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The Wolverines are back

BAY KELLEY, Sierra Sun

The Tahoe-Truckee Wolverines, who have won five state championships in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association and boast a home-game winning streak dating back to 1996, kick off this season with crutches.

Serving as the defending AAA Nevada state champions and coming off of a 12-0 1998-99 season, this year’s Tahoe-Truckee squad faces an obstacle that has plagued so many Wolverine teams of the past: Players insist on graduating.

“First of all,” explained Bob Schaffer, head football coach and athletic director at Tahoe-Truckee High School, “we’ve got a lot of shoes to fill … and not much age and experience to work with.”

The Tahoe-Truckee team lost 18 seniors, including AAA Division I MVP Jeff Andrs, quarterback Chris Gerdin – who threw for more than 1,800 yards last season – and several other core position players.

Only six of last year’s starters are on the field.

“Three starters on offense and three on defense,” said Schaffer. “There are 22 positions on the field.”

With so much coaching to be done, Schaffer is relying heavily on this year’s assistant coaching staff. Together they will work with a football team comprising 33 members, 23 of whom have just moved up from last year’s junior varsity team that finished with a 4-5 record.

With its first scrimmage lurking around the corner, the Wolverine team, by necessity, is falling together.

“I suspect we’ll experience growing pains initially,” said Schaffer, “at least until these guys get some game experience under their belt.”

The Wolverine team

Voted as this year’s team captains were Brad Noel, David DeCoite, Zach Wilson and Jesse Owen.

Taking the helm at the quarterback position is senior Carson Specht. Specht was back-up quarter back last year, and according to Schaffer, did a lot of work and improved in the off season.

Backing up Specht is Mike Holmes. Holmes, a junior, is described by Schaffer as having a “good arm … he just needs to learn the system.” Dan Tohlen will back up Holmes.

The receiving core for Truckee is looking strong.

Returning from last year’s team is DeCoite (6-1, 180). DeCoite, a senior, is a first-team all-state wingback who is Truckee’s leading receiver.

Along with DeCoite are big-men Mark Thiel (6-4, 190) and Matt Snatchko (6’3, 180.) Theil, nicknamed Moss (as in Randy from the Minnesota Vikings), has added to his “good speed and height,” says Schaffer, by adding 20 pounds to his frame working out in the off season. Snatchko’s assets include being “very aggressive when the ball’s in the air.”


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