Truckee defense reins in Spring Creek for 26-14 home football win
The Truckee football team took advantage of several missed opportunities by Spring Creek and a strong effort by the defense to capture a 26-14 home win to remain a game behind first place, Fernley, in the Northern League standings.
“It was a great performance defensively,” Head Coach Josh Ivens said. “We were able to, somewhat, take away (Dakota Larson), and they love to pound the ball with (Jason Painter) and we were able to slow him up … I’m proud of our effort, and the execution of the defensive game plan was just phenomenal.”
Truckee was able to limit Spring Creek’s leading receiver, Larson, to five catches for 68 yards, and held the Spartans’ leading rusher, Painter, to a 2.2 yards per carry average.
“That team has had us the last two years, and it’s nice to just get over that hump,” Ivens said. “Our kids deserve it, they worked hard last week.”
The Wolverines defense came up with big plays at timely moments all afternoon, starting with a recovered fumble on their own 20-yard line to halt Spring Creek’s opening drive.
After a penalty pushed the Wolverines back to the 15-yard line, junior quarterback Marcus Bellon pitched the ball to senior Jamie Parisi, who then found senior Cole Eichele all alone for an 86-yard touchdown reception. Eichele led the team on the ground with 91 yards on 12 carries.
Bellon would give Truckee a 14-0 lead later in the quarter, scoring on a quarterback keeper on a first-and-goal play.
Truckee would add to their lead in the second quarter after a Bellon punt pinned the Spartans back on their own goal line. Spring Creek tried the outside with Larson taking the ball out of a wildcat formation, but senior Joel Estabrook shot in on the play to bring Larson down in the end zone for a safety and a 16-0 lead. Estabrook finished the game with 10 total tackles (eight solo).
The Wolverines would get on the move again late in the half with Bellon finding junior Kevin Malo on a 57-yard reception to the 5-yard line with two seconds remaining.
After a timeout, Truckee sent out junior kicker Emmanuel Valenzuela-Jones, who nailed a 22-yard field goal to give the Wolverines a 19-0 lead at halftime.
The Truckee offense would take over at their own 21-yard line after ending the Spartans’ opening drive of the second half on a turnover on downs, and then proceeded to drive the ball down to the Spring Creek 1-yard line.
With the game on line, Spring Creek got a little breathing room after a false start penalty. The Spartans then managed to force and recover a fumble on the following play to deny Truckee any more points.
Spring Creek then went the length of the field, including converting on a fourth-and-1 play, and got on the board with a touchdown lob to senior K-Ci Slade. The failed two-point conversion left the score at 19-6.
With the momentum in Spring Creek’s favor, the Wolverines offense answered with a 9-yard pass to Parisi to start the next drive. Truckee then hit on four straight long runs to move the ball inside the 20-yard line. The Wolverines would then regain full control of the game on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Parisi to make the score 26-6 after Valenzuela-Jones’ extra point.
“Going down and scoring on that drive was huge,” Ivens said. “It pretty much put a stamp that, ‘You are not going to be able to stop us.’”
Spring Creek started their next drive with 7:22 left in the game, and would convert on a pair of fourth-down plays on the way to scoring another touchdown. The drive, however, ate up more than 4 minutes of clock and would be the last time the Spartans offense saw the field as Truckee salted the game away on the ground for the team’s fifth victory in a row.
Juniors Jake Bullion and Jake Streit led the Wolverines with 11 tackles. Eichele finished with 10 tackles.
Truckee (7-1, 6-1 Northern League) will next head on the road to face league leaders Fernley (7-1, 7-0 Northern League) in a battle for first place on Friday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.