Truckee football focus: ‘Let’s be the most physical football team on the field’
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Truckee wide receiver Jack Englert turns and elevates, snaring a tight spiral from Jayden Commendatore as he careens onto his back in the back of the end zone.
The impact of his fall pops the ball loose, but Englert regains possession before the pigskin sputters to the ground.
It was that kind of day for the Truckee football team.
Facing undefeated Elko, the Wolverines made big plays on offense and bigger stops on defense en route to a 39-0 shutout of the Indians in a 3A Northern clash Saturday at Surprise Stadium.
“It feels really good that we won, but it feels even greater that we shut them out,” said Commendatore, flashing a grin. “It felt even better than the Fallon win, I think.
With the win, Truckee improves to 5-0, penciling in its third straight shutout in the process. The Wolverines have outscored their last three opponents by a staggering 143-0 margin and have given up a mere 19 points all season — 12 of which were to defending state champion Fallon in Truckee’s 28-12 win on Sept. 3.
“Our focus all year has been, let’s be the most physical football team on the field,” said Truckee coach Josh Ivens. “And if we’re the most physical team on the field things are going to happen for us — that was our focus again today.”
Elko was keen on putting Truckee’s bruising defense off-balanced, and had some success using a gimmicky, spread-out offense, charting 60 yards and chewing six minutes off the clock on its opening drive.
The Wolverines weren’t fazed.
Truckee took control after Quinn Cottel, hammering Elko’s QB in the backfield, forced a fumble and Wulfe Retzlaff scooped up the recovery.
“We just needed to adapt and just play our roles,” said Retzlaf, a senior linebacker. “After the first drive we got it nailed down and after that it was just smooth-sailing on defense.”
The Wolverines wasted no time on offense, either, as Carson McCarron galloped in a 37-yard touchdown on Truckee’s first play from scrimmage. From there, Truckee was off and running, moving the chains like clockwork on its way to a 451-yard, six-TD outing.
Leading the onslaught was Commendatore, who picked apart the Elko secondary — connecting with eight different receivers — to the tune of 207 yards and two touchdowns on 13 of 17 passing.
“We needed the pass game to move the ball a little bit today and we knew that going in,” Ivens said. “He (Commendatore) is a leader and he really moved the ball well for us when we needed first downs.”
The first-year starter hooked up with Englert twice for scores, hitting the senior wide out in stride on a 47-yard toss in the second quarter and later on a 9-yard play-action pass to the corner of the end zone in the third.
“We just sort of game planned that if they came up really hard, we’d be able to get Jack up in the seam and he should be open,” said Commendatore of his 47-yard fling to Englert. “And he made a great catch and out ran (No.) 86.”
“Coach gave me a play, I ran deep, the quarterback did a great job of getting the ball on the spot and I came down with it,” said Englert, who had 65 yards on three catches. “We were just clicking. We were all doing our 1/11, just winning our battle.”
On the ground, Truckee was led by McCarron, who had 55 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.
Jamie Parisi rushed for 42 yards and a TD, Retlzaff added a 3-yard score and Cole Harrity ran for a team-best 61 yards.
“It just felt great coming out here and just running the ball on them at will pretty much and shutting them down on defense,” said Retzlaff, who had a team-best 15 tackles, including 11 solo.
Harrity added seven tackles, Michael Doughty had six and Tony Felix, Englert and Connor Bullion collected five apiece.
Kicker Jose Araiza connected on 3 of 4 extra-points.
In JV action, Truckee notched a shutout of its own, blanking Elko 26-0.
Homecoming showdown with Sparks
Truckee will look to keep the pace Saturday for a homecoming showdown with Sparks (1-4).
The Railroaders, who are coming off a 46-20 loss to Fernley, claimed their lone win against Dayton, a 20-10 outing on Sept. 2. For comparison, Truckee thumped Dayton 63-0 on Sept. 16.
“Coach (Robert Kittrell) does a good job, we’re not going to overlook them at all,” Ivens said. “They got some weapons and we’re going to have to do some scheming and some preparation and make sure we keep this thing rolling.”
Kickoff for Truckee’s homecoming game against Sparks is 2:30 p.m. at Surprise Stadium.