Wolverines blow out defending state champions
Rebounding from an uncomfortable first game loss, the Wolverines took out their frustration on a bewildered Bishop Manogue team Saturday with a stunning 44-7 win in Reno. Tahoe-Truckee was led by three-year starter and senior tri-captain Casey Nelson. The speedy senior scored three touchdowns, two on runs of 68 and 79 yards and one on a 95-yard pass reception from sophomore starting quarterback Kevin Schlesinger.
Good things do come in three’s for Nelson as he amassed almost 300 yards of total offense himself – six carries for 187 yards and the lone reception for 95 yards.
After starting the game with three penalties in a row – two illegal motions and a holding – the 95-yard touchdown reception opened the scoring. The Wolverines called a misdirection play and Nelson ran a route under the secondary, catching the pass before he turned on the gas to blow past the stupefied Miner minions.
Tailback Evan Birchard also scored two touchdowns on runs of 11 yards and one yard, while rushing for 64 yards on 12 carries.
The Wolverines racked up 572 yards of total offense, while defensively, Tahoe-Truckee held the Miners to 10 first downs and 206 yards of total offense, forcing the Miners out of their game plan by making Manogue pass much more than desirable.
Responding to the Wolverines opening drive touchdown burst, the Miners tied the score in the first quarter after a sustained drive. But that was all Manogue could muster for the remainder of the game and Tahoe-Truckee heaped the gravy on the mound of mashed potatoes the Wolverines made out of Manogue.
“Nelson is somewhat elusive,” said varsity coach Bob Shaffer, “But he also got good downfield blocks, at the line holes and at the point of attack. He does have good speed.”
Shaffer contended that the score was not a good indicator of the way either team played.
“We didn’t have many sustained drives,” he said.
Up next for the 1-1 Wolverines is Spring Creek and the team’s first game at Surprise Stadium this season. The Spartans barely lost to North Tahoe at home Saturday, 23-22.
“Spring Creek is a very good football team with a very good running game. They’re physical, big kids and play defense very well,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer was most pleased with the improvement he and his staff saw in the Wolverine’s offensive line, and he also liked the play of Schlesinger.
“Kevin played much better and we wouldn’t have had the success of throwing the ball or Nelson’s runs without the work of our offensive line,” the coach concluded.
Harriers keep pace despite shrinking numbers
Despite losing team members over the course of the weekend, the Tahoe-Truckee runners had a decent showing at the Reed Invitational last Friday in Reno. Betsy Van Blarigan ran an impressive race, beating out reigning 3A state champion Heather Sandeman to take fourth place overall and top honors for the small schools at the highly competitive meet.
Although neither the boys or girls team had enough members to finish as a whole, coach Mark Brady was happy with the results.
Van Blarigan kept her own pace for the entire race, starting slowly before passing one pack of runners after another in the race’s second lap.
Van Blarigan began her charge with about a half-mile left in the race, taking over Sandeman with about one-quarter of a mile remaining, passing about 20 people total.
“It was exciting to watch her run,” Brady said about Van Blarigan, adding he was impressed with the race performance of Whitney Prosor and Kayla Evans in their first meets. “(Van Blarigan) starts off at her own pace, and then picks it up. I’m looking forward to some good competition between Betsy and Heather (Sandeman).”
Van Blarigan said she was happy with her performance.
“It was more than I was expecting,” she said.
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Several Truckee-Tahoe skiers will vie for Olympic medals next month.