Pop Warner: Truckee Junior Midgets earn 20-6 win at Sparks
Truckee Pop Warner Junior Midget head coach Charles Slusher apologized to his team immediately after the game last Friday at Sparks’ Golden Eagle Regional Park.
He certainly was not apologetic for leading his team to a 20-6 victory over the Sparks Ducks. He actually apologized about his play-calling.
He explained to his team after the game that he felt it was necessary to call the plays exactly as he had planned. He stated he was extremely proud of his team for handling the difficult chore that he asked of them.
He told the team he was sorry for sending his running backs into the middle of the Ducks’ defense time and time again to set up the big play. Slusher knew the Ducks were one of the hardest-hitting teams the Wolverines had faced this season. The Ducks defense even gave proof of how hard they hit in the first half of the game when they sent Truckee’s leading rusher, Nate Bromley, out of the game due to an injury.
But the payoff Slusher mentioned came in the third quarter of the game when Truckees running back Patrick Hogan took a quick reverse 52 yards around the left side for a touchdown.
The Wolverines already possessed a 12-6 lead after Bromley punched one in from 4 yards out in the first quarter and Hogan did the same from a yard farther out in the second quarter.
The big payoff play wasn’t the winning touchdown but it did seem to serve as a back-breaker for the Ducks. Sparks only mustered 15 yards off of nine offensive plays the rest of the game after Truckee scored and kicker Deacon Mehler converted the point-after-touchdown kick for the 20-6 lead that held up to the end.
The 52 yards off the scoring run helped Hogan lead the Wolverines in rushing. He finished the game with 153 yards on 14 carries. Bromley also contributed nine attempts for 40 yards before leaving the game in the second quarter.
Quarterback Sam Smith led the Wolverines in passing with 68 yards on five completions.
Tight end Jackson Ellermeyer finished the game as Smith’s favorite target and caught three passes for 42 yards.
Defensively, the Wolverines were led by linebacker Connor McMullen. He led Truckee with 14 tackles, including two solo tackles and two tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He also forced a fumble and defended a pass.
Truckee had two other defenders with double-digit tackles. Defensive end JJ Snyder brought down 13 Ducks and hurried their quarterback twice. He led the Wolverines with six solo tackles and three tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
The other double-digit contributor was linebacker Dillon Kane. He lined up next to McMullen in the middle of Truckee’s defense and dropped 11 Ducks ball carriers. He also picked off a pass in the second quarter.
The win improved Truckee’s record to 4-2 and secured a home game for at least the first round of the playoffs against an opponent to be determined.
The Wolverines close out the regular season against the Reno Grizzlies this Saturday at Bishop Manogue High School. Kickoff is at 3 p.m.
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.