Truckee football | Wolverines keep shutout streak alive against Fernley
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; For nearly an entire quarter at Truckee’s Surprise Stadium on Saturday, an unknowing fan would have had a tough time deciphering which team was undefeated.
By the half, it was readily apparent.
The Wolverines rebounded from a sloppy, penalty-marred opening quarter to run away with their fifth straight shutout to start the season, this time a 35-0 rout against visiting Fernley (1-3 league, 3-3 overall).
It couldn’t have been an uglier start for the home team.
After receiving the opening kickoff, Truckee (5-0) coughed up a fumble on the first offensive play of the game, then did the exact same thing the first play of its next drive to put its defense to the test early. With the crowd already restless at the uncharacteristic turnovers, the flags began to fly against the Wolverines and#8212; and fly often.
and#8220;I think they kind of hurt themselves with penalties,and#8221; said Fernley head coach Chris Ward. and#8220;I don’t think I’ve ever seen Truckee penalized so many times.and#8221;
Truckee was penalized 10 times in the first quarter alone, starting with a sideline infraction. After a couple of false starts, a holding call brought back a 65-yard Ben Bolton-to-Morgan Nevin touchdown pass, which ended in an excessive celebration penalty. The next play, another long pass from Bolton to Mitch Nelson, was called back on an illegal formation call, which was followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Truckee. After a punt, Truckee’s sideline drew another penalty, and a fan standing at field level was told to leave the game.
Backed up to their own 12-yard line just one play later, Bolton found Nelson wide open behind the Fernley secondary, and Nelson was off to the races for an 88-yard touchdown. Austin Ferreira kicked through the extra point, and a sense of normalcy returned to Surprise Stadium.
and#8220;I don’t know that our offense was that bad. It was just all the penalties that hurt us,and#8221; said Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer, whose team ran only 10 plays to Fernley’s 21 in the first quarter.
Truckee would finish with 20 penalties in the game and three lost fumbles. But it didn’t affect the final outcome, as its defense preserved its sixth straight shutout dating back to last year’s state championship, while its offense struck with enough big plays that were not called back to cruise to the easy win.
and#8220;We ended up playing good, but we came out flat,and#8221; said Nelson, who finished with a game-high 136 yards receiving on four catches, with two touchdowns. and#8220;Normally we come out with more fire. Our defense did what it needed to do, but our offense needs work. We need to have (fewer) penalties.and#8221;
Truckee’s defense accounted for the second touchdown midway through the second quarter, as Luke Theis picked off a Kenny Bradley pass that bounced off a receiver’s shoes and#8212; although Fernley contended it hit the ground and#8212; and ran it into the end zone from 8 yards out. Senior tight end James DePew then hauled in a 24-yard catch just inside the pylon for a 21-0 Truckee lead entering the half.
After the break, the Wolverines put an end to their season-long scoreless streak in third quarters. Three plays into their first drive, Bolton connected with Nelson on a 15-yard touchdown strike. Nevin then rushed straight up the gut for a 13-yard score, and a 35-0 lead after Ferreira’s fifth extra point of the day.
and#8220;We finally got that third-quarter score, but we need to do that in both halves,and#8221; Nelson said.
Bolton finished with 291 yards on 16-of-23 passing, with three TDs and one interception and#8211; a second-quarter pick by Charlie Cooper. For the Vaqueros, Bradley was 10 of 24 for 111 yards and two interceptions, as Trevor Auldridge stepped in front of a pass just one play after Bolton threw his interception.
Truckee’s defense held Fernley to just 10 yards rushing on 29 carries. The Wolverines, meanwhile, rushed for a relatively modest 148 yards on 29 carries, as Ward said his Vaqueros focused on stopping the run game.
and#8220;We loaded the box and manned and#8216;em up, took some risks to keep their run game in check, and it helped,and#8221; Ward said. and#8220;They didn’t run the ball that well. They have good skill kids, though. Their quarterback is good. He throws the ball well.and#8221;
Truckee hosts Wooster on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 1:30 p.m.
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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.