Truckee football faces challenging schedule
Having lost a nucleus of 25 seniors that helped win back-to-back Nevada 3A state titles, coach Bob Shaffer says the Truckee High football team is “retooling” for this next season.
One thing remains unchanged in that the Wolverines will face a highly challenging preseason schedule. If nothing else, it might even be a step up from the 9-2 season they had in 2005 that culminated with a second straight state championship.
Truckee will face four California opponents leading up to the start of its Northern 3A conference season, starting with the Sept. 2 season opener at Surprise Stadium against Bishop. The Wolverines follow with a trip to Colfax on Sept. 8, then they play host to Piedmont on Sept. 16 and Winters on Sept. 23. Truckee kicks off its Northern 3A season on Sept. 29 against Lowry in Winnemucca.
“We’re playing four preseason games and every one is against a California team that not only made the CIF playoffs last year, but did very well in the playoffs,” Truckee coach Bob Shaffer said. “That’s why we scheduled them. We wanted it to be as tough as possible to help get us ready for league, and I think we did that.”
Just look at what those four opponents accomplished in 2005:
– The Bishop Broncos went 9-3, finished second in the High Desert League and advanced to their CIF Southern Section playoff quarterfinals before losing to Boron, 21-20.
– The Piedmont Highlanders were 6-4-1 in 2005, won the Bay Shore League and lost to Miramonte 35-7 in the North Coast Section 2A quarterfinals.
– The Colfax Falcons were 10-2 in 2005, shared the Pioneer Valley League title with Bear River (Grass Valley) and Oakmont (Roseville), then advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs before losing to Sonora 32-14.
– The Winters Warriors were 7-4, finished third in the Butte Valley League and went on to the Northern Section Division 2 playoffs, where they lost to Lassen 34-20.
Those four games lead up to what Shaffer expects will be a challenging Northern 3A season. Come November, the top two finishers in the North will advance to the state 3A playoffs against two representatives from the South.
“Our league’s going to be good,” Shaffer said. “There’s a lot of parity, which means you have to come well prepared to play everybody. And that’s good. I think everybody likes to see good, competitive games. The fans do. The players do. The coaches do.”
Truckee will be at home for key back-to-back games ” Oct. 14 against Dayton and Oct. 21 against Spring Creek ” then visits improving Sparks on Oct. 27 to end the regular season.
Being prepared and ready to every game is a key, the coach added.
“As a coach, one of your biggest fears is that you will get knocked off by somebody that, on paper, you should beat,” Shaffer said.
Last season, the Wolverines opened with losses in two of their first three games ” 20-14 in overtime at home against Colfax and 35-19 on the road against Northern 3A rival Spring Creek. In week four, they rallied late to pull out a 35-32 win over a Live Oak (Morgan Hill) team that went on to play in its Central Coast Section playoffs.
That served as a springboard for the Wolverines, who finished with eight straight victories, including a 31-13 win at Spring Creek in the state semifinals and then a 37-14 win against Virgin Valley in the championship game at Mackay Stadium in Reno.
This is a new season and Truckee comes in with just two returning starters on offense and none on defense. One intangible the Wolverines have working in their favor is a winning tradition ” five in 10 years with Shaffer as head coach and eight state titles overall since 1983.
“We’re retooling,” Shaffer said. “You’ll notice I used the word, retooling … we don’t like to call it rebuilding.”
Despite losing two early games last season, the Wolverines reaped the rewards from some tough competition.
“It’s not how you begin the year that counts,” Shaffer said. “It’s how you end it.”
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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.