High School Football: Truckee Wolverines tame Wooster Colts on the road
The Truckee Wolverines football team rolled to a 35-0 win on the road against Wooster on Friday, Sept. 1, as the two squads opened play within the Northern League.
The Wolverines (2-0, 1-0 Northern League) came in as the smaller team, but absorbed the Colts’ (0-2, 0-1 Northern League) best shot early on, before going to work behind strong offensive line play and a stingy defense.
“We’re usually always smaller,” Head Coach Josh Ivens said. “We’re gritty, we play aggressively, and good things happen when you play physically. They were a physical team and a big team, but our guys showed up tonight … size doesn’t always matter, playing tough football and playing physical counts as well.”
The first quarter was a defensive fight, with Truckee recovering a fumble on Wooster’s opening possession to set up field position at the Colts 26-yard line. The Wooster defense would hold strong, and force a turnover on downs when junior quarterback Marcus Bellon was brought down on a fourth-and-four play.
After Truckee’s defense forced a punt, the Wooster defense again made a big play with senior Jordan Cruz intercepting Bellon near midfield.
But once again, the Wolverines answered on defense as senior linebacker Michael Doughty forced a punt with a perfectly timed blitz up the middle to blow up a third-and-short play in the backfield.
“Defense was key in that first quarter,” Doughty said. “At first when they were shoving us around, we kept our minds right. We were just thinking, ‘Hey, these guys may be bigger than us, but we’ve got to keep that physicality in check and just bring it to them every play.’”
The Wolverines would get on the board with their next possession — going 83 yards for the score — capped off by senior Jamie Parisi’s 14-yard touchdown run. Emmanuel Valenzuela-Jones’ extra point gave Truckee a 7-0 lead.
From that point on, Wooster would struggle to find any momentum as Truckee began to take the game over. The Colts size advantage up front was apparent throughout the first quarter, but after Truckee’s long drive, Wooster was put on their heels for the remainder of the game.
After forcing a three-and-out on the next Colts drive, the Wolverines extended their lead on a four-yard touchdown run by Bellon, followed by another extra point from Valenzuela-Jones.
Truckee’s defense would again force a Wooster punt on the next possession to set up a nearly 4-minute, 81-yard touchdown drive. Junior Jackson Skaff highlighted the drive with a 17-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-one. Skaff was initially bottled up after a few yards on the play, but managed to break free from a host of Wooster defenders before bouncing to the outside and finding the end zone. Valenzuela-Jones’ kick made the score 21-0 at halftime.
Coming out of the locker room, the Wolverines opened up with a play out of the book of Bob Shaffer, according to Ivens, with Truckee dialing up one of the legendary coach’s old kickoff returns. The play would result in Parisi scoring a touchdown, but a holding call brought the ball back to the Truckee 15-yard line.
“We talked all week, let’s take it to the house,” Ivens said. “That was kids just wanting to make a play for Coach Shaffer. We’ve dedicated our season to him.”
Starting back at their 15-yard line, the Wolverines drove the length of the field, eating up over 3 minutes of clock, to set up a one-yard touchdown run by junior Kevin Malo. Valenzuela-Jones’ extra point put Truckee up 28-0.
After forcing another punt, the Wolverines again went on a long drive, taking over 5 minutes and 85 yards before senior Joel Estabrook found the end zone on a 15-yard run. Valenzuela-Jones’ kick put the Wolverines up by 35 points, which started a running clock. The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association changed the running clock rule from a 45-point differential to 35 points for this season.
The Wolverines defense allowed 12 yards over Wooster’s final two possessions, as Truckee worked their bench players into the game.
The Wolverines saw a balanced attack from their running game with nine different players splitting up 40 carries. The team tallied 381 yards on the ground. Bellon led Truckee with eight carries for 82 yards.
Bellon was also efficient when he did drop back to throw, completing 9 of 11 passes for 130 yards.
Defensively, the Wolverines held Wooster to 76 total yards of offense, including limiting the Colts to 15 yards in the second half. Doughty led the team with 10 total tackles.
“I’m really proud of our guys up front,” Ivens said. “We were completely outmatched when it came to size, but they played tough, played low.”
The Wolverines will next travel to Fallon on Friday, Sept. 8, for a 7 p.m. contest against the Greenwave.
Fallon (1-1, 0-1 Northern League) was edged by Fernley, 32-30, in their game on Friday, Sept. 1.