Wolverines host Bishop in football opener
Bob Shaffer and Bill Egan answered the same question with the same answer.
Shaffer: What do you know about Bishop High football?
“Not too much,” the Wolverines coach said. “I know they were good last year.”
Egan: What do you know about Truckee High football?
“Not much,” said the Bishop Broncos coach.
“I haven’t really seen them,” Egan continued, explaining that his limited knowledge of the Wolverines comes only from game film of last weekend’s scrimmage at North Valleys. “It seems to me that they have a very solid defense. It looks like they are strong on the line and are well coached. They look good. It will be a heck of a game for us. I hope we can hang with them.”
Shaffer and Egan were responding to a question about Saturday’s season-opening, non-league contest at Truckee’s Surprise Stadium, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m.
“Bob (Shaffer) and I have been trying to put ourselves on the schedule together for years,” said Egan, whose team finished last season 9-3 overall after losing to Boron, 21-20, in the CIF Southern Section playoff quarterfinals. “We’re really happy to have scheduled the game.”
The reason it hasn’t happened until now, “I’ve always been scared to play them,” Egan said with a chuckle.
The sixth-year Bishop coach does, however, have confidence in his team.
“I think we’re pretty good,” Egan said, adding that he has 12 seniors, seven of whom are starters, on his 43-man roster. “We have good talent. We’re decent on defense. We’re relatively young, but I think it’s a good group.”
About the Broncos’ style of play, “Like most high schools, we’re a running team,” Egan said. “We work on passing, but at the high school level it’s just easier to run the ball.”
Shaffer still is not sure what type of team he has in his 2006 Wolverines squad.
“Until you play that first game, you’re not sure what you’re gonna see,” Shaffer said, describing the young team’s progress as “slow.”
That progress was hindered by injuries sustained by key players during the scrimmage at North Valleys.
Senior fullback Drew Stewart will miss Saturday’s game with a twisted ankle, but is expected to return the following week when Truckee plays at Colfax, Shaffer said.
Junior wingback Trevor Allen is out with pneumonia, Shaffer said, while speedy halfback Keven Sahlberg, also a junior, is out with a compressed vertebrae he suffered in the scrimmage. Another junior, defensive end Evan Hyland, will not play after breaking his leg during the scrimmage, Shaffer said.
On the brighter side, Shaffer noted that certain players are beginning to stand out on the practice field as leaders. One such player, he noted, is senior defensive end Kirk Haynes.
Wolverines players also voted in three team captains: Senior linebackers Brian Cordell (6-1, 180 pounds) and Kyler Coxson (6-foot, 165 pounds) and Stewart, Truckee’s 6-foot, 190-pound bulldozer of a fullback.
“I just hope they assume the risk of being leaders,” their coach said. “The nature of the beast with them is to not be the ‘rah, rah’ type of guys who are real vocal. They lead more with their play.”
While Saturday’s game means nothing in terms of Truckee’s Northern 3A standings, Shaffer would like to see some improvement from last week’s scrimmage, and continued progress from there.
“Ultimately, these first four games are to get us prepared for league and hopefully a playoff run,” Shaffer said. “Obviously we’d rather start out 4-0 instead of 0-4, but we just need to get better each game so that when we play our first league game we’re not still trying to figure out how to play Truckee football.”
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.