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Truckee football | Wolverines to host hot Fallon team in state semifinal

Courtesy of Charles SlusherMax Collinson recovers a blocked punt in the end zone during Trucke's 34-14 win against Fernley. Collinson, who is nursing a knee injury, and the Wolverines will host Fallon in a state semifinal on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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Even longtime Truckee football coach Bob Shaffer feels the nerves before a big game and#8212; such as the one that’s coming to Surprise Stadium on Saturday.

and#8220;I’m a little nervous, but it comes with the territory,and#8221; Shaffer said, referring to Saturday’s 3A state semifinal.

Truckee (10-0) will put its 34-game win streak on the line against the team that came closest to ending it less than a month ago, Fallon (7-3).



Shaffer’s uneasiness is palpable. The fourth-seeded Greenwave are rolling, having won six of their last seven games, with their only loss in that span a narrow one, 14-20, at Truckee on Oct. 15. Fallon led 14-7 in the first half of that game before Truckee responded with 14 unanswered points the third and fourth quarters to pull off the comeback win.

Despite the final outcome, Fallon head coach Brooke Hill said his team gained confidence that it could compete with the top-seeded Wolverines, who seek a third consecutive state title.



and#8220;Since that game, we’ve really played at another level,and#8221; Hill said. and#8220;Our kids are really excited to go up there and play. They feel they let one get away the last time and feel confident they can go in there and get one.and#8221;

In the last meeting, Truckee’s run defense held the Greenwave’s vaunted attack to 37 yards on 24 carries. However, the game plan for Fallon was through the air, where sophomore quarterback Morgan Dirickson completed 16 of his 32 passes for 161 yards and rushed for two TDs.

But while Dirickson has come on strong of late, Fallon’s running tandem of defending 100-meter dash champ Shawntrell Hubbard and Frank de Braga have the quick-strike ability to score in bunches with big plays.

Last week in the Greenwave’s 10-7 win over Elko, Hubbard had 109 yards on 17 carries while de Braga carried the ball eight times for 47 yards. For the season, Hubbard has 1,430 yards and 12 TDs and de Braga has compiled 571 yards and eight scores.

With such capable options in their passing and running game, Shaffer said he’s not sure what kind of plan the Greenwave will come with, especially with the weather forecast up in the air.

and#8220;I’m not sure what they’ll do. Mother Nature might have something to do with that, because it might rain and snow a little bit,and#8221; Shaffer said. and#8220;But that’s the thing we’ve been talking about all week, is what game plan are they going to come up with. And my guess is they’re probably going to use both (pass and run).

and#8220;It’s pretty hard for anybody in this league to just run the ball. So they’ll probably emphasize both, and whichever one is working better at the time is the one they’re probably going to stick with.and#8221;

Hill said the Greenwave will likely open up their passing game.

and#8220;We’re looking to throw the ball and feel it’s one way to loosen them (the Wolverines) up a little bit,and#8221; Hill said. and#8220;We’ve got to make some adjustments to run the football.and#8221;

In the other state semifinal, second-seeded Lowry plays at top-seeded Moapa Valley from the South on Saturday. Winners advance to the state championship in Reno on Nov. 19.

and#8212; Lahontan Valley News Sports Editor Steve Puterski contributed to this story.


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