Truckee takes sting out of Serpents; 42-point quarter leads to victory over Hawthorne
Leading by 63 points, there was only one worry on the Tahoe-Truckee High School sideline as halftime approached during Saturday’s game with Mineral County (Hawthorne).
Would the new Surprise Stadium scoreboard be able to record a three-digit score if the Wolverines cracked the 100-point barrier?
Fortunately, there was no cause for concern, as Wolverine coach Bob Shaffer put the brakes on the TTHS offense and Truckee “held on” for a 63-12 non-league win over the Serpents.
“Let the first half be the judge of how we did,” said senior tight end Mike Detwiler. “They were done by the end of the first quarter; we wore them out.”
Indeed, Truckee’s new “rapid-fire” offense, in which the Wolverines attempt to run a play every 20 seconds, quickly exhausted Hawthorne, which dressed only 17 players for the game.
“The rapid-fire offense worked faster than I thought it would,” Shaffer said. “We had hoped the offense would tire out the other team by the second half, but this group (Hawthorne) was tired by the end of the first quarter.”
Truckee dominated from the outset, taking the opening kickoff and driving inside the 10-yard line in five plays. Kevin Kikawa opened the scoring with a four-yard run only 1:27 into the game. Spencer Archer’s conversion (he made seven of eight extra points on the day) made the score 7-0.
A holding call stalled Truckee’s second possession, but the Wolverines scored again on their third drive after starting on the Serpent 10-yard following a Hawthorne short punt and penalty. Dave DeCoite reached the end zone untouched after taking an inside handoff.
It didn’t take long for the Wolverines to add a third touchdown, as Dan DeCoite gave Truckee excellent field position once again by blocking a Hawthorne punt attempt. After two plays, quarterback Chris Gerdin found Detwiler wide open in the end zone on a 15-yard pass play. The surprise two-point conversion run by Mike Avilla made the score 21-0 and left the Hawthorne visibly frustrated as time ran out in the first quarter.
As it turned out, though, Hawthorne’s first quarter could be considered successful compared to the Serpents’ second quarter, as Hawthorne gave up an astounding 42 points within the 12-minute span.
The barrage of Wolverine points as DeCoite blocked yet another Serpent punt, which was quickly followed by a 10-yard scoring run by Rudy Cross (28-0).
Hawthorne subsequently fumbled the kickoff, giving the ball right back to Truckee. Kikawa then scored his second TD of the day on a six-yard run (35-0).
On Hawthorne’s next possession, the Serpents coughed up the ball on a running play to Wolverine defensive back Avilla, who returned the ball all the way for another Truckee TD (42-0).
The Serpents had their most successful series of the quarter on their next possession, holding the ball for three plays without a turnover before punting to the Truckee 45-yard line. A pass from Gerdin to Dan Gallaher put the Wolverines back into scoring position, however, and the drive culminated with Cross scoring on a nice run where Cross appeared to be tackled but his second effort carried him into the end zone (49-0).
The final scores of the half came as Detwiler returned an interception for a touchdown (56-0) and Nick Candler scored on a 34-yard run (63-0).
Hawthorne outscored Truckee 12-0 in the second half against the Wolverine reserves, who received valuable experience.
“The game was good in that everybody got a chance to be in the game and they will get to see themselves on film and see their mistakes,” Shaffer said. “The bad side to the game was that the starters didn’t get the number of repetitions they normally would have; our starting offensive line could have used more repetitions than they received.”
One of the most surprising aspects of Saturday’s game was the quality of play from quarterbacks Gerdin and Nick Franklin, who combined to complete eight of nine passes for 105 yards in their varsity debuts.
“Both Chris and Nick did excellent jobs; both showed poise under pressure,” Shaffer said. “There’s a tendency to have a lot of adrenaline and overthrow in early season games, but they were on target.”
“It felt great out there; I’ve been up since 5:30 a.m. worrying about the game,” said Gerdin, who was six for seven for 80 yards. “The linemen did a great job giving me time to throw, especially David Wells and Santiago Mendoza.”
Gerdin said he’s not worried about being compared to 1996 Wolverine quarterback Kris Rendon, the Nevada AAA Player of the Year.
“I don’t think about it,” Gerdin said. “I know I can’t be as great as Kris was right now – I just try to improve.”
Gerdin’s teammates also gave him rave reviews.
“He’s coming along; the only mistakes he made were from inexperience,” Detwiler said. “I think a game like this will give him confidence.”
The Wolverines’ dominance in the game was reflected in the statistics. Truckee finished with 400 yards of total offense and 18 first downs compared with Hawthorne’s 120 yards and five first downs. The Truckee defense allowed the Serpents only 35 rushing yards on 31 attempts while Truckee gained 295 yards on the ground.
Truckee’s leading rushers were Kevin Kikawa (eight attempts for 89 yards), Mike Avilla (6/58) and Rudy Cross (7/50). Leading receivers were Detwiler (two receptions for 27 yards) and Dan Gallaher (2/31).
Incline up next
Truckee is scheduled to face Incline High School this Saturday (Sept. 13) at 1:30 p.m. Incline is coming off a 21-20 win over Quincy.
“Incline has a pretty good team this season,” Shaffer said. “Their strength is in their defense – they have great team speed and are able to put pressure on the quarterback. Our biggest challenge will be to our offensive line, which will have to figure out how to deal with their stunts and blitzes.”
Shaffer said Wolverine fans are welcome to review each week’s football game throughout the season on Tuesday nights at Pizza Junction. The replay of the game will begin at 7 p.m.
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The Barracuda Championship is set to tee off next week, bringing PGA golfers to Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood course for the second year in a row.