Truckee defeats South Tahoe 35-28 in first round of NIAA football playoffs |

Truckee defeats South Tahoe 35-28 in first round of NIAA football playoffs

Junior Marcus Bellon pulls a chunk of field from a teammate’s helmet during Truckee’s 35-28 win over South Tahoe in the Northern League Quarterfinals on Saturday, Nov. 4.

A Truckee Wolverines defense, which gave up four touchdowns in the first half against South Tahoe, stood firm when it mattered most in a 35-28 win on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Surprise Stadium.

“Our guys played their tails off,” said Truckee High Head Coach Josh Ivens, shortly after the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association 3A Northern Region playoff win.

The first half resembled a video game contest, as both teams piled up points on a number of big plays despite cold, wet, and sloppy conditions.

Truckee (9-2 overall) struck first after senior running back Cole Eichele galloped 55 yards to give the offense a first and goal at the 1-yard line.

A subsequent running play nearly ended in disaster when the ball popped loose only to be recovered in the end zone by junior tight end Drew Wingard for a touchdown. A failed extra point made the score 6-0.

The Wolverines tacked on two more points a short while later when a snap from the South Tahoe center sailed over the punter’s head and out of the end zone for a safety to make the score 8-0 with 7:33 left in the first quarter.

About three minutes later, Truckee scored again when junior quarterback Marcus Bellon rolled out right, and then rolled back to his left and found senior tight end Michael Doughty for a short touchdown pass. The extra point made the score 15-0 with 4:45 left in the quarter.

But South Tahoe (5-5 overall) was able to answer when senior quarterback Peyton Galli connected with senior Tyler Wattanachinda for a 33-yard scoring strike in the back of the end zone. A successful two-point conversion made the score 15-8 with 2:15 left in the quarter.

Truckee padded the lead when Bellon found wide receiver Emmanuel Valenzuela-Jones for a 5-yard touchdown pass. A bad snap left the score at 21-6 with 7:16 remaining in the second quarter.

About 30 second later, Galli found senior wide receiver Mccallan Castles wide open in the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown pass. A successful extra point made the score 21-15 with 6:37 left in the second quarter.

Galli, who went 12 of 23 for 252 yards and four touchdowns in the game, struck again when he hooked up with senior Matt Cain for a 21-yard touchdown pass. The extra point kick was no good to leave the score knotted up 21-21 with 3:19 left in the first half.

Bellon, who went 12 of 17 for 155 yards and three touchdowns, put the Wolverines in front again when he connected with senior wingback Jamie Parisi on a 24-yard scoring pass. A successful extra point made the score 28-21 with 1:04 left in the half.

But the lead lasted less than 15 seconds because Galli heaved a ball about 40 yards to Castles, who snared the ball with one hand, and then romped into the end zone for a 72-yard touchdown. A successful extra point left the score at 28-28 at the end of the half.

The second half was nothing like the first, but it did feature a long and eventual game-winning drive by the Wolverines.

The drive, which started on Truckee’s own 17-yard line and took up most of the third quarter, ended with a quarterback sneak by Bellon. A successful extra point made the score 35-28.

“It was crazy,” said Bellon, shortly after the game ended. “Our line did good.”

South Tahoe had a few chances after Truckee scored, but was unable to muster up any points.

While the outcome wasn’t what he had hoped, South Tahoe Vikings Head Coach Louis Franklin said he was proud of his team.

“It’s a special group and they’ve helped set a new standard for our program. It’s something that my kids and other kids can look up to because they’re good boys,” said Franklin shortly after the game ended.

Truckee moves on to play Fernley High (9-1 overall) on Thursday, Nov. 9 in Fernley, Nev. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. provided the game statistics.

Tahoe Daily Tribune staff writer Bill Rozak contributed to this report. Staff writer Wyatt Haupt Jr. can be reached at 530-550-2652 or via email at

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