Truckee’s Wolverines to face Greenwave for state championship
Know & Go
WHAT: 3A State Championship
WHO: Truckee vs. Churchill County
WHEN: 5 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Carson High School
For the first time since 2012, the Truckee football team will play for a state championship.
The Wolverines will face rivals from the Northern League, Churchill County, for the Class 3A title on Saturday at Carson High School.
“We’ve got our hands full,” said Truckee Head Coach Josh Ivens. “Fallon is very good. It should be a good matchup, I have a ton of respect for Coach (Brooke) Hill and what they do.”
The Greenwave defeated Truckee 32-29 earlier in the season, and hold an 11-0 record, including taking a 58-20 win against Pahrump Valley in the Class 3A semifinals.
“It’s between the best two programs in our division playing for it,” said Fallon’s Hill, a 1990 Churchill County graduate, who’s now the Greenwave’s winningest football coach. “It will be a battle. The team that makes the most adjustments will have a shot at it.
“Like Truckee, we’re a better football team than we were in September. That was (running back Sean McCormick’s) first game back (fractured ankle), and he wasn’t 100 percent. We had lost Reid Clyburn before that game, and we didn’t have our offense gelling.”
Hill said Truckee played a good game, but that his team wasn’t “hitting on all cylinders” in September. He said during the second half of the season, the Greenwave clicked.
“I feel we’re a better team offensively and defensively,” he said. “We had four straight games with shutouts but gave up the big plays in the last two games due to more adjustments.”
Truckee qualified for the championship after traveling to Moapa Valley last Saturday, and beating the Pirates, 23-16, in the Class 3A state semifinal round.
“We haven’t beat them at that field,” said Ivens on the game. “It was a packed crowd, and a loud band — it was a great atmosphere,”
Truckee forced five turnovers during the contest, and scored touchdowns off a 30-yard interception return by senior Sean Kelly and an 80-yard punt return by senior Marcus Bellon.
A turnover led to Truckee’s first score, resulting in a short touchdown run by senior Kevin Malo.
Moapa Valley answered with an outstanding touchdown grab, followed by a field goal ahead of halftime to take a 10-6 edge.
The Wolverines took the lead on Kelly’s interception return early in the second half, but the Pirates responded with an 87-yard touchdown reception from senior Luke Bennett to senior tight end Derek Reese to retake the lead.
“We had great kickoff coverage, pinned them back down inside the 15,” said Ivens. “And then on a second-down play, they had a play action play we hadn’t seen.”
Bellon later returned a punt for a touchdown to make the game 20-16, followed by a field goal from senior Emmanuel Valenzuela — Jones for a seven-point advantage.
Moapa Valley would have a final chance at tying the contest, but senior Derek Laferriere intercepted a pass to put the offense back on the field.
From there, Truckee salted the game away on the ground.
Truckee will now look to add its first state championship since legendary coach Bob Shaffer guided the team to the title in 2012.
The game is scheduled Saturday, Nov. 17 at 5 p.m.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.