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Victory sweet for seniors

James Ball

With 40 wins and a single loss since they’ve played JV, it has been a sweet ride for the current TTHS seniors on the football team.

“It is fantastic to go out like this,” senior cornerback Chris Birchard said Monday. “I still have such an adrenaline rush.”

Senior fullback Jeff Andrs agreed.

“The loss last year made us work a little harder. We were so close but couldn’t quite get there,” said Andrs. “So all us seniors were working that much harder. We didn’t want to feel like we did after the game last year.”

Last year, Truckee hit the end of line in the form of a 37-20 loss to Virgin Valley at semifinals.

“We all came together and it worked for us,” Andrs said. “We came out and did what we had to do to get it back.”

And this has been a long journey for these seniors, one which goes back 10 years or more.

“I remember our freshman year we used to ride our bikes from Floriston and Donner just to go lift weights to get bigger and stronger,” Wilson said. “We’ve worked our way to this.”

Wilson said he has watched Truckee football since he was a child and can remember looking forward to his shot at greatness.

“I’ve been going to games all my life,” Wilson said.

Birchard said the key to Truckee’s success has been that the team has grown as a family, not as individual stars.

“The whole team could be called stars,” Birchard said. “This is such a well-coached team.”

Birchard said if future Truckee teams want to model their success on that of the 1998 team, they should concentrate on working together.

“I think they need to play more as a group rather than each of them trying to be a star. If they played more as a family, I think they would do better. The juniors will tell the sophomores that and give them a reality check.”

Wilson said the current team learned a lot from studying the 1993 TTHS championship team, a group the 1998 players have often been compared to.

“Ronnie Woods and (Damien) Fertitta; they were great players. That was one of the best teams. To beat their record was excellent. We’re just so pleased that we beat their record and everyone else’s.”

“I think this is the best Truckee team ever,” Wilson said. “As a team, we’ve grown up together.”

In all, Truckee football will graduate 17 seniors, a thought head coach Bob Shaffer wants to put aside for now.

“Next year will be like every other year. We always wonder how will we replace him or him. But it always seems like kids take on the responsibility of filling the shoes.”

Birchard and Wilson said they are considering playing college ball and are realistic about their chances.

“I want to try to play at a junior college,” said Wilson. “Then try to get bigger and faster and try to get into a Division 1 school.”

But for now, there is the brief, shining moment of glory.

“This feels great,” said Wilson. “It feels right because we’ve worked hard.”

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