Northern 3A football: Truckee blows away Dust Devils |

Northern 3A football: Truckee blows away Dust Devils

Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra SunRandon Nunez returns one of his two interceptions versus Dayton for a touchdown. Nunez has four picks this season.

Truckee jumped out to a commanding 27-0 halftime lead against Dayton Saturday (Oct. 16) and coasted to a 48-21 home win behind five forced turnovers by its defense and another strong offensive display.

“I liked how our kids came in and dominated both sides of the ball,” said Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer, who picked up his 80th win in his ninth season as the Wolverines improved to 5-1 overall and remained unbeaten in the Northern 3A at 4-0.

The win sets up a showdown at Lowry next weekend in which a Truckee win will ensure a home game in the NIAA Northern League Football Playoffs, Shaffer said.

In a game that was delayed because of smoky conditions from wildfires south of Truckee, halfbacks Nick Cabral and Mike Lopez scored touchdowns on Truckee’s first two possessions, and the defense stifled Dayton’s passing game with strong secondary coverage and an effective pass rush.

On the Wolverines’ third possession, Cabral fumbled for the first time this year, but Truckee’s defense stepped up and forced a Dayton fumble on the very next play, recovering the ball for the offense.

The play, which came after Truckee had its first PAT blocked and failed on a two-point conversion attempt after their second touchdown, swung the momentum back in Truckee’s favor, Shaffer said.

“At that point we were up 12-0, and we fumbled the ball, which could have been a big momentum-changer,” Shaffer said. Truckee’s ability to get the ball right back on Dayton’s first offensive play, “Really took the wind out of their sails,” Shaffer said.

After a long run by Micah Carbajal, Truckee found the end zone again on tough, second-down run by Cabral. A two-point conversion by Jamie Maehler ” the team’s leading scorer with 50 points ” put the Wolverines ahead 20-0.

The ability to pound Dayton’s defense with strong runs was a demonstration of the Wolverines’ increasing strength on the offensive line, said Shaffer.

“I thought that our offensive line over the last couple games has played really well,” he said.

The Dust Devils (4-3, 2-2 Northern 3A) had two opportunities to score before halftime, but missed a 35-yard field goal in the second quarter. The second chance came after Dayton’s defense picked off a pass by Paul Tierney, who threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns to increase his season total to 14. The pick was only Tierney’s second in a stellar season in which he has completed 73 percent of his passes for 1,293 yards.

But a goal-line pass by Dayton was intercepted by safety Randon Nunez, who ran the ball back 61 yards, setting up a touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Peterson with 18 seconds left in the half for a 27-0 lead.

With the game all but over, Nunez sealed it with a third-quarter interception return for a touchdown to make it 34-0. Safety John Hooper also had two fourth-quarter interceptions.

The Wolverines’ offense executed powerful running and effective screen passes during the second half. Carbajal took a third-quarter screen pass into the end zone and Lopez, who along with Cabral had two touchdowns, scored again late in the quarter. Cabral and Lopez share the team lead with five rushing touchdowns this season. Cabral, a senior, leads the team in carries and yards (49 for 362).

Tierney picked at a Dayton defense that surrendered 423 yards. The senior has now thrown a touchdown pass to six different receivers this year. Gordon Neelands was the leading Truckee receiver with 5 catches for 74 yards.

Nunez was the standout on the defensive side with 12 tackles, one sack and three pass deflections to go with his two interceptions. Defensive end Nathan Wrenn also recorded seven tackles and three pass knockdowns. Joe Lipnosky added eight tackles and Jimmy Williams recorded seven.

Dayton finally got their passing game going in the third quarter, as sophomore quarterback Travis Wood hooked up with 6-foot-2 wide receiver Danny Hopper for a 9-yard third-quarter touchdown pass.

With the score at 48-7, Dayton struck for two more long fourth-quarter scores, including a Trent Wood touchdown pass for 68 yards to Hopper off of a double pass. Hopper caught six passes for 155 yards and three scores.

Dayton was able to throw for 338 yards, but rushed for only 37 yards.

Truckee, which focused on its pass defense strategy before the Dayton game, will now work on defending Lowry’s dive option, a scheme they haven’t seen all year.

“We’re going to have to get smart in a hurry,” Shaffer said.

During five consecutive lopsided wins following a season-opening loss at 4A Hug, Truckee has outscored its opponents 222-27, including 169-18 in the first half and 182-21 against Northern 3A league opponents.

The Truckee Wolverines junior varsity football team ran its overall record to 7-0 with a 33-6 Northern 3A league win against visiting Dayton on Oct. 16.

Truckee running back Kevin Sahlberg rushed for 171 yards and three touchdowns, including a 63-yard scoring run. Drew Stewart rushed for 127 yards and one touchdown. Sam Silver had two carries for 40 yards, and quarterback B.J. Carter was 7 for 13 for 105 yards, including a touchdown pass to Brian Cordell.

Cordell had a big interception on defense, and Kyler Coxson had an interception to end the game when Dayton went for it on 4th-and-goal. Paris Tenorio had another standout game on the defensive line, making 13 tackles and numerous sacks. Coxson added nine tackles, and David Olson got his first sack of the season.

“I thought we played pretty good football today,” said Truckee head coach Steve Ames. “We came out kind of flat because of the delay in the game (because of smoke from local fires). We weren’t sure if we were going to play.”

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