Too little, too late in Truckee football loss
The Truckee High football team was a little tardy heating up Saturday afternoon, and Northern 3A rival Spring Creek took advantage to escape from Surprise Stadium with a 27-21 win.
“Too little, too late,” Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer said of his team’s effort. “We kind of failed in all three areas (offense, defense and special teams).”
Despite a solid second-half performance that yielded three Truckee touchdowns to Spring Creek’s one, the Wolverines ultimately were unable to overcome a 20-0 halftime deficit.
“That’s been our problem offensively the last two games. You can’t wait until the second half to start blocking and doing the things you need to do,” Shaffer said. “(Spring Creek) was a good team, but not a team that should have beat us.”
Truckee got off to a sluggish start offensively and defensively, turning the ball over to Spring Creek on a fumbled snap on its second play of the game and falling behind 3-0 on a 37-yard field goal by Gus Scheldemann with 6 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
After Scheldemann kicked through his second field goal of the game early in the second quarter ” this one from 26 yards out to give his team a 6-0 lead ” Spartans quarterback Michael Royer lofted a deep strike to a streaking Michael Kruger, who caught the pass in stride at the goal line for a 36-yard touchdown with 8:39 remaining in the first half.
With Truckee’s offense unable to pick up a first down, the Wolverines punted the ball back to Spring Creek. And Royer and Kruger did it again.
Marching from their own 27 to the Truckee 30 on a combination of runs and passes ” and with the help of a 15-yard Truckee penalty for roughing the passer ” Royer again found an open Kruger in the end zone for a nearly identical 30-yard touchdown pass.
Following the extra point, the Spartans held a commanding 20-0 lead with 4:08 left in the second quarter.
At that point the Wolverines had yet to collect a first down, and didn’t until quarterback B.J. Carter hooked up with senior fullback Drew Stewart for a 13-yard gain with 2:30 remaining in the half.
Finally the Wolverines began to move the ball, as senior wingback Andrew Mazzini rushed for his team’s second first down with a 7-yard gain on a fourth-and-2 as the clock ticked under a minute. Facing fourth-and-14 at the Spring Creek 36, junior split end John DePew hauled in a leaping grab at the first-down marker, but was inches short of the first down.
Spring Creek took a knee to run out the remaining 20 seconds of the half.
Truckee gained some momentum at the start of the third quarter when senior defensive end Tommy Nichols blocked a Spring Creek punt near midfield.
Starting from their own 43-yard line, the Wolverines then put together a 10-play drive ” all rushes ” that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by junior halfback Keven Sahlberg. With a successful extra point kicked through by Cruz Esquivel, the Wolverines were on the board, trailing 20-7 with 4:59 left in the third quarter.
The celebration was short-lived, however, as Spring Creek senior Caleb Wing received the ensuing kickoff at the 2-yard line and sprinted up the middle of the field past a group of would-be tacklers for a 98-yard touchdown return, giving the Spartans a 27-7 lead late in the third quarter.
Truckee answered on its next possession, driving 64 yards before Stewart punched the ball through the Spring Creek line from a yard out. Esquivel’s extra point brought the score to 27-14 with 11:11 in the fourth.
With the home crowd excited and their Wolverines smelling a comeback, Truckee’s defense clamped down on the Spartans by forcing a three-and-out.
Seventy-eight yards and eight rushing plays later, Stewart dove over the pile from a yard out to score his second touchdown of the half. Esquivel made good on the extra point to bring the score to 27-21 with 6:58 left in the game.
Following two Spring Creek three-and-out possessions and one from Truckee, the Wolverines began a drive from the Spartans’ 33-yard line with 2:47 remaining.
Facing fourth-and-2 from the 24 with under two minutes, Truckee was penalized five yards for a false start, then another five yards on a repeat call.
Now up against a fourth-and-12 from the 34, Carter’s pass intended for junior Nick Myers fell incomplete for a turnover on downs.
The Spartans took two kneel downs to end the game.
“We find a way to lose the game instead of finding a way to win,” Shaffer said, adding that his team’s two turnovers in the game made a total of 27 on the season. “It’s hard to win games when you turn the ball over that many times.”
The loss dropped Truckee to 2-2 in league play (4-4 overall) while Spring Creek improved to 2-2 (6-2 overall). With one week remaining on the regular season schedule, Truckee and Spring Creek are now bunched into a four-way tie with Fernley and Sparks.
SPRING CREEK 27, TRUCKEE 21
1 2 3 4
Spring Creek 3 17 7 0
Truckee 0 0 7 14
S.C.”Scheldemann 37-yard field goal, 6:08
S.C.”Scheldemann 26-yard field goal, 10:56
S.C.”Kruger 36 pass from Royer (G. Scheldemann kick), 8:39
S.C.”Kruger 30 pass from Royer (G. Scheldemann kick), 4:08
T”Sahlberg 1 run (C. Esquivel kick), 4:59
S.C.”Wing 98 kickoff return (G. Scheldemann kick), 4:41
T”Stewart 1 run (C. Esquivel kick), 11:11
T”Stewart 1 run (C. Esquivel kick), 6:58
Rushing”Spring Creek (25-57): Royer 8-30; Jarvis 9-18; Wing 8-9. Truckee (52-153): Sahlberg 21-76; Stewart 19-45; Mazzini 11-33; C. Esquivel 1-(-1).
Passing”Spring Creek: Royer 10-18-0-109. Truckee: Carter 5-12-1-64.
Receiving”Spring Creek: Kruger 7-92; Allen 1-12; Robinson 2-5. Truckee: Sahlberg 2-48; DePew 1-14; Stewart 2-12.
Turnovers”Spring Creek 0. Truckee 2.
First downs”Spring Creek 5. Truckee 10.
Fernley 40, Lowry 14
Dayton 40, Sparks 24
Northern 3A standings
Dayton 4-0 8-0
Sparks 2-2 6-2
Spring Creek 2-2 6-2
Truckee 2-2 4-4
Fernley 2-2 5-4
Lowry 0-4 1-7