Truckee Pee Wees pitch shutout in Snow Bowl
The Truckee Pee Wees knew they had to bring their A-game to win the Snow Bowl championship, which pitted the Wolverines against the only team that defeated them during the season — undefeated defending champion Reno South.
The Wolverines stepped up to the occasion. Behind their powerful defense, they knocked off Reno South with a hard-fought 8-0 win.
“We struggled with Reno’s passing game during the regular season, but today the boys played outstanding,” said Truckee Pee Wee head coach Charles Slusher. “They played aggressive, intelligent and hard-hitting football today. It was another standout defensive effort.”
The shutout marked the eighth straight for the Truckee squad, which held Reno South to a single yard or less on 25 of its 40 offensive plays.
After a scoreless first half, Truckee’s offensive line helped lead the way for Nate Bromley to score the game’s only touchdown late in the contest, breaking four tackles on his way to an 8-yard score. Patrick Hogan kicked through the 2-point PAT.
Despite a late scare when Reno South drove deep into Truckee territory, Truckee’s defense held them out of the end zone to preserve the victory.
The shutout was even more impressive given Reno South’s offensive coordinator — former University of Nevada head coach Chris Ault, whose grandson Drew Scolari expertly runs the pistol offense that Ault created at Nevada.
Truckee opened the game running the ball with Hogan, who followed blocks by Ben Nickels carrying twice for 16 yards and Gaven Kelly-Caruthers for another 9 yards on three carries. Ethan Hatcher recovered a fumble on Kelly-Caruthers’ third carry, forcing a Truckee punt.
Hogan and Dillon Kane stuffed the first play from scrimmage for no gain. On second and third down Mason Cutler and Connor McMullen pushed Reno back 3 yards to force a fourth-and-13 on their own 2-yard line.
After receiving the ensuing punt, Hogan went around the right side following blocks from Zach Poncelet and Cali Vail for 2 yards followed by completions to Hatcher and Owen Slusher from Truckee quarterback Sam Smith.
Truckee was forced to punt again and Bromley hammered another one to pin Reno inside their 10-yard line again. Scolari was chased down by Kelly-Caruthers, Kane and McMullen for the first of several sacks on the day. Facing a second-and-long, Scolari hooked up for an 18-yard gain to his wide out. Reno decided to test their run game again. However, a host of Wolverines led by Bromley, Hogan, McMullen and Cutler stopped the ball carrier for a 3-yard loss. After a short completion Reno was forced to punt again.
On first down Hogan went for 7 yards up the gut behind Tyler Corso followed by two consecutive penalties on Truckee. Facing second-and-18, a pitch to Bromley was dropped resulting in a 13-yard loss. Smith dropped back on third and a mile and his pass was picked off by Reno and returned to Truckee’s 32-yard line.
Scolari went to work passing and running against Truckee’s aggressive defense. Three pass completions and three runs carried Reno’s offense to Truckee’s 18-yard line. Reno ran the ball on first and second but were stuffed for no gain by Garrett Kirk, George Skaff, Juan Fuerte and Truckee’s defense. On third down Scolari dropped back and threw toward the end zone, where Slusher killed the threat when he stepped in front of the Reno receiver, intercepting the ball and returning it to the 49-yard line.
Truckee’s offense stalled again because of penalties and mistakes and Bromley was called on again to punt. Having no luck running the ball or passing down the field, Reno started throwing outside screens to their wide outs. Hogan stopped their first screen for a 3-yard loss to the left side followed by another screen to the other side of the field where Cutler tackled the Reno receiver for a 2-yard loss.
On third-and-15, Scolari aired a ball out for a gain of 22 yards, taking the ball deep into Truckee territory. Another 2-yard screen loss and a sack by Bromley left 5 seconds on the clock before halftime. Scolari tossed a ball toward the goal line that was caught. However, Truckee safety Ethan Hatcher drove the receiver out of bounds to end the first half.
On the first play in the second half Reno’s running back bounced a dive to the outside and was tracked down 21 yards later by Hogan and Slusher. Jackson Ellermeyer, Cutler, Kane and Skaff combined for tackles on the next two plays, pushing Reno back 2 yards. McMullen snuffed out Reno’s drive with a punishing sack of Scolari, forcing Reno to punt.
Reno’s punt was fielded by Hogan, who broke countless tackles during his 44-yard romp carrying tacklers. Hogan and Bromley traded off carries until another series of Truckee penalties stalled the drive.
Frustrated by what seemed to be a disparity of penalties, Truckee’s offensive line turned it up a gear. The O-line cleared the path for two consecutive 12-yard carries by Hogan and another for 8 yards before Bromley finally scored the first points of the day with his hard run.
Truckee knew the defending Snow Bowl champions would not roll over and quit. Unable to run the ball, Reno had to go to the air.
On the first play, Hunter Kacarka sacked Scolari for a 1-yard loss.
Bromley tackled the Reno running back for another loss, Kane knocked down a key pass on third down and a fourth down pass into triple coverage fell incomplete in the end zone.
After Truckee’s ensuing drive stalled, Reno blocked the punt attempt and recovered it deep in Truckee territory.
Reno passed for 11 yards on first down but Hogan, Kane and McMullen tackled Scolari for no gain on the next play. Scolari dropped back twice and was sacked for a 4-yard loss each time by Bromley and Kacarka. Left with a fourth-and-18, Scolari’s last pass of the game was batted down by Hatcher as Truckee escaped with the win.
Hogan led the team with 14 tackles and ran for 76 yards. McMullen had 11 tackles and Kane had nine tackles. Slusher, Cutler and Hatcher each had five tackles while Bromley had seven tackles and three sacks. McMullen added a pair of sacks and Cutler had one.
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Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy alumnus JC Schoonmaker had a career-best day in Ruka, Finland, racing to a seventh-place finish at last Friday’s World Cup sprint event.