Truckee football | Wolverines open season with 37th straight win |

Truckee football | Wolverines open season with 37th straight win

Sylas Wright / Sierra SunTruckee linebacker Graham Christian, shown taking down Lowry's Beau Billingsley behind the line of scrimmage, led the Wolverines with 14 tackles and 109 yards rushing. Truckee won 27-7 to run its more than three-year win streak to 37 games.

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8211; The streak endures.

While it wasn’t the smoothest of victories, the Truckee football team opened its 2012 campaign with a 27-7 win over visiting Lowry on Saturday to extend its three-year-plus winning streak to 37 games.

and#8220;Truckee seems to reload every year,and#8221; said Lowry head coach Tim Billingsley, whose Buckaroos struggled to move the ball against Truckee’s defense from the start. and#8220;We couldn’t handle their line, and that was the difference.and#8221;

Competing without senior running back and linebacker Jake Pettit and with an injured starting quarterback, Erik Holmer, the Wolverines were hardly firing on all cylinders.

On nine offensive possessions in the game, they scored twice, punted four times, turned the ball over on a fumble and interception, and missed a field goal after committing a penalty that negated a touchdown.

and#8220;A lot of things in the first half kept us from putting the dagger in,and#8221; said Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer, whose team managed to score one touchdown in each quarter. and#8220;But I give credit to Lowry. They play physical on defense and take pride in that, just like us.and#8221;

The Wolverines made up for any offensive shortcomings with their own stingy defense, while Lowry gave them a head start with a couple of costly turnovers in the first half that led directly to scores.

The first came just three plays into the game. Lowry quarterback Calvin Connors dropped back to pass on third-and-13 from his own 11 and coughed up the ball while trying to avoid a sack near the goal line. Truckee’s Justin Carter fell on the ball in the end zone to give Truckee a quick 6-0 lead after a failed extra point.

Lowry’s next big mistake came late in the second quarter. Punting on fourth-and-12 from its own 40, Tyler Andersen couldn’t handle the long snap, and by the time he recovered the ball from the turf, Truckee’s Javier Virrey was there to apply the hit and cause a fumble. Truckee lineman Benito Gurrola picked up the ball and ran with a parade of blockers all the way to the end zone.

and#8220;That’s a lineman’s dream,and#8221; Shaffer said. and#8220;I think he was pretty stoked about that.and#8221;

Louden Smith kicked through the extra point, and Truckee led 13-0 with less than a minute remaining before the half.

and#8220;We gave up two defensive touchdowns right off the bat, and that really hurt us,and#8221; Billingsley said. and#8220;And then we just couldn’t get anything going on offense.and#8221;

Truckee limited Lowry to just 7 yards rushing on 23 attempts in the first half, while Connors was 2-for-6 passing for 20 yards. The Wolverines, meanwhile, rushed for 91 yards on 20 carries as Holmer, who played despite an injured thumb on his throwing hand, was 0-for-4 with an interception and#8211; an athletic pick along the sideline by Connors.

and#8220;He couldn’t throw. He had no velocity on the ball,and#8221; Shaffer said of Holmer, who completed only one of his six passes in the game, but rushed for 58 yards. and#8220;It was more of a sling-shot motion. But we’re hoping that with another week, we can count on him being close to full strength.and#8221;

Truckee’s offense got on the board midway through the third quarter. After fumbling the ball to Lowry on its first possession, senior running back/linebacker Graham Christian broke away for a 41-yard touchdown run on the second play of the next drive, extending the lead to 20-0 after Smith’s extra point.

The Buckaroos narrowed the margin on the first play of the fourth quarter, using a 71-yard run by Connors on a broken play to set up a 3-yard run by the junior quarterback three plays later.

With Holmer struggling with his thumb injury, Shaffer inserted his backup, Smith, to start the fourth. The 6-3 junior was sharp, completing both passes he threw for 61 yards.

Smith capped his first drive with a 45-yard touchdown strike to Zak Pettit, who reached up to make the catch with Connors tightly defending and then sprinted the rest of the way to the end zone and#8211; holding the ball out in a pre-celebration in the final yards. Smith kicked through the extra point, and Truckee led 27-7 with 8:15 remaining.

Lowry drove from its 25 to the Truckee 32 before turning the ball over on downs on its next possession, and its final drive ended when Smith intercepted a pass by Troy Lecumberry.

Truckee held the Buckaroos to 85 rushing yards in the game on 33 attempts and#8211; 71 of which came on the one run by Connors and#8211; and 43 passing yards. Seven Truckee running backs combined for 187 rushing yards on 42 carries.

and#8220;We need to get our offense moving in the right direction more, but that always comes later,and#8221; said Christian, who led the Wolverines on both sides of the ball, recording 14 tackles to go along with his 109 yards rushing on 11 attempts. and#8220;It was a good first game, but we have a lot to work on.and#8221;

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