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Title town! First time a Wolverine team goes undefeated for title

JAMES BALL

Historical.

That’s the way to describe the Tahoe-Truckee High School Wolverines’ 28-14 state championship win against Bishop-Manogue in Las Vegas last Friday night.

For the first time ever, a Truckee football team has taken the title and ended a complete perfect season.

The records will forever show a 12-0 TTHS season, capping a 40-1 career for the current seniors.

Things were tight for the first quarter at Sam Boyd Stadium, with no score until the second.

Truckee players were visibly nervous, fumbling the ball and missing a field goal attempt in the first.

But a three-yard Jeff Andrs run into the end zone broke things open for the Wolverines in the second.

“We were nervous; we had butterflies,” Andrs said. “This was the biggest game we’ve ever played or will ever play.”

Mark Thiel booted the extra point, leaving Truckee with a tentative 7-0 lead at the half.

And the Wolverines grounded out pretty well, too. Quarterback Chris Gerdin threw just 12 times in the entire game, completing eight passes for 105 yards.

The Miners came out in the second half swinging and landed a punch in the form of a 30-yard Dustin Garcia pass to Justyn Midanik to put Manogue on the board.

Manogue continued to try to chip away at the Truckee defense, but it was to no avail.

“I don’t think we were ever too worried,” Andrs said. “Our defense was shutting them down. We knew we could do it as long as our offense kept moving down the field.”

Truckee answered Manogue’s touchdown with a Josh Wilson one-yard run for six.

“All my life, people said I was too slow, but I’ve always proved people wrong,” Wilson said. “It was no different this year.”

In the third, a Miner receiver took a wrong turn and Garcia’s pass went from Robbie McClendon’s hands to cornerback Chris Birchard’s at midfield.

“I was thinking, ‘Oh my God,'” Birchard said.

Birchard said drills prepared him for the situation.

“All I saw was the end zone and tried to figure out how to get there,” Birchard said.

He ran the ball back to the 33-yard line.

Later, Zach Wilson scored for Truckee in the fourth on a three-yard run and was followed by Josh Wilson on an identical run to finish Truckee’s scoring for the night.

With less than two minutes left, the second-stringers were called in, and Manogue scored on a 19-yard pass, but it was too late for the Miners.

The seconds ticked down, the Gatorade was dumped and the Miner bus was started.

Truckee had won state.

Afterward, Wolverine head coach Bob Shaffer was complimentary of the Manogue defense.

“They have a good defense and that makes our offense look bad, but we overcame things and made adjustments we needed on the field,” Shaffer said. “All that did was kind of refocus us and we scored three unanswered touchdowns.”

Rushing

J. Wilson rushed 26 times for 140 yards, while Andrs rushed 19 times for 118 yards.

Z. Wilson rushed four times for 15 yards; Chris Gerdin, once for a yard; David DeCoite, twice for eight yards.

Manogue rushed 27 times for 135 yards and minus two yards.

Passing

Gerdin completed eight of 12 attempts for 105 yards and a touchdown.

The Miners’ Garcia completed five of 15 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown.

Receiving

Geoff Hovorka caught one pass for three yards; Thiel, one for seven yards; Andrs, two for 39 yards; J. Wilson, one for 14 yards and Paul DeCarlo, one for 25 yards.

Miners receivers caught seven passes for 119 yards, a credit to the Truckee defense.

“Our defense was well-prepared and did a good job,” Shaffer said.

He also had praise for the Wolverine offense.

“It’s been the same thing all year. Our offensive line created opportunities for these guys (Gerdin, Andrs and Wilson) and they found those little holes and got through. Once they got down the field, they were elusive. It was hard to get a hand on them.”

Truckee ended the season at 12-0, while Manogue ended at 10-2, having lost twice to Truckee.

When asked if this was the best season he’s ever coached at Truckee, Shaffer said, “I think so. Obviously winning state is always a highlight for any football team, but for us to do it undefeated for the first time ever makes it special.”

But he knows it wasn’t luck. From the beginning of the season, Shaffer and his coaching staff laid out a plan to win games and take home the state championship.

Asked if he had met all of those goals, Shaffer said, “Yeah, and then some. I never thought we’d go 5-0, let alone go 12-0 and finish the season undefeated.

“These kids will always be special because, for one, now they have set the standard. Every Truckee team that follows will be measured against them.”

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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