Truckee football | Wolverines smash Elko in state semifinal |

Truckee football | Wolverines smash Elko in state semifinal

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Sylas Wright/Sierra SunTruckee senior defensive back Tony Rodriguez leaps to make one of his two interceptions in Saturday's 55-7 win against Elko.

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Truckee defensive coordinator Josh Ivens never saw it coming.

Moments before the Wolverines’ second string scored a final touchdown to extend their lead to 55-7 against visiting Elko on Saturday, Truckee players snuck up behind the unsuspecting Ivens, water cooler in hands, and dumped its contents directly onto his head.

With a third consecutive state championship berth well in hand, the drenched assistant coach didn’t seem to mind.

Senior quarterback Ben Bolton threw touchdown passes of 33, 49 and 39 yards in the opening six minutes and finished with five TDs on the day as the Wolverines rolled to a 55-7 win against the Indians in their 3A state semifinal.

and#8220;It was bad from the get-go,and#8221; said Elko head coach Luke Sellers. and#8220;They are that good. and#8230; Our kids had a great year, but congratulations to Truckee. They’re a great football team.and#8221;

The Truckee win set up a rematch of the last two state championships between the Wolverines and perennial Southern 3A power Moapa Valley, which defeated Lowry 35-20 in their semifinal.

Truckee made certain Saturday’s contest would not be a nail-biter.

After forcing an Elko three-and-out to start the game, Bolton, who finished a cool 11 of 14 for 260 yards, capped a five-play drive with a 33-yard touchdown strike to a wide open Colin Christian. Austin Ferreira kicked through one of his seven extra points for a quick 7-0 lead.

Bolton then dumped off a screen to Tony Rodriguez on the first play of Truckee’s next possession, and Rodriguez ran 49 yards for a touchdown using key blocks from Alex Malo and Stein Retzlaff. The Wolverines followed with a successful onside kick, and three plays later Bolton hit Morgan Nevin on another screen before the senior running back lumbered 39 yards for the score.

Halfway through the first quarter Truckee led 21-0.

and#8220;More than anything we just came out fired up and wanted to send a message, to be honest,and#8221; said Rodriguez, who had two interceptions to go along with his touchdown. and#8220;Our offense did its job and our defense came out hitting hard. We studied our assignments and were prepared.and#8221;

The Indians held Truckee out of the end zone on its next two possessions before Bolton threw a perfectly placed ball into the hands of Mitch Nelson near the pylon for a 26-yard touchdown, and 28-0 lead.

Elko’s defense stepped up to force a turnover on downs after Truckee recovered a fumble by Ty Wilson deep in his own territory, and Ferreira missed a 24-yard field goal attempt on the Wolverines’ next possession just before the half.

But more often than not, it was the Wolverines’ defense that made an impact. Truckee held Elko to just 9 yards rushing on 15 attempts in the first half, while quarterback Chris Davis was 2 of 8 for 16 yards, with two interceptions.

Davis would finish 6 of 15 for 25 yards in the game, with the two picks and one touchdown and#8212; a 5-yard pass to Anthony Painter that put the Indians on the board early in the fourth quarter.

The Indians did most of their damage on the one scoring drive, when they marched 55 yards in 10 plays to earn a major chunk of their 79 total rushing yards on the day.

Truckee, meanwhile, gained 275 yards rushing on 41 carries and#8212; 139 yards in the first half and 136 in the second and#8212; as 10 different players ran the ball.

After stalling on a couple drives in the second quarter, the Wolverines struck quickly after the half. On the first play of the third quarter from the 50-yard line, Bolton again dumped off a screen, this time to Trent McMullen, who benefitted from blocks as he sprinted in for the score.

and#8220;We got off to a good start and then had a lull there in the second quarter,and#8221; said Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer. and#8220;They changed their defensive front and#8230; and that kind of stifled us a little bit. But then on the first play of the third quarter we got a touchdown real quick, and I thought that took a little out of Elko.and#8221;

Two possessions later, Christian scored on an 8-yard run to extend the lead to 41-0.

The Wolverines tacked on two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter with their reserves in the game and#8212; a 3-yard run by Ty Englert and a 33-yard burst by Griffin Brown.

Shaffer credited the play of Bolton for his accurate passing and Rodriguez for his all-around solid game.

and#8220;He’s one of our heart-and-soul players,and#8221; the coach said of Rodriguez. and#8220;He plays with as much emotion as anyone on the team, and he works as hard as anybody. He deserved what he got today.and#8221;

And about Bolton, and#8220;I thought Ben came out and was right on,and#8221; Shaffer said. and#8220;His receivers did a good job running routes and he had good protection. If he has time back there, he can pick defenses apart.and#8221;

Elko, the No. 2 Northern seed, finished 8-3 overall in its first year competing in the 3A. Truckee improved to 11-0 while running its win streak to 23 games dating back to a state title loss to Moapa Valley in 2008.

Truckee, the top seed from the North, will play top-seeded Moapa Valley from the South for the 3A state championship on Nov. 20 at Arbor View High School in Las Vegas. The game starts at 6 p.m.

The Wolverines defeated the Pirates 27-0 in last year’s state championship in Reno.

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