Truckee football | Stacked Wolverines seek back-to-back state titles | SierraSun.com

Truckee football | Stacked Wolverines seek back-to-back state titles

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
File PhotoQuarterback Ben Bolton, shown in last year's state championship against Moapa Valley, will look to improve on his stellar 2009 season when he finished with 2,085 yards and 28 touchdown passes.
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Only time will tell just how good the defending state champion Wolverines are in 2010.

Based on the preliminary evidence, it seems safe enough to say, and#8220;very.and#8221;

and#8220;It’s a tough thing to duplicate, but we’re gonna give it a hell of a shot,and#8221; Truckee coach Bob Shaffer said about repeating as 3A champs. and#8220;We think we have the capability, and we believe that to a large degree we control our own destiny.and#8221;

Last year’s Wolverines dominated from beginning to end, finishing a perfect 12-0 while pummeling their opponents by a collective margin of 552 points to 60 (447-38 in the 3A). That Truckee team recorded five shutouts on the season, including a 27-0 skunking against Moapa Valley in the state championship and#8212; the ninth state title in school history.

Naturally, the successful 2009 campaign has Truckee football fans licking their chops for more. They know their team is stacked once again, led by standout senior quarterback Ben Bolton, and friends. Despite the hype, however, Shaffer said his players are far from overconfident.

and#8220;That has been discussed, but it doesn’t seem like this team has that kind of an attitude,and#8221; said Shaffer, who returns for his 16th season as head coach. and#8220;For the most part I think they’ve worked really hard, and this group of juniors and seniors for the past three or four years have done a great job of preparing themselves for this season. They have some high expectations for themselves; I don’t think it’s just coming from the coaches and the community.

and#8220;I think for the most part they’ve heard it often enough from us that they know they still have a lot of work ahead of them.and#8221;

Especially given the new landscape in the Northern 3A, which gained four teams in the offseason and#8212; South Tahoe, Elko, Fallon and Wooster and#8212; all of which dropped from the 4A. Wooster will compete as an independent, meaning it is not eligible for the playoffs or All-League awards.

With the addition of the former 4A members, Truckee scrapped its normal nonleague schedule against California schools, and instead will jump right into league play Sept. 4 against Dayton. That means the Wolverines will have to be on their game from the onset, and particularly sharp against the new teams looking to make an impact at the 3A level, Shaffer said.

and#8220;You can take their records the last few years and throw them out the window,and#8221; Shaffer said of Fallon, South Tahoe, Wooster and Elko, which plays at Truckee on Week 2. and#8220;They probably can’t wait to play the upper echelon of the 3A so they can prove they’re just as good as we are. And they probably are. So it should be a very interesting season as to where all the chips fall into place when it’s all said and done.and#8221;

But while Shaffer is unsure exactly how competitive the unfamiliar new foes will be, he is certain of one thing about his own team: The Wolverines have plenty of weapons at their disposal, and on both sides of the ball.

The biggest weapon of all could be their 6-foot-3-inch rocket-armed quarterback, Bolton, who is coming off a scintillating junior season in which he finished with 2,085 yards and 28 touchdowns. In last year’s title game, Bolton burned Moapa Valley for 242 yards on 17-of-24 passing and#8212; a typical performance for the talented QB.

and#8220;He looks almost like he picked up where he left off last year,and#8221; Shaffer said. and#8220;and#8230; Ben and I have talked, and if he just does what he did last year, which is to take what the defense gives him, he should have a phenomenal year. I really believe he is ready to go.and#8221;

Other top returners include senior tight end James DePew, senior linebacker and fullback Morgan Nevin, junior Cole Roberts at the same positions, Colin Christian at halfback and free safety, and Tony Rodriguez at safety and receiver. Cornerback Mitch Nelson also returns for his senior year, as well as running back/defensive back Cory Ackerman, among others. And while the Wolverines lost a number of impact seniors from a year ago, particularly on the defensive side, Shaffer is confident in his talented batch of juniors, who are coming off a successful season at the junior varsity level.

The Wolverines host a scrimmage Saturday at 10 a.m. against Quincy. After the scrimmage, parents and fans are encouraged to stay for a needed cleanup day of work at Surprise Stadium.