Truckee football: Wolverines eye showdown with unbeaten Spring Creek

Kaleb M. Roedel
Noah Williams speeds toward the end zone during the Wolverines' 63-15 homecoming win over Sparks on Saturday at Surprise Stadium. Williams rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns.
Courtesy Hans Baumann |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Blink, and you might have missed a Truckee touchdown.

Racking up 476 yards and nine touchdowns, the unbeaten Wolverines put on a show for the homecoming crowd Saturday, toppling Sparks, 63-15, in a 3A Northern League showdown at Surprise Stadium.

“It’s nice to see the crowd come out for homecoming, and we’re giving them something to cheer for,” Truckee coach Josh Ivens said.

And the Wolverines wasted no time putting the Truckee faithful in a frenzy.

Just like last week, Truckee’s defense initiated the highlight reel, huffing out Sparks’ opening drive when linebacker Wulfe Retzlaff picked off a fourth-down pass and rumbled 58 yards before getting chased down at Railroaders’ 20-yard line.

One play later, tailback Cole Harrity jitterbugged through Sparks’ defense for a 20-yard touchdown, giving Truckee a quick 7-0 edge at 8 minutes, 22 seconds in the first quarter.

“We’re here; let’s roll,” Ivens said was the team’s mindset. “Two weeks in a row, it’s been a team driving on us, our ‘D’ steps up and makes a turnover, and the next play we’re scoring. It’s very pleasing to see that, obviously.”

Added Retzlaff: “It stops them (Sparks) right in their tracks. Right when they got it going, they’re like, ‘Oh … Well, Truckee’s here.’”

The Wolverines (6-0) were just getting warmed up.

After Retzlaff punched in a 1-yard touchdown late in the first quarter, Noah Williams took the reins in the second. The junior trotted in a 5-yard score and later broke loose for a 53-yard TD with 2:34 left in the half to give Truckee a 27-0 command at halftime.

“Our o-line was hitting heads up front and making holes for our running backs, and we have some great runners who run hard,” said Harrity, who finished with a team-high 115 rushing yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. “Our offense is just unstoppable.”


This was epitomized in the third quarter, where the Wolverines erupted for 29 points. What’s more, Truckee needed a mere seven plays — yes, seven — to score four touchdowns in a dizzying five-minute span.

Jayden Commendatore connected with Jake Holmes for a 10-yard touchdown, Retzlaff found pay dirt twice — on tackle-shedding rushes of 24 and 12 yards — and Harrity provided the showstopper, juking to the sideline and scurrying 52 yards to the end zone.

“Our backs definitely have vision and understanding of how we’re blocking things,” said Ivens, whose team tallied 347 rushing yards on 36 carries (9.6 yards per carry). “But ultimately, the guys up front really did a great job today and opened up some huge holes. There were a couple of plays we blocked exactly like it was drawn up on paper, which is very pleasing to see.”

“Everything was working for us,” added Retzlaff, who rushed for 57 yards and three touchdowns. “I know our offense is really good, and we can just drive down at will against any team.”

Sparks managed to get back two touchdowns in the third on a kickoff return by Carlos Rodriguez and a 75-yard rush by Hunter O’Meara, but Truckee — which had shut out its previous three opponents — clamped back down on defense in the fourth.

“Our team was very upset about it,” Ivens said of Sparks scoring. “That’s how competitive we are — we feel like we can go into a game and shut teams out. We pride ourselves on our defense first and foremost.

With the Railroaders stonewalled once again by Truckee’s suffocating defense, the Wolverines’ offense orchestrated one last scoring drive, capped by Ian Schmidig’s 8-yard TD run with 5:46 left to round out the 63-point outburst.

“I’m very proud of this senior group,” Ivens said. “They’ve really taken it amongst themselves to be focused and disciplined and building the momentum throughout the year.”

Despite throwing an uncharacteristic two interceptions, Commendatore was sharp in the pocket, passing for 129 yards and a touchdown on an 8-of-12 outing. His biggest target was Holmes, who hauled in two catches for 63 yards, highlighted by a 53-yard grab in the second quarter.

Defensively, Retzlaff led the way with 13 tackles, followed by Schmidig with 11. Tyler Davis had an interception and Tony Felix blocked a punt.

In JV action, Truckee manhandled Sparks, as well, rolling to a 48-7 rout.


In their post-game huddle after the win over Sparks, the unbeaten Wolverines (6-0) were already narrowing their focus on their next — and arguably toughest — opponent: Spring Creek (6-0).

Both teams enter Friday night’s bout as the only two undefeated teams in Division 3A. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Spring Creek High School in Spring Creek, Nev., roughly a 5-hour drive east off Interstate 80.

“It’s exciting that we’re playing in a game like that,” Ivens said. “One that’s meaningful for both of our teams late in the season, because both of us have been kind of middle-range the past couple of years.”

The pass-heavy Spartans are anchored by quarterback Jon Jund, who’s thrown for a whopping 1,896 yards and 26 touchdowns, flexing a 76 percent completion rate with just three picks.

In all, Spring Creek, coming off of a 53-12 rout of Fernley, has tallied 267 points (44.5 per game) while giving up just 88. Meanwhile, Truckee has scored 273 points (45.5 per game) and allowed only 34.

“Everything is on Spring Creek,” Retzlaff said. “All our energy, effort is going on Spring Creek. Everybody needs to 100 percent bought in, and we’re going to bring it to them.”

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.