Truckee tilts Incline in lopsided affair, 62-8 | SierraSun.com
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Truckee tilts Incline in lopsided affair, 62-8

ERICK STUDENICKA Sierra Sun

Any doubt surrounding Kevin Kikawa’s decision to transition from defense to offense for his final season was dispelled in 24 minutes Saturday, as the senior running back scored four touchdowns in the first half to lead the Tahoe-Truckee High School varsity football team to a 62-8 non-league victory over Incline High School in Surprise Stadium Saturday.

“I love it – there’s nothing like scoring touchdowns,” said Kikawa, commenting on his opportunity to move to offense after playing on the defense for the past two years. “You can control your own destiny on offense.”

Kikawa’s four touchdowns and 78 yards came on only six carries, as the Wolverine offensive line was able to open huge gaps in the Incline defense throughout the game. Truckee rushers finished the game averaging 12 yards per carry on the ground with 192 yards on 16 carries.

“I give all the credit to the offensive line,” Kikawa said. “There were good holes on every play – all I had to do was lose the safety in order to gain big yardage.”

Matching Truckee’s offensive effectiveness was the Wolverines’ defensive squad, which allowed the Highlanders only 38 yards of total offense.

Only a late touchdown in the final minute of the game by running back Kyle Knespler prevented Incline from being shut out.

“For two weeks in a row, our defense has made it easy for our offense,” said Wolverine coach Bob Shaffer. “For the most part, it was ‘three plays and then punt’ for Incline. Our defense was well-prepared for Incline’s offense.”

Incline received the kickoff but lost the ball on a fumble on its opening play from scrimmage, with Josh Wilson recovering. Two plays later, Kikawa opened the scoring on a five-yard run.

Incline’s second drive stalled after three plays and the Highlanders were forced to punt. Truckee started on its own 42-yard-line and, following a 20-yard run by Rudy Cross and a 15-yard pass gain to Nick Candler, scored on a 24-yard pass from Wolverine quarterback Chris Gerdin to Spencer Archer.

The Highlanders were forced to punt once again on their next possession, resulting in Truckee’s third touchdown as returner Mike Avilla ran 50 yards to make the score 21-0 before the first quarter had ended.

“As a new addition to the team, Mike’s been a real pleasant surprise,” said Shaffer. “He just moved to town this summer so we weren’t sure of his abilities, but he’s done well.”

Incline had a chance to get back into the game following Gerdin’s first interception of the season, but a subsequent big loss combined with a short punt gave Truckee excellent field position on the Highlander 31. From there, Kikawa took a short pass and turned it into a touchdown, making the score 28-0.

The rout was on in the second quarter as Kikawa added scoring runs of 27 and 32 yards and Rudy Cross added a 57 yarder of his own to make the score 49-0 at halftime.

The lead lengthened to 56-0 in the third as Mike Detwiler scored on a 29-yard pass play from Gerdin. Jeff Andrs scored Truckee’s final TD on a eight-yard run in the fourth. Only a five-yard run by Incline’s Kyle Knesper as time ran out prevented the Wolverines from recording the shutout.

Shaffer warned the Wolverines that they shouldn’t be over-confident following their opening two wins.

“I hope nobody on this team is getting big-headed,” Shaffer said. “We have been at home and haven’t been tested by our competition – there’s no way to know how good we really are.”

Despite the weak opponents , Shaffer said he detected plenty of positives in the game, including:

— the first-team defense, which is yet to give up a score this year.

— only five penalties called on the Wolverines, the fewest for Truckee since Shaffer became head coach.

— the improved kicking game of placekicker Spencer Archer (eight of nine on PAT’s) and punter Zack Lawrence.

White Pine next

Shaffer said the Wolverines should receive a tough battle from White Pine High School tomorrow (Sept. 19) in Ely in a game which begins at 7 p.m. White Pine has already recorded victories over Spring Creek and Battle Mountain in the early season. (Spring Creek defeated 4A Elko last week.)

“The game against White Pine will be a better indicator of our ability than our first two games,” Shaffer said. “We’ve got to travel and leave at 6 a.m. – it will be a long day for us, even before the game begins.”


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