150 WR

11 Ben Tonon 11 6-2 200 LB

14 Harvey Morgan 11 150 LB

18 Tony Krasensky 11 140 RB

20 Nathan Wrenn 12 6-0 175 DL

21 John Hooper 11 170 DB

22 Nick Costa 12 5-11 165 DB

23 Nick Cabral 11 5-9 170 RB

25 Jamie Maehler 12 6-4 200 WR/P

26 Mike Lopez 11 150 RB

27 Scott Rice 12 170 LB

29 Joe Lipnosky 12 5-11 180 LB

31 Micah Carbajal 11 150 RB

32 Jimmy Williams 12 5-5 170 LB

34 Daniel Cramer 11 165 DB

42 Denver Schaffarzick 12 5-11 180 DL

44 Kyle Steverman 11 210 DL

47 Daniel Ballou 12 6-1 195 LB

50 Ian Casey 12 5-10 225 OL

51 Jon Riley 12 6-0 195 OL

52 Riley Allanson 11 6-0 180 LB

53 Cameron Lewis 12 5-8 285 DL

54 Matt Klesken 11 190 LB

55 Chris Hobart 11 240 OL

56 Cory Raber 11 160 LB

57 Edgar Lopez 11 200 OL

58 Enrique Sanchez 12 6-2 235 OL

59 Logan Hunt 12 5-11 190 OL

60 Chris Miller 12 6-2 205 DL

61 Devin Peterson 11 185 OL

62 Jorge Vasquez 11 190 DL

63 Scott Bosco 12 190 DL

64 Keith Pippo 12 190 DL

67 Kellen Lewis 11 240 OL

68 Patrick Baird 12 5-8 180 OL

69 Benji Islas 12 6-0 270 DL/PK

71 Omar Serna 12 6-0 230 DL

75 Tony Brown 11 295 OL

76 Kendal Burton 12 6-3 220 OL

88 Mark Ochoa 11 180 WR

93 Sage Coulter 11 185 WR

94 Alfredo Oropeza 11 220 TE

98 Tom Kokenge 12 200 DL

99 Rafa Miranda 12 235 DL