Truckee football | Wolverines edged by Dust Devils
Things get no easier for the Wolverines this week. With the smoke still hampering their ability to practice, they are scheduled to host undefeated Elko on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Coach Josh Ivens said that Truckee, which cannot practice outdoors due to the poor air quality, was scheduled to practice at McQueen High School in Reno on Tuesday, assuming Washoe County did not also ban outdoor activities due to the air. If the air quality has not improved by Saturday, Truckee will be forced to host Elko at Wooster High School in Reno. Ivens said there is no third options should Reno’s air quality remain at an unhealthy level.
DAYTON, Nev. — The stars have simply not aligned for the Truckee football team in 2014.
The Wolverines lost their second straight Northern Division I-A game on a final drive Friday, this time in a 22-21 defeat at Dayton.
“It was brutal,” coach Josh Ivens said of the loss, which dropped the Wolverines to 0-3 in league and 1-3 overall. “Given our circumstances, we’re all very proud of our guys. They put their hearts out. They’re still making a lot of the same mistakes, but ultimately, we played right up until the last minute.
“But that’s two weeks in a row that we lost a game on the last drive, and this one was particularly difficult.”
Competing seven players short and after a week of limited practice due to unhealthy air quality, the Wolverines thought they were on their way to their first league win when senior Eli Delauney ripped the ball from the grips of Dayton’s Julio Meza and raced to the Dust Devils’ 30-yard line with a little over three minutes to play.
“We were up by five (points). We just needed a first down,” Ivens said.
On the next play, however, a botched handoff attempt resulted in a fumble and recovery by Meza. The Dust Devils then drove down the field and scored on a 5-yard run by John Aguilar with less than a minute to play. The 2-point conversion failed, but Dayton’s defense held strong and the hosts escaped with the narrow victory.
Due to smoky conditions caused by the King Fire, which has created havoc with all of Truckee’s fall sports schedules, the Wolverines were limited to practicing in the school gymnasium.
“We literally could not practice. We had to walk through everything,” Ivens said, adding that, along with the seven missing players, last week was the worst of his coaching career.
Despite the factors working against them, the Wolverines had their chances to deal the Dust Devils (3-0 league, 4-0 overall) their first loss.
Truckee tied the game at 14 with 31 seconds to play in the first half on a 20-yard pass from junior quarterback Sean Bokinskie to Delauney. The game remained tied as both teams played strong defense until late in the third quarter.
After a punt pinned Dayton at its 4, the Dust Devils were unable to pick up a first down and were forced to punt from their own end zone.
Truckee took advantage of the great field position and a Dayton miscue. The Dust Devils’ defense was swirling and combined with a holding call had the Wolverines in a second-and-20 situation, but a 10-yard pass play and an illegal hit to the helmet gave Truckee the ball at the 12 and a first down.
Three plays later, Tanner Sawyer scored from the 5, giving Truckee a 21-14 lead.
Dayton had great field position after a kick return by Meza. Aguilar picked up 34 yards on his first carry of the drive and Dayton was inside the Truckee 10. Two plays later Aguilar fumbled. But the Dayton defense came up big.
A false start and a run for no gain closed the third quarter with Truckee facing second-and-12 at its own 1-yard line to start the fourth quarter. After an incomplete pass, Truckee called Delauney’s number, but the defense was ready and tackled the running back in the end zone for the safety, cutting the deficit to 21-16 with 11:44 to play.
The teams traded drives until the Meza fumble, followed by the Meza recovery on Truckee’s botched handoff.
Behind running back Skyler Berntson, who left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury, Dayton jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 2:49 to play in the opening quarter when Davis Winebarger scored on a quarterback sneak from the 2.
Truckee evened the game with 5:55 to play in second quarter when Bokinskie snuck it in from the 1-yard line.
Dayton went back in front when Meza broke a run to the outside and went 50 yards to give the Dust Devils a 14-7 lead with 3:39 to play in the half.
The Wolverines tied the game on the aforementioned 20-yard pass from Bokinskie to Delauney. The drive was helped by two 15-yard penalties for illegal contact to the head on Dayton.
“I thought we came in a little overconfident,” said Dayton coach Rob Turner. “With them not being able to practice, they battled. It wasn’t a walk in the park. We took advantage when they started to cramp up. That’s when we really pushed our guys to get to the play in quick and line up and snap the ball. We were getting to them.”
Ivens said a number of players on the shorthanded Truckee squad had gutsy efforts in the loss, including Delauney and Bokinskie on both sides of the ball.