Truckee football back in action
The Truckee High football team shrunk in the offseason ” in size and numbers.
“It’s the smallest group I’ve ever had,” Bob Shaffer, Truckee’s longtime head coach, said of his team. “I’m not sure what the reason is, but we saw it coming.”
Truckee began its summer practice session the week before last with a roster of 35. That’s down from 41 players last season, which was down from 47 players in 2005 and 50 in 2004.
The varsity team is not alone, Shaffer said, as only 20 to 22 players are out for JV football and 20 for the freshman team.
Shaffer said he has tracked the recent trend via Truckee’s Pop Warner feeder program, which also has taken a hit in terms of participation.
With so few players, Shaffer said the Wolverines no longer will be able to enjoy the luxury of two-platoon football ” separate groups of players for offense and defense.
“There’s no way we could play strictly two-platoon,” Shaffer said. “Right now everyone is on offense and defense, and we’ll try to find the starters from there.
“It changes everything,” the coach continued. “It changes the whole complexion of what we’ve done the last four years here.”
Truckee has won two state championships the past four years, capturing back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005 before struggling through its first losing season (2-3 league, 4-6 overall) in roughly two decades in 2006.
If this year’s team is to rebound and play deep into the postseason, it must do so without much of the size that bolstered the offensive and defensive lines last year.
“We need people up front,” Shaffer said, pointing out that valuable big men the likes of Cory Hoehn, Forrest Krull and Izzy Serna are set to graduate from Truckee this month.
“Our line is what we’re most concerned about. We’re trying to find starters there. We don’t have size, so they’re going to have to be pretty tough.”
The Wolverines’ biggest player is all-league linebacker Paris Tenorio, a junior (to-be senior) who weighs in at 240 pounds, Shaffer said. The largest player on the line is Dylan Crosby at 217 pounds, the coach said.
Another concern for Shaffer and company is the health of junior all-league halfback and return specialist Keven Sahlberg, who recently had his left shoulder operated on, and sophomore all-league linebacker Ryan Macken, who had surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) this past winter.
Shaffer expects Sahlberg to be back in action by the time the Wolverines start two-a-day practices on Aug. 9. He hopes to have Macken back by August, September at the latest.
Holding down the quarterback position right now is junior Tucker Ballister, Shaffer said, while Truckee’s batch of running backs include returners Sahlberg, Tucker Nevin and Trevor Allen, as well as Robert Raber and Justin Vosburgh, who played JV most of last season.
No position is set in stone, the coach said.
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.